Environmental Toxins and Gut Microbiome

Can Environmental Toxins, Like Glyphosate, Affect Our Gut Microbiome?

Glyphosate, a weedkiller also known as Roundup, has made many headlines in the past year.
It was named a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015 by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. And shockingly, levels found in the human bloodstream have increased by more than 1,000% in the last two decades.

Now, more recent research is pointing to the negative effects that glyphosate has on our gut microbiome.

So, what is glyphosate exactly?

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weedkiller, Roundup. It is used to kill weeds that interfere with agricultural crops like soy, canola, corn, and wheat.

What is the gut microbiome?

The gut microbiome may be one of the most complex biological systems on Earth. It contains trillions of microbes and bacteria and is the entire system of organs that is in charge of digestion, removing waste from your body, and taking in energy and nutrients.

Research suggests that when the gut microbiome is in balance, it may prevent and treat many common diseases.

And alternatively, when the gut is out of balance it can be linked to dozens of chronic diseases, potentially being the origin point of dis-ease. The gut has a direct effect on our body’s inflammation, immune system, brain health, hormonal balance, and even skin. Studies show that obesity, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression all have been linked to an imbalance of the gut microbiome (and this is an incomplete list!).

Environmental toxins like Glyphosate can affect our Gut Microbiome
Image: Getty Images

How do environmental toxins impact our gut health?

Pesticides and other toxic chemicals, like glyphosate, can make their way from our food, into our mouths and into our gut. Anything we put in our mouths will impact the health of our gut, negatively or positively. For example, an organic vegetable may provide the necessary nutrients and fiber, called prebiotics, to help our gut microbes thrive. But, lace that vegetable with a toxin like glyphosate, and this healthy produce is no longer a source of just nutrients and fiber – it’s now also a vehicle for a harmful toxin.

In a 2018 study, rats were exposed to what was considered “safe” doses of glyphosate in their drinking water, over a 13-week period. The study “provided initial evidence that exposures to glyphosate, at doses considered safe, are capable of modifying the gut microbiota and warrant future studies on potential health effects of Glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Glyphosate and Leaky Gut

Glyphosate and other pesticides are also thought to increase intestinal permeability, commonly known as “leaky gut”, by irritating the gut lining. Leaky gut develops when the intestinal lining is damaged, allowing for undigested food and toxins to leak into your bloodstream, causing an immune reaction.

What symptoms should I look out for to know if my gut is imbalanced?

If there is one thing you should know, it’s that it is possible to feel well 100% of the time! As stated earlier, a lot of chronic dis-ease begins in the gut! If you have any of these symptoms, it might be attributed to an imbalance in the gut:

  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation or bloating
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness, anxiety, depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Skin problems like acne, rash, eczema
  • Joint pain

Tips to avoid environmental toxin exposure

While you might not be able to eliminate exposure of pesticides and glyphosate 100% of the time, there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure risk:

  1. Read your labels and choose foods that aren’t genetically engineered. Genetically modified crops are typically sprayed heavily with pesticides and glyphosate. So, choosing foods that aren’t genetically engineered is a simple way to avoid unnecessary exposure to this chemical. You can find labels on foods that let you know if they are genetically engineered or not. Labels to look for could be, “Partially produced with genetic engineering”. Alternatively, the label “No genetically engineered ingredients” suggests that there are no GMOs in the product. Not every single brand uses these labels, so it’s hard to tell 100% of the time, but you can start to remove extra known sources of these foods by simply reading the label.
  2. Buy organic when you can. Pesticides are never sprayed on organic crops. So you can try to buy as much organic food as possible. The good news is that you don’t have to buy 100% organic all the time. The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals & pollutants and corporate accountability, releases their “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” Food lists every year.
    Fruits and Vegetables that have the highest amount of harmful pesticides are on the “Dirty Dozen” list . Foods that have the lowest amount of harmful pesticides are on the “Clean Fifteen” list. Focus your attention on buying organic from the Dirty Dozen list to lower your exposure to pesticides and glyphosate. And you can buy conventional fruits and vegetables from the Clean Fifteen list without worrying about toxic exposure. Keep this list handy for reference.
    Additionally, many carbohydrate-type crops are most likely sprayed with glyphosate like wheat, oats, soybeans, corn and rye. Most recently it was discovered that some hummus (chickpea) brands contain high levels of glyphosate. Knowing which crops might be contaminated and can help you choose which to buy organic as well.
    A study done by Environmental Health News showed that levels of glyphosate fell by more than 70 percent in both children and adults, with reductions seen after just three days after switching to an all organic diet.
  3. Support Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Organic Food Co-Ops. CSA’s in New York are a great way to obtain high-quality organic foods from ethical farmers. If you are in New York, I like Local Roots, but you can find a full list of CSAs here. An added bonus of buying organic produce from your local farmer, you are working to maintain a healthy environment, a vibrant community, and a strong and sustainable local economy for you and your kids to thrive in.

Being Realistic

It might be completely impossible to avoid toxic chemicals like glyphosate 100% of the time, so making small changes and buying organic when you can to minimize your risk can be very helpful. If you are exposed to glyphosate and other pesticides, make sure to keep your microbiome in the best shape possible by eating a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, reducing processed foods and seed oils, and taking high-quality probiotics.

Next step

If you need help to stabilize and reverse chronic medical conditions including a variety of illnesses related to gut health, look for a certified functional medicine practitioner here. Or simply call our practice at 212-696-HEAL. In our practice, we test for glyphosates and recommend treatment protocols to detoxify you from glyphosate and toxicants alike. We also prescribe treatments to stabilize and enrich healthy beneficial microbes in your gut with nutrition and food like supplements. Feel free to call our office to schedule a consultation with Elena Klimenko, MD IFMCP at 212 696 4325.

ChronoBiology - Understanding Chronotype Circadian Rhythms

Understanding Chronotype May Address Underlying Causes of Chronic Conditions

When you think about how to achieve optimal health, it’s most likely you think about what nutrients to eat and what foods you might avoid, how many hours of sleep to get each night, how much water to drink and how much exercise you should try to achieve in a week. All extremely important lifestyle factors to consider in our quest for a healthy body.

However, there is an emerging field of functional medicine research that specifically addresses, not the what or how much, but the when – the timing of when to sleep, when to eat and when to exercise, to name a few – on the impact of human disease to help inform and improve medical treatment.

