Getting Rid Of Wrinkles Begins In The Gut

Getting Rid Of Wrinkles Begins In The Gut

I usually write articles about different digestive issues and challenges that arise out of the gut, but today I decided to write about something that most of us women (and men) are trying to fend off with the aging process! That is wrinkles. Yes, getting rid of wrinkles begins in the gut. How can that be you say? Well, let’s get started.

Our Digestive System


Many people don’t think too much about what happens after they eat their meals. Unless you suffer from digestive illnesses, most of us don’t pay any attention to what we eat, where we eat or how much we eat. The most we think about our food is whether or not we will gain weight with what we eat. Putting food into the “good” or “bad” categories is about the most we think about it.

However, our body and stomach is not the ‘dumb bucket’ we think it is. Our digestive system is busy cleaving proteins to get the minerals out, producing enzymes to digest food, manufacturing hydrochloric acid to break down food further for digestion and absorption plus a myriad of other digestive processes to assist in the functioning of our body.

The stomach is preparing to propel the food into the intestines so nutrition can be absorbed into the bloodstream.  This nutrition from our small intestines properly digested is where the nutrition gets from the bloodstream into our cells so we can have energy, so our hormones work properly, our heart and nervous system work properly and all our organs get what they need, including the skin.

This is a cursory explanation but you can see that after you eat food there is a lot of chemical processes that are taking place beyond our knowledge.

How Do You Get Wrinkles?

Our faces often reveal our age. For some, it may be harder to determine. Whether our faces age gracefully or not is determined by many factors.

As we age our skins protein content is diminished. The skin also loses hydration due to the depletion of what_are_ceramides_in_skin_careceramides which are the protective barrier for the skin. The hyaluronic acid which keeps the skin supple through hydration is another skin element that is lost due to the aging process.

Harmful oxidation increases with age so damaged cells cannot be repaired as easily. Contact with the environment via air, pollution, chemical and radiation stressors accumulate over time. Photoaging via the sun is cumulative and over time shows up as wrinkles and spots.

How Is The Gut Involved?

Our gut and our skin have a lot in common. They are both barrier organs protecting us from environmental toxins. The nerve endings on our skin are the same as in our gut and are in communication with our brain. There is something called the microbiome of the skin. If you are a reader of my blog you are educated about the gut microbiome.  Well now, welcome to the skin microbiome!

This microbiome is protective of the barrier function of our skin as with the gut. Dysbiosis is a disorder of the balance of microbiome in our gut and we can also have dysbiosis of the bacteria on our skin leading to many skin afflictions. Leaky gut is a problem when the small openings of the gut become larger allowing for molecules to enter the bloodstream that should not be there. You can have leaky skin too where the protective microbial barrier of the skin is altered allowing for substances to get through the skin and the bloodstream.

The skin and the gut interact with each other, and because of this, they both can influence the health of each. For instance, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) in the gut has been associated with those suffering from rosacea, a disease of the skin. If you have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), you may also suffer from psoriasis or rosacea. If you or your teenager suffer from acne, there is a good chance there is a gut dysbiosis involved.

What You Eat Matters For Your Skin

Now that we know that the gut and the skin communicate, the health of your gut can determine the health of your skin including wrinkle formation.

Foods that harm the microbiome and age your skin are:

  • Sugar – sugar is an inflammatory food that causes an imbalance in the microbiome and can result in leaky gut, gut dysbiosis, and inflammation. When sugar is combined with proteins, the result is AGEs or advanced glycation end products which are damaging to skin’s elastin and collagen resulting in wrinkles and sagging.
  • Wheat products
  • High glycemic carbs
  • Gluten

All for the same reasons as sugar.

Foods That Prevent Wrinkles: Foods that nourish the microbiome

  • Fermented veggies – promotes friendly bacteria
  • Yogurt – fermented, friendly bacteria
  • Green tea – contains polyphenols which are great for skin integrity.
  • Fish – healthy fats help the skin look radiant by helping circulation and reducing inflammation.
  • Berries – phytonutrients increase circulation to the skin creating a glow.
  • Avocados – good fats nourish all cells including skin cells making them perform better and plump them up.
  • Honey – anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
  • Bone broth – for collagen formation
  • Water – chronic dehydration starves cells including skin cells of water resulting in less plumpness.


  • Probiotics – for good microbiome health for your gut and your skin.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – to protect the integrity of all cell membranes including the skin creating a soft and smooth appearance.
  • Zinc – heals damaged skin so it can recover from injury and that includes wrinkles.
  • Collagen– is responsible for the support of the skin helping to keep wrinkles at bay as well as extension skincare

All of these used together will create a beautiful environment for smooth, glowing skin!

New, topical products

Made with probiotics, nurture the good protective barrier of your skin microbiome. Try my favorite, Life Extension Antiaging serum scientifically formulated brand here:

If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment!

a0e284_ffef60fd9f084d2ab53dd3aa576055fc-mv2_d_1201_1800_s_2Linda is a Functional Medicine Health Coach


10 H Pylori Infection Symptoms You Don’t Want To Ignore

10 H Pylori Infection Symptoms You Don’t Want To Ignore

H. Pylori (Helicobacter Pylori) is a bacteria estimated to be found in the human gut of about 30 to 50 percent of the world population. When H. Pylori is allowed to flourish and overgrow in the stomach, it causes stomach problems like gastritis, ulcers and other digestive ailments. Did you know that H. Pylori is contagious and can be passed on to family members?  Below, I have listed 10 H Pylori infection symptoms that you don’t want to ignore and after reading this article you’ll understand how to go about getting the appropriate treatment and healing.

10 H. Pylori Infection Symptoms

  1. An ache or burning pain in your abdomen (usually severe)
  2. Abdominal pain that’s worse when your stomach is empty.
  3. Nausea and vomiting.
  4. Loss of appetite.
  5. Frequent burping and bloating
  6. Fatigue – possibly from anemia
  7. Unintentional weight loss.
  8. Bad breath
  9. Diarrhea
  10. Passing Dark or Tarry Stools

If you have extreme fatigue and suffer from dark or tarry stools, you need to get checked by a doctor to rule out bleeding.

How Is H. Pylori Acquired?

H. Pylori is contagious and passed along from individual to individual via fecal contamination due to unsafe hygiene practices.  The majority of individuals with H. Pylori have few to any symptoms.  Those individuals who do have symptoms are reacting to the bacteria and the cytotoxins that are produced from the bacteria.  This causes inflammation of the stomach lining and compromises the lining leading to pain and possible ulcer formation.

Not all strains are bad. It’s believed that over half of the population is infected with H. Pylori. Certain strains have been shown to be protective of parasites.

Once a person is infected with the bacteria, the bacteria have to burrow deep into the stomach to turn off the Proton Pumps in the stomach which make the stomach acid you need to digest your food. Otherwise, the bacteria would be destroyed by the highly acidic stomach acid and could not survive. The bacteria secrete an enzyme to neutralize the ph of the stomach.

h pylori in stomach

Now the digestion process has a problem. The stomach does not have enough stomach acid to thoroughly digest food. The stomach is responsible for sterilizing the contents of food. So now food sits in the stomach and putrifies.  If the stomach cannot reach its proper PH, minerals cannot be absorbed. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium. Minerals have very important functions in the body and if you are not absorbing them you’ll  get problems like anemia, osteoporosis, nervous system dysfunction and loss of neurotransmitter production.  Mood disorders like depression and anxiety appear. Inflammation in the body becomes high resulting in arthritis, possible autoimmune issues, and cancer.

Stomach issues like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) can take over because the ph of the stomach has been altered due to the H. pylori bacteria. Other stomach issues like heartburn and intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut) can take hold as well when the lining of the stomach is compromised.


These tests may be run to diagnose an H Pylori infection:


    • Stool test. This test looks for foreign proteins that are present with H Pylori.
    • Scope test. This is an upper endoscopy exam. A doctor can remove tissue if anything looks suspicious.
    • Blood test. Not generally a test used solely to detect H pylori infection.
    • Breath Test. You swallow a pill, liquid or a pudding that contains carbon. If you have an infection the carbon is released which is an indicator of H pylori infection.

So now you know you have it, how can you get rid of it?

How To Heal

H. pylori bacteria can settle in and not be detected for a lifetime. These sneaky bacteria hide from your immune system by secreting a lipopolysaccharide.  This type of antigen hides the H. pylori and diverts the immune system to attack the parietal cells that secrete stomach acid or the proton pumps in the stomach.

Follow up tests that show negative for H. pylori is very important. It’s not advised to just treat the infection with medicine and then and assume you don’t have the infection after treatment is over.

Conventional medicine

A targeted triple therapy treatment for H. pylori infection is usually administered by your doctor. First, a positive test for H. Pylori is determined.

The triple therapy can include:

Omeprazole, amoxicillin, Clarithromycin usually for 10 days

Bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, tetracycline for 14 days

Lansoprazole (proton pump inhibitor), amoxicillin, clarithromycin for 10 days

This type of antibiotic therapy can have some adverse effects like nausea, skin rash, diarrhea, vomiting.  Contact your doctor if you are having these symptoms.

If you’ve tried antibiotics and they are not working or you are catching the bacteria over and over:

Many people have to treat their infection with non-antibiotic therapy and they have very positive results. Always work with a qualified practitioner to help you overcome H. pylori infection.

The mucous lining of the stomach needs to be restored and those ingredients that coat and soothe the lining of the stomach is important.

  • Mastic Gum has antimicrobial properties and has been shown in studies to kill H pylori infection and is an important ingredient in a supplement.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) coats and soothes the intestinal lining and can also promote healing of the lining.  Taking DGL in a supplement and also taking it in between meals may be needed.
  • Uva Ursi is another supplement that helps to kill off H. Pylori
  • Aloe Vera soothes and heals the intestinal lining
  • Slippery elm a mucilaginous herb that supports the lining of the stomach.
  • Marshmallow root provide soothing, mucilaginous support

These ingredients should be a part of a natural healing protocol and I’ve attached a couple of my favorite products that are very effective.

One of my favorite programs is the SCD Lifestyle program. It’s extremely effective and for gut issues of all kinds, I highly recommend going through this program.



Stay Away From

If you are trying to heal an H. pylori infection, you should stay away from these foods until your follow up test comes back negative.

Stay away from acidic foods like:


Tomato sauce

Citrus juices








Focus on stress management and relief. Reducing stress helps heal the stomach lining.

a0e284_ffef60fd9f084d2ab53dd3aa576055fc-mv2_d_1201_1800_s_2Linda is a Functional Medicine Health Coach


What Is A Keto Diet?

What is a Keto Diet?

You have probably heard by now about a diet called The Keto Diet or the Ketogenic diet. You’ve probably heard about celebrities that are on it, best sellers that are written about it, your friends who are trying it or read about it in magazines. But just what is a Keto Diet? Is it good for you? Can it be dangerous?

Eating a Ketogenic diet has grown in popularity over the last decade due to its ability to help people lose weight quickly. Physiologically the diet promotes ketosis due to the very low intake of carbohydrates which is the foundation of the diet. In the short term, Keto diets have been shown to promote weight loss and reduce some cardiovascular risk factors.

Nutrition infographics: food pyramid diagram for the ketogenic diet.
Nutrition infographics: food pyramid diagram for the ketogenic diet.

Critics say that there can be renal (kidney) damage to those who stay on a Keto diet for too long, although studies do not reflect this. However, if you have kidney disease always talk to your doctor before trying any new diet plan.

Conventional wisdom and medicine have it drummed in our heads that a high-fat diet is a health risk factor for cancer and heart disease.  This has led to a challenge by alternative health experts that the type and quality of fat ingested plays more a part in our health than the total amount of fat we consume. Today there is an emphasis on omega 3 fats and fatty acids as being health protective.


When the body is in a state of ketosis it’s like being in a fasting state. The body is using fat for energy. Being in a fasting state has many positive health implications. It’s widely known in the medical community that fasting reduces seizures of all types. In fact, Johns Hopkins Medical Center has used the Ketogenic diet with great success to treat seizures. St. Louis Children’s Hospital found that 50% of their patients became free of seizures and up to 30% had considerable improvement.

The brain’s primary source of fuel comes from glucose. The body can only store a small amount of glucose in the liver. Our body evolved in order to overcome the problem of not having a steady supply of food readily available. One way is the ability of the body to convert protein to glucose. This is not very efficient because this would involve muscle wasting and long-term survival of the species wouldn’t have been possible. Another form is the breakdown of fat into a fuel that can be used by the body. Body fat can be accumulated and then used as fuel in a limited food environment. This type of fuel is called ketones and is a very superior type of fuel for the brain and body.

What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
Dr. Jockers

The body breaks down fat in the liver and converts it to ketone bodies. The brain uses these ketones as a fuel source without the need to consume carbohydrates regularly. This was/is a superior survival mechanism to ensure the survival of the human body in times of scarcity.

Since scarcity was a common occurrence before modern times as recent as 200 years ago, our bodies are still evolutionarily adapted to using ketones for energy. Modern times have ensured we don’t go very long without carbohydrates so storing fat is very easy for the body. Using fat for energy is not something we need for survival anymore but our body doesn’t know that there are supermarkets at every corner. This is one reason why we are struggling with an obesity epidemic today.

Advantages Of A Ketogenic Diet

  • Lower HbA1c markers for type 2 Diabetics – In a study, those on a ketogenic diet lowered their Hba1C levels.
  • Less frequent migraines – A recent study showed that after being on a ketogenic diet for one month there was a significant reduction in frequency and duration of migraine headaches in the participants.
  • Greater testosterone levels – recent studies show a rise in testosterone when on a ketogenic diet.
  • Weight loss.
  • Anti-aging.
  • Cancer prevention and treatment.

