January 23, 2017

Taking Care of Colon Problems

Strategies to Keep Your Colon Healthy

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

The colon is the least appreciated organ of the body – until it doesn’t work!  People with colon problems can be miserable.  The symptoms of colon trouble can include a wide variety of issues:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • And even cancer

the wrong bacteria in your colon can make you fatIf you’ve been wondering how to care for your colon, this is the article for you!

The colon is the large intestine.  It is the waste dump for everything we eat.  The small bowel absorbs all the nutrients from our food. Whatever is left over goes to the colon where the waste ferments through multiple types of bacteria. 

In the colon we have our main store of bacteria – trillions of them!

The types and amounts of bacteria we possess in our colon are essential to life. Even though they are residents of the colon, bacteria are very much a part of us, and in some ways make us what we are. They may determine our:

When we were babies in the womb we were sterile. Our first exposure to bacteria came from the birth canal, which supplied our intestines with bacteria needed to digest milk. People who are born by caesarian section don’t pick up the bacteria from their mother’s colon. Instead, their intestines start growing bacteria obtained from the skin. These bacteria don’t help digest food and can even cause inflammation over one’s entire lifetime!

One researcher concluded:

“Concurrent with the trend of increasing [Caesarean Delivery], there has been an epidemic of both autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis and allergic diseases, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis.[5]

The Wrong Bacteria in Your Colon Can Make You Fat!

Additionally, those who are born by C-section are more susceptible to metabolic diseases and obesity.[6] Multiple studies in rats and humans have shown that bacteria in the colon have a large effect on obesity. One study used mice that had intestinal bypass surgery. Those mice that had the surgery now developed different bacteria. When that bacteria was given to obese mice, they lost weight without the bypass surgery. Essentially, bacteria from a thin mouse caused an obese mouse to lose weight.[7]

Humans also experience weight gain or loss associated with their gut flora.  In one study, humans with higher levels of a certain bacteria, M. smithii, were much more likely to be overweight than those with low levels.[8]

Wrong Colon Bacteria Can Cause Arthritis

Studies on the types of bacteria in the colon suggest that arthritis can be caused or worsened by our bacteria.  One study suggested that a single organism can make the difference between having arthritis – or not.[9] The organisms that cause inflammation grow on simple sugars and starches.  On the other hand, those bacteria that grow on prebiotics create butyrate. Butyrate acts as an energy source for cells lining the colon and reduce an inflammatory response.

Prebiotics are the fiber found in fruit and vegetables. They have certain fibrous carbohydrates that nourish the good bacteria to help them to grow.

Best Prebiotic FoodsGod gave us quite the gift when it comes to prebiotic foods because there are many that have just the right “ingredients” to improve gut function without us having to do anything else but eat them! The top most nutrient-dense prebiotic foods are:

  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Beans
  • Artichokes
  • Root vegetables
  • Apples

Prebiotic foods are like fuel for good bacteria. They escape digestion in our small intestine but continue to the colon where the “good” bacteria digest them.  These bacteria make butyrate, which prevents inflammation, such as arthritis.

Because of these bacterial studies, many have proposed fecal transplants to treat arthritis and obesity, instead of surgery and drugs.

What is a Fecal Transplant?

It is just as it sounds. Stool from one person is given to another person to change the bacteria in their colon.  When this procedure first started, the diluted donor stool was put through a tube that went from the nose into the small intestine. However, standard procedure today is done by way of an enema.  Doctors who do this procedure will use a colonoscope to get the bacteria all the way through the colon.

The purpose of a fecal transplant is to populate the colon with good bacteria and give it more biodiversity.

We not only need lots of bacteria, but a diverse population of bacteria growing together in harmony.  Research shows that this procedure can remedy many different problems such as drug resistance, chronic diarrhea, arthritis, obesity, and diabetes.

Probiotic Supplements

Because of this research, many advocate that we take probiotic pills that contain certain amounts of good bacteria.

Until the modern era, humans (and all animals for that matter) ate food laced with bacteria.  Dung fertilized the soil, allowing colon bacteria on the growing food.  People ate food that easily fermented and contained live bacteria. These are foods such as sauerkraut, natto (fermented soybeans), miso (another type of fermented soybeans), yogurt, kefir, and cheeses of all kinds.  Also, without refrigeration, food grew bacteria quickly.