Chronobiology

Chronobiology is a study of biologic rhythms that follow a daily or ~24 hour cycle. Most of us are familiar with the circadian rhythm, our internal biological clock, responsible for sleeping at night and being awake during the day. These biological rhythms influence our sleep-wake cycles, eating habits and digestion, body temperature, and other metabolic processes.

Studies suggest that disruptions in the circadian-system (like watching a movie late at night, working late) have been linked to sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder and various chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, obesity, diabetes, and mood disorders.

Researchers are taking a closer look at other rhythms of the human body as it impacts health outcomes: timing of eating and meal schedules, when to exercise, and even when we should be taking our medications.

For example, “results from a 2019 study regarding eating times and mood disorders indicated that of the 1,304 study participants, those who reported skipped or delayed breakfasts were more likely to experience a mood disorder compared to those with a regular schedule of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

And “Human and animal-based studies suggest circadian rhythms influence cardiovascular function and diseases, and may also offer an avenue for disease prevention and treatment. In 2019, a study of over 19,000 patients with hypertension found that those who took their medication at bedtime rather than upon awakening had better ambulatory blood pressure and lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).”

Considering the developing research of medical chronobiology and circadian rhythms, offer additional root cause reasons and tools to glean insights into achieving individualized optimal health and wellness. Understanding your own personal chronotype may help address the underlying causes of chronic conditions and assist in the optimization of treatments and lifestyle interventions. Considering the developing research of medical chronobiology and circadian rhythms, offer additional root cause reasons and tools to gleam insights into achieving individualized optimal health and wellness. Understanding your own personal chronotype may help address underlying causes of chronic conditions and assist in the optimization of treatments and lifestyle interventions.

Credits:

Erin D’Elia Assenza, Health Coach at Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Medical Practice

 

 

Stress Anxiety and Insomnia during the COVID-19

Webinar: Stress, Anxiety, and Insomnia during the COVID-19

Join Dr. Elena Klimenko, a functional and integrative medicine doctor, for a discussion on psychological issues during this current health crisis in our country and around the globe.

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about the disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children.

Because of the big wave of questions regarding anxiety, stress control, and insomnia, we decided to guide you on how to manage your anxiety, stress, and insomnia during this unprecedented time.

Watch free webinar
“Stress, Anxiety, and Insomnia
during the COVID-19″
presented by Dr. Elena Klimenko, MD, IFMCP

 

LIVE MEDITATION
led by Erin Assenza
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

https://youtu.be/8evTbq3eUkA

Immune Support for Lungs Health webinar

Webinar “Immune Support for Your Lungs Health”

Join Dr. Elena Klimenko, a functional medicine doctor, for a discussion on respiratory health, diving deep into the details of respiratory infections, especially in the time of COVID-19.

Learn the ways our respiratory system is affected (i.e. seasonal allergies, home pollutants, diet, environment, etc.), along with what we can do to support our respiratory health overall.

Watch free webinar

“Immune Support for Your Lungs Health”
By Dr. Klimenko

Password: Wellness2020

“Immune Support for Your Lungs Health” webinar
boost your immune system to fight coronavirus

4 Tips To Boost Your Immunity So You Can Reduce The Chances Of Getting The Coronavirus Infection

Don’t Panic! Our very own Dr. Elena Klimenko did a Facebook Live video at the Well, answering questions about the Novel Coronavirus and how to reduce the chances of getting the infection.

You can watch the full video here:

The Coronavirus is a family of viruses that most Americans have been exposed to in the past.

However, this Novel Coronavirus, Covid-19, is more virulent than what we are used to and spreads pretty quickly. Symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, body aches, runny nose and in worse cases, an upper respiratory infection.

Generally, only cases that go deeper into the respiratory tract will be seen by professionals.

To keep yourself from getting to that point, you must boost your immunity, keep your immune barriers strong and take the following necessary steps for general prevention.

By taking the necessary steps listed below, the likelihood of getting the virus (or any virus for that matter!) is low:

  1. Wash Your Hands. For at least 20 seconds at a time, several times a day, especially after touching anything that might have been exposed (doorknobs, shopping carts, subway poles, etc). Make sure to get under your fingernails as well.
  2. Wash out your nasal orifices. You can also use a normal saline nasal spray to flush mucus membranes 2-3 times/day to reduce exposure to the virus.
  3. Get good sleep! To keep your immune system strong, you must prioritize 7-8 hours of uninterrupted deep sleep.
  4. Take these supplements to support your immune system.
    If you are running low, you can order them from our office at 212-696-4325.

a. Vitamin D – Your Vitamin D levels should be between 50-80.
b. Vitamin A
c. Herbs like Echinacea, Andrographis and Elderberry
d. Homeopathic Silver and Homeopathic Oscillococcinum

If you are feeling sick, we recommend you stay at home to help stop the spread of any virus.
If you must leave your house for any reason, using a surgical mask can prevent you from spreading germs and keep your community safe.

Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO Small intestinal overgrowth

Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO

Small intestinal overgrowth (SIBO) is a common gut health issue characterized by bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. It is normally diagnosed through a breath test identifying hydrogen or methane produced by the overgrown bacteria. The problem is that this breath test is unable to detect a less talked about form of small intestinal overgrowth, hydrogen sulfide SIBO.

The good news is that working with a functional medicine practitioner, you can find out if your symptoms are due to hydrogen sulfide SIBO and if so, treat it naturally through a low-sulfate diet.

In this article, you will learn what SIBO and hydrogen SIBO are. You will learn how they are different, what are their symptoms, and how to diagnose them. I will explain why a low-sulfur diet is the best solution for hydrogen sulfide SIBO and how to follow a low-sulfur food plan.

You will also understand how working with a functional medicine doctor, like myself, can help you overcome hydrogen sulfide SIBO.

What Is SIBO

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a gut health condition that affects the small intestine. It happens when certain bacteria, normally grown in other areas of your gut, start growing in your small intestine leading to overgrowth.

Symptoms of SIBO

If you have SIBO, there are a variety of symptoms you may experience. These SIBO symptoms may include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Cramps
  • Feeling of fullness and quick satiety
  • Weight loss

What Is Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO

If your doctor is suspecting SIBO after going through your symptoms, health history and performing a physical exam, she or he will use a breath test that can detect hydrogen and methane in your breath. Since excess bacteria in your small intestine can lead to the release of these gases, this certainly makes sense and helps to identify most forms of SIBO. However, it doesn’t take hydrogen sulfide SIBO into account.