Ketoacidosis VS Ketosis

There is some confusion about these two very different conditions.  Ketoacidosis is very serious and possibly life-threatening. Ketosis is something we enter into every night. The two terms are similar and many doctors are only familiar with Ketoacidosis and could be why the fear of ketosis being dangerous is widespread.

According to The Ketogenic Diet Resource ketosis is an ”insulin-regulated response which results in a mild release of fatty acids and ketone body production in response to either a fast from food or a reduction in carbohydrate intake. Ketoacidosis is driven by a lack of insulin in the body. Without insulin, blood sugar rises to high levels and stored fat streams out of fat cells. This excess amount of fat metabolism results in the production of abnormal quantities of ketones. The combination of high blood sugar and high ketone levels can upset the normal acid/base balance in the blood and become dangerous…”

It would take a dangerously low level of insulin to get into a state of ketoacidosis.
Ketosis occurs when your blood ketones are in a range of 0.5 to 3.0 mmol. Being on a low carb diet does not mean you are in ketosis.

3 Types of Ketogenic diets

  1. Nutritional Ketosis –  A diet high in fat, modest in protein and low in carbohydrate can induce the body to produce ketones.
  2. Supplemental ketosis – There are supplements you can take that can help your body to produce ketones. MCT oil or medium chain triglycerides can help with this.
  3. Combination of both – Following a low carb/high fat ketogenic diet while taking targeted supplements can help with the transition to ketones in the body.

keto diet bookmct oil

For more information on the ketogenic diet and to watch a video:

Click Here!

 Long-Term Safety

Long-term safety studies for ketogenic diets are out there. The results are mixed but I haven’t seen any dangerous effects of a ketogenic diet. Some conditions, like childhood seizures, can be controlled with a ketogenic diet and long-term studies following these kids have been positive.

If you are obese or have any other physical problem where a ketogenic diet can help, it’s certainly worth it to speak to your doctor about it.

For general weight loss, there are plenty of great books out there to help guide you through a ketogenic diet or a higher fat, lower carb diet.  Here are some of my favorites.

The Keto Reset Diet Book

The Ketogenic Bible

In conclusion, ketosis is a state our body gets in to produce ketones from fat which the brain uses for energy in times of famine or scarcity of carbohydrates. In modern times, using fat for fuel is not needed since the Standard American Diet contains more than enough carbohydrates for brain fuel.  Ketoacidosis is a dangerous state and not to be confused with ketosis. There are medical benefits for a ketogenic diet, especially for seizures and obesity.


If you have tried a ketogenic diet or are interested in it, please comment below!

Gas and Bloating Relief with Activated Charcoal

Gas and Bloating Relief with Activated Charcoal

Gas and bloating are common symptoms of IBS. IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of digestive symptoms that do not point to a specific disease but are put under the umbrella of IBS. IBS is not to be confused with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) which is an inflammatory condition including Crohn’s disease and colitis and needs professional care. Gas and bloating that is not the result of IBD can be treated naturally once the root cause is determined.  For simple gas and bloating I like activated charcoal as a remedy. Gas and bloating relief with activated charcoal can ease your symptoms so you can start working on the root cause and long-term success.

IBS can be resolved completely, so that is encouraging for many! IBS is mainly due to SIBO a condition where there is bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. Many people naturally turn to probiotics when dealing with gas, bloating and other digestive system ailments. But if your IBS issues including gas and bloating are due to SIBO, which most are, then adding more bacteria regardless if it’s beneficial bacteria can add to the problem at least in the short term.

To get fast relief for gas and bloating the goal is to:

1) Release trapped gas

2) Relax the muscle wall of the intestines to ease cramps and bloating.

3) Balance microbes

4) Fix the diet

5) Practice good eating hygiene

Steps 1 -5 are the order in which to start healing, so the first step is to release trapped gas.


Gas forms in your digestive tract when air is swallowed and when bacteria in the large intestines break down undigested foods. The types of food that are eaten and how long they hang out in the large intestine can determine the amount of gas produced.  You can lessen the amount of gas you experience by eating properly eg. eating hygiene; not swallowing large chunks of food, eating on the run, and eating while stressed. Be aware of the types of food eaten that will not hang out in the intestines for long producing excess gas is important.

Trapped gas can be very painful and for some keep them up at night.  Trapped gas can be a quality of life issue as well due to the pain and the bloating.  Clothes not fitting properly is another problem for those suffering from trapped gas.


One of my favorite remedies for absorbing excess gas and providing relief is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a medicinal remedy not to be confused with regular charcoal which is a carcinogen. Activated charcoal is the byproduct of slowly burnt coconut shells or burnt wood and then treated with oxygen which makes it an adsorbable (binding to) product. So, activated charcoal binds to toxins and odors up to one thousand times its weight.

Activated charcoal has been used in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine for centuries and is now very popular in the U.S and around the world as a superfood. It has alkalizing properties which make it a darling for the health conscious. However many claims are not substantiated, so do your homework if you’re going to use it for other purposes.

From Dr.Jockers
From Dr.Jockers

With that said, activated charcoal and its ability to bind to digestive toxins are well documented. Using activated charcoal to ‘bind’ to trapped gas is a wonderful, fast acting remedy for breaking up painful, trapped gas.

Make sure activated charcoal is taken away from medication or other supplements as it’s binding properties act on them as well. You want the activated charcoal to bind to gas, not your vitamins or medications. Taking it between meals is a good idea.

Activated charcoal comes in pill or powder varieties. My favorite activated charcoal products also include other gas absorbing and anti-cramping agents. Gaia Herbs Gas and Bloating and Heather’s Tummy tamers are excellent choices.

In conclusion, gas and bloating due to IBS can be remedied by taking products with activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a nutrient that has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. Activated charcoal acts due to its ability to adsorb or bind to other substances like gas. Take activated charcoal between meals to ensure it does not bind to other nutrients or medicines.

If you try activated charcoal for gas and bloating, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below!



Linda is a Functional Medicine Health Coach

Holiday Stomach Pain and Bloating

Holiday Stomach Pain and Bloating – Is it Serious?

The holidays are a wonderful time where we spend more time with friends and family. It’s also a time where we eat lots of different foods we don’t normally eat.  Whether you love the holidays or dread the holidays one thing is for sure, that when we break our routine of eating, sleeping and drinking there is a greater chance of not feeling well. Is your holiday stomach pain and bloating serious and how can you tell?

Last Thanksgiving over thirty-six thousand people went to the emergency room that day.  Emergency room visits spike up to 12% over the holiday season in New York City.  In Kansas City one doctor estimates that his patient load climbs to 15% on Christmas Day.emergency visit

Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control show that people are not getting more injured during the holiday season, rather there are more cases of people eating the wrong thing, mistaking gastrointestinal issues with heart issues, food poisoning or problems related to too much alcohol.  People also do not take their daily medications with the rush of the holidays. The holidays can also bring on or exacerbate depression and other mood disorders needing attention and treatment.

To Be Clear:

Many hospital visits around the holiday time are for very real emergencies due to the excessive drinking and ultra-rich food that can precipitate a heart attack. Because of changes in routines, people delay in seeking treatment which compounds health outcomes. Heart-related deaths increase by 5 percent over the holidays. Fatal heart attacks peak on Christmas and the day after as well as New Year’s Day according to the journal Circulation.

Health emergencies over the holidays are a very real phenomenon not to be taken lightly and any change in your health or pain that is unusual should be checked out immediately.

With that said, this article will go over some common gastrointestinal issues that are very prevalent during the holiday season and what you can look out for, avoid, and some simple remedies.

Your Gastrointestinal Tract

A basic rundown of your gastrointestinal tract. The food you eat travels to your stomach from the esophagus. Digestion_largeThe esophageal sphincter at the base of the esophagus and the start of your stomach protects your esophagus from the acid in your stomach. The stomach breaks down food into chyme. The digestion of proteins takes place in the stomach along with a bit of carbohydrate. Most digestion takes place in the small intestines though. The chyme travels through the pyloric valve and into the small intestine where enzymes break down the food so it is absorbed into the bloodstream.  Whatever is not digested and absorbed into the body is now passed to the large intestine or colon where a stool is formed for excretion through the rectum and out the anus.

The small intestine has three parts to it.  The upper intestine is the duodenum, the middle part is the jejunum and the end is the ileum.

Now that you have an idea of the intestinal tract, you can determine where your pain is and understand better what may be happening.

Pain or Burning In The Throat Or In The Chest Area


The most common pain in this area is usually associated with heartburn or acid reflux. This pain can extend from the throat to the mid-chest.  Heartburn is commonly treated with antacids or acid blockers. Most people believe that heartburn is due to the production of too much acid in the stomach. That is usually not the case in most instances. Too little acid is usually the culprit. During a meal, take one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in 4 ounces of water. This will assist your stomach in breaking down food so it doesn’t back up into your esophagus.  

Magnesium deficiency can also be a culprit. Magnesium keeps the sphincter muscle tight and able to do its job of keeping acid out of the esophagus. Magnesium deficiencies make the sphincter relaxed and not able to keep acid out. Make sure you are supplementing with a quality magnesium supplement every day.

Pain or Discomfort In The Upper GI Area (Stomach)







Sometimes there are complaints of pain behind the ribs, on the right side of the ribs or in the upper middle area right below the chest.  If the pain is right after something is eaten, suspect possible beginnings of an ulcer or gastritis. Mending the stomach by bolstering the mucous lining of the tissues is important. Try a mucilaginous product that can support the thin mucous lining of the stomach such as Metagenics Ulcinex for a month. See your doctor if symptoms don’t improve.

If the pain starts twenty minutes after you eat or so, suspect gas. Gas can be due to low stomach acid so try sipping one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with four ounces of water with your meal to see if it helps. It may also be due to SIBO or bacterial overgrowth in the stomach. Try probiotics to heal the stomach and check with your doctor to determine if you have SIBO.

If you notice the pain appears with a fatty meal, suspect possible gallbladder issues. If the pain is acute, seek medical attention quickly.

Pain or Discomfort in the mid stomach range


This means pain anywhere on the belly button or within a span of up to two inches around the belly button. Pain in this area is where the small intestines are and the upper part of the large intestine.

This pain can be due to gas becoming trapped in the intestines due to poor eating hygiene from gulping a meal too fast.  Try peppermint capsules for gas and bloating issues.

When mid stomach pain is accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting think a possible stomach bug or food poisoning. Instead of reaching for the Immodium or Pepto Bismol, try a more natural remedy such as Dr. Schulze Formula #2.

Food intolerances and sensitivities can also be the culprit for mid stomach range pain.  You can test for food sensitivities. Some of the most common sensitivities are to gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs. You can even try your own elimination diet for a couple of weeks to see if those foods are your problem.

Constipation can be the source of this kind of pain too. One of the lesser-known sources of constipation is magnesium deficiency. Try adding magnesium to clear up the problem.

Bowel obstruction is a more serious and less common issue of mid stomach pain and needs to be seen by a doctor to rule that out.

Pain In The Lower Region Of The Gastrointestinal Tract (Below Belly Button)

lower abdominal pain

Lower abdominal pain is quite common. Women have a propensity for this kind of stomach pain due to the uterus, ovaries, and tubes in the region.

Women may have a urinary tract infection that can give pain in the area. Treat urinary tract infections naturally with D-mannose. Other female issues can include fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and menstrual pain.

Pain that originates on the lower right side and radiates to the back may be appendicitis and should be treated immediately in a hospital.

For men, the prostate and testicles are in that region so lower abdominal pain can stem from issues with those organs and should be checked by a doctor to rule out.

Crohns and IBD are serious inflammatory abdominal diseases that are accompanied by bloody diarrhea and constant pain. These conditions need to be ruled out by a doctor.

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a catch-all diagnosis of non-inflammatory stomach issues like diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas. There are natural remedies to try for IBS such as supplementing with enzymes or probiotics and with peppermint capsules.  Eating differently during the holiday season can bring on IBS symptoms.  Making sure you stick to a normal eating pattern for most of the November and December months is critical to avoid IBS.  

Other possible causes of lower abdominal pain can due to:


  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Gastroenteritis (Food poisoning)
  • Hernia
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Kidney stone
  • Miscarriage
  • Diabetic Keto Acidosis
  • Testicular torsion
  • Prostatitis in men
  • Celiac disease
  • Eosinophilic colitis
  • Anxiety
  • Retention of urine in the bladder
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Food Allergy
  • Bowel cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Diverticulitis

In conclusion, the reasons for stomach pain can be many.  During the holiday season, we may disregard stomach pain as being eating irregularly and too much.  Stomach pain can originate in the upper, mid and lower regions of the stomach and can be as simple as eating hygiene issues like eating food too quickly and not chewing properly to serious stomach issues. Knowing the source of the pain can help you determine what the problem might be. If the pain is accompanied by fever and vomiting, calling your doctor or a trip to the emergency room is in order. Otherwise, there are simple remedies that you can implement to help you get relief fast.

Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis

Natural Remedies For Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of dis-ease in the body. Osteoarthritis can be called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis affecting mainly the knees, fingers, lower back and hips but can occur in any joint in the body. 27 million Americans are afflicted with osteoarthritis and most of them are over the age of 65 years old. This is why it is dubbed a ‘wear and tear’ type of disease.  The pain and aches of osteoarthritis are the main reasons for using NSAIDs or other over the counter pain medication. These medications do not come without risk and when natural remedies for osteoarthritis are available and effective, it is worth giving them a try.

How Do You Get Osteoarthritis?

According to conventional medicine and the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis can be caused by:

  • Genetics –  Some people carry a gene that predisposes them to lack of adequate collagen synthesis. Or some may have slight variations in the ways the bones fit together allowing collagen to wear away quicker.
  • Excess weight – The more you weigh, the greater your risk of osteoarthritis. It is thought that the extra weight contributes to inflammation which wears away at the joints.
  • Overuse of joints – This is the wear and tear theory.  The more you use your joints in a repetitive manner for years, subjects them to cartilage breakdown over time.
  • Metabolic disorders – Too much iron in the body causes growth hormone to increase which affects the joints.

According to functional medicine, which is a practice of looking at the interconnectedness of symptoms in the body in order to target the root cause, arthritis can be caused by:

arthritis 1

  • Low circulation – Joints are a part of the body that has less circulation. The overuse of joints damage the cartilage. Cartilage metabolism is slower in comparison with other tissues making it much more difficult for defects in cartilage to heal spontaneously.
  • The gut – the source of inflammation in the body that is wreaking havoc on the joints is usually far distant from the joints. The source is usually the gut.  More on this later as I explain further.
  • Insufficient muscle mass – our joints are designed to support flexibility and movement, not weight. When a person is overweight or has too much fat to muscle ratio, this puts undue pressure on the joints that are not designed to withstand the weight.
  • Low testosterone in men– causes insufficient muscle mass critical to supporting joint health.
  • Low cortisol levels – cortisol is a natural anti-inflammatory and lower levels subject you to more aches and pains. Most Americans are suffering from acute stress 24/7 reducing their adrenal gland function for supplying the body with cortisol due to overuse.
  • Food sensitivities – can cause inflammation and gut permeability resulting in low-level immune responses that result in aches and pains in the joints.

Conventional Remedies For Osteoarthritiscod liver oil side effects

  • Analgesics – such as acetaminophen and opioids are available over the counter and by prescription.  These pain medicines come with side effects and risks.  There is no question that opioids are addictive and acetaminophen comes with liver damage warnings.
  • NSAIDs – like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib work to decrease inflammation.  NSAIDs can do damage to the gut lining leading to severe health challenges when used in excess. Ibuprofen comes with warnings that it damages hearing. You can get these drugs over the counter or in prescription strength.
  • Steroids – are powerful anti-inflammatories and are prescribed by a doctor in pill form or injected in a doctor’s office.  Steroids carry serious risks including headaches, osteopenia, weight gain, headaches, bone fractures and should never be taken lightly.
  • Surgery – to replace knees and hips and other replaceable joints.
  • Devices – like canes, walkers or other devices to take the burden off of the joints.

Conventional remedies carry side effects risks and do not address the root problem of osteoarthritis. Getting to the root of arthritis is the way to finally address the actual issue so you can take steps to resolve and heal over time.

Natural, Functional Medicine Remedies For Osteoarthritis

The first order of business when reducing pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis is to find products that can help reduce inflammation naturally and without the side effects of drugs.  Always check with your doctor to see if any natural therapy is contraindicated for any medicine you may be taking.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids – 2 to 3 grams of EPA/DHA in divided doses a day can help inflammation along with:
  • Meriva Curcumin – (500- 2x day)  Meriva is a trade name for a very absorbable type of curcumin. Meriva is about 10 times more absorbable than plain curcumin and is very effective for pain and inflammation. You can start at 500 mgs and go up to 1000 mgs if needed. If you’d like more support you can add this to the omega/Meriva curcumin mix:
  • Boswellia extract Boswellia is extremely effective for osteoarthritis pain and inflammation relief. Boswellia has been used since the beginning of time to treat inflammation. Some products include curcumin, Boswellia, and bromelain together for a very effective pain-relieving product.
  • Bromelain Research shows that the bromelain enzyme may reduce the swelling and discomfort of arthritis.
  • Collagen – in the form of bone broth or powder supplement to support proper building blocks for protein absorption which help build muscle mass.bone broth

Now that you have some natural remedies to help with pain and inflammation, it’s time to address the root cause of your osteoarthritis.

  1. Go gluten free for 4 weeks and see if gluten sensitivity is the cause of your inflammation in your body and joints. Many people are gluten sensitive and do not tie their headaches, joint pain, and other health issues to the fact that they cannot tolerate the effect gluten has on their system.
  2. Better yet, run a food sensitivity panel (IGg) to see if rampant food sensitivities are causing low-level inflammation in your body. Eliminate these foods for 3 months to get to the root cause of aches and pains.
  3. If you’re a man, get your testosterone level checked and see if it’s low, you may be suffering from low muscle mass and weight gain which is a factor in joint pain.
  4. Get your red blood cell magnesium level checked. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium and magnesium is needed for healthy muscle function. Healthy muscle and adequate muscle is needed for joint support.  Low levels can contribute to joint pain.
  5. Many men and women are insulin resistant and do not know it. Insulin resistance comes years before diabetes without any warning signs. If your fasting glucose is above 90 and your HBa1c is greater than 5.7, you may have insulin resistance. Your doctor will not alert to you that this is a problem, so you have to push it. If you are insulin resistant your muscle to fat ratio is off you have less muscle and more fat putting more pressure and inflammation on your joints.

In conclusion, finding natural pain relief is always better than relying on over-the-counter or prescription medication which always comes with side effects or risks. Once you find a pain reliever that helps you, it’s time to get to the root cause of your arthritis pain and inflammation. Finding the root cause can reduce or eliminate your need for any type of pain relief which is the goal!

Linda is a Functional Health Coach. About Linda

I hope you enjoyed this article and please feel free to leave me a comment below!

Natural Migraine Headache Remedies

Natural Migraine Headache Remedies

Ten to fifteen percent of the population suffers from migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are a painful headache sometimes preceded by an aura. Auras are sensory warnings that pain is about to appear. They can include flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in the extremities. Migraine symptoms can also include nausea, vomiting and an increased sensitivity to light and sound. For some sufferers, migraine pain can last for days. Many common drugs used to treat migraines can have long-term side effects in the gastrointestinal tract. Overuse of these drugs can lead to rebound headaches.  Finding the root cause of your migraines is essential and finding natural migraine headache remedies to use in the meantime is very important.

If you have very severe pain that feels like the worst headache of your life or a headache that accompanies numbness, slurring of speech or vision problems, call 911 to rule out other more serious conditions.

Possible Root Causes of Migraines

  • Food Allergies/Sensitivities – can be a trigger for migraines. Certain foods have been linked to migraines like foods that contain ‘amines’ such as tyramine in cheese, octopamine in citrus fruits and histamine in beer, wine or other fermented food. Gluten, caffeine, cured meats, and aspartame are other headache trigger foods.
  • TMJ – Bite alignment problems are a source of migraines. The constant contraction of muscles in the face and head restrict blood flow and increase the pressure in the head.
  • Toxins – Toxins interfere with the digestion process including nutrient absorption leading to nutrient Toxinsdeficiencies. Toxins are chemicals, pollutants, internal toxins due to normal body functioning, GMO foods, cigarettes, and other environmental toxins including hormone mimickers. Toxins interfere with cellular metabolism and cellular transport which can lead to oxidative damage and cause imbalances in hormones due to hormone-mimicking. Unbalanced hormones are implicated in migraines.
  • Antibiotics, NSAIDS, stress, steroids, chemicals in food –  Antibiotics disturb the balance of good to bad bacteria in the gut which can lead to intestinal infections or inflammation and cause disturbances to the gut barrier of the stomach. Medications, toxins, and stress can also result in GI distress (IBS, IBD).  GI issues are implicated in migraines.
  • Magnesium deficiency – Magnesium deficiency is a big problem in America. Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the human body. Studies show that over 70 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium.  We are not consuming enough magnesium-rich foods and eating too many foods that deplete magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is a contributor to migraines.
  • Dehydration – Most Americans are walking around in a dehydrated state. Dehydration can occur in cold weather as well as the summer. Many people do not think of drinking adequate water during the colder months.  Dehydration occurs when we lose more water than we take in. When we are dehydrated, we are losing electrolytes which contribute to headaches.
  • Poor sleep  Headache clinics show that there is a relationship between chronic sleep problems and headaches. As headaches get more severe, chronic sleep problems get more severe. Sleep induced migraines typically occur between four a.m. and nine a.m.. This type of sleep induced migraine is also known as ‘an awakening headache’.
  • Stress – Of course stress is at the root of most health problems and migraines are no exception. Stress is the body’s reaction to an event or situation. Stress can come from happy events, adverse events or extreme exercise.  Stress can make migraines worse or last longer. Migraines can occur after the end of a stressful event due to the release of tension sometimes referred to as ‘weekend migraines’.
  • Low serotonin levels – Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in blood vessel regulation. Low levels are associated with migraine frequency and duration.foods-vitamin-b


Natural Remedies

  1. Vitamin b2 – (Riboflavin) Vitamin b2 has been found to be an impressive migraine remedy. According to research, patients who received 400 mg of riboflavin per day found their frequency and duration of migraines improved. B2 improves mitochondrial dysfunction that results in impaired cellular oxygen in the body which can result in migraines.
  2. Magnesium supplementation – As noted above, magnesium deficiency is common in Americans and migraines can result from sub-optimum levels of this essential mineral. In fact, IV magnesium therapy is administered in hospitals for acute migraines. Supplement with the glycinate and malate forms that are easier on the stomach and well-absorbed. 300 – 400 mg taken twice a day is a standard amount. If you have kidney disease, talk to your doctor before supplementing with magnesium.
  3. CoQ10 – Another possible cause of a migraine is mitochondrial dysfunction which impairs oxygen metabolism and energy.  Supplementing with CoQ10 helps repair mitochondria that is responsible for turning food into energy in the body according to research.
  4. Essential oils – Essential oils of lavender and peppermint when used at the first sign of a migraine can help with heading one off. Apply to pulse points and inhale while lying in a dark room for the best effect.
  5. Exercise – A Swedish study has found that aerobic exercise was found to be as good as a preventive for migraine headaches as the prescription drug Topomax. Riding on a stationary bike for 40 minutes three times a week can do the trick. exercise
  6. 5-HTP – 5-HTP increases the body’s production of serotonin. According to Harvard Medical School, 5-HTP can incorrect any imbalance in serotonin levels thus reducing the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. Dosages of 5-HTP are something you always discuss with your qualified health professional.
  7. Feverfew and White Willow Bark – Feverfew and white willow bark are herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Both herbs work on reducing inflammation in the blood vessels in the brain and can reduce symptoms up to sixty percent.  They can also help with nausea associated with migraines. A minimum of 250 mg per day may be helpful.
  8. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and help reduce the pain of migraines. They can also reduce the frequency and duration of migraines. Taking a high-quality omega supplement with a combined EPA and DHA of 1000 mg is a recommended amount.

In conclusion

Finding the right natural remedy might take a little trial and error, but worth it in the long run. Medications can be helpful in the short term, but ongoing reliance can cause rebound headaches and other health issues. Finding the root cause of your migraines is important to reduce or eliminate the need for medication in the long term. Food sensitivities, gut health issues, and nutrient deficiencies are just a few of the root causes of migraines. Figure out what your triggers are and you will experience more quality of life. In the meantime, finding a natural remedy that works for you is important to strengthen the body while working on the root cause.

If you have a natural migraine remedy that works for you, please comment below!


Linda is a Functional Medicine Health Coach

Gluten Sensitivity and autoimmune diseases

Gluten Sensitivity and Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, thyroid disease, are the top health concerns of the 21st century and those afflicted growing in number every year. Autoimmune diseases are responses to systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues. Could there be a connection between food sensitivities and more notably gluten sensitivity and autoimmune diseases?

Diseases, like autoimmune diseases, are basically a group of symptoms that fit a common profile of others who suffer the same symptoms. Then it’s given a label. Having a label is fine, but it doesn’t help you with the root cause.

Food sensitivities are unlike food allergies.  Food allergies involve a histamine response to an offending food and the reaction is immediate and can be life-threatening for those with severe allergies. Food sensitivities are an immune system response to offending foods that can take up to two or three days to appear. These responses can be vague such as headaches, congestion, sinus, anxiety/depression and more.  Read more about the difference between food allergies and sensitivities here.

What Is Gluten?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is: “a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.”

There are two main proteins in gluten. They are glutenin and gliadin and gliadin is the protein that is associated with the negative effects. Ten thousand years ago, wheat was not the version of wheat we have today. Emmer and Einkorn wheat were the crops of our ancestors while Triticum wheat is used today and is thousands of genes apart from original Einkorn wheat.triticum wheat

Triticum wheat has been bred to generate a greater yield, not a nutritionally sound product. Modern Triticum wheat of today can’t even survive in the wild without human support such as fertilizers and pest control.  Can you imagine eating a plant that can only survive at the hands of man-made chemicals?  Einkorn and Emmer wheat have survived the wild and pass on their nutrition powerhouse to those who eat it.

There have never been any safety studies involving animals or humans done on the hybridization of wheat and the new genetic strains created.  Plant geneticists were so intent on creating products to increase yield to satisfy the need to relieve world hunger, that it was assumed hybridizing wheat would result in a safe product. Because after all, wheat is wheat and wheat is a food product, right?

Gluten, What’s So Bad About It?

Gluten is the protein mixture of wheat.  It’s also in barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, and triticale. Most Americans do not consume great quantities of rye, bulgar, Kamut and triticale, so for the purposes of this article wheat is the product I’m referring to when speaking about gluten. Barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, and triticale have also not been hybridized to become the ultra glutinous products that wheat has become.

Gluten is what makes wheat ‘doughy’. That stretchable, rollable, elastic and twistable substance that rice flour, corn flour or any other flour cannot achieve.  Wheat is mostly carbohydrate and only ten to fifteen percent protein, and the majority of that protein (80%) is gluten. gluten dough

People who suffer from celiac disease are suffering from the most extreme form of gluten sensitivity.  It’s actually an autoimmune disease. During World War II, a pediatric gastroenterologist from the Netherlands noticed that mortality from celiac dropped about 40% during the war and then went back to pre-war mortality after the war was over.  At that time gluten was not known to be the reason. During the war, there was no wheat available and potato starch was used for making bread and the disease went away. Babies at the time were fed only bananas when presenting with celiac symptoms. After the war, the babies were put on an elimination diet of all grains and gluten. The babies responded favorably and thus the connection between gluten and autoimmune celiac disease.

Can there be other issues and autoimmune diseases stemming from gluten sensitivities? Most certainly.

Our journey begins with the digestive tract

Our intestines are a long, windy tube roughly 15 -20 feet long and covered by a single, yes a single layer of cells that is a barrier to keep the bacteria, toxins and undigested food out of our bloodstream. This single layer of cells, a mucous layer, allows microscopically sized nutrients like single blocks of sugars, proteins, and amino acids that have been broken down through digestion to pass through to the bloodstream to use for fuel and to supply our organs with what they need.  In order to pass through this single-celled mucosal barrier, the lining is permeable with very tight junctures so only the smallest of single blocks of nutrients can pass through.

This barrier should be impermeable to anything else.  But with celiac research, it was found that the barrier’s tight junctures or ‘doors were being opened for other substances like gluten to get through triggering an immediate immune system reaction.faulty-tight-junction

How Are These ‘Doors’ Opening?

Gluten is comprised of a substance called gliadin. Gliadin triggers the release of zonulin in the body.  Zonulin is the bodies trigger to save itself from an all-out infection that it cannot handle in the digestive system by opening up the ‘doors’ in the lining of the stomach to allow the infection to flow through to be fought by the bodies immune system.  What a wonderful last-ditch effort from Mother Nature to heal the body.

Unfortunately, it was the gliadin from the gluten that triggered the zonulin that opened the doors and there was no ‘threat’ to the body.  Now we have a gluten protein in the bloodstream that the body sees as a foreign invader. You do not need to have celiac disease for this response to happen.

The phenomenon of intestinal permeability caused by gluten due to the zonulin response is called ‘Leaky Gut’. When you have leaky gut, your symptoms can be all over the map like anxiety, depression, brain fog, fatigue, headaches and the list goes on and on. Over time these symptoms are associated with different autoimmune diseases like MS, Parkinsons, lupus etc. Some researchers have found when zonulin levels are kept in check, diabetes is kept at bay.

Experts believe that there need to be accurate tests for zonulin levels to prevent leaky gut syndrome and keep the ‘doors’ closed.

What Can You Do Today?

The first thing you must do is eliminate gluten for at least 4 weeks completely and see how you feel.  If you feel better, you need to continue complete elimination for 4 months to start healing your stomach.

Get your vitamin D levels checked. Increased intestinal permeability has been shown with low vitamin D levels. Aim for a range of 50 to 60 on a blood test. Increase your levels with a high-quality product

Drink organic bone broth to heal the lining of the stomach.

Avoid sugar. Sugar increases the bad bacteria leading to inflammation that opens the ‘doors’ of your intestine.

Take l-glutamine to heal your stomach lining for 3 months or longer depending on need.

In Conclusion

Gluten is a protein of wheat. Wheat has undergone major hybridization over the years yielding a wheat flour with high levels of gluten. For those with celiac disease, there is no tolerance of gluten and the body undergoes a major immune response that is damaging to the intestine.

The gliadin in gluten triggers the body to make zonulin which opens the ‘doors’ of the lining of the stomach allowing molecules of food and proteins into the bloodstream that should never be there. The body responds to these ‘threats’ as foreign invaders and can develop symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, depression, anxiety and more.  Over time autoimmune diseases can be diagnosed.

Take steps as outlined above to reduce your exposure to wheat and gluten and heal your stomach from the damaging effects of zonulin in the body in response to gluten.


Linda is a Functional Health Coach

Depression, Anxiety and Gut Health

Depression, Anxiety and Gut Health

The health of our gut truly can determine the health of our brain.  Not many people understand the connection between a healthy gut and our moods.  Research is showing that when our gut bacteria is lacking, not diverse or has an imbalance, the health of our body is compromised and that includes our brain. This article will address the connection between depression, anxiety and gut health so you can start addressing the root cause and heal quicker.

Current treatments for depression and anxiety involve counseling, psychotherapy/psychiatry interventions and in some cases medications. Medications for anxiety and depression, like Zoloft and Paxil, fall under the class of drugs labeled Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI”s.

What Is Serotonin?serotonin

Serotonin was discovered in 1948 by Maurice M. Rappor. Serotonin is an important chemical neurotransmitter in the body and is created by a biochemical conversion process.  It’s manufactured in the brain and in the intestines and the gastrointestinal tract is where 80-90% of serotonin is found. It’s thought that serotonin is responsible for mood and behavior.

So as you can see already serotonin is responsible for mood and behavior and over 80% of serotonin is found in the gut.

How Do SSRI Medications Work For Anxiety and Depression?

Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the body that nerves use to communicate with each other in the brain. Neurotransmitters are manufactured and released by nerves and then travel to other nerves and attach to them to communicate.  Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter.


Serotonin travels between the spaces of other nerves (synapses) and then attaches to receptor points on the surface of nearby nerves. Sometimes they attach to the receptors of the nerve that produced it and then it is reabsorbed by that nerve (re-uptake) and then released again by the nerve. This is called serotonin ‘re-uptake’.

Medications targeting anxiety and depression are usually known as a class of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI’s because what they do is block (inhibit) the reabsorption of serotonin back into the nerve. The serotonin is available in the synapse at least for a while.

According to WebMD, experts are not sure why SSRI’s work for some people and that’s because not much is known about the brain.  The theory is that if serotonin is not reabsorbed back into the nerve by taking the SSRI’s that inhibit the process, levels of serotonin will be higher. They believe higher levels of serotonin would improve communication between the nerves and strengthen the circuits in the brain that regulates mood.

The Problem With This Scenario

Blocking the absorption of serotonin via these drug inhibitors don’t increase serotonin, rather they trick the body into thinking it has more serotonin.  Over time, the use of SSRI’s actually depletes whatever serotonin the body has available.

How Is The Gut Involved?gut microbiota

So now that we understand a bit about serotonin, we can now look at how the gut is involved. Research shows that people who suffer from mood disorders benefit from taking a type of gut probiotic, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, and experienced significant improvements in their mood symptoms.  Microbes that reside in our gut may be responsible for gut-brain communication involving our moods.  This is referred to as the gut-brain axis. The gut-brain axis is a communication involving the brain, the central nervous system, and the enteric (gut) system.

It is estimated that 90 percent of serotonin is made in the gut.  A study done by Caltech and published in the April 9th issue of the journal Cell shows that certain bacteria in the gut are responsible for the production of serotonin. When the balance between beneficial and disease-causing bacteria was altered in studies on animals, brain chemistry was also altered affecting the animals moods and stress levels producing anxiety and in some cases their boldness.

Our American Lifestyle And Diet

Anxiety and depression are the most frequently diagnosed disorders today.  Our fast pace of life coupled with the over-processed food that we eat, the overuse of xenotoxins (fertilizers, pesticides, carbon emissions) drugs including vaccines all contribute to an imbalance in our gut bacteria.  Some gut bacteria are responsible for the production of serotonin which helps regulate moods and behavior. Our current lifestyle is contributing to the rise of these mood disorders.

How To Heal

  • Nourish your beneficial gut bacteria with prebiotics.  Prebiotics are plant fibers that cannot be digested by our digestive system. Our gut bacteria digest prebiotics leading to a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Prebiotics help reduce cortisol levels which tame the stress response that people with anxiety and depression have. Lowering cortisol levels has a positive effect on those with mood disorders. Prebiotics can be found in fibrous plants like artichokes, Jicama, raw asparagus, onions and raw garlic.
  • Include probiotics with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Studies shown in animals suggest lessened anxiety and mood disorder symptoms after supplementing with these strains of probiotics. Foods that contain these strains of probiotics are foods that have undergone lactic fermentation like kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut. bifido bacteria raw probiotics
  • New, emerging studies are also showing carbohydrate maldigestion as a cause of mood disorders.  I always encourage a gluten-free and even grain-free diet for those suffering from mood disorders.
  • Eat a whole foods diet that is nutritionally rich and varied.

Eating behaviors should be reviewed and addressed when suffering from anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Addressing the gut and the balance of good to bad gut bacteria is as important to healing mood disorders as cognitive therapy or medications are.  Finding a functional medicine practitioner or functional health coach can help you address the root cause.

Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

a0e284_ffef60fd9f084d2ab53dd3aa576055fc-mv2_d_1201_1800_s_2Linda is a Functional Medicine Health Coach

Causes Colic in Babies

What Causes Colic In Babies

Babies 3 months and younger can experience colic, a condition where the abdomen is hardened and causes pain. The pain results in chronic crying and can be challenging for parents to alleviate symptoms. There may be numerous reasons for baby colic and it can be difficult to identify the culprit(s). A baby cannot tell us what is going on, unfortunately!  This article will address what causes colic in babies and some natural remedies that will help you and your baby to get much-needed relief!

Some common culprits for colic in infants could be allergies to milk or formula. The infant may have food allergies from the food the mother is eating. 

How Do You Know If Your Baby Has Colic?

  • Your baby cries for 3 hours a day and,
  • Cries for at least 3 days a week and,
  • Cries for 3 consecutive weeks

These are a pretty good indicator that your baby is suffering from colic.

What are some other symptoms to look for?

  • Intense crying episodes that follow predictable patterns on a daily basis.
  • Your baby’s crying is inconsolable and doesn’t seem to have a trigger.
  • Your baby may arch their back, clench their fists and make other unusual posture changes.
  • Your baby may recoil at your touch.

Possible Causes Of Colic

  1. Formula – formula fed babies may have a milk intolerance. Switch to a coconut or goat based formula or try a pre digested milk protein formula. Soy formulas should be the last resort. And stay away from any formula containing chemicals or other unknown ingredients.
  2. Mother’s diet – Your baby may be reacting to the food you are eating. If your diet includes moderate amounts of dairy, gluten, corn, soy, peanuts or caffeine try cutting back or even better, eliminating these foods while nursing.  Beans and cruciferous vegetables may be a possible cause of gas. Eliminating them may help.
  3. Baby reflux – the sphincter muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus can be underdeveloped in babies. This means that undigested food and acid can back up into the esophagus causing burning and pain for your baby. When your baby projectile vomits, is underweight, refuses the breast or bottle, screams while on their back or arches their back as in pain, baby reflux may be the problem.
  4. Parental anxiety – Some babies react to the nervousness of the parents. Make sure you are getting some rest and creating a calm environment for yourself. Mom’s and Dad’s need to take care of themselves both physically and mentally.parental anxiety baby
  5. Anatomical feeding issues – some babies may not be latching on to the breast correctly, they could be lip-tied or tongue-tied.  You may want to consult with a lactation specialist to rule out feeding issues.
  6. Other issues – Some experts blame colic on an immature digestive tract, possible allergies, a developing brain/neurological system or some think it may be due to a baby being overly and easily stimulated.

As you can see, there are many possible reasons for colic that may involve trial and error.  I believe parents know their children best and if you feel that something is wrong, never feel embarrassed to ask for more testing or get the advice of experts. Some parents try chiropractic care for their colicky babies and they find great relief.

Using your own intuition with your baby is important. For example, you may feel in your gut that your baby is having problems latching on and could be hungry. In that case seeking out a lactation expert would be the way to go.

Natural Remedies

  1. For the mother; eat more cooked or steamed vegetables. Consuming these foods tends to reduce gas and bloating in infants.
  2. An elimination diet excluding the foods corn, peanuts, gluten, milk, beans, caffeine, and soy.
  3. Swaddling is a great way to soothe a baby and to help them sleep for longer periods of time. You can try infant swings or wear a baby carrier around your chest.  Infant massage can help. baby massage
  4. Calming herbal teas such as chamomile or lemon balm can be added to the babies formula to help calm according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
  5. Probiotics have been shown to improve intestinal health in infants. These probiotics feed the good bacteria which can help digestion.

Try Klaire Labs Therabiotic Infant formula:


Or Renew Life Ulitmate Flora:

In Conclusion,

Infant colic is a frustrating and upsetting condition for parent and uncomfortable and painful for your baby.  Finding the cause of your babies colic is important.

Colic is usually suspected when there is uninterrupted crying for hours that continues for weeks. Your baby may be underweight and scream while on their back, projectile vomit after feeding or make posture contortions as if in pain.  

There could be other more serious reasons for babies to cry non-stop like ear infections or other illnesses that need to be ruled out before colic is suspected and treated for.

Some simple remedies are probiotics, calming teas, and relaxing activities. An elimination diet for the mom avoiding trigger foods is recommended. 

Please leave a comment, I enjoy hearing from my readers.

Linda is a Certified Functional Health Coach