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

esophagus

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)

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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

Abdomen-periumbilical_region

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:

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  • 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!

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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.

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Linda is a Functional 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

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Food Allergy vs Sensitivity

Food Allergy vs Intolerance

Many people do not know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance or sensitivity. Food allergies are quite rare thankfully as they can be life threatening.  Food intolerances are milder and hard to pinpoint, although their effects are troublesome and many times attributed to other things and possibly sometimes as diseases.  I hope after reading this article you will know the difference between food allergy vs intolerance, so you can start your healing journey.

Food sensitivities and food allergies are not digestive issues. People erroneously believe that the stomach is implicated with sensitivities and allergies. Food sensitivities and food allergies are immune system reactions.

Our spleen is responsible for characterizing threats to the human body and send out the white blood cells needed to deal with the threat.  Most threats are handled quickly and efficiently by our immune system.  With food allergy and intolerance, the immune system is confusing some foods as foreign invaders.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH A FOOD ALLERGY?

Our immune system reacts to a certain food as a threat and creates a histamine response that can be life-threatening.  Food allergies are more common in young children, but adults can acquire a food allergy at any time.

Symptoms of a food allergy can be mild to severe. Reactions to the specific food can range in severity. One exposure may trigger a mild reaction and the next can be severe, so avoiding the food altogether is the only solution unless under the care of a qualified allergy specialist.

The most severe type of allergic food reaction is called anaphylaxis which is a life threatening condition. This type of reaction can come on within minutes and can be fatal.

Which brings me to my next point.  Food allergies come on sudden where there is usually no doubt what the trigger food is.

90% of most food allergies are caused by these foods:peanuts

  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Typical Allergic Responses:food allergy

  • Vomiting and/or stomach cramps
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Cough
  • Tight throat, trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of the tongue, affecting the ability to talk or breathe
  • Weak pulse
  • Pale or blue coloring of skin
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Anaphylaxis, a potentially life threatening condition.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH FOOD SENSITIVITIES/INTOLERANCE?

Food sensitivities or intolerances are used interchangeably, but there is no difference in meaning.  Food sensitivities can take days to appear and their symptoms can be many things. Food sensitivities do not trigger a histamine reaction like food allergies, so none of the reactions listed for allergy above will be the same for a sensitivity/intolerance.  There is an immune system reaction however due to the body believing the offending food to be a threat.

People have a hard time believing that a food sensitivity can take so long to appear because they confuse sensitivities with allergies.  Again, allergies take seconds to minutes to appear, and food sensitivities can take days.

Because a food sensitivity can take days to appear, it is often very difficult to know what the trigger food is. If you suffer from any of the below, it’s time to take food sensitivity seriously.

  • Chronic headaches/migraineheadaches
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain/arthritis
  • Bloating
  • Excema
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Post nasal drip
  • Tight muscles
  • Canker sores
  • Heart racing
  • IBS
How To Determine If You Have A Food Sensitivity/Intolerance

Elimination Diet – Is the gold standard in determining if you suffer from food sensitivities.  The best way to do an elimination diet is to work with a qualified practitioner to keep you accountable and to make sure you are completely eliminating the food. Food labels can be confusing to read and misleading, a professional knows what to avoid. But you can surely do it yourself as long as you understand how to do it. I recommend this program to start you off.  Always do an elimination for a period of 4 weeks with no more than 2 two foods at a time with 100 percent cold turkey elimination. Absolutely no cheating. Then introduce one food at a time back leaving a couple of days before introducing the next.

IgG or IgG4 Food Testing – No blood test is completely accurate when determining food sensitivities. The body has many ways in which it can react to food and some do not include antibodies.  But food testing is a great way to find out those foods that you have a high reaction too. A total IgG food antibody panel is essentially measuring when the immune system is reacting to a common (and perhaps quite healthy!) food as though it were a foreign invader. You can order your own blood tests here.

There are other blood tests available that measure IgE and IgA.  These tests are not necessary for basic food sensitivity answers.life extension food sensitivity test

You Have A Food Sensitivity, Now What?

When your test results come back and you find you are sensitive to a couple of foods or maybe even many foods, what is the next step?  Eliminating the food(s) is obvious but is there anything else you can do and do you have to eliminate the food forever?  Yes, there are ways you can heal your gut and as a result, heal your sensitivities.  Food sensitivities are not forever. Once you heal, you can add the offending foods back in if desired.

Healing your gut involves healing the lining of your stomach. The lining of your gut can become inflamed due to medicines, food sensitivities, bacteria overgrowth among other reasons. When the lining is inflamed or irritated, the tight junctures of the lining become less tight and as a result, it allows big particles of food and other substances to get into the bloodstream where there is an immune system reaction. This is called Leaky Gut or Increased Intestinal Permeability. Nothing other than nutrients and tiny particles should be passing through the gut and into the bloodstream.

Supplements to heal the gut:

The supplements listed below should be taken in order to heal intestinal permeability and recover from food sensitivities.

  1. Vitamin D. The first step is to make sure your vitamin D levels are optimum. Sub optimum or a deficiency in D causes intestinal permeability.
  2. L-Glutamine. L Glutamine has been shown in studies to heal the lining of the gut and tightening up the junctures.
  3. Probiotics. Probiotics help balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria resulting in less irritation to the lining of the stomach.
  4. Quercitin. Another supplement with healing properties for the lining of the gut.
  5. Curcumin (Meriva formula) Helps with inflammation
  6. Vitamin E

Foods To Heal The Gutbone broth

There are definitely food choices that can help to heal leaky gut.

  1. Bone broth. Homemade or purchased is a fantastic food for healing your gut.
  2. Vegetables include prebiotic fiber that good bacteria will feed on to balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria.
  3. Okra
  4. Chia seeds
  5. Flaxseeds.

Eliminating your trigger foods is important. Even if gluten did not show up on your IgG food panel, it is wise to eliminate all gluten foods while healing your gut.  Gluten is an inflammatory food and should be avoided.

In conclusion,

Food allergies are different than food sensitivities. Food allergies are immediate responses that include the release of histamine. Allergic responses can be mild to severe or life threatening. The non-tolerated food is normally easy to figure out. IgA panels are for food allergy determination.

Food sensitivities can take days to appear and pinpointing the offending food can be tricky.

Food elimination is the gold standard in determining food sensitivities, but food panel testing such as IgG and IgG4 can be very valuable. Once a food sensitivity is determined, healing the gut is the course of action to take to eliminate food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are not lifelong afflictions.

I hope this article gave some clarity on food allergies and sensitivities.

Please comment below, I love to hear your results and feedback.

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Linda is a Certified Functional Health Coach