Hydrogen sulfide is a third form of gas that is commonly present among patients with SIBO. The problem is that hydrogen sulfide cannot be measured with a SIBO breath test. Hydrogen sulfide is produced by a very specific type of bacteria that can overgrow in your small intestine.

The interesting thing about hydrogen sulfide is that in small amounts, it can be beneficial and anti-inflammatory. However, when it occurs in high amounts due to a bacteria overgrowth in your small intestine, it becomes very problematic. High amounts of it in your large intestine can also result in health problems. Therefore to handle this overgrowth and to resolve your symptoms, we have to bring the healthy balance back to your small intestine, your whole gut, and body.

Diagnosing Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO

Since SIBO breath tests are not looking for hydrogen sulfide, you may wonder how can you know if you have hydrogen sulfide SIBO. That’s a great question. Let’s see how functional medicine doctors, such as myself, can help to diagnose hydrogen sulfide SIBO.

As you’ve already learned, breath tests only look for hydrogen and methane, not hydrogen sulfide, and can only diagnose traditional SIBO, not hydrogen sulfide SIBO. One study has found that people with traditional SIBO also have a higher risk of hydrogen sulfide SIBO.

However, another study has found that people who test negative for the SIBO breath test have a higher likelihood of having hydrogen sulfide SIBO. This is why it is important that you are working with a doctor who is familiar with hydrogen sulfide SIBO and is willing to dig deep to find the root causes of your symptoms and gut health issues. Working with a functional medicine doctor, like myself, is a great option.

First, your doctor will go through your symptoms. Symptoms of hydrogen sulfide SIBO may be different than the symptoms of SIBO. Sulfur-like, rotten egg smelly gas or belching are generally a good indication that you are dealing with hydrogen sulfide SIBO. You may also be more likely to experience diarrhea and nausea. You may also have other symptoms as well, such as rashes and pain. Once your doctor understands your symptoms, they can run some more complex GI tests other than the breath test to look for bacteria overgrowth and other gut imbalances. Lastly, if going on a low-sulfur food plan helps to relieve your symptoms, it is a good indication that hydrogen sulfide SIBO was the culprit behind them.

Low-Sulfur Food Plan for Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO

Traditionally, people with SIBO are often recommended to follow the low-FODMAP diet.

However, research has found that low-FODMAP is actually not beneficial for hydrogen sulfide overproduction. If you have hydrogen sulfide SIBO, a low-sulfur diet is a much better idea.

When you eat sulfur-containing food, they go through a process to naturally occurring sulfate in your body. While in a small amount, sulfate is good for you, too much becomes a problem. If you are dealing with hydrogen sulfide SIBO, following a low sulfur food plan can help your body regain its balance and get rid of your symptoms.

What to Eat and What Not to Eat on a Low Sulfur Food Plan

Vegetables to avoid:

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Daikon radish
  • Collard greens
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Horseradish
  • Onion
  • Leek
  • Radish
  • Peas
  • Scallion
  • Swiss chard
  • Sauerkaut
  • Spinach
  • Split peas
  • Turnip
  • Soybeans
  • Watercress

Fruits to avoid:

  • Dried fruits
  • Dried coconut
  • Grapes
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple

Dairy and dairy alternatives to avoid:

  • Cow, sheep, and goat milk
  • All cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Whey
  • Eggs
  • Coconut milk from a carton
  • Soy products
  • Animal protein to avoid:
  • Red meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry white meat

Legumes to avoid:

  • All legumes, including beans, lentils, bean sprouts, soy, etc.

Herbs to avoid:

  • Chives
  • Curry
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Turmeric

Other things to avoid:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Lemon and lime juice
  • Frozen potatoes and french fries
  • Peanuts
  • Quinoa
  • Tamarind
  • Vinegar
  • Wine
  • Tamarind
  • Wheat germ

Supplements to avoid:

  • ALA
  • Bromelain and papain
  • Chlorella
  • NAC
  • MSM
  • Milk thistle
  • Turmeric
  • DMSO
  • Dairy source acidophilus
  • Cysteine

Vegetables allowed:

  • All squash
  • Artichokes
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Bell pepper
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Tomato
  • Water chestnut

Fruits allowed (up to ½ cup a day):

  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Cantaloupes
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Melons
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mango
  • Pear
  • Pomegranate

Herbs allowed:

  • Anise
  • Bay leaves
  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Lemongrass
  • Lavender
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Other foods allowed:

  • Almond, rice, and hemp milk
  • Nuts, including almonds, cashews, and macadamia
  • Seeds, including pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Beet, corn, or parsnip chips
  • Basmati and jasmine vinegar

Final Thoughts

Hydrogen sulfide is the third most common gas in those with SIBO, yet, there is less research on it making diagnosis and treatment more difficult. If you have hydrogen sulfide SIBO, I recommend that you try a low-sulfur food plan, and notice a reduction in symptoms within a couple of weeks.

If you suspect that you have SIBO or hydrogen sulfide SIBO, I recommend that you contact a functional medicine doctor, like myself, for diagnosis and treatment. I can help you to address the underlying causes of your hydrogen sulfide and other types of SIBO, as well as other gut health issues using a system-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. As an experienced functional medicine doctor with integrated expertise of both Western medicine and traditional Eastern practice, I can assess all the factors, including diet, lifestyle, stress, toxicity, allergies, sleep habits, and medication, that may affect your gut health. Then I will prescribe a personalized and effective plan to improve your gut health condition, repair your body, and regain your health and well-being.

If you would like to get more information about hydrogen sulfide SIBO and gut health treatment or to schedule a functional medicine consultation, please call my office at 212-696-4325.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15747080

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9448181

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19709217

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5023273/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1016/S0378-1097%2803%2900748-1

https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.29.1_supplement.598.10

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23898195

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5023273/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23898195

Testing of Lyme Disease and photo of Tick

Testing of Lyme Disease and Problems with It

Lyme disease is an infectious disease spread by ticks. It is a growing problem with hundreds of thousands being diagnosed each year. However, Lyme disease is possibly the most misunderstood and controversial health issue. Many people go misdiagnosed and silently suffer from chronic and serious symptoms of chronic Lyme disease without receiving proper treatment. Unfortunately, current testing for Lyme disease is highly unreliable, and many doctors are not versed enough in Lyme disease to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
In this article, you will learn what Lyme disease is, the difference between acute and chronic Lyme disease, and their symptoms. You will learn about current testing methods for Lyme and the problems with these tests. You will learn what tests may further help accurate diagnosis, and why you need a Lyme-literate health practitioner for proper diagnosis and successful treatment.

