Seeds for Good Digestion

Seeds for Good Digestion

What is Cumin?

Cumin is a seed-derived spice with a nutty-peppery flavor that packs a punch from the moment its aroma seeps into your senses. It immediately activates the salivary glands which kicks-off the digestive process. Cumin, also known as jeera in Ayurvedic medicine, is native to the eastern Mediterranean area. It is used in cuisine from many parts of the world, including Tex-Mex, Eastern, and Indian. Cumin seeds have been used in folk medicine since antiquity to promote digestion and treat flatulence, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating and gas.

What are its uses?

Medicinally, cumin is recognized as a carminative, which means that it soothes digestive irritation, such as gas, and thereby improves digestion. It is widely used by many natural medicine doctors as a tool to help patients holistically heal from their symptoms. Due to its essential oils, magnesium and sodium content, cumin can also provide relief for stomach ache and irritable bowels. Current research shows that cumin’s beneficial effects may be due to the spice’s ability to stimulate secretion of pancreatic enzymes. Which are necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from food. Adding to its nutritional potency,cumin also contains flavonoids and antioxidants, which are beneficial to overall health.

Cumin in food

It’s best to cook with whole cumin seeds that you grind with a mortar and pestle. Packaged cumin powder is more convenient but it loses its flavor faster than whole seeds. Whole seeds will stay fresh for a year, when stored in a cool and dark place, while powder should be used within six months. For enhanced flavor, roast cumin seeds before using them.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition and gastrointestinal health. In her practice, she uses herbal and food based supplements such as cumin to help patients address the root cause of their medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).
If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr Klimenko’s E-book.

References:

“Curcumin v. Cumin: Not the Same” Accessed on October 4, 2016: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/curcumin-vs-cumin-10292.html

WorldsHealthiestFoods.com: Cumin. Accessed on October 4, 2016: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91

Agah, Shahram et al. “Cumin Extract for Symptom Control in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Case Series.” Middle East Journal of Digestive Diseases 5.4 (2013): 217-222.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth SIBO

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth SIBO

Have you been bloated and gassy lately? No matter what you eat you feel like your stomach swells like a balloon few hours after you have eaten?

Pay attention: you might suffer from condition called SIBO – small intestine bacterial overgrowth.

Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, otherwise known as small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), is a digestive disorder that causes chronic bowel problems and intolerance to carbohydrates. Its main symptoms include excess gas, abdominal bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, and abdominal pain shortly after meal.

Both the small intestines and colon naturally house bacteria, creating a balance within your digestive system. The types and amount of bacteria that reside in the small intestine and colon are very different. The colon contains roughly 100,000 times more bacteria than the small intestines. SIBO occurs when the bacteria from colon migrate to small intestine and because there is a lot of not fully digested food in small intestine, the bacteria multiply and overgrow uncontrollably.

Since the main purpose of the small intestine is to digest and absorb food, any disruption in its role affects the absorption and utilization of nutrients into the body. Thus, if SIBO is left untreated for too long – various nutritional deficiencies may occur. It can manifest as anemia, various vitamins deficiencies (vitamin D and B), calcium malabsorbtion causing weakening of the bones, etc.

SIBO is often overlooked as a cause of these digestive symptoms, because it so closely resembles other disorders. In fact, SIBO is theorized to be the underlying cause of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), since up to 84% of IBS patients have tested positive for SIBO. SIBO is associated with many other disorders as well, either as an underlying cause or as an aftereffect of the pre-existing condition. This includes parasites, pancreatic problems, and Crohn’s.

The two major factors contributing to development of SIBO include insufficient gastric acid secretion and lack of intestinal motility (movement of intestinal content through the lumen). Since both of these mechanisms naturally decline with age, those over 70 years old are especially susceptible. Anything that slows down motility can contribute to overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, because there is no outlet for the waste.

Gastric acids (hydrochloric acid of the stomach) is another important factor. It helps to break down food and activate digestive enzymes. Without the production of hydrochloric acid or pancreatic enzymes, we can’t digest and sterilize food sufficiently. To help with gastric acid secretion, supplementation with betaine hydrochloride during meals is recommended. People who chronically taking gastric acid suppressing medications are at higher risk to develop SIBO.

If you think you may be suffering from SIBO, please call our office for evaluation. Together we can determine if your condition warrants further assessment. Depending on your particular condition there are several options for treatment: specific diet, probiotics and natural or pharmaceutical antimicrobials. The longer SIBO is left untreated, the more damage can be done to your body. Although a serious condition, it is treatable once properly diagnosed.

Gut Dysbiosis

Gut Dysbiosis

Recently a new patient came for a functional medicine consultation complaining of frequent colds. Jonathan was a 35 years old singer with history of frequent colds up to 3-4 times per winter season. The nature of his profession demanded faster recovery to perform, therefore he had no time to recover on his own, so he was treated with multiple antibiotics and steroids courses. Jonathan also had multiple complaints related to digestive symptoms (bloating, heartburn and constipation) and recently he developed skin hives after eating certain foods. Jonathan had classical symptoms of food sensitivity as a result of dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis is a condition that involves imbalance of beneficial and harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract. This imbalance can take place anywhere from mouth to the stomach and further down to small and large intestine. In our practice we diagnose and treat dysbiosis of different areas of gastrointestinal tract. As a result, patients’ chronic medical conditions get better.

Multiple environmental factors such as antibacterial and pharmaceutical medications, pesticides and toxins, unbalance diet lacking of vegetables and healthy proteins and fats are some of the factors affecting our gastrointestinal microbiome. When we host unhealthy microbiome we can experience multiple symptoms outside of the digestive system realm. For example, eczema and asthma are strongly connected to imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract.

Back to Jonathan. Based on his history and symptoms we ordered several tests that revealed candida overgrowth. After appropriate treatment involving  4R program (see our previous blog) and specific diet his digestive symptoms improved and he was no longer sick with upper respiratory infections.

Our gastrointestinal tract is a gate keeper to our health. It is always the first place to start treatment if you have any chronic medical conditions. Feel free to call our office if you have any questions or think you may have dysbiosis.

Holistic Treatment For Your Digestive Issues With The '4R Protocol'

Holistic Treatment For Your Digestive Issues With The ‘4R Protocol’

Maintaining a healthy digestive system is a key component of one’s overall health. The digestive system directly breaks down and absorbs nutrients, and when disrupted, can have serious effects on all other systems of the body. An imbalance in your digestive performance leads to nausea, bloating, diarrhea, malnutrition, and significant weight loss. Due to the sensitivity and volatile reactions that can occur with gastrointestinal issues, many turn to functional medicine doctor for a soothing and effective homeopathic solution.

A functional medicine specialist can offers alternative medical solutions to those suffering with serious digestive issues. Through a comprehensive approach and holistic treatments, patients can be accurately diagnosed with common bacterial imbalances, like dysbiosis (an imbalance of beneficial and harmful microorganisms in the gut), and receive natural and effective solutions.

One of the most effective functional medicine treatment options for patients suffering with dysbiosis is the “4R Protocol,” which formulates a solution with four main components:

  • Remove what is harmful: By eliminating harmful foods or foods causing allergic reactions or intolerance, medication, poor quality fats, refined carbohydrates and sugars, so your body may be able to naturally reorient its digestive tribulations. It also include removing harmful microorganisms from the gut, like yeast, parasites and other non-beneficial bacteria.
  • Replace what is lacking: Substitute what is needed for normal digestion and absorption, such as supplement of hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes, with natural and soothing herbal sources.
  • Reinnoculate what is missing: Introduce favorable microbes back into your digestive system to enhance the growth of the beneficial bacteria. Additional supplements like prebiotics, insulin, and fiber, can also be effective at promoting positive bacteria.
  • Repair what is damaged: After serious digestive issues, stomach and intestinal lining may be damaged. Support healing the intestinal lining with beneficial foods and nutrients like amino acids, healthy fatty acids, zinc, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C, all from natural sources.

Don’t suffer with painful digestive turmoil like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.

Elena Klimenko, MD is New York City’s leading integrative medicine physician, providing treatment for dysbiosis and other serious gastrointestinal syndromes with an effective approach through functional medicine. Click here to fill out a new patient evaluation form and set up an appointment today!

 

Restore Your Digestive Balance With an Integrated Medical Approach

Restore Your Digestive Balance With a Functional Medicine Doctor

Did you know that there is more collective bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract than there are cells in your body? The bacteria in your intestines are estimated to be from over 400 different species and can weigh upwards of 4 lbs. While the variety may seem overwhelming, bacteria in your intestines operate in a delicate balance, or symbiosis, which translates to “living in harmony.” “Good” bacteria helps your to break down food, absorb nutrients and produce some vitamins, while “bad” bacteria can compromise your immune system, cause infection, pain, and serious illness. An imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria is called dysbiosis, and affects a number of Americans every year.

With a integrated combination of Western medicine and traditional Eastern practices, a functional medicine doctor like myself can help balance your intestinal turbulence naturally. My natural approach includes functional medicine, homeopathy and other alternative medicine modalities.

Those suffering with dysbiosis may have trouble digesting food, producing vitamins, controlling their hormones, and regulating their other body functions. Conditions associated with dysbiosis include:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic acne
  • Development of food allergies
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Depression
  • “Leaky Gut Syndrome” or Increased Intestinal Permeability
  • Autoimmune diseases

These diseases can become debilitating if left untreated, but with an integrated medical approach you can restore the natural balance to your body’s digestive system.

Elena Klimenko, MD is experienced in functional medicine, offering a diverse and intuitive treatment plan for a number of gastrointestinal diseases. Contact Elena Klimenko today for an integrated approach to treating dysbiosis and other serious gastrointestinal syndromes. Click here to fill out an evaluation form and set up an appointment today.