Michigan weather can certainly be unpredictable. In the past two days we've seen record snowfall here in Grand Rapids and it's not even Thanksgiving yet. But there is good news! If the weather gets bad and you can't get here for your appointment I do offer appointments by phone and by Skype.
Sometimes it is helpful to be able to see someone in person but most of the time, taking an in depth case study and health history is enough to get a good idea of what someone's health issues are.
Don't have a Naturopath or GAPS Practitioner where you live?
If you live out of town or even in another state I'm still happy to help. My new client intake forms can be emailed right to you. Just fill them out and fax, email or mail them back before you set up your appointment.
Unfortunately, at this time we can't do mail orders for product from Elder & Sage but we do have affiliate links on our products page for Nature's Sunshine Products and Natren Probiotics so you can order online and have it delivered directly to your door. Coming soon we'll also have an affiliate link for Green Pasture's fermented cod liver oil and other products.
I'm continuing to work on making everything we do here at Elder & Sage as internet friendly as possible. If you have any ideas or suggestions I'd love to hear them! See you on the web!
To Your Health!
Could simple exercises that train your brain actually improve your gut health? The answer is a definite "yes" according to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MNeuroSc, author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working? and a new book coming soon called Gluten, Leaky Gut and Autoimmunity.
In a recent interview with Sean Croxton from Underground Wellness as a part of his Digestion Session series still going on this week Dr. Kharrazian talked about the brain-gut axis, not to be confused with the gut-brain axis.
“One of the most neglected things that I think most practitioner’s don’t understand, whether they’re conventional or alternative, is that there’s this brain-to-gut axis.”
Dr. Kharrazian explains that some of what we may assume to be traditional gut disorders may in fact be a type of neuro-degenerative disease that starts in the gut. And the way to determine if a digestive disorder is brain-based is to look for motility issues.
“Motility means how you move foods; when you eat something and how you have a bowel movement.” says Dr. Kharrazian. “Do you have constipation, do you have to drink coffee to have a bowel movement, do you have to take magnesium or some kind of laxative to have regular bowel movements? If you do, that could very well be a brain-to-gut axis issue.”
Slow motility then becomes the trigger for chronic digestive issues such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), H. Pylori infections, Intestinal Permeability and eventually auto-immune disorders.
You can have your doctor check for whether or not you have a motility problem or you can check yourself by two simple methods:
Gargling - Gargling with water stimulates the vagus nerve which helps bring blood flow to the gut. Dr. Kharrazian suggests gargling forcefully with water several times a day. If you’re doing it right, he says, you may even start to have tears come to your eyes. This is because it also stimulates an area of the brain right next to the vagus nerve called the the superior salivatory nucleus, which causes you to tear. You may need to start with a small amount of water and gargle for a short period of time but slowly building up the duration and intensity will exercise those neurons and strengthen them.
Induce Your Gag Reflex - Using disposable tongue depressors, press on the the back of your tongue just enough to induce your gag reflex. Be careful not to go too far into the back of the throat to cause injury. Stimulating the gag reflex may also cause you to tear up which is once again a sign that you have stimulated your vagus nerve.
Coffee Enema - Most people who have heard of coffee enemas will know that they are used for detoxification. But Dr. Kharrazian suggests using a strong coffee enema daily so the caffeine in the coffee will stimulate something called the gastrointestinal nicotinic cholinergic receptors which encourage gut motility. If you are using a strong enough concentration of caffeine you should get the urge to have a bowel movement. Then he says you need to suppress your urge to eliminate for as long as possible.
“As they suppress their urge they’re firing their frontopontine vagal enteric axis. If they keep doing that, they build endurance and they start to regain their brain-gut axis.”
Sing - Another way to stimulate the vagal muscles at the back of the throat is to sing really loudly, which is probably the easiest and most fun of all the other suggestions!
If you are interested in learning more about what the top experts in digestive health recommend, I suggest you check out the Digestion Sessions. I’m learning so much and I’m excited to be able to pass some of this info on to you!
To Your Health!
I really hate it when I find out that something I was taught, something I believed to be true, and something that I have passed on to others turns out to be wrong. It's not fun to be wrong. So, I want to pass on my new discovery to you so we can dispel this myth and hopefully move on. Are you ready?
The liver/gallbladder flush does NOT get rid of gallstones.
Bummer right? I know. So all those times that I forced myself to gag down those 9 ounces of salad dressing were for nothing. I'm a little depressed right now.
If you're not familiar with what I'm talking about the Liver/Gallbladder flush is a recipe designed to flush the liver and gallbladder to remove stones and cleanse the liver. There are many different versions but the one I'm most familiar with includes 3 ounces of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 3 ounces of extra virgin olive oil, and 3 ounces of grapefruit or pineapple juice blended together. You are supposed to drink this concoction every morning for five days in a row. Then you wait a month and do five more days, wait another month and five more days often trying to coincide the flush with the waning moon cycle for "added effectiveness".
Now to be fair grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice and olive oil can all be excellent for your liver, digestion and general health when consumed on a regular basis. But there really is no need to force down 9 ounces of it all at once. Those who have tried it report seeing something like this in their stool:
Wow those little round green pebbles must be gallstones right? Success!
But no. This is olive oil soap.
"Analysis of one group of passed “gallstones” revealed they consisted of 75-percent fatty acids and contained no cholesterol, bilirubin, or calcium. Further experimentation suggested the spheroids were “soap stones,” created by the interaction of digestive enzymes with certain components of olive oil and lemon juice."
So yeah, those little stones are created by the interaction between the olive oil, lemon juice and your own enzymes. Not from your gallbladder releasing gallstones.
These are gallstones:
And it turns out its not quite that easy to get rid of them. If your feeling a little chagrined right now don't feel too bad. This recipe has been around a long time and many herbalists and natural health advocates have been using it for decades. Some people have even reported benefits from using this therapy such as a reduction in pain and indigestion so apparently they are either just deluding themselves or it does still work, just not in the way we thought it did.
There are a couple of natural ways to get rid of gallstones and cleanse the liver that might be a little easier to swallow (pun intended). It may be a little less impressive than those bright green pebbles but as long as you are okay with that you might want to give one of these a try instead:
Choleretics and Cholagogues - These are herbs that increase the production and flow of bile such as barberry (Berberis vulgaris), burdock (Arctium lappa), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), goldenseal (Hydrastic canadensis), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium). Taking one of these herbs as a supplement for 30-60 days may improve liver function and reduce stones.
Terpenes - Terpenes are organic compounds found in the essential oils of most plants. Terpenes have been shown to keep crystals from forming in the gallbladder and may even dissolve existing stones. Menthol is a terpene from peppermint (Mentha x piperita) that has been studied for its effects on gallstones. Enteric coated peppermint oil may be a useful application for this though caution should be used.
Sorry to burst anyone's bubble but natural health practitioners come under enough criticism as it is. We don't need to keep perpetuating ideas when they have been proven to be false. So I won't be recommending this anymore and I hope the word gets out there before anyone else has their appetite for homemade salad dressing ruined.
Ugh, just smelling it makes me shudder.
To Your Health,
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.