What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease. It is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria found in ticks.
Lyme is more common in wooded areas or in nature. It is transmitted to the human body by the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick. Based on the old standards, in order to transmit the disease, the tick usually has to stay in the body for 24 to 48 hours or longer. However, the new studies show that even 15 min from tick attachment it may transmit the variety of microbes into the victim.

Acute vs Chronic Lyme Disease

Acute Lyme disease refers to a short-term or recent infection, whereas chronic Lyme refers to a long-term infection with ongoing health problems. After getting infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, you may develop symptoms of acute Lyme disease. When caught early, within the first few days to weeks, acute Lyme disease is usually treated with a course of 1-2 antibiotics.
However, chronic Lyme disease is increasingly prevalent as well. Some people, unfortunately, are simply resistant to treatment. In other cases, Borrelia burgdorferi simply lingers in the body even after adequate treatment. While in other situations, acute Lyme disease symptoms may be too mild to take seriously, and the infection becomes chronic. In other cases, acute Lyme gets misdiagnosed and confused with the summer flu or another short-term illness and patients never get adequate treatment. Unfortunately, when the bacteria has fully integrated itself into your system, it leads to chronic health issues, and it is much harder to identify and shift.

symptoms from lyme disease include rash

Symptoms of Acute Lyme Disease:

  • Flat, circular rash with a bull’s eye
  • Joint pain, including neck and back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pains
  • Headaches
  • Sleep issues
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Concentration problems

Not all people with acute Lyme have a bull’s eye rash, actually, those who do are minority. Many people miss the tick bite altogether. Not all people with acute Lyme disease experience severe symptoms. Some may not visit the doctor. In some cases it may be confused with the flu or due to inaccurate Lyme testing, may get tested for autoimmune or other health conditions instead of Lymes. In some cases, symptoms may be written up as symptoms of stress, fatigue, or psychosomatic symptoms.

Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Migrating and intermittent joints and muscle pains
  • Migrating pains or swelling in elbows, knees, and shoulders
  • Sleep troubles
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Speech problems
  • Neurological issues — migrating numbness, tingling or burning pains
  • Fibromyalgia-like pain
  • Other chronic health issues

Chronic Lyme disease is often confused with fibromyalgia, autoimmune conditions, mental health issues, and psychosomatic illness. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, people with chronic Lyme disease may get worse over time and never recover.

Lyme Disease from Ticks

Conventional Testing for Lyme Disease

Conventional testing for acute Lyme disease usually starts with a health story. Your doctor will look for tick bites and rashes. They will perform a physical exam looking for symptoms of Lyme disease.
If your doctor believes that you have Lyme disease, they may order the following “standard-of-care” tests:

  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) may be ordered to detect antibodies against B. burgdorferi.
  • Western blot may be used to confirm a positive ELISA test result. It is only used if your ELISA test is positive and checks for the presence of antibodies specific to B. burgdorferi proteins.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) may be used to evaluate people with Lyme arthritis or nervous system symptoms. This test is not routinely used as it has a very low sensitivity.

If a patient tests positive for both ELISA and Western blot tests the conventional diagnosis of Lyme disease can be established.

Problems with Testing for Lyme Disease

The problem is that Lyme disease is critically misunderstood by many people in the medical profession. Most doctors are not very well-versed in Lyme disease. Testing is not reliable. Many medical professionals are simply not educated about chronic Lyme disease to recognize and treat it. Conventional doctors often have a difficult time diagnosing, understanding, or treating something that they cannot see or isolate. Hence, Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment may be one of the most controversial and difficult issues in medicine. There are a lot of grey areas, a lot of misunderstandings, and unreliable testing, so going to a Lyme-literate practitioner is critical.

Lyme Testing Is Not Designed to Detect the Lyme-Causing Bacteria

It is important to know that there are many types of Borrelia, not just B. burgdorferi, that also cause Lyme-like illnesses. Despite of the variety of bacterias, the conventional tests only look for one species of Borrelia, B. burgdorferi. There are actually 16 known strains of Borrelia. Another example of Lyme-related infection, for example, is caused by B. mayonii. If it is not that you are infected with B. burgdorferi, conventional testing may not pick up on your Lyme diagnosis and may be misdiagnosed and left without treatment.

Inaccurate Results and False Negative Due to Lower Test Sensitivity

Most non-Lyme literate doctors and labs stick to the two-step test for Lyme that is recommended by the CDC and approved by the FDA. These tests include the ELISA followed by a Western blot test. Both tests are only designed to detect B. burgdorferi and no other Lyme-related bacteria or co-infection.

One of the problems with testing for Lyme disease is that the ELISA tests are not always accurate. False negatives may occur. For example, if you get tested too soon after getting bitten and infected, it’s possible that your body hasn’t developed enough antibodies for the test to detect the bacteria. If your ELISA test is negative, many labs will not move onto the Western blot. Many doctors don’t retest, even if your symptoms persist and are in correspondence with the symptoms of Lyme disease. Research has shown that the two-step testing of ELISA and Western blot may miss up to 60 percent of Lyme cases.

The ELISA and Western blot are also not accurate when it comes to chronic Lyme disease, and are more helpful when it comes to acute Lyme disease.

False-Negatives May Also Occur

While false negatives may occur, false positives also commonly occur. After getting infected with B. burgdorferi, your immune system may not show a positive response with positive IgM (young antibodies), however, neither convert or mount an immune response with IgG (old antibodies). One study, for example, has found that over 50 percent of test participants showed false positive for Lyme disease. This may happen because of early antibiotic use or because the B. burgdorferi destroys the specific part of your lymph nodes that are responsible for IgG antibodies.

Some patients simply will not ‘convert’ to a classic immune response that most conventional healthcare professionals and testing are looking for. If you are working with a health practitioner who is not Lyme-literate, they may have a false-positive interpretation as positive for Lyme disease, when you don’t have Lyme disease.

