Saturday, May 30, 2015

Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)

It looks like we may have another epidemic on our hands. This time it is Irritable Bowel Disease, or IBD.

Sometimes the symptoms of IBD are called Celiac Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease. This is usually due to either a variation in symptoms, believed causes, or response to treatment. All three leave a person miserable with stomach pain, bloating and/or diarrhea. This makes the person afraid to eat anything, and their social lives become a thing of the past.

In addition to the pain and misery three quarters of those diagnosed as Crohn’s will have to undergo reconstructive bowel surgery due to the damage caused by the disease. Sometimes the damage is linked not to the disease, but to the treatment. These include intestinal blockages, a thickening of the intestinal wall, ulcers in the intestines, anus and rectum, nutritional malabsorption, anemia, osteoporosis, compromised liver function, and thyroid disease. There has even been a statistical link to leukemia, showing an increased risk factor of 700%.

Studies are showing links to our food supply and day to day behaviors that may point to why there is a threefold increase in these types of problems.  Doctors in the UK are blaming the increase among 16 to 30 year olds on the increase in junk food they are eating.  They also point to the increase in antibiotics we are exposed to. We are exposed to antibiotics through our food and water supplies, in addition to the one prescribed by our doctors. There is also a tentative link to the measles vaccine.

One of the reasons junk food is looked at is that many of them contain emulsifiers. These are added to break down fats and allow them to blend with other ingredients. This gives the feel and taste of creaminess. These emulsifiers act as soap in the intestines, scrubbing out all the good bacteria that line our intestines to protect them from inflammation.  Once the walls are inflamed the bad bacteria have an easier time destroying the tissues.

Corticosteroids have also been linked to IBD, both in the numbers of people diagnosed and with the severity of the symptoms.  Elderly patients are more likely to be prescribed corticosteroids than younger people, and there is an increase in the elderly for developing these intestinal issues.  Patients with asthma and COPD, also rampant among the elderly also show an increased susceptibility to these problems. 

The link to leukemia seems to be in the treatment. A group of drugs known as thiopurines seem to be at the center of this issue. These drugs provide symptom relief, and do not cure the problems. 

If you have IBD type problems hope that you never have a heart attack. There is evidence that those with both IBD and heart disease have a worse outcome with both of them. A ‘worse outcome’ with heart disease is considered death.

If you have IBD type problems are you limited to modern medicine for relief, even though that relief can come at a dangerously high price? There is evidence that both dietary and alternatives helps are availbable.


Omega 3 fats are known to reduce inflammation, and they do this in the bowels as well. The exception is the form found in flax. Although it helps with overall inflammation there is little evidence that effect extends to the bowels.

Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to both the occurrence and the severity of symptoms. The longer you have been suffering with symptoms the more likely you are to be vitamin D deficient. Scientists are sure which is the cause and which is the cause and which is the effect, but increasing vitamin D levels seems to decrease symptoms.

Probiotic foods increase the good bacteria and decrease the bad bacteria in the gut. This seems to prevent a reoccurrence of the symptoms. Probiotic supplementation would also be appropriate.

Anti-inflammatory herbs seem to work better than over the counter pharmaceutical options. These include turmeric, boswelia and marshmallow root. This is not the same thing as commercial marshmallows.


Gluten and grains in general have also been linked to IBD type problems. Many times a removal of grain based foods bring remarkable symptom relief. That is why there is a growing industry of gluten free foods.  There has also been antidotal evidence that eating gluten free improves overall digestion, brain function, immune deficiencies and emotional health. 

Avoid sugars and processed foods, anything that will increase your insulin levels will increase your inflammation levels. Avoid artificial sweeteners as well.  These inactivate your digestive enzymes and alter the gut barrier function.

Some outside help

Hypnosis has been shown to be helpful in reducing bowel inflammation. There is evidence that it changes some of chemicals found in the bowel to a more normal balance.

Fecal transplants have also shown to be very successful. Fecal transplants have not only been used for IBD type problems but also with autism and antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. Fecal transplants may be hard to come by. Many doctors don’t know about them. Others are unwilling to perform them because it means handling human feces. Testing donors for donors is also extremely expensive.

Anyone who has had a gastrointestinal disease, used antibiotics, or traveled to countries with suboptimal sanitation is rejected.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Antibiotics Are All Around Us

We have heard a lot of horror stories about antibiotics. They can destroy your digestive capabilities, cause a reaction that makes your skin bubble up and ‘burn’ from the inside, cause a deformity in your child’s small intestine,  cause resistant bacteria infections, cause liver cancer, interfere with fetal development, cause food poisoning, and even kill you. Why has something that was supposed to help our health become so dangerous?

