Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common GI disorder impacting roughly 1 in 5 Canadians, with our incidence rate being one of the highest in the world (18% vs 11% globally). However, despite its high prevalence, health care costs and impacts on people's quality of life, our understanding of the true ‘root cause’ of IBS is limited. It often occurs in association with gut infections (often referred to as post-infectious IBS), bacterial overgrowths (also known as SIBO), or heightened stress (people exposed to stressful events, especially in childhood, tend to have more symptoms of IBS). Fortunately, outside of impacts on quality of life, the good news is IBS doesn't cause changes in bowel tissue or increase the risks of colorectal cancer.
Histamine intolerance symptoms are experienced by many people, although it still remains relatively misunderstood (that being said - research on the topic is quickly expanding). Its severity ranges from more severe IgE-mediated symptoms to milder intolerances to fermented or aged foods containing high histamine levels.
Here, we’ll examine more about this condition, its causes, and what you can do to alleviate symptoms.
Allergies form when the immune system improperly identifies an otherwise harmless molecule like a dust particle or pollen as a danger, mounting an immune response and producing the symptoms we’ve come to recognize as ‘allergies”.
SIBO, short for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, affects thousands of Americans every year. Much like the name suggests, it’s a disorder caused by the presence of otherwise normal colonic flora growing in the wrong location - your small intestines. Issues arise when the gasses produced by this flora impact the small intestine’s enteric nervous system, resulting in changes in movement and increased sensitivity to pain, among other concerns like gas and bloating.
Insulin is a metabolic hormone that plays a valuable role in helping the body utilize sugar as fuel, and is, therefore, a key hormone in the regulation of our body weight.
The body breaks down and absorbs glucose (aka sugar) through our intestinal walls and into our bloodstream, commonly referred to as our ‘blood sugar’. From there, the glucose moves into our extracellular fluid to be burned as energy within our cell or stored for future needs in the form of adipose tissue, or ‘fat’. When our blood sugar rises after consuming glucose, our bodies also signal the release of insulin, which is the key hormone to ‘unlock’ the cell and allow the glucose to enter and be utilized as fuel. However, for some individuals, the cells begin to resist the reception of insulin, commonly referred to as insulin resistance. In this circumstance, the pancreas produces the insulin, but the cells do not respond, often triggering more insulin release, but also funnels the glucose towards storage instead of burning ... which = fatigue + weight gain.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder worldwide, affecting more than 5 million Canadians each year (that's 1 in every 6 people). It includes symptoms such as indigestion, bloating, excessive gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea. However, a proper diet is one of the ways IBS can be managed. A common strategy has always been to incorporate ‘healthy’ food and avoid the ones that worsen the symptoms, however, some are surprised to find out that a food rice in fruits and vegetables can sometimes actually make symptoms worse. This is where we look at something called the low FODMAP diet, which has been clinically proven to help ¾ of IBS sufferers. Let’s learn more.
Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland resulting in an overproduction of thyroid hormone and is named after Robert Grave, an Irish doctor who described this thyrotoxicosis in 1835. The thyroid, being an endocrine gland that sits at the base on the neck, produces two important thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which help us manage things like sleep, appetite, metabolism, energy, and heart rate.
Can Pre- and Probiotics supplements actually improve gut health?
Research and my clinic experience say yes. Probiotics have been proven to be helpful in several conditions, such as irritable bowel, yeast infections, weaken immune function, and even weight loss. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all', so choosing the right probiotic can be a tricky task. You have to first ask yourself ‘what are you looking to achieve?’. If you’re looking to improve digestive health, such as gas, bloating and irregular stools, look for a probiotic that's rich in bifidobacteria, such as b. animalis and b. infantis. For repeat yeast infections and urogenital health, you’re better off with lactobacillus species, such as l. acidophilus, l. rhamnosus and l. reuteri. Furthermore, some probiotic strains are not seen in the human microbiome but have been shown to prevent traveller's diarrhea or antibiotic-associated diarrhea, such as s. boulardii.
The Ketogenic diet is an extremely popular diet amongst the weight loss community. Originally brought to light for its promising research in epilepsy management, it quickly became a hopeful solution for those looking to quickly shed pounds without massive caloric restrictions. But like any trend, we must weigh all the pros and cons, while simultaneously accounting for the long-term impacts on our health.
First off, let's break down what the ketogenic diet actually involves. The premises of the diet focuses on reducing carbohydrates to force the body into an anabolic (breakdown) state, known as ketogenesis. Ketogenesis is a metabolic process our bodies enter into when sources of glucose (both dietary and stored) cannot keep us with metabolic needs, forcing the body to produce ketone bodies from adipose tissue (aka fat) to use for energy in place of sugar. As you can imagine, this is favourable for weight loss for several reasons. In addition to fat now being used as fuel, the blood sugar staying so low sharply drops insulin secretion, which further reduces the stimulus for fat and sugar storage. As long as the body remains deprived of carbohydrates, ketosis is sustained and weight loss continues. There’s also the concept of something called ‘super fuel’, meaning ketone bodies produce more usable ATP molecules (aka energy) to the heart, muscles, and brain than glucose, resulting in the additional energy and mental focus many people report while in ketosis.1
The gut is home to a wide array of microbiota that influences various interactions within our bodies. These microbes also regulate gut functioning, digestive processes, absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, and so on. When the gut is not functioning correctly, our bodies suffer. Long-term effects of an unhealthy gut include increasing the risks of metabolic problems, depression, obesity, cancer, autoimmunity, liver disease, ulcers, heart disease, and other illnesses and health problems.
Of particular interest is the Paleo diet, which restricts the consumption of all grains (bread, rice, pasta, cereals, quinoa, etc) including whole grains, as well as legumes. The most notable limit of this diet is the loss of soluble and insoluble fibers found within these foods. Let’s explore this important nutrient first.
The thyroid is responsible for producing various hormones in the body that help regulate metabolism and provide support for other bodily systems, like the immune system and cardiovascular system.
Thyroid hormones help improve the absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat. They assist with gut motility. They regulate our appetites. Additionally, these hormones help boost our basal metabolic rate to burn calories. Other functions of thyroid hormones include helping metabolize glucose and break down fats.
Cruciferous vegetables consist of a wide range of vegetables that contain glucosinolates or goitrogeris – a sulfur compound found in kale, broccoli, arugula, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, and other vegetables. People with thyroid problems, such as low functioning or autoimmune disorders are typically advised to avoid cruciferous vegetables due to their ‘goitrogenic’ effect.
© 2018 Courtney Holmberg ND. All rights reserved. Dr. Courtney Holmberg, ND does not endorse or have professional affiliation with any discussed supplement or lab companies. All material provided is for general education and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to assist in diagnosing to treating a medical condition. Legal & Medical Disclaimer, sitemap