Indirect vs Direct Testing: More False-Negatives

The two-step testing process used by most doctors is indirect diagnostic methods that do not look for or detect the bacteria that are causing the infection but measuring your body’s immune system response when the bacteria is present. There are several problems with this method:

  • Timing: During the early stages of the disease, your body may not have created enough antibodies yet to show up on the ELISA test. Most doctors don’t retest even if symptoms persist.
  • Immune suppression: Tick bites are tricky. The saliva of Lyme-causing ticks has an immune-suppressing component that may prevent or delay your body’s immune response, hence, your body won’t respond to the two-step test.
  • Antibiotics: Taking antibiotics around the time of the infection may also prevent your body from making enough antibodies to show up on your test.
  • Modified form of Borrelia: In some cases, the bacteria will turn into a cyst and prevent the production of antibodies.
  • Weakened immune system: If you have a weak or compromised immune system due to an illness, co-infection, or poor diet, false negatives may occur.
  • Seronegative patients: Some patients’ bodies simply do not produce antibodies at all.

More Reliable Diagnosis

In order to get the right diagnosis and the right treatment, you need to find a Lyme-literate functional or integrative medicine practitioner who understands Lyme disease.

Direct Testing

Direct testing methods are better than indirect testing. They don’t simply rely on your body’s response to bacteria. Instead, they are looking for specific disease-causing bacteria. This can help to determine if you have Lyme, what exact bacteria is causing it and what co-infections you may have.

More Lab Testing

Lab testing only provides a glimpse of what’s going on in your body. There is certainly more needed than simple Lyme blood testing. Other blood tests, besides the standard Lyme tests, may help to evaluate the state of your health and get a better understanding of what is going on in your body. It is crucial that you find a Lyme-literate functional doctor who listens to your symptoms and is able to make an accurate Lyme diagnosis based on your symptoms, health history, and other tests.

Some further blood tests that may help accurate diagnosis include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): white blood cells count (WBC), differential (diff), hemoglobin (HB)
  • Blood chemistries: electrolytes, liver function, kidney function
  • Glucose metabolism: fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)
  • Minerals: magnesium and calcium
  • Thyroid function: complete thyroid
  • Lipid panel
  • Autoimmune testing rheumatoid factor, ANA titer
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Vitamins: vitamin D and B12
  • Iron: ferritin
  • Urinalysis: pH, WBCs, nitrites, protein, bilirubin
  • Mold and mycotoxins
  • Food sensitivities
  • Omega-3/omega-6 ratio
  • Cytokine testing (Th1/Th2)
  • Adrenal hormone testing
  • Reproductive hormone testing: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone
  • Testing for toxins
  • Comprehensive stool analysis: yeast, parasites, viruses, and bacteria
  • Microbes testing
  • Genetic testing, like methylation ( MTHFR gene mutation)
  • Testing for neurological, cardiac, and GI symptoms
  • Testing for Lyme co-infections

Find a Lyme-Literate Integrative or Functional Health Practitioner

If you know or suspect that you have a Lyme disease (acute or chronic), it is important that you find a Lyme-literate functional medicine practitioner to help you received the right diagnosis, identify the root cause of your condition, and prescribe a personalized treatment.

As a Lyme-literate functional and integrative doctor, I can help you to receive the right diagnosis, address the underlying causes of all your health issues, and get the right treatment using a system-oriented approach, engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. As an experienced functional medicine doctor with an integrated expertise of both Western medicine and traditional Eastern practice, I can assess all the factors, including diet, lifestyle, stress, toxicity, allergies, sleep habits and medication that may affect your immune system in order to accurately diagnose Lyme disease and/or other health issues or co-infections and provide a personalized and effective plan to improve other organs function like the thyroid condition, repair your body and regain your health and well-being.

If you would like to get more information about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses or to schedule a functional medicine consultation, please call my office at 212-696-4325.

References:

  1. Wormser GP, Nowakowski J, Nadelman RB, Visinainer P, Levin A, Aguero-Rosenfld ME Impact of clinical variables on Borrelia burgdorferi-specific antibody seropositivity in acute-phase sera from patients in North America with culture-confirmed early Lyme disease.Clin Vaccine Immunol 2008 Oct;15(10):1519-22.
  2. Engstrom SM, Shoop E, Johnson RC Immunoblot interpretation criteria for serodiagnosis of early Lyme disease. J Clin Microbiol 1995 Feb;33(2):419-27.
  3. Ledue TB, Collins MF, Craig WY New laboratory guidelines for serologic diagnosis of Lyme disease: evaluation of the two-test protocol. J Clin Microbiol 1996 Oct;34(10):2343-50.
  4. Bacon RM, Biggerstaff BJ, Schrfiefer ME, Gilmore RD Jr., Philipp MT, Steere AC, Wormser GP, Marques AR, Johnson BJ Serodiagnosis of Lyme disease by kinetic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using recombinant VlsE1 or peptide antigens of Borrelia burgdorferi compared with 2-tiered testing using whole-cell lysates. JID 2003:187 (15 April) • 1187
  5. Bakken LL, Callister SM, Wand PJ, Schell RF Interlaboratory comparison of test results for detection of Lyme disease by 516 participants in the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene/College of American Pathologists Proficiency Testing Program. J Clin Microbiol 1997 Mar;35(3):537-43.
  6. Trevejo RT, Krause PJ, Sikand VK, Schriefer ME, Ryan R, Lepore T, Porter W, Dennis DT Evaluation of two-test serodiagnostic method for early Lyme disease in clinical practice. J Infect Dis 1999 Apr;179(4):931-8
  7. Nowakowski J et al Laboratory diagnostic techniques for patients with early Lyme disease associated with erythema migrans: a comparison of different techniques. Clin Infect Dis 2001 Dec 15;33(12):2023-7. Epub 2001 Nov7.
  8. Wojciechowska-Koszko I et al Seroidiagnosis of Borreliosis: Indirect Immunofluorescence Assay, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and Immunoblotting Arch. Immunol. Ther. Exp. (2011) 59:69– 77
  9. Chmielewska-Badora J, Cisak E, Wo´jcik-Fatla A et al Correlation of tests for detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato infection in patients with diagnosed borreliosis. Ann Agric Environ Med (2006) 13:307–311
  10. Coulter P et al Two-Year Evaluation of Borrelia burgdorferi Culture and Supplemental Tests for Definitive Diagnosis of Lyme Disease Journal of Clinical Microbiology Oct 2005 Vol 43, No. 10 5080- 5084
  11. Craft J, Fischer DK, Shimamoto GT, Steere AC. (1986) Antigens of Borrella burgdorferi Recognized during Lyme Disease appearance of a new Immunoglobulin M response and expansion of the immunoglobulin G response late in the illness. J. Clin.Invest.1978, 934-39
  12. Hilton E, Tramontano A, DeVoti J, and Sood SK. (1997) Temporal study of immunoglobulin M seroreactivity to Borrelia burgdorferi in patients treated for Lyme borreliosis. J Clin Microbiol 35(3), 774-776.Kalish RA, McHugh G, Granquist J, Shea B, Ruthazer R, Steere AC (2001) Persistence of IgM or IgG antibody responses to Borrelia burgdorferi 10 to 20 years after active Lyme disease. Clin Infect Dis 33, 780-5. Abstract/FREE Full Text
  13. http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/6/780.full
  14. Racine R., McLaughlin M. Jonesa DD. et al. (2011) IgM Production by Bone Marrow Plasmablasts Contributes to Long-Term Protection against Intracellular Bacterial Infection. J Immunol 186, 1011-1021 Prepublished online 8 http://www.jimmunol.org/content/186/2/1011
  15. Seriburi V, Ndukwe N, Chang Z, Cox ME, Wormser GP (2012) High frequency of false positive IgM immunoblots for Borrelia burgdorferi in clinical practice. Clin. Microbiol. Infect 18, 1236-1240.
  16. Elsner RA, Hastey CJ, Baumgarth N (2014) CD4+ T cells promote antibody production but not sustained affinity maturation during Borrelia burgdorferi infection. doi:10.1128/IAI. http://iai.asm.org/content/early/2014/10/08/IAI.02471- 14.abstract
  17. https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease#symptoms
  18. https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/arthritis-lyme-disease
  19. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html
  20. https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease-chronic-persistent
  21. https://www.healthline.com/health/lyme-disease
  22. https://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/jnp.2008.20.1.iv
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/probe/docs/techpcr/
  24. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402110029.htm
  25. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/lyme-disease-resolving-the-lyme-wars-2018061814071
  26. https://danielcameronmd.com/relying-on-a-negative-lyme-disease-test-can-prove-deadly/
  27. https://danielcameronmd.com/lyme-diagnosis-tests/
  28. https://www.tiredoflyme.com/4-reasons-a-lyme-test-will-come-back-negative-even-if-a-person-truly-has-lyme-disease.html
  29. https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-sci-testing/
  30. https://www.cdc.gov
  31. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374655
5 Simple and Smart Ways to Stay Hydrated in Winter