We are feeding it to animals in our food supplies.  A study done on mice shows that feeding mice antibiotics does not make the Salmonella that they are known carriers for disappear, it actually makes it grow and reproduce faster.  There is evidence that the same thing may be happening in our food supply. Even if it isn’t the amount of antibiotics left in our meat and dairy reduces our immune systems. They also kill some of the good bacteria that are meant to protect us. Last but not least, the bacteria in our world is mutating because of it. There isn’t enough to kill them off, so they are becoming resistant. This leads to human infections the hospitals are unable to treat.

Not all antibiotics have the same problems. One of the ones we encounter without even knowing it is triclosan. This is the one used in antibacterial soaps and toothpastes. Every time we wash our hands in a public restroom we are risking exposure to it. This is especially problematic for pregnant women. The chemical builds up in their system, and then impacts the developing baby. It can also interfere with conception. Triclosan can cause allergies, thyroid dysfunction, weight gain, and inflammation. There is also evidence it can increase the growth in liver and kidney tumors. One study is suggesting that triclosan can actually cause cancer, especially liver cancer.  It is so prevalent in our society that it has been found in 75% of us, and even in our waterways.

There are types of antibiotics frequently prescribed by doctors that come with their own set of problems.  These are known as flouroquinolones. One brand name is Cipro. They are known to cause brain damage in some people.

Another brand name, Levaquin, has been linked to at least one death. This man died from a reaction to the drug called rhabdomyolysis. That’s a really big name for the death of muscle fibers. The waste products from these dead muscles overload the kidneys, which can result in kidney failure, heart attack, or liver damage. It can also inhibit blood flow throughout the body.

When your newborn is sick and the doctor prescribes an antibiotic you are anxious to follow directions to make sure your baby is healthy again. Doing so increases the risk of your child developing pyloric stenosis. This is a narrowing of the opening between the stomach and the small intestine. It prevents the stomach contents from moving into the small intestine, thus causing other severe problems. Although they haven’t found a cause and effect link there is a very strong statistical correlation.  The only treatment for it is surgery.

What are we supposed to do?

First of all is avoiding the environmental sources of antibiotics. This includes commercially grown meats, eggs and dairy, as well as hand soaps, toothpastes and other personal care products labeled as antibacterial.

Secondly we need to heed the old adage of ‘eat right and exercise’. It sounds mundane, but living a healthy lifestyle improves our immune function and reduces the need for antibiotics.
If you are sick and need some help there are actually a lot of antibiotics in nature. These include;
•    Garlic
•    Cinnamon
•    Oregano Oil
•    Colloidal Silver
•    Manuka Honey
•    Fermented Foods
•    Echinacea
•    Sunlight
•    Vitamin D
•    Cranberries
•    Uva Ursi (or bearberry)
•    Baking soda

Some of these work better on some issues than others. Cranberries and Baking soda are a real go to for UTI’s. Colloidal Silver taken internally is also great for this.  Manuka Honey and colloidal silver are great for open wounds. Garlic is an all-around antibiotic, but must be eaten raw and in large quantities to get the most effect. The key is to know what you are battling and pick the right natural remedy in the right amount. This is one reason why the natural health industry is growing rapidly.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Antiobiotics and Obesity

The study analyzed data from twelve years of infant records. Data analysis of the more than 65,000 infants revealed that the earlier babies were given antibiotics, the greater likelihood of becoming obese later in life.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children over the past 30 years and in adolescents has nearly quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These are staggering figures to comprehend.

The immediate consequences of obesity in children range are that they are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Many will remain obese into adulthood and be susceptible to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

According to Jack Challem of The Nutrition Reporter, “The lesson, whether you’re an adult of child, is to not take antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary, and then to also take probiotics.”

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and immunity. You can get them from yogurt, probiotic drinks and probiotic supplements.

Even if you don’t willingly take antibiotics, you may be getting them in other ways.

Since antibiotics have increasingly entered the food chain, you can ingest traces of antibiotics in the meat you eat and the water you drink. Replenishing your micro-biome with probiotics occasionally may be a very good idea.

Instead of using antibiotics, check on natural alternative ideas like using colloidal silver.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Many people have the occasional heartburn symptoms. In fact estimates are that sixty percent of American adults have heartburn at least once a year. When do we decide it isn’t just regular heartburn and something more serious, such as GERD? Some people look at the frequency of the heartburn. Twenty to thirty percent of American adults have heartburn on a weekly (or even more frequent basis. Looking at the frequency has been a factor in the diagnosis of GERD increasing by 216 percent between 1998 and 2005. But it isn’t just adults that get GERD. More and more infants are being diagnosed and treated for this ailment.

Most people think of heartburn or GERD as being caused by too much stomach acid, simply because that is what it feels like. In reality it is most commonly caused by a week muscle or sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus. When this sphincter is week it lets the content of the stomach come back up into the esophagus. The stomach contents are supposed to be acidic, but the esophagus isn’t meant to handle that acid. This causes the burning sensation that people are experiencing. Over time this acid can eat a hole in the esophagus, sometimes called a hiatal hernia.

