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Gut Health & Your Liver

Uncategorized May 19, 2021

Your liver is not one of your main digestive organs - in my opinion those are the stomach, the GB, the pancreas & the intestines. However, it does interact directly with your gut and therefore it deserves our attention.

Problems in the liver can mean problems in the gut and vice versa.

The main way that the liver interacts with your digestion is via the production of bile. Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder.

Bile is necessary for fat digestion. This is why many people with Liver/Gallbladder issues have a difficult time digesting fatty foods. Another symptom of this that is not talked about as much is fat in the stool - which can be tested with stool tests or assumed if stool floats.

So role #1 that liver plays in gut health is in fat digestion.

The second role that liver plays in gut health, and overall body health, is in detoxification.

I want to clarify before I dive into detox that I am talking about your body’s natural detox mechanisms. The...

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If you think you have leaky gut, read this...

Uncategorized May 12, 2021

I’ve been talking a lot about leaky gut this week because it’s something that a lot of my patients have been bringing up in their appointments.

I think this is because leaky gut has been popping up a lot on social media and in articles, podcasts, etc.

I love that leaky gut is being brought into awareness because it’s a really important topic. And I think it’s something that affects a lot more people than realize it.

But I think there is some misinformation, so I wanted to talk about it.

If you want a good background post on leaky gut check out THIS blog post.

So we’re all on the same page let’s define leaky gut:

  • Essentially your intestinal lining is “semi-permeable” it allows small particles through but blocks bigger things like undigested food & pathogens
  • When the intestinal lining gets damaged the permeability increases. This means it may let in larger food particles & pathogens like bad bacteria
    • These things then enter...
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Gut Health & Your Period

Uncategorized May 05, 2021

Let's start with some education so that we’re all on the same page. Your menstrual cycle is divided into 2 phases:

  • Follicular: day 1-14, estrogen is highest
  • Luteal: day 15-28, progesterone is highest

 

Ovulation marks the switch from follicular into luteal. And your period - ie. first day of bleeding - marks day 1 of your menstrual cycle.

This is important to note because your gut reacts differently to these different fluctuations in hormones.

 

The Period

Let’s start from the beginning.

At the start of your period there is a drop in progesterone as you move out of the luteal phase.

There is also an increase in prostglandins. Prostaglandins are not hormones but have hormone-like effects. They are released during your period to stimulate your uterus to shed it’s lining.

They can also have a stimulating effect in the gut.

The combination of decreased progesterone + increase in prostaglandins can cause loose stool.

The effect seems to be heightened...

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Testing Your Gut

Uncategorized Apr 27, 2021

Today I wanted to talk about different testing options to learn more about the health of your gut or for figuring out the root cause of what is causing your digestive issues.

I love using testing in my practice because it gives us a view into your body that we wouldn’t otherwise get. I see a lot of the same things popping up in practice over and over again and your unique symptoms can definitely give us a lot of information but testing can take some of the guesswork out of treatment plans.

I love to use testing when I first start working with my patients because it gives us unique insight as to what is going on before we start treating. It gives us a baseline. It also can give us a good idea where we should start. For example if you have an infection or overgrowth that is most likely where we would need to start. Even if we fix the gut in other ways there is a good chance you won’t get much symptom resolution unless we get rid of the bad bugs.


Testing Options

There are...

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5 Myths About IBS

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2021

I want to share my responses to some of the most common myths that I hear my patients or friends & family talk about in relation to IBS.


IBS IS A DIAGNOSIS

IBS is not a diagnosis it is a collection of symptoms. The tag IBS is given to people who share a collection of symptoms.

The term diagnosis literally means the “identification of the nature of an illness”. Giving someone the IBS classification does not tell us anything about the cause of their symptoms, it just tells us they have a set pattern of symptoms.

There is something called the Rome Criteria for diagnosing IBS. But I would argue to say that these criteria just allow people to be lumped into the IBS category, again not telling us anything about the cause of illness.

The current Rome Criteria state to be given the IBS tag you must have abdominal pain at least 1d per week for 3 months and also have 2 or more of pain related to defecation, change in stool frequency, and/or change in stool form or...