Five Simple and Smart Ways to Stay Hydrated in Winter

“Every aspect of our being fully alive relies on the precious resource of water. It’s the most important thing we consume, as the primary building block for our cells; it’s integral to many human faiths and spiritualities, and since ancient times, diverse hydrotherapies have been used to manage pain and stress and boost energy, sleep and immunity.”

Global Wellness Institute

Harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your system, leaving your skin parched and body dehydrated. Even though your thirst response diminishes because of low temperature, staying well-hydrated during winter is as crucial as it is during the summer season. “In cold climates, body fluid losses can be as high as those in hot climates because of high rates of energy expenditure, use of heavy clothing and increased losses in urine,” the European Hydration Institute points out. The average man needs roughly 125 ounces of water daily (91 ounces for women) from both food and beverages. Inadequate water intake can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, even dizziness.

Keep winter dehydration at bay with these five smart strategies to up your water intake:

1. Set a drinking water goal

Being attentive to the amount of water you drink each day is important for optimal health. Establishing a daily drinking water goal is one of the easiest ways to keep track of your water consumption. You can use apps like Waterlogged, Hydrate Daily and Plant Nanny to set and achieve these water goals. Also, make a habit of carrying a water bottle everywhere you go, including at work, as it acts as a physical reminder to stay hydrated.

2. Warm it up

Hydrate With Room-Temperature Beverages. Instead of forcing yourself to gulp down glasses of cold water, drink warm water (plain or infused), homemade smoothies and healthy hot beverages like green tea, cinnamon tea or ginger tea.

3. Eat hydrating foods

Consuming fluid-filled foods like orange, oatmeal, cantaloupe, celery, strawberries and yogurt is a great way to sneak in more water into your daily diet. Eating homemade soups made with seasonal vegetables and herbs can also help you stay hydrated while providing warmth and nourishment to your body.

4. Layer your clothing

Wear layers of breathable fabrics instead of heavy-duty woolens to minimize water loss caused by perspiration.

5. Consider your workout water needs

It’s recommended to take half a cup of water for every fifteen minutes of exercise to rehydrate your body. To replenish lost fluid post-workout, “aim to drink one and a half times the fluid you lost while exercising”, suggests Better Health Channel. Instead of drinking it all in one go, “spread it over the next two to six hours after the session”, it adds.

And last but not least, if you want skin that looks and feel hydrated this winter, start growing indoor plants like peace lily, English ivy, snake plant and Boston fern that can naturally humidify a room.

Stay hydrated, stay healthy!


References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-staying-hydrated

christmas tree decorated

9 Tips to Stay Healthy During Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a season of love, joy, and happiness. This is easier said than done.

Sure, good food, parties, gifts, and family gatherings are beautiful. However, just thinking about setting up the decorations, sending out holiday cards on time, shopping for gifts, attending holiday events, hosting guests, planning, cooking, and cleaning up can be incredibly overwhelming.

Do you want to enjoy this holiday season without overwhelming, fatigue, and health complaints? Do you want to experience more ease, joy, and health than the years before? You’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how to protect your health, energy, and happiness, and how to survive the holiday hustles and bustles with a smile on your face.

9 Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet

The holidays are full of temptations and indulgences. Unfortunately, many of our holiday classics from mac ‘n cheese to holiday roasts, from sugary cookies to sweet pumpkin pie, from egg nog to New Year’s Eve cocktails, are often inflammatory. Eating heavy, sugary, and inflammatory foods for a month or longer can be incredibly hard on your body. These foods zap your energy, create inflammation, and increase the risk of disease.

Instead, I recommend that you stick to anti-inflammatory foods during the holidays. Leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, and fermented foods are your best friends. If you eat animal products, always choose organic, pasture-raised beef, free-range poultry and eggs, wild-caught fish, or wild game. There are so many healthy holiday recipes around made with whole foods to enjoy nutrient-dense foods without missing out on anything. If you still want to reach for some of your old favorites, I recommend that you limit them for the actual days of the holidays instead of eating them the entire month. If you are focusing on a nutrient-dense diet, you will notice how much better you feel!