Traditional cultures did not know all these important reasons to eat cultured foods.  However, they definitely knew that fermented food lasted longer, tasted better and made them feel better.  We would be wise to remember techniques our ancestors have left us about probiotics to help the colon!

By contrast, today, we take great measures to prevent bacteria from getting into our food.  For a longer shelf-life, food is:

  • Pasteurized
  • Radiated
  • Gassed
  • Sprayed with chemicals
  • Refrigerated
  • Frozen

Milk that has not been pasteurized lasts only a few days, even refrigerated. Whereas, pasteurized milk lasts for weeks. And ultra-pasteurized milk lasts for months without even being refrigerated!  Many think they may be getting some bacteria in yogurt or cheese. But most dairy products are also heated to prolong their shelf-life.  Canned kimchi and sauerkraut are heated so they contain little or no bacteria.  While there are benefits to decreasing bacteria in food, such as less food poisoning, there is a downside, as well. We don’t get many probiotics anymore.

The bacteria in your colon are like a fingerprint. Your native gut flora have been present since birth. They are uniquely you. They don’t like other bacteria coming in and growing so they usually kick them out.  If you thought you could take a probiotic for a short time to get it to grow inside the colon, guess again!  Probiotics do not become established members of your gut ecosystem. When you stop taking them, their numbers dwindle quickly. That specific probiotic strain level declines and eventually disappears. Within a couple of days to weeks, you’re back to your old self again.

This is why we need a constant supply of good bacteria, or probiotics, from our food.  However, since we don’t get much from food, we often supplement with probiotic pills.  For some people, taking probiotics can make a huge difference in:

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Escaping a Toxic World: Treating and Preventing MCS

Lindsay peeked out of her room and said, “Remember, don’t wear any perfume or put any hairspray in your hair. Anna is chemically sensitive!”

Fifteen years ago I was going to a party with my best friend, Lindsay. The party was at a house specially built-in the countryside for her friend Anna. Anna had what is called multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Just living within city limits triggered symptoms of chronic pain and nausea.

In multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), a person develops markedly negative reactions to everyday chemical exposures. These include exposures to:

  • escaping a toxic worldPesticides in buildings, in gardens, on our food, and on pets
  • Chemical cleaners
  • Petrochemical heating systems
  • Paints
  • Perfumes
  • Industrial emissions
  • A myriad of others chemicals

I’ll never forget wondering what it would be like to never be able to spray on my favorite perfume every day. Little did I know, years later I would understand how toxic perfume could be.

About 7 years ago, I noticed headaches while cuddling up to my husband when he was wearing cologne. I got more headaches when I walked through the perfume section of a department store. Soon, the perfume that I had worn for years was giving me a headache. I even noticed a headache after my mom washed one of my shirts in her scented detergent. All the triggers were pointing toward a chemical sensitivity to synthetic perfumes.

But I’ve often thought of Anna now that I have experienced my own chemical sensitivity. Anna is not an anomaly in her suffering. She is one of nearly 74 million people who suffer from some sort of chemical sensitivity.[1]

It’s likely that you, or someone you know belongs to the millions that experience illness with chemicals. Do you know what is even more alarming? The chronic illness you may be dealing with can be a direct result from these chemical sensitivities. The good news is with simple lifestyle modifications, your illness can disappear. Eliminate the root cause and you can reverse the progress of chemical sensitivity.

Chemical Sensitivity Defined

Multiple chemical sensitivity occurs when there is an adverse reaction to chemicals in the air, food and water. Generally, these chemicals are harmless to the bulk of the population. But when a person becomes increasingly sensitive to a wide variety of chemical substances, a chronic medical condition or state of illness can result. MCS goes by other names as well.[2] Some of these include:

  • Toxic Injury (TI)
  • Toxic Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT)
  • Chemical Injury Syndrome (CS)
  • Environmental Illness (EI)
  • Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI)
  • Gulf War Syndrome

It is rare that someone is born with MCS. This intolerance to multiple chemicals is typically triggered by a trauma, or large exposure to a toxic chemical. Many times this occurs during a home or office renovation without proper ventilation. Other times, on-the-job hazards expose people to these life-changing chemicals.

Though the cause cannot always be clearly defined, researchers have found that it is twice as common in women than in men and typically occurs after the age of 30.[3]

MCS is an illness that is caused by heavy industrialism. Our industries continue to dump wastes into the air, water and food. As a result, a certain number of people get sick from exposure to these chemicals. In a recent study in the U.S., 11.2% of the respondents reported sensitivities to common chemicals… and this number continues to grow![4]

The most common sensitivities in those with MCS include:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Perfumes and fragrances
  • Pesticides
  • Air fresheners
  • Scented soaps
  • New carpet or flooring
  • Fresh paint
  • Chlorine
  • Clothing washed in scented detergent or fabric softener
  • Newsprint
  • Computers, printers, and copiers
  • Common household cleaners
  • And much more (nail polish, moth balls, vinyl plastic, hair spray, etc.)

As you can see, this list is common in nearly every home and workplace! This causes those who suffer from MCS to feel as though they cannot escape their illness. Many choose isolation and, sadly, become hermits inside their safe home environment.

It is important for every person with MCS to try to create as safe and chemical free-living space as possible. Housing may be the single most crucial element in survival and possible improvement for someone with MCS. This cleanup requires learning about everyday toxins and safer alternatives to perfume, cigarette smoke, air fresheners, pesticides and cleaning products to create a pure and chemical-free living space.

Ironically, environmentalist fight for a less toxic atmosphere. Yet, inside our very homes are where we are exposed to the most pollution. Sadly, most people are oblivious to the chemicals that are chipping away at their health and eating away inside their property line.

City dwellers are subject to industrial emissions, vehicle exhausts, toxins used by neighbors such as lawn chemicals, and a myriad of other poisons. Rural dwellers are exposed to farm chemicals that include pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, which are extremely toxic.

You may not see the adverse effects of these toxicants until the often paralyzing symptoms of MCS or a chronic illness results.

Chronic Disease and MCS

The underlying characteristic of MCS is an abnormal or increased capacity to detect chemicals in the environment, primarily through smell and taste.

Because of the trauma from chemical exposure, the central nervous system and immune system are damaged. Simply from overexposure, the nervous system and immune system go into overdrive in someone with MCS. As a result, the brain remains on hyper alert and begins to react to the slightest exposure.

The over-sensitive brain leaves the person susceptible to the smallest whiff, touch or taste of a chemical substance. People can suffer delayed neurological damage that may include disturbances in sensory experience, motor function, speech, sleep, and emotional stability. Often, the symptoms continue to worsen over time leaving people with MCS miserable and without hope.

Typical symptoms of MCS include:

  • typical symptoms of MCSMuscle and joint pain
  • Tiredness, lethargy and fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Memory and cognition impairment
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Visual disturbances
  • Skin irritation (rashes, hives, etc)
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Depression
  • Asthma
  • Gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea)
  • Tachycardia
  • Seizures

Functional Somatic Syndrome

MCS falls into a category of illnesses labeled functional somatic syndrome. Other illnesses in this category include fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. These illnesses often overlap each other and exhibit similar symptoms. It is fairly common that people who have MCS also have either fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue. IBS is another illness that often accompanies MCS.

Many people diagnosed with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia note a decrease in their symptoms when reducing exposure to chemicals. If you or someone you know suffers from one of these illnesses, then follow these steps to decrease MCS. The tips provided here to lowering your exposure to chemicals can improve the pain and fatigue associated with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and IBS.

Lyme Disease

Some have speculated that undiagnosed Lyme disease can be a cause of MCS. It is estimated that over 18 million people in the U.S. have Lyme disease. In most cases, it is not diagnosed. It is a misconception that Lyme is only spread by ticks and identified by a bullseye rash. More than half of those with Lyme never had a bullseye rash. Also, the spirochete (bacteria) behind Lyme disease can spread via fleas, mosquitoes, mites, food and sexual contact.

Lyme can hide in our tissues giving a false negative on the Western blot test.[5] However, science is discovering new and more accurate tests for Lyme disease. If you suffer from MCS, I recommend one of these newer and more accurate testing methods. The iSpot Test is a good example and is more accurate identifying whether or not Lyme is truly the culprit of your MCS.[6]

PTSD

Gulf War Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have a connection to MCS, as well. In 1990, 700,000 went to war and 250,000 came home with chronic illness. Even the CDC established a connection between sick Gulf War veterans and chemical sensitivities.[7]

These veterans were exposed to a plethora of toxic chemicals in pesticides, vaccines, anti-nerve gas pills and much more. Unfortunately, these symptoms did not end with the Gulf War. Servicemen continue to be exposed to toxic chemicals while on deployment.

Research has suggested a common etiology between post traumatic stress disorder and multiple chemical sensitivity, as well.[8] PTSD is a debilitating condition that follows a traumatic event. While not everyone with MCS has PTSD, some most certainly do. The ability to cope with trauma therapy and achieve positive outcomes is low, until the mind-body and environmental stress load is reduced. These two illnesses overlap often enough that researchers are suggesting further study into common causes.

Detoxifying your Home Life

how to detox your home lifeIt is imperative that if you have any symptoms of MCS, that you immediately incorporate methods of chemical reduction into your life and home.

Even if you don’t suffer from MCS, lowering your toxic exposure in your environment can still dramatically improve your health. Chemical sensitivities often mimic or induce other illnesses. You could currently be suffering from migraines, dizzy spells or joint pain and have no idea that chemical sensitivity is to blame.

Reducing toxic exposure is beneficial for everyone, from infants to the elderly. Even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is thought to be the result of accidental poisoning due to toxic gases released from baby mattresses.[9]

It is never too early, nor too late to start reducing the chemicals in your home! After all, home is where your health is!

When I first started experiencing headaches from synthetic fragrances, I took dramatic steps in lowering chemical exposure in my home for my own safe and the safety of my family. I began to eliminate excess chemicals in my body care, detergents, and household cleaners long before I ever manifested severe multiple chemical sensitivity symptoms. I’ve found in lowering my exposure to chemicals that I’ve never needed to sacrifice cleaning power, pleasant scents, or even taste!

If you look closely, you will be surprised how toxic your home truly is. MCS inducing chemicals hide out in everything from your household cleaners to the mattress you sleep on! Below are the 5 most important things in your home that need to be replaced in order to detoxify your life and bring about a new sense of health and well-being!

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Adrenal Fatigue: Tired All The Time?

“I’m in bed and I can’t get up.”

If this sounds like you, then read further.

  • Are you experiencing stress related adrenal fatigue?
  • Are you tired for no reason?
  • Having trouble getting up in the morning?
  • Need coffee, colas, energy drinks, sodas, salty or sweet snacks to keep going?
  • Feeling run down and stressed?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue occurs when adrenal gland function becomes less than optimal—usually as a result of stress. An estimated 80% of people experience adrenal fatigue and the physical symptoms of stress at some point in their lives, yet it is frequently overlooked and misunderstood by the medical community. It is not the same as Addison’s disease.

In 1998, Dr. James L. Wilson coined the term “adrenal fatigue” to identify a specific kind of chronic tiredness that many people experience. It can affect anyone who undergoes frequent, persistent or severe mental, emotional or physical stress.

Adrenal function can also be an important factor in health issues ranging from allergies to obesity. Since the major job of the adrenal glands is to respond to perceived threats (stress), when it is assaulted with inordinate amounts of stress over a long period of time, it begins to secrete stress hormones, causing suppression of the immune system and a slowing down of metabolism making you more vulnerable to allergic reactions and weight gain.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenal glands are tiny organs that rest on top of each kidney. Despite their small size, the adrenal glands play an important role in the body, producing numerous hormones that impact our development and growth, affect our ability to deal with stress and help to regulate kidney function.

The adrenal glands are comprised of two parts–the cortex and medulla–that produce hormones (chemicals messengers that regulate body functions). The medulla, or inner part of the adrenal glands, produces the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine, which regulate the “fight or flight” response in the body, the body’s reaction to stressful events. The cortex, the outer portion of the adrenal glands, produces several hormones that affect blood pressure, blood sugar levels, water balance, growth, as well as some sexual characteristics.

With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected as the functions of growth, metabolism, regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, kidney function and hormone production are compromised.

Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue. Your body does its best to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.

This syndrome has been known by many other names throughout the past century, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, adrenal apathy and adrenal fatigue. Although it affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is produced when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress. The adrenal glands mobilize your body’s responses to every kind of stress (whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress.

Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond to the stress and maintain homeostasis. If their response is inadequate, you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue.

During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not well enough to maintain optimal homeostasis because their output of regulatory adrenal hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation. Over-stimulation of your adrenals can be caused either by a very intense single stress, or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.

Who Is Susceptible To Adrenal Fatigue?

Anyone can experience adrenal fatigue at some time in his or her life. An illness, a life crisis, or a continuing difficult situation can drain the adrenal resources of even the healthiest person. However, there are factors that can make you more susceptible to adrenal fatigue. These include:

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