What causes this sphincter to become weak? In babies it is being linked to antibiotics used by the mom during pregnancy, or her diet before and after the birth. These can cause the babies to be born with the wrong mix of good bacteria in their intestines. This lack of good bacteria can cause digestion to be impaired, which leaves the stomach fuller longer and puts pressure on that sphincter. Being born by C-section can upset this balance as well. What foods the baby eats, or what food the breastfeeding mothers eat is also a risk factor. If baby has intolerance to a food and it is in the formula, or mom is eating it this can cause digestive problems.

Adults are faced with the same risk factors, plus some additional ones. Sometimes it is not having enough stomach acid to help the stomach work efficiently. Without the stomach acid foods ferment, and give off gases that expand the stomach, pushing on that sphincter. Other times it is medications, either prescription or over the counter, that relax the muscles. This causes that sphincter to weaken and open at inappropriate times.

Are antacids and/or PPI’s the best thing to reach for when you feel the beginning or heartburn? 

For most of us the answer is a resounding no! We need an appropriate amount of stomach acid in order to properly digest our food. Without it there is a cascading effect of health problems, including:
  Reduced absorption of essential nutrients (including B12, magnesium, calcium, iron, folate, and zinc) These nutrients are important for adults, but they’re even more important for developing babies. So folate and B12 in particular are needed to form new red blood cells, and they play an important role in methylation, which silences and activates gene expression, which, in turn, regulates just about anything in the body. Vitamin C is important for collagen development and the structural development of the body, in addition to immune function. Iron is also involved in red blood cell function. Without enough iron, babies will become anemic and not develop properly. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body, it’s one of the most important nutrients that we need. And all of the other B vitamins—B6; B5, which is pantothenic acid; B1, which is thamine; B2, which is riboflavin; B3, which is niacin—are all essential. Again, they’re all there for a reason. We need them. They’re all essential nutrients. And PPIs inhibit their absorption. We could potentially see an increase in things like neurological issues from B12 deficiency; problems with development, like I said, of the structural tissue in the body from vitamin C deficiency; behavioral disorders like ADHD, autism, et cetera because of folate and B12 deficiency. These things are on the rise in kids. There may not be enough kids now taking PPIs that this is making a significant contribution, but this could certainly happen if we continue with our current course.
  Increased risk of bone fractures (likely a consequence of impaired nutrient absorption). PPIs have been associated with decreased bone mineral density, because calcium absorption is impaired, and also maybe the fat-soluble vitamins—like vitamin D, which plays a role in calcium metabolism, and K2.
  Increased bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. 
  Decreased resistance to infections (including life-threatening ones like pneumonia and clostridium difficile). We’re exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungi all the time. They’re all around us in the environment. But a lot of times, if we get exposed to them through food or water that we swallow, the stomach acid just takes care of that. Many of these organisms cannot survive in a really low pH, acidic environment like the stomach. The stomach acid is our first line of defense against these organisms entering through our mouth and when we swallow. As you might suspect, PPI use has been associated with an increased risk of infections of all types, but particularly gut infections and something like Clostridium difficile, which is a potentially fatal gut infection. Very serious. It’s a cause of concern. It’s been shown that there’s an increased risk of community-acquired pneumonia in people using PPIs.
  Increased risk of cancer and other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease, and asthma.
  Increase in weight gain. One study in adults showed an average increase of about 10 lbs in weight in about 70% of patients that were taking PPIs over a two-year period, whereas only 9% of patients in the control group gained weight over that period.
If you don’t want to use medications for your GERD what are your options?
  Reduce carbohydrates and follow a mostly Paleo type diet.
  Take baking soda and water.  This reduces the amount of acid in the stomach.
  Take apple cider vinegar and water. 
  Take ginger, either in tea, capsules, as a spice when cooking, or in lozenge form.
   Take aloe vera.
   Take enzymes. These are what the stomach acid activates in order to digest food. By increasing the enzymes you increase the efficiency of digestion and lower the need for stomach acid.
   Take probiotics, and prebiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria we are supposed to have in our digestive tract. Prebiotics are substances that ‘feed’ or help the good bacteria grow. 
   Avoid foods you are sensitive to. This can include anything from gluten to tomato based dishes and anything in between.  Everyone is a little different.
   Ditch the carbonated beverages. Carbonation adds volume to the stomach contents that the human body has trouble getting rid of. 
   Look for herbal bitters. These are plants that have a bitter flavor. They aid in digestion. 
   Avoid greasy foods, especially those fried foods made with canola and other vegetable oils. Even worse are the oils that have been hydrogenated. They are then called trans fats.

The biggest problem with a dietary based treatment is that some people have a problem being consistent. They want to fit in with their friends and family members more than they want to feel good. Then they complain that the natural methods don’t work. They do work, if you are consistent in following them.