Take Probiotics

Since your gut is connected to all parts of your body, its health is incredibly important. Inflammatory foods and stress may both compromise your gut health. If your gut flora and gut health are out of balance, your entire health can become compromised. Your risk of inflammation, fatigue, stress, pain, and disease increases.

A healthy gut, on the other hand, creates a balanced base that supports your entire health and well-being. While eating an anti-inflammatory diet is essential for gut health, I also recommend that you eat plenty of probiotic-rich fermented foods, such as sauerkrauts, kimchi, and kefir, and take daily probiotic supplements to support your gut microbiome. In my practice I use a variety of different probiotics, so feel free to call us and inquire about our monthly special for probiotics.

Use Adaptogens

Burning the candle at both ends during the holidays can drain your adrenals. Too much stress, too little sleep, too much sugar, and junk food, or too many holiday alcoholic drinks may force your adrenals to overwork and may lead to adrenal fatigue.

To support your adrenal health and balanced stress response, I recommend adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens have been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. They help your body to regulate cortisol, combat stress and improve fatigue. My favorite adaptogenic herbs include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Licorice and Ginseng.

Exercise

Exercise may be the last thing on your mind during the busy holiday season. However, it is crucial for your health and energy levels. Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, improve your mood, and boost your energy.

Ideally, you want to get some exercise for 20 to 30 minutes five times a week and stay generally active. Mix up your routine by including some cardiovascular exercise, such as swimming, running, or biking, strength- and resistance training, such as bodyweight exercises, weight lifting, or TRX, and low-impact exercises, such as yoga, pilates, and stretching. Stay active during the day by stretching throughout the day, going for walk during lunch, playing with your kids, taking the stairs, or walking your dogs.

Make Time for Yourself

If you are like most people, you try to please everyone during the holiday season and end up forgetting about yourself. It is certainly wonderful to have this opportunity to reconnect with family and friends and create beautiful memories together. But you also need some love – from yourself.

You deserve and need some quality “me-time”. Make “an appointment with yourself” time during the holiday season. Go for a nature walk. Take a hot, relaxing bath. Meditate. Breathe. Journal. Try some yoga. Curl up with your favorite book. Watch your favorite holiday movie. Even if it’s just a few minutes, try to make a little time for yourself each day. You deserve and need it.

Practice Gratitude

Anxiety and gratitude cannot exist at the same time. Having a gratitude practice is the perfect way to improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase your zest for life. Remember the ‘little things’ throughout the day. Keep a gratitude journal jotting down the things that you are grateful for each morning and evening. Tell your loved ones that you are grateful for them and why you appreciate them.

Be Present

When you spend too much time in the future, it increases anxiety and stress. Being in the present moment, on the other hand, can decrease anxiety and stress, and increase happiness. Spending only 15 to 30 seconds in the present being aware of your body can make a difference. Savoring positive experiences can stimulate and strengthen neural connections in your brain increasing positive emotions. Meditation and breathwork are fantastic ways to spend some time focusing your awareness on the present moment. You can also set your timer a few times a day reminding you to stop and slow down and check-in with the moment for 30 seconds.

Keep It Simple

The holidays can be an incredibly stressful time. If you have a large family, out-of-town guests, or too many holiday parties, it can be quite a hassle. Try to keep it as simple as possible.

Try not to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Don’t be a perfectionist. Ask for help if you need to. Ask everyone to bring a dish or dessert instead of doing everything by yourself. Make decorations a family event. Involve others in planning games and other holiday activities. Most importantly, know your limitations and say “no” when you have to.

Remember to Have Fun

During the holiday season, we tend to spend too much time running around and trying to make everything perfect. You have to attend holiday parties, take care of your holiday shopping, plan your holiday meals, and decorate your house. It can be a lot when you are a busy person.

But remember the time when you were a kid? The holidays were fun! All the decorations, lights, holiday cookies, movies, and music. It was magical. Be a kid again for a moment. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun. Dance to your favorite song. Sing along with the radio. Play some games with your family. Be silly. This is what the holidays are all about.

Final Thoughts

Remember, the holidays don’t have to be stressful. You can enjoy this season with your loved ones in happiness and health. If fatigue, chronic pain, health complaints, or health issues slowing you down this holiday season, I recommend that you seek help from a functional medicine doctor, like myself.

As an experienced functional medicine doctor with an integrated expertise of both Western medicine and traditional Eastern practice, I can assess all the factors, including diet, lifestyle, stress, toxicity, allergies, sleep habits and medication that may affect your body in order to uncover the root cause of your health issues and prescribe a personalized and effective plan to improve your thyroid condition, repair your body and regain your health and well-being.

If you would like to get more information about autoimmune thyroid treatment or to schedule a functional medicine consultation, please call my office at 212-696-4325.


References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/smart-habits-highly-successful-people/200912/7-tips-relieve-holiday-stress
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/6_simple_practices_to_handle_holiday_stress
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544
https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/adaptogen
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25857501
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874109005728
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5628357/
http://www.brainlife.org/fulltext/2001/kelly_gs010600.pdf
http://www.herbs-for-menopause.com/ginseng/articles/siberian-ginseng.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793317
https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/taking_in_the_good/

top 10 Gut-nourishing foods

Top 10 Gut-Nourishing Foods

The holidays are around the corner. This means that you will be tempted with all kinds of unhealthy treats and comfort foods that may lead to gut inflammation. The good news is that it is possible to eat delicious food while following a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, and gut-protecting diet rich in gut-nourishing foods.

Your gut health matters. A healthy microbiome and well-functioning gut are absolutely essential for optimal digestion, absorption of nutrients, elimination of toxins, and your overall health. A compromised gut flora may lead to leaky gut syndrome, an underlying cause of many digestive issues and other health complaints, including chronic pain, fatigue, and autoimmune diseases.

Take control of your health and nourish your body with gut-friendly foods that promote well-being. Learn about the best gut-health foods and incorporate them into your diet today.

Top 10 Gut-Nourishing Foods

10 Gut-Nourishing Foods

Sauerkrauts

Sauerkrauts mean sour white cabbage in German. They are incredibly common in Germany, my motherland, Russia, and other parts of Eastern-Europe. They are fermented cabbage that serves as fantastic gut-health food. Sauerkrauts are not only rich in fiber but provide they are loaded with good bacteria. They help a healthy gut microbiome balance, promote smooth digestion, and help to prevent the leaky gut syndrome.

You can find sauerkrauts at your local health food stores, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. You may even make it yourself. I recommend that you also try another powerful gut-friendly food, kimchi, a Korean version of sauerkrauts.

