Monthly Archives: January 2014

Healing Your Gut Workbook

Had a really good energy day yesterday.  I was thinking….”YES, I remember this…this is what it feels like to be normal.”  I need a lot more of these and plan to get them in the future.

The most important take away here was that the herbs she suggests are used to scrub the bad bacteria and yeast from the gut, use of probiotics to supply the gut with the good bacteria and a glutamine powder blend to begin to strengthen the intestinal lining.  Later in the Supporting Your Liver Workbook I’ll be removing all gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, peanuts, beef, shellfish, caffeine, and alcohol (and possible nightshade vegetables if you have joint pain)….yikes!  No, really, I can do it.  I’m already gluten, dairy, soy and corn free.  The only thing that will be hard for me is no eggs as I eat them often for added protein…..oh, and tomatoes and potatoes….geez!

The Self-Assessments:

1. Do you have Dysbiosis? I scored a 10, which means I have a mild to moderate case of dysbiosis.  This means that you have an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, yeast, or parasites, which is causing your symptoms.  Your intestinal flora must be fixed for you to get better.   My symptoms were:  intestinal cramps at least once a week, intolerance to carbohydrates, especially beans and fiber, fatigue and/or low energy most days, depressed or anxious most days, chronic sinus congestion, food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, chronic stress, hiatal hernia.

2.  Problems with Digestion?

    a.  Pancreatic Enzymes?  I scored a 4, which means I need to add enzymes to my regimen.  My symptoms were:  indigestion/fullness two to four hours after a meal, bloating, flatulence two to four hours after a meal, swelling in the ankles, bulky stools.

b. Bile Acids?  I scored zero…no problems with bile acids.

c.  Stomach Acids?  I scored a 4, which means I don’t need to include stomach acid supplements.  A score of 5 would show that you have low stomach acid. probably reflux disease and hypochlorhydria, which is a condition where you don’t have enough stomach acid and have low digestive enzymes, or dysbiosis further down in the intestines, which impairs the functioning of the stomach and prevents food from moving out of the stomach. My symptoms were:  bloating or belching immediately following most meals, sense of fullness after eating, flatulence, and reflux.

3.  Do you have leaky gut? I scored a 4, which means it is likely that I have leaky gut syndrome.  This means that my intestinal barrier is not working properly and needs to be fixed so that my immune system can be repaired.  My symptoms were:  Food sensitivity, score of over 10 on the stress scale in Chapter 6, dysbiosis, autoimmune disease.

Healing Your Gut Treatment Program

Tier 1:  Restoring and Maintaining healthy Gut Flora with Food.  Remove all white sugar and white flour from your diet, take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil twice daily as part of your treatment plan.  It contains lauric and capric acids, compounds that discourage viruses and yeast, so it’s also a great food to maintain your intestinal health once your treatment is finished.  Include prebiotics in your diet such as legumes, most vegetables, and low-sugar fruits such as berries, apples and pears.  Also, onions, garlic, leeks, rye, chicory, blueberries, bananas and artichokes.  Add probiotics such as sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt and kefir (coconut milk yogurt and coconut kefir)

Tier 2:  Using herbal and nutritional supplements to treat your dysbiosis.  Using suggestions from the book and her example of a patient of hers this is what I decided I could afford to do.  I’m taking GI cleansing herbs for 4 weeks:  Berberine, artemisinin capsules (200 – 400 mg 2 x a day) on an empty stomach 20 minutes before meals, then Black Walnut capsules, Oregano (200 mg) and Grapefruit Seed extract (250 – 500 mg) after meals.  At night, before I go to bed I take probiotics (she explained that Berberine and artemisinin destroy bacteria so you don’t want to take them at the same time you take your probiotics)  After the 4 weeks I’ll go back to taking my probiotics in the morning and night.

Love the homemade Granola recipe from her book.  When my sister was visiting she ate it everyday and she normally doesn’t eat breakfast.  I usually have quinoa with blueberries and nuts for breakfast or buckwheat pancakes, or granola…then between breakfast and lunch I also cook a bunch of  vegetables (kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens) in olive oil or coconut oil with onion, garlic and mushrooms with an egg…..then it’s on to my protein drink (I alternate between whey and non whey proteins) and add chia seeds, maca powder, camu camu powder, flax seeds and turmeric…whewwwww!  I know it sounds like a lot but I feel like I’m doing something good for myself.  Also, I usually add half a pear, some avocado and ginger to the drink. This is all before lunch…then I’ll have chicken and a salad, beans and brown rice, or a veggie or beef hamburger for lunch and dinner.

I just started seeing a Naturopath doctor and had tests done to check my sugars.  I’ll see him again Friday to go over the results.  His suggestion to help with my sleep was to eat a small protein snack before bed like cheese, nuts, avocado or tuna.  I’m sleeping better initially, but still not long enough.  I usually wake between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m. and often don’t go back to sleep.  FRUSTRATING!  Just BREATHE!  I like what one of the guided imagery CDs said describing calm “like a lake with no ripples”.

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Healing Your Gut

This chapter will take me four weeks to complete the protocol which I started on January 11th.  During this time I’ll be having family and friends visiting off and on so it’ll be a challenge but so far so good.  I can tell you that no matter how much you’re looking forward to having the people you love come for a visit it’s all stress and it affects me.  I get totally exhausted…”scary” exhausted.   I need to learn to listen to my body and rest when it tells me to rest and not feel responsible for everyone’s good time….everyone will be fine and feel more relaxed if I’m more relaxed.  I’m at the point where I either have to learn to let go or have my life restricted from bad health….time to get smart and start living.  I know I bring most of it on myself and I just need to breath, be present with what I’m feeling and thinking, and realize that they’re just thoughts, feelings and sensations and everything is fine in this moment.  I love this quote from the book, Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, speaking of your breath “It’s like an old friend, it anchors us, gives us stability…like the bridge piling anchored in bedrock as the river flows around it…10 or 20 feet below the agitated surface is calmness.”  Just BREATH and know that all is well!

Okay, so after reading this chapter I decided what I could reasonably afford to do for healing my gut other than using food, which I’ll go into next.

I’m taking GI cleansing herbs for 4 weeks:  Berberine, artemisinin capsules (200 – 400 mg 2 x a day) on an empty stomach 20 minutes before meals, then Black Walnut capsules, Oregano (200 mg) and Grapefruit Seed extract (250 – 500 mg) after meals.  At night, before I go to bed I take probiotics (she explained that Berberine and artemisinin destroy bacteria so you don’t want to take them at the same time you take your probiotics)  After the 4 weeks I’ll go back to taking my probiotics in the morning and night….Just went to the Farmer’s Market today and a lady was selling a delicious probiotic relish with cabbage and ginger and other spices…really good natural way to add probiotics….as well as coconut kefir…yum!

Here’s the highlights from the Heal Your Gut Chapter from Susan Blum’s book:

“If the T regulator cells in your body aren’t working correctly, the killer cells and/or antibody-producing cells can get stuck in overdrive and become confused about what is foreign and what is not.  This confusion can then cause autoimmune diseases.  All of the steps in this book are aimed at balancing your killer cells and your antibody-producing cells, and to do so we must focus on fixing your T regulator cell function.”

“We are constantly exposed to toxins from cleaning products, pesticides and additives in the food we eat.  It is possible that impaired digestion and a leaky gut due to a lack of beneficial gut flora are the reasons some people develop gluten issues in the first place.  Good bacteria also help the body process vitamins such as B12 and K so they can be better utilized and absorbed by the body.  Having enough friendly flora in your gut reduces the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases and restoring and balancing these flora in the gut can treat and reverse these conditions as well.”

Dysbiosis:  An imbalance in your gut’s good bacteria.  There are 5 types:

1.  insufficient good bacteria

2.  small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) which occurs in the upper part of the small intestine when bacteria from the colon grow in the wrong place (heartburn and reflux)

3.  immunosuppressive dysbiosis, toxins from harmful bacteria, yeast, or a parasite lower your levels of good bacteria and give off toxins that weaken or break down the gut lining

4.  inflammatory dysbiosis, which is when the body has an exaggerated response to your body’s imbalance of good bacteria (muscle and joint pain

5.  parasites, which can infect the digestive tract and put stress on the population of good bacteria.  Parasites often cause diarrhea, cramping, and bloating, but they can also be silent, causing no gut symptoms but resulting in hives for no clear reason or food and environmental allergies that you have never had before.  All of these types of dysbiosis can be thought of as infections that aren’t detected by routine medical tests or procedures.  The bottom line is that dysbiosis can trigger or promote an autoimmune disease because the lack of healthy flora and the influence of harmful flora cause the immune system to malfunction.

Things  that can cause leaky gut:

Antibiotic use, acute emotional or physical trauma, chronic stress, infections or exposures that were never resolved, chronic dysbiosis, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, toxics, alcoholism.

“The latest research on leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune disease shows that almost everyone with an autoimmune disease has leaky gut syndrome, even if there are no gut symptoms.”  With all her patients she does a comprehensive digestive stool analysis to make sure their gut flora is healthy.  “In order to heal and fully heal and balance your immune system we must heal your intestinal lining and make sure you have a good, intact barrier.  Otherwise your immune imbalance and your reactions to food and other antigens will not be cured and will come back again and again.

Next chapter is Healing Your Gut Workbook…

Endocrinologist Appointment 14 Jan 2014

Just a short update on my latest endocrinologist appointment.  I try to keep my expectations low when I go to this doctor…sad, I know…but he seems frustrated with my questions and can’t wait to get me on my way. So I’ll get what information I can from the tests and know that I’m traveling the road of being passed on from specialist to specialist, but over time I will rule out what I don’t have and find a solution.  So after reviewing all my tests and answering my questions…ya, right…. he suggested I see a rheumatologist next concerning possible autoimmune problems.

I told him my main reason for coming in was to go over the results of the ultrasound of my thyroid…he didn’t have them…had to call his receptionist to get them…and the result was that although small, my thyroid was there and had a small nodule (3 ml) which he will retest in a year.

When I brought up my tests that were out of the normal range he explained them all away…the sex hormone binding globulin being 204…he said, “oh that doesn’t mean anything”…hmmmm, I researched it some on the internet and they said it could be caused from excessive estrogen…was hoping to get more than….it doesn’t mean anything…so frustrating.  My WBC was low…he said it’s not a problem and the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) was high at 158, he just said….”not a problem”…okay, I’m really frustrated with his answers…not explaining anything…why do I even do these tests?  Oh, he said my estradiol was that of a post menopausal woman taking no estrogen or other hormones and said he didn’t know why I would want to waste my money by taking my bio-identical hormones…even though I pointed out how out of range my estrogen was before the bio-identical hormones….So, I decided I’ll continue taking my hormones for now.  In the way of my thyroid he said he’d rather see me at 60 mg, which I’m working towards but at a gradual rate.  He said I gained 4 lbs because I decreased my Armour Thyroid and if I decreased it to 60 mg I would gain even more weight….my only problem with this is that my energy is still very low and my scalp and gums burn terribly at times….which led us to believe that maybe it isn’t my thyroid or hormones but to look at autoimmune…..so there we go.

Today my general doctor called about thyroid tests I had done last week and she’d like to see me today to go over them…kind of unusual…we’ll see. 

So I get so frustrated with my health at times…just started riding my bike last week…now this week I’m hardly able to walk for 10 minutes….. but I decided there are good days and bad days and it’s all layers of getting better.  I’m working on the healing your gut chapter of Susan Blum’s book…I’ll report on that next….wishing peace, happiness, joy and grace!