Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A New Spin on Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is diagnosed when someone has a permeable intestinal wall that let's food or toxins leak through into our bloodstream. Our bodies then have to create an immune response to these food particles which can then lead to all sorts of health problems, including food allergies, mood disorders, chronic health challenges and autoimmune conditions. Digestive symptoms include bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, but often presents itself as more complex symptoms like food allergies, eczema and rashes, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, weight gain, blood sugar issues including Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroid syndrome, mood issues including depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia, infertility and a whole range of autoimmune conditions. To learn more about leaky gut and certain foods to eat that can help it heal, read here.  

When first understanding leaky gut syndrome I thought the problem was only in the gut.  But with more research I see now that the gut becomes leaky due to the liver weakening and becoming sluggish. The liver makes bile that moves from the liver and gets stored in the gallbladder to then be released in the large intestine to break down fats by moving through the gallbladder duct.  If this bile does not move through and reach the large intestine in adequate amounts then the blend of bile and hydrochloric acid required to break down fat and protein in the gut is not strong enough and you have undigested proteins and fats.  Once this undigested food reaches your lower intestine, it won’t be broken down enough for your cells to actually use the food as fuel. And instead the food will just lie there and rot.  This rotting food feeds pathogens that are sitting in the colon and intestinal tract. This gut rot creates ammonia gas and can result in symptoms of bloating, digestive discomfort, chronic dehydration, or oftentimes no symptoms at all until it does eventually get severe enough to cause discomfort.  So by the time there is discomfort know that the build up of undigested food as been going on for months to years prior and takes time to heal.

So with this new information not only do we want to heal the actual leaky gut but also the liver and gallbladder for that matter to make sure the bile is enough to break down food that body can actually use and not sit there causing more of a problem.  So here is another piece of the puzzle about leaky gut.  It's not only about the toxins that break through the intestinal wall to the blood stream but also about the undigested food that feeds bad gut flora.  To read more about how to repair and rebuild the gut, read here.  


Monday, April 2, 2018

Health Benefits of Doing Castor Oil Packs

Castor Oil Packs for Liver and Digestion Support

Castor oil comes from the castor seed, native to India. It is extremely high in ricinoleic acid, which is thought to be responsible for its health-promoting abilities. I love to suggest the castor oil pack to patients for liver detox or digestion support.  It is really good for patients with the MTHFR mutation to do a castor oil pack once a week to keep the liver detoxing well despite the gene mutation.  
The idea is to keep castor oil on a piece of cloth on the skin for at least an hour with a heat source to stimulate lymph and liver function. I have had many accounts of patients who noticed better digestion, immediate better sleep, more energy, and clearing of skin symptoms.
NOTE: Check with me or your health care provider before doing a castor oil pack.  It should not be used if pregnant.

The beauty of a castor oil pack is by placing it on the right side of the abdomen or the whole abdomen  is thought to help support the liver and digestive system. It can also be placed directly on strained joints or muscles to reduce inflammation.  (Note: This is not as a substitute for medical care but to speed healing of minor injuries.  Also put on the lower abdomen to help with menstrual pain and difficulties.

What It Does

Castor oil packs harness the anti-inflammatory and lymph stimulating benefits of castor oil but allow safer external use. From a 1999 study:
With a minimal 2-hour therapy period, this study found that castor oil packs produced a “significant” temporary increase in the number of T-11 cells that increased over a 7 hour period following treatment and then returned to normal levels within 24 hours later.
The T-11 cell increase represents a general boost in the body’s specific defense status. Lymphocytes actively defend the health of the body by forming antibodies against pathogens and their toxins. T-cell lymphocytes originate from bone marrow and the thymus gland as small lymphocytes that identify and kill viruses, fungi, bacteria, and cancer cells. T-11 cell lymphocytes supply a fundamental antibody capability to keep the specific defense system strong.
In short, castor oil packs have been said to help detoxify the liver naturally, improve lymphatic circulation, and reduce inflammation.
There is some evidence that it can have a suppressive effect on tumors and a positive effect on arthritis.

