TGIF: The Leaky Gut Epidemic and The Truth About Antibiotics

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is a major cause of disease and dysfunction in modern society, accounts for at least 50% of chronic complaints, as confirmed by laboratory tests.

In LGS, the epithelium on the villi of the small intestine becomes inflamed and irritated, which allows metabolic and microbial toxins of the small intestines to flood into the blood stream. This event compromises the liver, the lymphatic system, and the immune response including the endocrine system.

Some of the most incurable diseases are caused by this exact mechanism, where the body attacks its own tissues.

This is commonly called auto-immune disease.

It is often the primary cause of the following common conditions: asthma, food allergies, chronic sinusitis, eczema, urticaria, migraine, irritable bowel, fungal disorders, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory joint disorders including rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the diseases that can originate with leaky gut. It also contributes to PMS, uterine fibroid, and breast fibroid.

Leaky Gut Syndrome is often the real basis for chronic fatigue syndrome and pediatric immune deficiencies.

Leaky Gut Syndrome is reaching epidemic proportions within the population. Historically, the only way bowel toxins entered the blood stream was through trauma, for example by sword or spear.

This quickly led to septicemia that might be treatable, or more probably, ended in death. Outside of trauma, the body maintained a wonderfully effective selective barrier in the small intestine, one that allowed nutrients to enter, but kept out metabolic wastes and microbial toxins rampant in the intestines.

What Modern Event Allowed Such A Break-Down?

Primarily it has been antibiotics, secondarily non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, Motrin, Aleve and Advil) with NSAIDs being the major cause of leaky gut because they so viciously inflame the intestinal lining, causing a widening of the spaces between cells and sometimes hemorrhaging.

Other common causes are chemotherapy, ingested alcohol, inhaled formaldehyde from a new carpet, food allergens, stress emotions, lactase deficiency, gluten/gliaden allergy, abnormal gut flora (bacteria, parasites, yeasts).

The first antibiotic, penicillin, did not enter mainstream health care until 1939. Since the 50s and 60s, antibiotic use has been frantically prescribed for every infection and inflammation, particularly pediatric ear infection, bronchitis, and sore throat.

It is sadly ironic that most of these infections are viral in nature, and not only are the antibiotics damaging, but they are ultimately unnecessary. Antibiotics should be considered a hospitalization level medicine, when bacteria have entered the blood, bone, or organ.

Antibiotics Destroy Beneficial Bacteria

Antibiotics create their damage in two ways. The first is by destroying beneficial bacteria. The small intestine and large intestine host over five hundred different kinds of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria perform hundreds of functions required for healthy metabolism and immune response.

Through enzyme secretions, bacteria transform metabolic and microbial wastes before they are discharged by the body. These wastes include cellular debris, hormones, chemical wastes, bile, pus accumulations, viral toxins, bacterial toxins, etc.

For example, the body creates bile not only as a lubricant to flush wastes out of the liver, but also, to detoxify many of the poisons accumulating in the liver. Bile however is extremely damaging to large intestine epithelium.

When bile enters the small intestine via the common bile duct, beneficial bacteria break the bile salts down into a less toxic compound, making it non-dangerous by the time it reaches the large intestine.

When you take antibiotics you destroy these bacteria and the bile salts freely enter and damage the large intestine. I believe this contributes significantly to the high incidence of colon cancer plaguing today’s society.

Beneficial bacteria also break down hormone secretions that are discharged from the liver to the small intestine. If you lack the bacteria to break down estrogen and the intestinal permeability has been altered, the patient is now reabsorbing estrogens in their original state.

The body will deposit these in estrogen sensitive areas such as the breast, uterus, or ovaries, contributing, if not causing, fibroids and tumors. The same scenario is responsible for premenstrual syndrome as well. Healthy mucosa allows nutrients to pass the barrier while blocking the entry of toxins. With leaky gut, the barrier is dysfunctional, blocking nutrients at the damaged villi while permitting toxins to enter the blood stream.

Antibiotics Promote the Growth of Fungus

The second way antibiotics damage the intestines is by fostering the growth of Candida albicans and other pathogenic fungi and yeast. This event, more than any other, precipitates Leaky Gut Syndrome. In a healthy situation the small intestine epithelium maintains tight cell junctions, which contributes to the physical barrier involved in intestinal absorption. In addition to the physical barrier, there is an important chemical barrier within the mucus that contains immune agents, which neutralize any toxin that comes in contact.

Candida exudes an aldehyde secretion, which causes small intestine epithelial cells to shrink. This allows intestinal toxins to infiltrate through the epithelium and into the blood. The secondary barrier – immune agents in the epithelial mucus – remain the sole agent for neutralization.

Eventually, the immune system becomes exhausted rising to this challenge.

The damage done by Candida is to the intestinal epithelial barrier, allowing the absorption of serious toxic agents and chemicals, which then enter the blood and affect numerous organs, including the brain.

Food Allergies: The Complicating Factor

When the integrity of the intestinal barrier has been compromised, intestinal toxins are not the only pathogens to be absorbed. The barrier, in a healthy state, selectively allows digested nutrients to enter the small intestine when all is ready.

With leaky gut, nutrients can be absorbed before they are fully digested. The body’s immune response, through specific antigen-antibody markers, will tag some of these foods as foreign irritants.

Every time that particular food touches the epithelia, an inflammatory immune response is mounted which further damages the epithelial lining. What started as a Candida irritation with shrinking of the cells has now been complicated with active inflammation every time a particular food is eaten.

Food allergies are a common secondary problem to Candida, and if present, will maintain the leaky gut continuously, even if the Candida is eradicated.

The most common food allergies are dairy, eggs, gluten grains (wheat, oats, rye), corn, beans (especially soy), and nuts. There are seldom real allergies to meat, rice, millet, vegetables, or fruit, although an allergy to garlic is not uncommon.

We have to distinguish a real allergy – that which causes a histamine inflammatory reaction at the site of the small intestine (SI) epithelia – from sensitivity, which may cause uncomfortable symptoms, but seldom is damaging.

Sensitivities are usually due to low stomach acid or pancreatic enzyme secretion, that is, poor digestion.

In the healing of the intestinal lining, exposure to a significant allergy can sabotage the treatment. For example, one may be very good at restricting wheat, dairy and eggs, but then compromises the treatment by taking garlic tablets.

The Role of the Liver and Lymphatic System

The metabolic and microbial toxins that enter the bloodstream during leaky gut end up in the liver, which has the job of detoxifying and discharging the poisons. Under normal conditions, the liver is taxed just by processing the daily metabolic wastes created by cell and organ activity.

Imagine the further load created by dumping serious intestinal toxins on a regular basis. There is a point when the liver becomes saturated; it cannot further detoxify the poisons, and they are returned to the blood circulation.

The blood has sophisticated mechanisms for preserving chemical homeostasis, and will diffuse as much of the toxic chemicals and physical debris into the interstitial fluids as is possible. From here the lymphatic system will attempt to collect and neutralize the toxins, but unable to send the toxins to the liver, the body essentially becomes toxic.

Microbes grow and develop, hence there can be chronic lymphatic swelling, especially in children. Over a period of time, toxins will be forced into distal connective tissue around muscles and joints, causing fibromyalgia, or into the cells, which can precipitate genetic mutation and ultimately cancer.

Stress to the Immune and Endocrine Systems

The immune system is stressed in three major ways. First is at the site of the intestinal mucosa. As toxins and food antigens brush up against the mucosa, the immune system mobilizes to neutralize the toxins. Normally, much of this work would have been done by beneficial bacteria, which have been destroyed by antibiotics.

For toxins that make it to the mucosa, the body will tag them with a chemical secretory IgA (SIgA), which attracts macrophages and other white blood cells to consume the toxins. It is not long before this immune response is overwhelmed and depleted.

This can be measured directly with a stool or saliva test for the intestinal SIgA level.

The second stressor happens in the liver and lymphatic system, which, also overwhelmed, puts demands on the immune system. The third stressor is a consequence: as the immune response diminishes, more microbes (viruses, bacteria, and fungi) multiply, allowing for a chronic state of infection.

The most important organ in the production of immune agents seems to be the adrenal gland, and Leaky Gut Syndrome slowly diminishes adrenal function. In the early and middle stages, there is actually an adrenal excess, as measured by excess cortisol output. Eventually, cortisol levels drop, and one now has exhaustion.

The Role of the Digestive Tract

Candida flourishes when the terrain in the intestines favors it. Just killing Candida is usually not successful, because the chemistry and vitality of the terrain has not been normalized, and Candida returns.