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Do You Have Low Stomach Acid?

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2021

Let’s talk about low stomach acid. It’s something that you should consider if you have acid reflux, SIBO, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, or other chronic gut issues.

What is low stomach acid?

First off, what am I even talking about when I say low stomach acid?

  • Your stomach is a very acidic environment. It is acidic because of the hydrochloric acid that is released into it.

  • If you remember learning about the pH scale in school it goes from 0-14 with 0 being very acidic and 14 being alkaline

    • Your stomach should sit between a 1 and a 3

Stomach acid is released both when your body anticipates a meal and also once food enters the stomach. We need stomach acid for proper digestion - especially digestion of protein.

Low stomach acid is a bit confusing because it’s actually when the pH of the stomach is too high. But essentially low stomach acid happens when there is not enough acid being released in your stomach and the result of that is your is less...

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Why do I have heartburn?

Uncategorized Feb 04, 2021

Let’s talk about heartburn today. It’s something that most of us have experienced once or twice. And for those that have it more often than that, you know that it sucks. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, you often don’t know why it’s happening, and sometimes it feels like it will never go away.

What is heartburn?

First let’s get the language straight. There are 3 terms that are often used interchangeably - heartburn, acid reflux & GERD.

  • Acid reflux is what’s happening (ie. the acid is backing up into the esophagus)

  • Heartburn is the symptom that you experience because of acid reflux

  • And GERD is what happens when you have chronic acid reflux and you start getting other complications like pain in your throat, a cough, or dental problems.

And just in case there is anyone wondering… Heartburn doesn’t have anything to do with your heart it’s just named that because most people feel their reflux symptoms under the...

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The Low FODMAP Diet

Uncategorized Dec 11, 2020

Is the low FODMAP diet a good solution for digestive issues?

Wondering what the heck it is? Let’s start there.

What is the low FODMAP diet?

FODMAP stands for - fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These fun things are all carbohydrates. So following a low FODMAP diet means reducing the amount of these carbohydrates in your diet.

The list of foods that contain FODMAPs is quite extensive. As a general guide FODMAPs are found in certain fruits & vegetables, dairy and legumes.

Why would you follow a low FODMAP diet?

Good question. It doesn’t sound very fun, right?

FODMAPs are easily fermentable by bacteria in your gut. This means they are used as a food source by your gut bacteria. In a person with a healthy gut this is a good thing. However, in a person with an overgrowth of bacteria in their gut these easily fermentable carbohydrates can exacerbate symptoms like gas, bloating & pain.

So, by reducing FODMAPs you reduce the...

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Gut Health & Supplements

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2020

Let’s talk about gut health and supplements.

I’ve been noticing a trend in my practice. When people have something wrong with their gut the first thing they do is switch something in their diet and if that doesn’t work the next step is to go to the health food store to get some sort of digestive supplement.

While there is nothing wrong with this per se, the problem doesn’t usually get fixed by the supplement.

Why? Because the root cause of the problem is not being addressed.

Today I wanted to talk about two of the most common digestive supplements - digestive enzymes & probiotics - and when they can be helpful or hurtful.

Digestive Enzymes

A digestive enzyme is a supplement that contains enzymes necessary for the digestive process. These enzymes can be sourced from either plants or animals. They mimic the natural enzymes released by your stomach and small intestine for digestion.

They usually contain a mixture of enzymes to digest fats, proteins and...

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Constipation

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2020

Let’s talk about constipation.

It’s not the most glamorous conversation. This is one of the reasons I want to talk about it - not enough people do! Not enough people are talking about their bowel movements and how often they’re happening.

Infrequent bowel movements are not normal - even if it’s been “your normal” for your whole life.

What is constipation?

According to Western medicine, constipation is defined as three or fewer bowel movements per week.

According to me, constipation is defined as fewer than one bowel movement per day. My definition also takes into account the type of bowel movement that you are having - is it difficult to pass, are you straining, is it hard & in pieces? If you answered yes to any of these things there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

What causes constipation?

Short answer - a lot of things cause constipation. A lot of these things can be lumped into larger categories though, so let’s start there.

...
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