How to Do a Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil packs are simple to do at home and I like them because they require me to be still and relax and read a book for at least an hour (not always easy to accomplish). They can be messy, but with proper preparation are not.

You’ll Need

  • high-quality castor oil (hexane free)
  • unbleached and dye free wool or cotton flannel – can be reused up to 30 times
  • a wrap-around pack (or large piece of cotton flannel) or plastic wrap 
  • hot water bottle or heating pad
  • glass container with lid – I use a quart-size mason jar for storing the oil soaked flannel between uses
  • old clothes, towels and sheets – castor oil does stain!
The easiest and least messy option I’ve found is the castor oil pack kit from here. It has the castor oil, cotton flannel, and a non-messy wrap-around pack that removes the need for plastic wrap and has kept mine from leaking at all.
NOTE: I highly recommend carefully prepping the area where you’ll be doing the castor oil pack to prevent mess.  Try using an old shower curtain, covered with a sheet under under you to make sure nothing stains. I don’t often have to wash the sheet, and I just fold and store in the bathroom cabinet for the next use.

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

  1. Cut a large piece of cotton flannel and fold into thirds to make three layers. My original piece was 20 inches by 10 inches and when folded it was roughly 7 inches by 10 inches. Yours could be larger or smaller, depending on where you are planning to place it.
  2. Thoroughly soak (but not completely saturate) the flannel in castor oil. The easiest way I found to do this was to carefully fold the flannel and place in a quart-size mason jar. I then added castor oil about a tablespoon at a time (every 20 minutes or so) to give it time to saturate. I also gently shook the jar between adding more oil so that the oil could reach all parts of the cloth. Ideally, this should be done the day before to give it time to evenly soak. I save the jar since this is where I keep the flannel between uses (it can be used about 30 times).
  3. Carefully remove and unfold the castor oil soaked cloth.
  4. While lying on an old towel or sheet, place the cloth on the desired body part.
  5. Cover with the wrap-around pack or cotton flannel, and place the heating pack on top of this. Less optimally, a plastic grocery bag can be used prevent any oil from getting on the heating pad. A hot water bottle, electric heating pad, or rice heating pad can be used, but hot water bottles and rice packs may need to be reheated several times.
  6. Lie on back with feet elevated (I typically lie on the floor and rest my feet on the couch) and relax for 30-60 minutes.
  7. Use this time to practice deep breathing, read a book, meditate, or pray (or whatever you find relaxing).
  8. After the desired time, remove the pack and return the flannel to the glass container. Store in fridge.
  9. Use a natural soap or a mix of baking soda and water to remove any castor oil left on the skin.
  10. Relax and rest. Make sure to drink enough water and stay hydrated after doing this to support detox.

Other Ways to Use Castor Oil

Castor oil is handy to have around the house for other uses as well. Use castor oil externally to:
  • Apply to dry skin, rashes, boils, age spots, warts, and any undesirable skin defects
  • Treat toenail fungus
  • Soothe a sprain, injury, or sore joints
  • Apply to areas of back pain
  • To cleanse and soothe abdomen when having digestive or reproductive trouble
As a rule of thumb, when trouble begins, apply a series of castor oil packs for 60-90 minutes about 3 times a week for a 3 week period. Consult with a doctor to be exact on how many times a week is good for you.  
Have you ever used a castor oil pack?  Share your experience below!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Best Natural Whitening Toothpaste

I have been doing a lot of research on the hype of using charcoal powder for brushing teeth for a whiter, cleaner smile and I finally found what I think is the best one out there!  I got interested in it as a natural alternative to whiten teeth instead of using chemicals.  It's different than the charcoal we use for cookouts. The charcoal used for brushing teeth is reheated and oxidized.  It's called activated charcoal and has natural adhesive qualities that let it bind with surface-staining culprits like coffee, tea, wine, and plaque, taking them off your teeth for good when you spit it out.kombucha tea 

As far as safety goes, the fine, odorless and tasteless powder is okay to ingest, that’s why it’s sold in health food stores in tablet form. In tablet form it is used to clean the gut and detox because it binds to toxins there.  I truly believe it can be used daily except for pregnant or lactating women who should do it only once a week because we don't want what is swallowed to then detox the body and have the detox  upset the baby.  

Youtube is full of videos of people using it and it does look weird for sure.  Good news it is easy to clean out so there is no black residue to find later.  Lots of companies have charcoal toothpastes, even Colgate has one but the one I use and love is Carbon Coco.  

If you are not interested in black toothpaste to whiten your teeth (what a paradox) then my other favorite toothpaste is Himalayan Neem and Pomegranate toothpaste which sounds like a weird flavor but tastes great!  It's all-natural and specifically fluoride free.  Buy it on Amazon or at the office for your convenience.


Monday, March 19, 2018

DIY How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha is simple to make yourself. We recommend you give it a shot because brewing your own unpasteurized kombucha is rewarding when you consider the cost of purchasing store-bought bottles.
To learn more about the health benefits, read here. It's beneficial to drink at least half a cup daily to get the health benefits.  This recipe makes about eight cups of kombucha, but you can also double the recipe to make more, and you still only need one SCOBY disk.

Kombucha Recipe

kombucha tea
Yields: 8 cups
You need:
  • 1 large glass or metal jar or bowl with a wide opening
Avoid using a plastic jar or bowl because the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the kombucha during the fermentation period. Ceramic pots might cause lead to leach into the kombucha once the acid comes into contact with the ceramic glaze. Look for a big metal or glass jug/jar/bowl and make sure the opening is wide enough to allow a lot of oxygen to reach the kombucha while it ferments.
  • 1 large piece of cloth or a dish towel
Secure this material around the opening of the jar with a rubber band. Do not use a cheese cloth, as it allows particles to pass through. You can even try using an old thin cotton t-shirt or some simple cotton fabric from any textile store.
  • 1 SCOBY disk
You can find a SCOBY disk in health food stores or online for relatively inexpensive amounts. A SCOBY disk can be vacuum-sealed in a small pouch and shipped directly to your house for only a few dollars, while still preserving all of the active yeast ingredients.
  • 8 cups of water
I would use filtered water, if possible.  
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar or raw honey
Yes, this is one of the few times I’ll tell you to use real sugar! Most of it is actually “eaten” by the yeast bacteria during the fermentation process, so there is very little sugar left in the recipe by the time you consume it. It is important to use only organic cane sugar and not white refined sugar.

  • 4 organic tea bags
Traditionally, kombucha is made from black tea, but you can also try green tea to see which you prefer.
  • 1 cup of pre-made kombucha
You’ll need to purchase your first batch or get a cup from a friend who has recently made homemade kombucha. For future batches, just keep a cup on hand for the next time. Be sure to purchase only organic, unpasteurized kombucha. Pasteurized varieties do not contain the appropriate live cultures you need.
1. Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, remove from heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.
3. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes about one hour). Once it’s cooled, add your tea mixture to your big jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.
4. Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel and try to keep the cloth in place by using a rubber hand or some sort of tie. You want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.
5. Allow the kombucha to sit for 7–10 days, depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment even longer and develop more taste. Some people have reported fermenting kombucha for up to a month before bottling with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation for you.
Usually, the warmer your home is, the less time the kombucha needs to ferment. Once you’re happy with the taste, put your kombucha into smaller glass bottles and refrigerate the kombucha for at least 24 hours to allow it to cool and finish carbonating. The longer you refrigerate it before opening, the more fizzy it will be.
Note that as the fermentation process happens, you will notice that the SCOBY disk “grows” a second SCOBY disk. Many people call the SCOBY that you purchased and used to make the kombucha the “mother” SCOBY and the second SCOBY that grows the “baby.” The mother SCOBY is located on top of the baby.
You can actually use the newly formed baby SCOBY to create a whole new batch of kombucha, so you don’t want to throw out the baby disk. Store the baby SCOBY in a bit of already-made kombucha in a glass jar while not using it so you have it on hand to start a new batch when you want it. It will be “active” for several weeks when it’s stored in some kombucha at room temperature on a counter top or in a pantry.
While some people prefer to keep the mother SCOBY disk attached to the baby, others prefer to throw away the mother SCOBY once the kombucha is finished fermenting.
Keeping the mother disk hasn’t caused any reported problems or contamination. According to some sources, the mother disk can keep fermenting new kombucha batches for about another month after its first use but will then become inactive and should be thrown away.

Brewing Flavored Kombucha

The recipe above is for a basic, unflavored kombucha. You can try adding unique flavors like fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, ginger root “juice” made by blending ginger and water, blended berries, fresh-squeezed orange, pomegranate or cranberry juices.
We recommend doing this after the kombucha has fermented and is ready to drink, although some people prefer to add flavor-enhancers to the kombucha a day or two before it’s done so the flavor can intensify. Either way seems to work well.

Storing Kombucha

Once your homemade kombucha is complete you’ll want to store it in a clear glass bottle or jar with a tightly fit lid, preferably not metal, if you have the option. Plastic bottles may swell or harden and color from dyed jars can get into the drink.
When bottling kombucha, leave an inch or less of air at the top of the bottle. This should allow for an appropriate amount of carbonation.
It’s important never to shake a bottle of kombucha and risk exploding its container. Try holding your entire hand over the lid as you open it to prevent it from popping off unexpectedly.
Be sure to refrigerate your completed kombucha to extend its shelf life. If you’ve added flavoring, consider that when storing the kombucha. For example, fresh fruits will go bad in the kombucha long before the drink.

Kombucha Precautions

Most people experience great benefits drinking kombucha and have no adverse side effects.
Kombucha side effects seem to be more of a risk when making homemade kombucha because contamination is possible, and the SCOBY disk and finished product aren’t tested for quality like they are when manufactured commercially. If you’re going to brew your own, use sterile equipment, clean working spaces and high-quality ingredients.
A small percentage of people experience bloating, nausea, infections and allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. Because kombucha has a high level of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for people with digestive problems like heartburn or sensitivity to very acidic foods.
If you are concerned about these issues, start drinking a small amount in moderation and gradually work your way up to drinking more in order to see if you have any negative reactions to it. Stick to about eight ounces per day or less, especially in the beginning. To limit your risk, buy pre-made, unpasteurized kombucha that’s been tested for bacterial contamination.
Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar, which when fermented, turns into alcohol in very small amounts (only about 1 percent of kombucha is believed to be alcohol). So a warning to those who are avoiding alcohol.

Otherwise enjoy this healthy drink!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

6 Reasons to Drink Kombucha Daily 
Kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits extending to your heart, your brain and especially your gut. How does this drink make such a huge difference in your body?
Due to the fermentation process involved in creating kombucha, it contains a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. On more about how fermented foods help gut health, read here.  These bacteria live in your digestive tract and support your immune system by absorbing nutrients and fighting infection and illness.

Since 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, not only will drinking kombucha help the immune system but it also helps the brain.  The majority of neurotransmitters that you need for good brain chemistry is made in the gut so to have a healthy brain, feel good and think well, you need a healthy gut.  It’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.” Drinking kombucha every day can help you to maintain peak immune, gut and brain health.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar (from various sources, including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional, probiotic food. It contains good bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. Patients ask me if they can drink kombucha even though they I told them to stay away from sugar and the answer is yes!  It is because the sugar that is used in making kombucha is eaten by the bacteria so by the time we drink it the sugar is in the bacteria and not too much is free-floating in the drink.  That is why when you look at the ingredient list most of the time sugar is not an ingredient.  There is none left after the fermentation process is complete.  

After fermentation, not only is the sugar gone but kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic acids). The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green teas. Contrary to common claims, a SCOBY is not a kombucha mushroom.
If you are interested in kombucha, it’s generally available for $3-5 at natural health food stores and some grocery stores. Others make it at home (which I’ll discuss a little later on).
Some people find it a healthier substitute for sodas, satisfying that craving for a fizzy drink.

The following probiotic strains make up this health elixir: 

  • Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
  • Acetobacter (<2 percent)
  • Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
  • Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)
There is some debate about the benefits of unpasteurized kombucha because of the 20th/21st century notion that pasteurization makes drinks “healthier.”  It’s not true for milk and the same holds for kombucha. The bacteria killed during the pasteurization process is the same stuff that can help your gut function more efficiently. “Pasteurized kombucha” should probably be called “kombucha-flavored tea” because the benefits of healthy bacteria have been lost during that process. The healthy benefits of the good bacteria are no longer there.  

One consideration is that pasteurized kombucha is not continually fermented. This means that if a commercial unpasteurized kombucha product is left on the shelf too long, the alcohol content (initially below .5 percent for most products) may rise somewhat. Be sure to purchase your kombucha from trustworthy sources and drink it within a relatively brief time after purchasing. If you make kombucha at home, the same rule applies.

6 Benefits of Kombucha

1. Helps prevent a wide variety of diseases
Kombucha contains powerful antioxidants and can help to detoxify the body and protect against disease. Related to this disease-fighting power is the way these antioxidants help to reduce inflammation. This inflammation-reducing, detoxing quality is probably one reason kombucha might potentially decrease the risk of diseases.  One reason this happens is because antioxidants reduce oxidative stress that can damage cells, even down to DNA. Being exposed to a lot of processed foods and chemicals within your environment can lead to this stress, which in turn contributes to chronic inflammation. While normal black tea does contain antioxidants, research shows that the fermentation process of kombucha creates more antioxidants not present in black tea. Kombucha may specifically influence the activity of two important antioxidants known as glutathione peroxidase and catalase. It was also discovered to contain a metabolite of quercetin.  Quercetin is associated with a long lifespan and massive anticancer properties. Research from the University of Latvia in 2014 claims that drinking kombucha tea can be beneficial for many infections and diseases “due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24192111)

2. Supports a healthy gut

These antioxidants also help the gut but kombucha supports digestion also because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics, amino acids and enzymes.
Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal stomach ulcers in mice which could be the same in humans too. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21776478)
Kombucha can also help heal Candida from overpopulating within the gut by restoring balance to the digestive system.  With enough good bacteria in the system Candida cannot grow.  
Candida and other digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix, and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. If you feel like kombucha is exacerbating the problem, consider that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times some patience or trial and error is needed. You can always bring kombucha in to your next appointment to get it muscle tested

3. May help improve mental state
Kombucha doesn’t just help your digestion; it might be able to protect your mind, too. One way it can accomplish this is by the B vitamins it contains. B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, are known to increase energy levels and contribute to overall mental wellbeing.
The gut-repairing function of kombucha also plays a role in mental health. Depression may be a major symptom of leaky gut, specifically due to the way that bad gut permeability contributes to inflammation.  A 2012 study published in Biopolymers and Cell examined kombucha as a functional food product for long-term space exploration (yes, you read that right). They drink it in order to prevent or minimize the effects of anxiety and depression.  The study was done on astronauts but if it works for them it would work for us Earth people too.

4. Powerful antibacterial agent

This one seems a little counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But it’s true – because of the type of bacteria found in kombucha, drinking the live cultures actually destroys bad bacteria responsible for infections. In lab studies, kombucha has been found to have antibacterial effects against staph, E. coli, Sh. sonnei, two strains of salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni. 

The last of those, C. jejuni, is probably the most common cause of food poisoning in the US. It can sometimes be followed by a condition called Guillian-BarrĂ© syndrome, where the immune system attacks the nervous system. Because of the immense dangers of foodborne infections and significant costs to treat, the FDA is very interested in potential treatment methods for C. jejuni.

5. Helpful in managing diabetes

Although some practitioners warn against kombucha for diabetics, it seems that some research suggests just the opposite. This is assuming, of course, that you are consuming kombucha without a high sugar load.
Particularly due to the functions of antioxidants in kombucha, it seems to help alleviate diabetes symptoms. This appears to be especially true in terms of liver and kidney functions, which are generally poor for those with diabetes. 

6. Good for the cardiovascular system

Kombucha has been considered to be beneficial to the heart for some time, although research efforts in this area have been scarce. However, it seems clear that, in animal models, kombucha helps to lower triglyceride levels, as well as regulate cholesterol naturally. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25856715)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Toxic-free Makeup:
I'm always on the hunt for better, healthier products and makeup is one of those things that is hard to find good products with natural ingredients.  The first line of natural makeup that I fell in love with was 100% PURE.  They use organic fruit for color in their products.  For example this is the ingredient list for an eyeshadow:
  • Oryza Sativa (Rice Starch), May Contain Pigments of Daucus Carota Sativa Root (Carrot), Cucurbita Pepo (Squash), Prunus Armeniaca Fruit (Apricot), Prunus Persica Fruit (Peach), Carica Papaya (Papaya), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa), Punca Granatum (Pomegranate), Rubus Fruticosus Fruit (Blackberry), Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry), Rubus Idaeus Fruit (Blueberry), Coffea Arabica (Coffee), Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea), Euterpe Oleracea (Acai), Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla), Lavandula Angustifoli (Lavender), and Solanum Lycopersicum Fruit/Leaf/Stem (Tomato), a-tocopherol (Vitamin E), Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado ) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, Red Wine Resveratrol (Wine), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), may contain Mica (natural shimmery mineral).
This line of makeup can now be found in Duane Reades throughout NYC which is nice because it is hard to pick a makeup out online.  However in some of their foundations is titanium dioxide which is a heavy metal that I need to help people detox from.  When titanium shows up as a problem in the office I have people look at their toothpaste, chewing gum, SPF lotions and makeup to see if there is titanium in those products.  It is used as a whitener for teeth in toothpaste and gum and it helps block sun rays in SPF lotions and makeup.  It actually is used in food too and can be found in your Coffee Mate and M&Ms as a food coloring.

When trying to figure out if your products have titanium in them or not you are looking for the word titanium and it is usually listed as titanium dioxide.  Unfortunately more companies are trying to hide is and are listing titanium dioxide by it's nomenclature "CI 77891".  Instead find SPF lotions and makeup that use zinc, or zinc oxide.

I just recently found Omiana makeup line that is very natural and even though a few of their products do have titanium their strength is a whole titanium-free line that makes it really easy to buy without having to read every single ingredient list.   They also have mica-free makeup which some people are sensitive to.  Mica is not a heavy metal but is a mineral used to make makeup shimmery.

Why take the extra time to read labels and stay away from titanium?  Because it could cause cancer.  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Although a Working Group with this agency believes that titanium dioxide is “possibly carcinogenic to humans” they cite “inadequate evidence” to classify the substance as carcinogenic (912). Rather the IARC remains to list the substance as poorly soluble and a low toxicity particle despite an emerging body of evidence opposing this aged belief.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): NIOSH acknowledges that titanium dioxide causes the most immediate threat when the metal is inhaled. In order to reduce risk for lung cancer and pulmonary inflammation, the agency simply recommends minimalizing exposure to titanium dioxide (8).

Scientific evidence is there.  It only depends on whether or not you want to look at it.  Dunkin' Donuts a few years ago removed it from their donuts because they were concerned.  Check out the story here. Not that I would ever say Dunkin' Donuts is healthy now but I do give them credit for that choice.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Why Good Gut Health Is Important for a Good Mood
New research is emerging every day regarding the role of the gut and how it effects the brain.  It is now known in the medical world as 'gut-brain axis'.  The good bacteria that is in your gut are responsible to create a healthy environment so the gut can make the right neurotransmitters for the brain. This healthy bacteria is known as a microbiome that line our digestive tracts. The digestive tract itself is a center point of the nervous system, hormonal system and immune system. It is responsible for the balance of our molecules of emotion called neurotransmitters and as a result has an effect on our mood. Good gut health is known not only to help the digestion, but are key factors in obesity, hormonal balance, healthy kidney function, and much more.

How Do Probiotics Help the Brain?
Medical research is uncovering the mechanism of probiotics in mood. Probiotics is the name of supplements that contain good bacteria.  These healthy germs boost mood in two important ways: they generate a particular neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and also enhance the brain receptors for GABA as well. Like a warm and gentle blanket for the brain, GABA is a calming amino acid, known to calm areas of the brain that are over active in anxiety and panic.

Animal studies working with mice showed those mice who ingested probiotics were, in general, more chilled out than the control mice.  The probiotic mice had lower levels of corticosterone in response to stress. Corticosterone is the mouse version of the human stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol are common in anxiety as well as depression.  These mice were fed either the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus or a broth without these. The lactobacillus-fed animals showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviors than those fed with just broth.

Human studies have also corroborated these mice findings. A French team learned via a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized parallel group study that giving humans specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for 30 days yielded beneficial psychological effects including lowered depression, less anger and hostility, anxiety, and better problem solving, compared with the placebo group. 

Yeast and the Microbiome
While a healthy microbiome will contribute to good mood, an unhealthy one full of Candida albicans (yeast), and all the toxins associated with it, may also contribute to mood disorder. Presence of yeast will alter the ability to absorb nutrients and push hypersensitivity reactions of toxin by-products which translates to inflammation in the body. Inflammation will greatly contribute to depression, anxiety and poor mental function.

What You Can Do To Keep Your Microbiome Healthy?
Steps you can take for a healthy microbiome and mood are:
1 – Avoid excess sugary foods: to avoid yeast build up. If you think you may have Candida it is best to follow a Candida diet or get foods muscle tested using Nutrition Response Testing to figure out what foods are feeding the Candida. 
2 – Good Quality Sleep: good sleep is key for the intestinal lining to repair and create a healthy microbiome.
3 – Meditation and Relaxation: Meditation and quality down time is important to keep the body in the ‘rest and digest’ mode instead of stress mode. Stress mode shuts circulation to the gut, which doesn’t allow a healthy microbiome. A good app to help you learn to meditate and relax is headspace.  
4 – Eat Foods with Fiber: Good fiber helps feed the good bacteria and keeps them healthy. Vegetables, fruits, psyllium, flax, inulin and other fibers also help keep good flora and proper balance of short chain fatty acids in the intestines. 
5 – Eat Probiotic Foods: While the French study mentioned above used a supplement, there are also many wonderful natural foods full of probiotics. These include natto (a traditional Japanese fermented food), kim chi (Korean style cabbage), sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, tempeh, fermented milk (like buttermilk), miso, and non-baked cheeses (like aged cheese). Homemade sauerkraut is better than store bought, for the store bought stuff is pasteurized, which kills some of the good probiotics. To read more on how  fermented food heals the gut, read here
6 – Get tested for a probiotic supplement: A good quality probiotic should contain at least Lactobacillus and Bifidus bacteria. There are a number of good ones on the market and some that are poorly made, so it is best to get muscle tested to figure out which one you specifically need.  I have about 6 different ones in the office to cover a variety of different types of situations.  Also make sure your probiotic doesn't have any binders, fillers, milk products, or corn.  Sometimes people feel worse after taking a probiotic because the body needs to detox or kill bad gut flora first and so adding healthy gut flora to the body is overwhelming.  If that has happened to you it is best to first do cleansing program with a healthcare practitioner.  We also test to see if a prebiotic is needed along with a probiotic.  A prebiotic helps the good bacteria grow so the gut can maintain the good bacteria on it's own which is what you want in the long run.  

To learn more on what to do to have better gut health read here.