Antibiotics are the original cause of the change on the terrain. By killing acid forming bacteria (Lactobacillus bacteria produce lactic acid, for example), the environment becomes alkaline, which promotes Candida.

Antibiotics and chronic illness reduce stomach acid production, contributing to the alkalinity, and also allowing poor digestive absorption. In fact, many people with LGS are malnourished and will lose excessive weight, no matter how healthy the food is that they eat.

The idea that lactobacillus supplementation is all that is required after antibiotics is somewhat delusional; in fact most of the lactobacillus from supplementation does not survive in the intestine, due to poor terrain. Just to make sure you have a full understanding of the seriousness of Leaky Gut, the following is a summary:

  • When the gut is inflamed it does not secrete digestive enzymes to digest foods properly or absorb nutrients and foods properly. The result can indigestion with gas and bloating, called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • When large food particles are absorbed, food allergies and new symptoms are created (e.g., IBS, gallbladder disease, arthritis or fibromyalgia).
  • When the gut is inflamed, carrier proteins are damaged, so malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies occur.These deficiencies slow down the ability of the gut to heal and can cause any number of other symptoms (e.g., magnesium deficiency induced angina or gut spasms, chromium deficiency induced high cholesterol or sugar cravings, zinc deficiency induced prostatitis or lack acid formation)
  • When the detoxification pathways that line the gut are compromised, chemical sensitivity can arise. Furthermore, the leakage of toxins overburderns the liver so that the body is less to handle everyday chemicals in foods, water and air.Now many foods can cause symptoms that never did before, because the gut’s detoxification (liver) system is unable to cope with the hundreds of chemical additives, dyes, colorings, preservatives and pesticides common in our foods.

  • When the gut lining is inflamed, the protective coating of the gut antibodies can be lost. With loss of the secretory immunoglobulin A (SigA), the body becomes more vulnerable to infections in the intestines from bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeast and they become resistant to treatment.

  • Ironically, the more resistant the bugs become, the more-high powered antibiotics doctor prescribe, resulting in more overgrowth of resistant fungi (Candida). As the unwanted bugs grow, the gut gets more inflamed and leaky initiating a vicious cycle of worsening condition and major cause of so many incurable diseases.
  • When the intestinal lining is inflamed, bacteria and yeast can translocate. In other words, they can pass from the gut cavity into the blood stream and set up infection anywhere else in the body, including the brain. This is often the mysterious and undiagnosed cause of infections in the teeth and gums, bones, prostate, bladder and sinuses.
  • With the formation of antibodies, the food antigens that leak across the gut wall can sometimes resemble the natural antigens on tissues. Protective antibodies will then attack the antigens, as they should and the tissues, causing further damage.

    It is the very reason why auto-immune diseases begin. Lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, myocarditis, iritis and thyroiditis are some of the members of this ever-growing category of mysteriously incurable auto-immune diseases.

~ Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S. Functional Medicine University

Source: http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/Leaky-Gut.cfm

Curvesday Thursday: The Gut and Spine Connection

Problems with digestion can result within any of the organs involved with this complicated process. Most commonly, the stomach, gall bladder, and large intestine demonstrate the highest degree of incidence of gastrointestinal disturbance; however, the pancreas, liver, and the small intestine also play important roles in the digestive process and can also cause pain and discomfort when malfunctioning.

All of the organs in our body are connected to two different nervous systems. One is called the sympathetic and the other, the parasympathetic. The nerves of the sympathetic system run from the lower cervical spine (neck) to the upper lumbar spine (lower back.) The parasympathetic nerves are found in the middle and upper regions of the cervical spine and the lower lumbar spine and sacrum (the bone between the pelvis).

Together, these two nervous systems help to control digestion by sending signals to the organs (efferent pathways) and returning signals from the organs (afferent pathways.) If an organ is in trouble, it may send excessive signals back through the afferent pathways, to the spine, and up to the brain. This can cause a sensation of discomfort in either the area near the organ or in one of the pain referral areas associated with that organ. A well-known organ that refers pain is gallbladder. People with a history of gallbladder trouble often complain of felling a colic-like (on-again off-again grabbing) pain between the shoulder-blades

The connection of a GI problem to your spine comes from the existence of these two nervous systems through a response known as the viscerosomatic reflex. Chiropractors believe that the irritation at the level of the spine that corresponds to the involved organ can cause the muscles around the vertebra above and below the nerve to become hyperactive. This increased activity to the muscles is a result of the shared nerve supply between these muscles and the sympathetic supply to the organ. If the muscle spasm exerts enough force to create a subluxation (a misalignment between the vertebrae) or creates enough congestion to the blood supply, more nerve interference is experienced. This inhibitory action results in a decreased ability of  organ function.

Conversely, chiropractors also believe that problems with the organs of digestion may have started because of spinal subluxations. An interesting study that took place at the Harvard Medical School demonstrated this theory. Researchers at Harvard discovered that many people who suffered from Chron’s Disease (A severe bowel disorder) had marked (sever) subluxations of the second cervical vertebra. Chiropractors believe that the Vagus nerve (the parasympathetic nerve supply to every digestive organ in the body) may be irritated when a severe second cervical subluxation is present. Although the Vagus nerve is one of the twelve cranial nerves that come directly from the brain) the Vagus nerve passes closely enough to the structures between the first and second vertebra that subluxation at these levels may create enough irritation to the nerve to create problems with digestion.

According to a recent study, researchers in Japan also found a link between Crohn’s disease and interference to the nervous system from spinal misalignments.The research was published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research and grew out of a previous study involving more than 3,000 patients with allergic diseases and over 1,000 non-allergic patients. It focused on the relationship between immune function, spinal displacements called vertebral subluxations, and how reducing those displacements resulted in improvement, and in some cases complete remission, of symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

There are many theories about what causes Crohn’s disease but none has been proven. The most popular theory is that the body’s immune system reacts to a virus or a bacterium by causing ongoing inflammation in the intestine. Treatment for Crohn’s disease includes corticosteroids to control inflammation but while these drugs are considered the most effective for active Crohn’s disease, they can cause serious side effects, including greater susceptibility to infection. Immune suppressing drugs are also used to treat Crohn’s disease.

According to Dr. Yasuhiko Takeda, a chiropractor and lead author of the study: “This is why it is so important to develop other means of dealing with this terrible disease. If we can find treatments that enhance the function of the immune and nervous systems perhaps we can help millions of people with this disease without the harmful side effects of drugs.”

Beginning in 1992, the focus of Takeda’s research has been on the relationship between subluxation, allergic disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disorder and ulcerative colitis. He became interested in this after observing common patterns of spinal distortions and subluxation in patients presenting with these problems. He observed that many of these people got better following chiropractic care. This convinced him that chiropractic care was the answer to these health problems and that he needed to look into it in more detail.

There are other digestive disorders linked to the spine as well. A growing body of evidence is linking inflammatory back pain (IBP) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Additionally, several autoimmune conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), affect both the gut and the spine, with up to 60 percent of AS patients suffering from colon and ileum inflammation. Even aside from inflammatory disease, back pain and gut pain have a strong association. Not only are there instances where gut problems refer pain to the spine; there are times when the spine is the source of gut disorders. A chiropractic practice is able to identify back pain of visceral origin: Gastric ulcers, pancreatic disease and irritable bowel syndrome are all known to cause back pain.

In turn, the treatment of spinal injuries can cause digestive disorders. GI doctors and chiropractors are both keenly aware of the severe consequences of long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Patients with NSAID-induced gastric bleeding almost always end up in a GI clinic. GI doctors often tell their patients that they can no longer take NSAIDs, leaving those patients to find an effective medical treatment for their musculoskeletal conditions.  A non-medical provider, such as a doctor of chiropractic, specializes in drug-free pain management techniques that prevent gastrointestinal issues.

Chiropractic can also help you if you suffer from a digestive disorder by reducing  your level of stress. Patient’s who receive chiropractic care will readily comment on this. Your digestive systems works best when the mind and body are in a relaxed state and manipulation, massage, acupressure, and moist heat therapies are just some of the many ways your chiropractor can help you obtain a healthier working digestive system.

Many chiropractors also include nutritional consoling as part of their practices. Your chiropractor  may recommend vitamin and mineral supplements, digestive aids, healing herbs, or simply recommend a proper diet with an emphasis on what foods to eat and what foods to avoid to improve your digestion.

Dr. Chambers offers a multi-faceted approach to treating digestive disorders through chiropractic, acupuncture, specialized diets, and all natural supplements. To schedule a consultation, please contact our office at (304) 263-4927.

Sources: http://www.godiscoverhealth.com/digestive-problems/

http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=3420

http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=3420

Stickin’ it Tue You: Acupuncture For Relief of GI Problems

What Type of GI Disorders Can Acupuncture Treat?

Here is a list:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Acid Reflux / GERD
Spastic Colon
Colitis
Constipation
Diarrhea
Food Allergies
Ulcers
Gastritis
Abdominal Bleeding

How Does Acupuncture Help?

Acid Reflux, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES: a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach) does not close properly and stomach contents leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus (the muscular membranous tube for the passage of food from the throat to the stomach).

When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn. The fluid may even be tasted in the back of the mouth, and this is called acid indigestion. Occasional heartburn is common but does not necessarily mean one has GERD. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be considered GERD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems. Unfortunately no one knows why people get GERD. A hiatal hernia may contribute and others such as stress, alcohol use, overweight, pregnancy, smoking, and certain foods can be associated with reflux events.

In the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, GERD often occurs when there is dysfunction of the Stomach system due to disharmony between the Liver system and the Stomach system or other causes. Acupuncture can help with GERD by stimulating certain acupuncture points to reduce transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs: the time that LES stays open or relaxed) and regulate gastric secretions, gastric motility, hormone, and neuropeptide release and metabolism. Acupuncture can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatments such as medication to help you better manage the symptoms overall.

IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome): Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized most commonly by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does not permanently harm the intestines and does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. Most people can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications. For some people, however, IBS can be disabling. They may be unable to work, attend social events, or even travel short distances.

As many as 20 percent of the adult population, or one in five Americans, have symptoms of IBS, making it one of the most common disorders diagnosed by doctors. It occurs more often in women than in men, and it begins before the age of 35 in about 50 percent of people. Researchers have yet to discover any specific cause for IBS. One theory is that people who suffer from IBS have a colon, or large intestine, that is particularly sensitive and reactive to certain foods and stress. The immune system, which fights infection, may also be involved.

Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Panel and the World Health Organization (WHO), using different criteria, have identified many conditions as appropriate for acupuncture treatments, including several that are directly related with IBS such as abdominal pain, muscle cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. In addition, acupuncture has also been found effective as a means of stress reduction, and at addressing related problems that often triggers IBS symptoms. In the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the cause of IBS vary greatly form person to person. The Stomach and the Intestines are usually the main organ systems affected. The causative factors can be emotional stress, improper diet, and constitutional Spleen/Stomach deficiency. Over time, these factors can cause mild to severe dysfunction of the Spleen, Stomach, Intestines, Liver, and the Kidney systems causing various IBS symptoms.

Its many manifestations require very different treatment approaches. Acupuncture, herbal therapy, or a combination treatment can help by regulating gastric secretions, gastric motility, hormone, and neuropeptide release and metabolism.

Gastritis: Gastritis is not a single disease, but several different conditions that all have inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis can be caused by drinking too much alcohol, prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or infection with bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Sometimes gastritis develops after major surgery, traumatic injury, burns, or severe infections. Certain diseases, such as pernicious anemia, autoimmune disorders, and chronic bile reflux, can cause gastritis as well.

The most common symptoms are abdominal upset or pain. Other symptoms are belching, abdominal bloating, nausea, and vomiting or a feeling of fullness or of burning in the upper abdomen. Blood in your vomit or black stools may be a sign of bleeding in the stomach, which may indicate a serious problem requiring immediate medical attention.

In the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, gastritis is closely related with the dysfunction or imbalance of the Stomach, Liver, Spleen, or a combination of these systems. Acupuncture treatment will vary from individual to individual depending on the differential diagnosis. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with conventional medical therapy such as medication. Acupuncture can help with the symptoms and progress of gastritis by regulating gastric secretions, gastric motility, hormone, and neuropeptide release and metabolism.

If you suffer from a chronic or acute digestive disorder and would like to add acupuncture to your treatment plan, please call (304) 263-4927 to schedule an appointment.

Source: http://www.acupuncturebaltimore.com/acupuncture/gi-gerd-acid-reflux/

Get Moving Monday: Yoga Improves Overall Health

Yoga is fast becoming popular all over the United States.  First developed in India, Yoga incorporates breathing exercises, meditation, and asana or postures that flexes and stretches muscle groups.  Its purpose is to create a sense of awareness, strength and harmony in mind and body. The benefits of yoga provide both instant gratification and lasting transformation. In the fitness world, both are extremely important. Too much time with too few results can be incredibly discouraging, and monotonous routines week after week can lead to stagnation.Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health. At any level of yoga, you’ll probably start to notice benefits soon. In one study, people improved their flexibility by up to 35% after only 8 weeks of yoga.

Yoga is a great way to work on your flexibility and strength. Just about everyone can do it, too — it’s not just for people who can touch their toes or want to meditate. Most yoga studios and local gyms offer yoga classes that are open to all generations and fitness levels. It’s exciting to enter a room full of young teens, athletes, middle-aged moms, older gentlemen and even fitness buffs and body builders. Everyone can feel accepted and included and, unlike other sports or classes that focus on niche clients, yoga tends to have open arms. Whether you like to say “Om” or you can’t stand the word “yogi;” whether you are 92, 53, or even 12, yoga can help you.

Yoga poses work by stretching your muscles. They can help you move better and feel less stiff or tired.  Yoga is not just about working out, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to be still in a world consumed with chaos. Peace and tranquility achieved through focused training appeals to everyone. Yoga’s deep breathing and meditation practices help foster an inner shift from to-do lists, kids and spouse’s needs, financial concerns and relational struggles to something a little bit bigger than the issues you face. Yoga helps relieve stress and unclutter the mind, and helps you get more focused.

One of the benefis of yoga is that you can choose a yoga style that is tailored to your lifestyle, such as hot yoga, power yoga, relaxation yoga, prenatal yoga, etc. Whether you prefer you’re at home, in a private session, at a studio or gym, there are a huge variety of options available to suit your goals and needs.

Some styles of yoga, such as ashtanga and power yoga, are very physical. Practicing one of these styles will help you improve muscle tone. But even less vigorous styles of yoga, such as Iyengar or hatha, can provide strength and endurance benefits. If you are a yoga beginner, Hatha yoga, which focuses on basic postures at a comfortable pace, would be great for you.If you want to increase strength through using more of your own body’s resistance, power yoga may be right for you.If you are ready for a deeper practice, Advanced Yoga, or Bikram, also called “hot yoga,” may be just what you are looking for. In Bikram yoga, the room temperature is set to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in greater elimination of toxins from the body through the increased production of sweat. No matter your fitness level, fat percentage, or health history, yoga has a place for you.

Yoga’s focus on strength training and flexibility is an incredible benefit to your body. The postures are meant to strengthen your body from the inside-out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good too. Each of the yoga poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder and neck pain.

The digestive system gets back on track when the stretching in yoga is coupled with a healthy, organic diet, which can relieve constipation, irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux. Another one of the benefits of yoga is that stretching and holding of postures also causes muscles to lengthen, which gives the body a longer, leaner look.

Yoga usually involves paying attention to your breath, which can help you relax. It may also call for specific breathing techniques. But yoga typically isn’t aerobic, like running or cycling, unless it’s an intense type of yoga or you’re doing it in a heated room. You may feel less stressed and more relaxed after doing some yoga. Some yoga styles use meditation techniques that help calm the mind. Focusing on your breathing during yoga can do that, too.

Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure or heart disease, and people who’ve had a stroke. Yoga has also been linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and better immune system function.

In addition to that, some of the known benefits of yoga are:

  • Increased physical flexibility
  • Increase in muscle strength
  • Improved muscle tone
  • Reduction in weight
  • Improved circulatory and cardio health
  • Balanced metabolism
  • Improved respiration
  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Greatly improved athletic performance
  • Beats stress

There are some yoga exercises that are more strenuous than others.  Some beginners suffer injuries for lack of physical preparation.  To avoid this when starting yoga, it is crucial that you inform your yoga instructor of certain illnesses and physical limitations that you may have.  If some positions are simply too painful for you, tell your instructor immediately.

It is also best that you tell your yoga instructor of certain mental health issues that are bothering you, whether they are stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness.  In this way, your instructor can formulate yoga exercises especially tailored to counter your mental health issues.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/the-health-benefits-of-yoga

http://healthandwellnessreviews.com/

http://life.gaiam.com/article/benefits-yoga

Leaky Gut Syndrome: A Gut Wrenching Tale

CareerWomanStomachCSP72dpiIt feels just like another one of those days you have been experiencing a lot lately. No matter what you eat, it seems to wreak havoc on your stomach: gas, bloating, and frequent trips to the bathroom have taken over your days, leaving you tired, irritable and wondering if this is never going to stop. 

Foods that you used to digest fine are now causing the most discomfort, and even if you just eliminated them from your diet, you’re are still not feeling relief.

With a discussion with your doctor, you might be subjected to a series of tests on your Gastrointestinal System (GI) and prescribed medication. But the symptoms still don’t go away, and instead just get worse.

Your stomach is trying to tell you that something is definitely wrong—and it just might be Leaky Gut Syndrome.

The foundation of good health lies in proper digestive function. All other health factors can be undermined if you don’t digest and absorb nutrients properly. Assimilation of vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat and the supplements you take is required for optimum health.

Because of the way our bodies are connected, inflammation in the gut can eventually lead to inflammation in the bones, heart, brain, or beyond, making osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or other diseases you may have a genetic predisposition for even more likely as you age.

What is leaky gut?

Digestive stress can cause “Leaky Gut Syndrome,” in which the integrity of the intestinal lining is compromised and is no longer able to discern what should be absorbed into the blood stream and what is kept out. Molecules “leak” into the blood that should not be present, creating an overstimulation of the immune system, causing inflammation and tissue damage.

When food antigens “leak” into our blood stream, the immune system thinks they are foreign invaders and mounts an immune response that we experience as an allergic reaction. Yeast and bacteria can also “leak” into the blood stream and creating significant immune system activity causing it to weaken.

Beyond causing abdominal symptoms, leaky gut can cause symptoms throughout the body, including fatigue, joint and muscle pain, headaches and other symptoms. It can also cause gluten intolerance and allergies to foods that had never for been a problem.

What causes leaky gut?

So what causes leaky gut? Much still needs to be learned on the condition, but diet, chronic stress, certain medications and bacterial imbalance have been found to play important roles. Eating a diet high in refined sugar can lead to overgrowth of yeast species, which has been associated with leaky gut. Preservatives and chemicals in processed foods can damage the lining, as can the consumption of gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

Chronic stress can lead to a weakened immune system, affecting your ability to fight off invading bacteria and viruses and worsening the symptoms of leaky gut. Medications like aspirin and non-steroidal anti inflammatories (NSAIDs), i.e. ibuprofen, that can damage the lining of your gut, as well as antibiotics that kill off your essential good bacteria are also associated with increased intestinal permeability. Excessive alcohol consumption, infection with parasites, radiation and chemotherapy can damage the lining of the intestine and are also risk factors.

In addition to bloating and digestive distress, leaky gut can have a combination of other symptoms, such as food allergies, chronic sinus infections, achy joints, fatigue, brain fog or unexplained rashes.

How can we treat it?

The Institute of Functional Medicine developed the Four “R” Program to treat those suffering with Leaky Gut Syndrome

1.    Remove: Undertake an elimination diet. To stabilize and soothe the digestive tract, it is recommended that stop eating common allergens, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and other disruptive foods for a minimum of 14 days, to determine if a food allergy is present.

2.   Re-inoculate: Rebalance your gut flora. To re-establishing microfloral (the good bacteria) balance throughout the GI tract, your Functional Medicine practitioner will prescribe a well-formulated re-inoculate probiotics and probiotic supplements. In addition, foods like bananas, pears, applesauce, well-cooked squash, and so on, will help build up your digestive system your way up before adding more fibrous fruit and vegetables later on.

3.     Repair: Rebuild your intestinal cells. Your Functional Medicine practitioner will also supplements to replace depleted essential nutrients and promote proper repair of the intestinal lining.

4.   Regulate. Once repair has restore your digestive system to health, it is crucial that you continue to avoid anything you notice to cause GI upset.

If you are experiencing a multitude of symptoms that seem to center around your stomach, contact your Functional Medicine Practitioner to test you for Leaky Gut Syndrome. It can be treated and in most case cured with proper diet, supplements and rest to repair the damage and restore health.