I like to get sauerkrauts in the local store, like Zabar or Fairway, sprinkle it with high-quality olive oil, shred some fresh carrots, chop some red onion and sprinkle with fennel. Takes 5 minutes to prepare and what a great salad to increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables! Bon Appetit!

Yogurt

Speaking of fermented foods, yogurt is another fantastic gut-nourishing food. It is made with fermented milk and is incredibly rich in probiotics. It helps to balance your gut flora, reduce digestive distress, and prevent leaky gut syndrome. If you like yogurt, I also recommend it’s close cousin, kefir, another gut-health food made with fermented milk with similar gut health benefits.

You may find yogurt and kefir at any grocery store. Make sure to buy organic and avoid added sugar and artificial ingredients. If you are intolerant to dairy or avoid dairy for other reasons, you may find dairy-free yogurt and kefir options made from coconut milk or nut milk. These dairy-free options are also fantastic gut-friendly foods. Trader Joy sells delicious cashew nuts kefir, it is delicious and what a great alternative to dairy!

Dandelion Greens

You may remember waving dandelion crowns as a kid. As an adult, you can use green leaves as a gut-health food that grows everywhere in the spring. Yes, the dandelions in your backyard are gut-nourishing free food. Dandelion greens may help to improve gastric motility relaxing the muscles between your stomach and small intestines. It is a powerful cholegogic (stimulates bile production and drainage). As a result, this ubiquitous plant will improve your digestion and prevent leaky gut syndrome. Dandelions may reduce inflammation balance your blood sugar, and lower blood pressure.

Dandelions are versatile and nutritious. You can eat their stems, roots, and flowers. They serve as a beautiful garnish on your salads and dishes and make gut-nourishing tea.

Recipe: Saute green leaves of dandelion in olive oil with onion and garlic. What a great garnish! Remember, more bitter is better for your digestion!

Asparagus

When you think of asparagus, the first thing that comes to mind is that they make your pee smell funny. While it’s true, asparagus is excellent gut-friendly food. Asparagus is a gut-nourishing food that may reduce inflammation, pain, and disease in your gut and body. It may improve nutrient absorption. Asparagus is a fantastic prebiotic food that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut and prevent intestinal dysbiosis.

You may enjoy asparagus steamed, grilled, roasted, sauteed, and baked. It makes an excellent side dish and is fantastic in soups, salads, and baked vegetable dishes.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Don’t confuse Jerusalem artichokes with globe artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes are actually related to sunflowers. They are delicious tubers that are one of the best gut-nourishing foods. They are rich in fiber and promote the absorption of nutrients. They may help to keep your microbiome balanced and gut inflammation levels low. Jerusalem artichokes may also prevent diarrhea, constipation, and leaky gut syndrome.

You may find Jerusalem artichokes in the produce aisle and try them instead of potatoes next time. You may steam, boil, bake, or saute them, or even eat them raw (shredded) in a salad.

Onions

Onions are one of the best gut-nourishing foods. They are rich in prebiotics that supports your healthy digestion. They also contain flavonoids and antioxidants, including quercetin that fight free-radical damage. Besides boosting your gut health, they are beneficial for your immune system and heart health.

You may enjoy onions raw or cooked. They add a delicious flavor to most soups, salads, stir-fries, baked vegetables, and other main dishes.

Garlic

When talking about the best gut-nourishing foods, you cannot forget about garlic. As fantastic prebiotics, they have similar benefits as onions do. They are rich in manganese, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6. It has a significant antibacterial effect and also works against parasites and fungi, like candida. I use garlic in tablets (Garlic Forte by MediHerbs) as part of the gut flora restoration protocol. If you choose to do raw garlic, then one clove twice a day will give you close to a therapeutic dose.

Garlic is the most nourishing when eaten raw, however, you can enjoy its gut-health food properties when it’s cooked as well. If you choose to cook garlic, first crush or chop it and allow it to sit for 10 – 15 minutes to activate its beneficial gut-healthy enzymes before cooking. You may add garlic to your soups, salads, and favorite dishes.

Seaweed

Seaweed is also referred to as a sea vegetable. It is a form of algae that I recommend you to try as a gut-nourishing food. Seaweed is incredibly rich in antioxidants and fiber. It may help gut flora balance, promote gut health, and aid digestion. Seaweed is full of polysaccharides that help the production of short-chain fatty acids that protect and feeds your gut cell lining.

Add seaweed flakes to your salads and meals. Try nori snack as a crunchy treat. Be adventurous and enjoy a seaweed salad.

Pineapples

Pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit that is also powerful gut-nourishing food. They are rich in bromelain, an enzyme that helps your digestive system by breaking down protein from large food molecules into smaller, more digestible peptides. Bromelain in pineapples, if eaten on an empty stomach, also helps to reduce pain and inflammation, including gut inflammation. As a result, it may help to promote a healthy gut lining and prevent the leaky gut syndrome.

You can find pineapples at any grocery store or health food store. You can eat it as it is, or as part of a fruit salad, salad, vegetable stir-fry, or pineapple salsa. Make sure to eat it fresh and avoid canned pineapples that are full of added sugar.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is one of the best gut nourishing foods. It is a nutritious clear liquid made from brewed bones and connective tissue. It is a fantastic source of collagen, glutamine, and amino acids that may help to reduce gut inflammation, maintain a healthy gut lining and prevent the leaky gut syndrome. Besides being a delicious gut-friendly food, bone broth may also support your metabolism, joints, and immune system.

You can make your own bone broth from organic, free-range poultry, pasture-raised beef, and wild-caught fish bones. You may also find organic bone broth at your local health food stores. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you may substitute bone broth for a vegetable broth. While vegetable broth doesn’t have collagen, it is still a gut nourishing food. However, bone broth is a high histamine food, so some people may not tolerate it well. If you are one of them please consult with your functional medicine practitioner and get tested.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing digestive troubles or suspect that the root cause of your health issues is your gut health, as a functional medicine practitioner, I am happy to help. Together, we can identify and address the root cause of your health complaints. With the help of a personalized treatment plan along with some gut-nourishing foods, I can help you to repair your body, and regain your health and well-being.

If you would like to get more information about my integrative and functional medicine services or to schedule a functional medicine consultation, please call my office at 212-696-4325.

In the meantime, share this article with your friends and family to help them regain their health with the power of gut-nourishing foods and holistic medicine.


References: