Integrative Medicine: The Best of Both Worlds

Integrative Medicine: The Best of Both Worlds

When it comes to medicine and treatment in the western world conventional doctors have put themselves and their patients into a bubble. Examining the body in only specific areas can cause traditional doctors to miss the big picture in the disease process.

While conventional medicine is great for treating acute care and trauma it has trouble treating and preventing chronic diseases and persistent, undiagnosed symptoms.

Treatments which work for some might not work with others and this is where integrative medicine comes in. By using non-traditional medicine and natural therapies integrative medicine is also able to incorporate state-of-the-art conventional medical treatments and therapies – the best of both worlds!

What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine is a healing-oriented medicine which takes into account your whole person including mind, body, spirit, and community. It includes all aspects of your lifestyle habits and is patient-focused.

With conventional medicine, also known in today’s world as Western medicine, doctors are mainly focused on certain areas of the body. This traditional type of medicine treats the signs and symptoms of disease through medication and/or surgery.

This practice of medicine focuses on the bigger picture and incorporates an alternative approach as well as a conventional approach. This broad approach of integrative medicine aims to treat the full person – not just the signs and symptoms of the disease.

It is now being recognized as a successful approach to addressing the chronic disease epidemic in our nation.

Types of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine uses individualized treatment plans which best suits your needs and wants. With integrative medicine, it gives you empowerment through your own decision making in your treatment and care plan.

Types of integrative medicine include:

Principles of Integrative Medicine

Andrew Weil, MD played a major role in codifying and establishing the emerging field of integrative medicine. His focus on treating and caring for the whole person integrates scientifically-validated therapies of conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The principles of integrative medicine include:

  • A strong partnership between patient and doctor through your healing process
  • The appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
  • The consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, and disease including mind, spirit and community as well as body
  • A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically
  • Recognition that good medicine be based in good science
  • Inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms
  • The use of natural, less invasive interventions whenever possible
  • The broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease.

Integrative Medicine Versus Functional Medicine

Integrative medicine and functional medicine have similarities which overlap each other, but they also have distinct differences in their approach to treatment and care for the patient. Both integrative and functional medicine focus on your whole body rather than just the signs and symptoms of certain diseases.

While integrative medicine is a holistic medicine approach with patient-centered care, it does take into account conventional health care practices to diagnose and treat patients. Integrative medicine looks at your overall health including mind, body, and soul to promote healing and wellbeing.

With functional medicine, it also focuses on your overall health with the patient as its core focal point. But functional medicine incorporates a system-oriented medical approach which aims to identify the underlying root cause of a disease. For this reason, functional medicine will conduct genetic and environmental research on patients to understand the root cause of your disease. And functional medicine does not use traditional medicine therapies with its approach.

These types of approaches can help prevent and reverse many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases through non-traditional and natural treatment. Integrative medicine and functional medicine are both at the forefront of healthcare of the 21st century.

What Are the Benefits of Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine offers a wide-range of benefits with its approach to medical conditions. The following are some of the benefits you can experience with integrative medicine:

  • Preventing and reversing chronic diseases
  • Saving money on long-term health expenses
  • Feeling empowerment through personal autonomy of care
  • Treating the whole-self not just the signs and symptoms
  • Receiving respectable care based on your values, beliefs, and preferences
  • Having the choice between more therapeutic options

Integrative Medicine Doctors in New York

Integrative medicine dives deeper than just the surface of conventional medicine. With the healthcare crisis we are dealing with in our economy today, integrative medicine is aimed to prevent disease and illness. I do this through integrative strategies which help you foster the development of healthy lifestyle habits to use throughout your life.

It also helps my patients get back to the basics of their health through alternative therapies while also having the ability to use conventional therapy when needed.

Through integrative medicine’s mind-body-spirit community philosophy you aren’t just another number to me as with traditional doctors – your personalized care is what I value.

I have over 15 years of experience in integrative and functional medicine. My main focus is helping you achieve health and wellness while working with your personal needs, values, and beliefs. If you’re looking for an integrative medicine doctor in the New York City area request an appointment today with Dr. Elena Klimenko or call (212) 696-4325.

I have specialized experience and expertise in complex and chronic conditions include:

  • Acute illnesses
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • ADD, ADHD
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer prevention
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Detoxification and healing
  • Metabolic syndrome, diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance
  • Digestive disorders (IBD, IBS, GERD/reflux, colitis, and gluten sensitivity)
  • Skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, and acne)
  • Environmental and food allergies
  • Female disorders (PMS, menopause, perimenopause, infertility, PCOS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Healthy aging, weight, and metabolism
  • Cardiovascular health (blood pressure and cholesterol)
  • Heavy metal toxicity including mercury
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parasites and intestinal infections
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Difficulty sleeping and insomnia
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Thyroid and adrenal disorders
  • Complex chronic diseases
Cold Prevention Protocol

Cold Prevention Protocol

As we are entering festivity season our health is being taxed by endless parties, stress of the holidays, alcohol, sugar and sub-optimal nutrients. All of these will cheer us up temporarily, but will weaken our defenses. The next thing you know, cold and flu symptoms will start popping up. To better protect your body during this vulnerable season make sure you follow these simple recommendations and be prepared before symptoms start creeping up on you. Make sure you have mentioned products to support your body to stand strong and resilient against the cold and flu season.

This is what I do and recommend to my patients and family.

Follow this cold prevention protocol on a daily basis to protect yourself against cold and flu:

  • Argentyl 23 (silver hydrosol solution) available in the spray or gel form. This silver solution is a safe and powerful antimicrobial substance. Unlike antibiotics that kill only bacteria, silver solution kills viruses, bacteria and fungi. Use Silver water once per day for prevention, and more frequently if you are sick (4-5x/day). Continue for few days after complete recovery. You can also use it as a hand sanitizer without harmful additives. The gel preparation is great to use on any skin wounds instead of antibiotic ointments.
  • Take Echinasia Premium by MediHerb (this is a pharmaceutical quality product and guarantees the best quality with a reasonable price) – 2 tabs per day
  • Vitamin D3 – 2,000 to 5,000un per day. Studies show that adequate supplementation of this essential nutrient is crucial for stronger immune system. Also, next time you have your blood test ask to check the level of 25-OH Vit D. If you are not a good daily supplement taker take 50,000un of Vit D3 on 10th, 20thand 30thday of the month. Set your alarm!
  • Probiotics – 20-25 Bln wide spectrum professional grade probiotics taken with food 3-4 times per week. Always keep probiotics in the house! These are your immune system’s best friends!
  • Eat plenty of fresh and  fermented foods on the daily basis (sauerkrauts,  pickles, etc. ) – those are the great sources of phytonutrients that wholesomely protect you on many levels.

If you are sick:

  • Immediately take Oscillococcinum ® – a powerful homeopathic medicine proven to shorten the duration of cold/flu symptoms IF TAKEN EARLY!! Ideally should be taken at the first sign of sickness and within the first 24 hours. I also recommend to take one dose after exposure to someone who is sick with upper respiratory infection symptoms, like someone at work or at home. This is also an excellent preventative method for kids if given weekly (on Sundays) during the cold season.
  • Vitamin D3 take 50,000 units once a day, for 3 days ONLY. This nutrient blocks multiplication of viruses and abrupt development of the cold/flu. http://www.virologyj.com/content/5/1/29
  • Zinc at 25-30mg twice per day until recover. Be sure to take with food, as Zinc may upset your stomach.  Currently I use Zinc Liver Chelate, which is a food source of the zinc and other factors that provide better bio availability of this vital nutrient into your blood.
  • Probiotics – double the dose (40-50 Bln colony forming units) if you are sick or getting sick until you are fully recovered, then go back to the standard dose
  • Andrographis (MediHerb) – 2 tab every 2-3 hours for the first day, followed by 2 tabs 3 times per day until full recovery. It is powerful antiviral herb that help you fast to recover from any viral infection.
  • Echinasia Premium (MediHerb) – 2 tabs 3 times per day until full recovery.
  • Immune triad: Cataplex C, Cataplex F and Calcium Lactate  2 tabs of each x 3 times per day for the time of being sick and a week after being symptoms free. Call the office to obtain the instructions how to order these products on line or to have it delivered to you.

Home Remedies:

Purchase a good quality honey (ideally raw and locally made) and the bright golden colored spice curcumin, found in any spice counter. Make a 1:1 ratio mixture of the curcumin and honey (one tablespoon of curcumin and one tablespoon of honey). You should end up with a mayonnaise-like consistency. Take ½ teaspoon of the thick mixture and suck on it for sore throats or to simply tune up your immune system. Do this 2-3 times per day if you are sick, or once a day as an excellent preventative measure. If you prefer to drink it mix it with a glass of hot water steeped with pieces of  ginger. It makes a great winter drink because it is very warming and invigorating.

Drink one cup of green tea (or plain warm boiled water) every hour, it will help your body to detoxify from dying bacteria and viruses.

I find that my compliance with daily supplement has improved since I started using the pill tray( call the office for a free tray). If I feel too lazy to swallow them I just put them into the blender on the morning and drink it with my morning protein shake. Have you tried my Best Breakfast Complete or Advanced Detox or Whey-To-GO shake? Make sure you try it the next time you are in the office.

Also remember, if you need to get back on your feet faster we offer intravenous drips (IV drips) for cold and flu treatments with mega doses of Vitamin C, Zinc and other nutrients to support your immune system and speed up recovery. Call our office to schedule IV drip session.

Stop by at our office to stock up on all the cold and flu prevention and treatment supply.

Stay Healthy Wealthy & Wise,

Elena Klimenko, MD

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 4: Metabolic Disorders - Thyroid & Diabetes

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 4: Metabolic Disorders – Thyroid & Diabetes

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 4: Metabolic Disorders – Thyroid & Diabetes

Though constipation seems like a simple discomfort that can be easily blamed on something you ate and readily remedied by over the counter stool softeners, it’s actually a condition that shouldn’t be taken so lightly. Recurring constipation is usually a sign of an underlying condition that could be very serious.

Defined as less than three stool movements per week, constipation blocks new nutrients from passing through your body and can lead to compounding health consequences.

So in addition to potential health issues causing your constipation, leaving it untreated could add complications, which can make identifying the original cause of the constipation difficult. This is the compounding nature of constipation due to the fact that it impacts overall gut health, which is why it’s important to bring it up with your doctor.

In this six-part series, we are investigating the different causes of constipation so we can help you identify the problem and find you lasting constipation relief. In parts one through four, we looked at low hydrochloric acid, low bile flow, and dysbiosis (imbalanced gut microflora).

You can read part 1part 2 and part 3 from Dr Klimenko’s blog.

In part four of this series, we are going to look at the different metabolic disorders that can cause chronic constipation. We will examine diabetes and hypothyroidism and examine how we can influence better digestion despite these disorders.

What helps constipation is completely dependent on the underlying cause, so let’s take a closer look at constipation caused by metabolic disorders.

Part 4: Metabolic Disorders

Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal issue in America, impacting as many as 63 million people. Nearly everyone will experience constipation at some point in their life. In fact, you shouldn’t worry about your constipation unless it lasts longer than 10 days or it becomes a reoccurring issue.

A metabolic disorder can occur when there are abnormal chemical reactions occurring in the body (such as hormones), which then alter metabolic processes. Metabolic disorders may be present when you born or may be developed or diagnosed later in life.

Gut microflora is very important to metabolic processes, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that constipation would be a symptom that commonly accompanies metabolic disorders.

The two metabolic disorders we want to focus on are diabetes and hypothyroidism – these are well known to cause chronic constipation if go undiagnosed and untreated.

Diabetes and Constipation

Constipation in diabetics is a common complication of the disease. Poor blood sugar control, nerve damage, and medications are all factors of diabetes that can lead to constipation.

Studies have found that people with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to experience constipation. When your constipation is related to diabetes, in conventional medicine your treatment will be to focus on long term solutions, which may include stool softeners and laxatives.

When there’s elevated sugar level in a diabetic, this slows down digestion and peristalsis of the intestine so sugar does not absorb into the bloodstream too fast, which further increases overall blood sugar levels. This is your body’s innate defense mechanism trying to reduce the rate of sugar elevation after the meal.

Lifestyle choices regarding diet and aiding your body in metabolism regulation is going to be the solution to helping reduce your constipation episodes. Work closely with your doctor to manage these metabolic processes and listen to your body to work with it, not against it.

If you’re diabetic or suffer from constipation and suspect you’re diabetic, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor to look into these suspicions. Also keep in mind that the earlier you catch your diagnosis and implement necessary  changes the better because you can prevent damage and work to counterbalance the impact of your diabetes.

Thyroid Disorders and Constipation

Constipation is often one of the first apparent symptom of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Your thyroid is responsible for producing important hormones that impact your metabolism and when there isn’t sufficient production it can cause the muscles that move your stool through the gastrointestinal system to become weak.

If you have already been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, it’s also important to look at your gut health if you are experiencing chronic constipation. Certain gut bacteria is essential to converting T4 hormone to T3, which is needed for proper metabolism and digestion. Have your doctor check your thyroid if you experience regular issues with constipation.

Home Remedies for Constipation Caused by Metabolic Disorders

There are some natural remedies for constipation caused by metabolic disorders you can start at home. However, because each disorder is inherently different it’s a good idea to incorporate these suggestions under the supervision of your regular doctor (if she or he know what to do) or seek for a certified functional medicine doctor to get a thorough evaluation. Natural remedies for constipation that are also safe for those with metabolic disorders include:

  • Adding good fiber to your diet
  • Drink more water
  • Increase physical activity
  • Careful blood sugar management
  • Heal your gut microflora imbalance
  • Consider trying gluten and dairy free diets
  • Be sure you’re getting enough healthy fats
  • Take magnesium supplements
  • Try starting your day with warm lemon water

Unlike low stomach acid, where we recommended an apple cider vinegar test, you’ll have to be tested in-office for metabolic disorders. How to get rid of constipation completely depends on the cause, so get tested early and you may save yourself a lot of discomfort down the road.

When to See Your Functional Medicine Doctor for Constipation

Your certified functional medicine doctor is your best ally in helping you figure out how to get rid of constipation once and for all. Treating constipation alone means you’re only treating the symptom and not the underlying cause. If you want long term relief, especially if you suspect your constipation is due to a metabolic disorder, see your doctor and get a diagnosis earlier rather than later.

Check for thyroid issues and diabetes if you experience long lasting or chronic constipation. And be sure to tell your doctor how often and for how long you’re affected by constipation to help them gain a clear understanding of you condition. Your certified functional medicine doctor helps you identify the underlying cause and build a comprehensive treatment plan so you can find lasting comfort and relief.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to identify the root cause and relief your unsettled 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.

 

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 3: Dysbiosis

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 3: Dysbiosis

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 3: Dysbiosis

Defined as fewer than three stool movements per week, constipation can be uncomfortable or downright painful for anyone. Feeling stopped up, bloated, uneasy, full or as though everything isn’t passing when going to the bathroom can distract from your day and negligence can lead to worse health issues.

Constipation shouldn’t be taken lightly. When stool doesn’t pass fully through your digestive system it’s preventing new food and nutrients from fully entering digestive system.

If you regularly suffer from constipation, you’re not alone. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal problem in the United States, literally impacting nearly 20 percent of the population.

Even though constipation is an incredibly common condition, many still don’t know how important it is to obtain a proper diagnosis to treat their condition long-term.

When you’re suffering it’s easy to reach for fast relief through laxatives or stool softeners. But these quick fixes could cause you to overlook an underlying condition that may have future health consequences.

In this six-part series, we are looking what causes constipation in order to find you true constipation relief. In the first two parts, we looked at low hydrochloric acid and low bile blow.

In part three of this series, we are going to look at a condition called dysbiosis – a microbial imbalance in the gut. We will examine what causes dysbiosis, suspicious symptoms that may indicate dysbiosis, and constipation remedies when it’s caused by dysbiosis.

Part 3: Dysbiosis

While nearly everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life, constipation becomes a problem when it happens for longer than 10 days or more and when it’s a chronic or recurring condition. How to get rid of constipation completely, depends on correctly identifying the underlying cause.

Dysbiosis refers to when there is a microbial imbalance somewhere in the body, which can be internal or external. In the case of constipation, dysbiosis is referring to an imbalance of your gut microbiota – or your gut flora.

Constipation caused by dysbiosis is most commonly caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO) but it can occur anywhere in the intestinal tract where colonies making up your microbiota are thrown out of balance.

Your gut microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms. Comprised of over 1000 species of known bacteria, which together contain three million genes (150 times more than human genes), your gut microbiota can weigh up to four pounds!

When your gut microbiota is thrown off balance it can lead to a cascade of health problems. Constipation is a common indicator of an unbalanced microbiota that needs attention.

The Importance of Your Gut Microbiota

Your gut microbiota is so important to your overall health, that it is now considered an organ. Interestingly, babies are not born with a microbiota at birth. We acquire this organ as we grow. From the moment you are born, your gut microbiota begins to develop. Colonizing from the birthing process, breastfeeding, and through life exposures. By the age of three, your gut microbiota is similar to an adult’s but it continues to evolve throughout life.

Everyone has a unique microbiota composition but each are composed of similar elements and responsible for the same physiological functions. Some of the most important functions of your gut microbiota include:

  • Aiding in food digestion, especially items your stomach or small intestine haven’t been able to fully breakdown
  • Production of vitamins, in particular vitamins B and K
  • Combat invading microorganisms
  • Maintaining the integrity of your intestinal mucosa
  • Acts as a barrier in the immune system
  • A key factor in an overall smooth digestion process

When your gut microbiota is off balance, you can experience a myriad of uncomfortable and sometimes life impacting symptoms, such as:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms – belching, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, greasy stools, abdominal pain, indigestion, heartburn
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Mental fog
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low libido
  • Joint pain
  • Sugar and alcohol cravings
  • Weight gain
  • Skin problems
  • Yeast infections
  • Thrush
  • Poor nail health
  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Iron deficiency
  • Malnutrition

When your constipation is caused by dysbiosis – an unbalanced gut microbiota – not only are you directly uncomfortable due to the constipation but it’s probably causing other conditions. Additionally, dysbiosis can also contribute to nutritional deficiencies, even if you’re eating all the right things.

If you are experiencing constipation, it’s important to find out the underlying cause through a diagnosis. If your constipation is caused by dysbiosis, rebalancing your gut microbiota is the only way to truly treat your condition permanently.

Causes of Dysbiosis

 Since dysbiosis occurs when your gut microbiota has become unbalanced, the causes can be anything that would interfere with healthy bacterial and fungal growth of the gastrointestinal tract, including:
  • Antibiotics
  • NSAIDS use (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, etc.)
  • Stress
  • Diets high in sugar and carbohydrates or low in nutritional quality
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Intestinal infections
  • Parasite infections
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Exposure to different bacteria or viruses from overseas travel
  • Environmental exposures such as mold, fungus or heavy metals

If you suspect your constipation is caused by gut microbiota imbalance, this should be taken seriously – make an appointment with your certified functional medicine doctor to accurately diagnose the cause of your constipation so it can be properly treated and relieve your symptoms once and for all.

Home Remedies for Constipation Caused by Dysbiosis

What helps constipation completely depends on the underlying cause. Keeping this in mind, here are several natural remedies for constipation caused by dysbiosis that you can incorporate into your habits immediately, including:

Eliminate sugar and simple carbohydrates (completely – at least for a period of time)

Stop drinking tap water because of the fluoride and chlorine damages the good microbes

Avoid antibiotics whenever possible

Don’t casually take medications such as Advil and Aspirin

Add gut healing foods to your diet such as bone broth, raw cultured dairy, fermented vegetables and variety of root vegetables

These changes are a great way to support a healthy gut microbiota but doesn’t replace the advice of a functional medicine doctor. Your doctor can help you incorporate new habits, foods, and supplements so as to fully heal your gut flora. If you experience long lasting or chronic constipation take care of it early, so you can prevent the myriad of illnesses that can occur when dysbiosis goes unchecked.

When to See Your Certified Functional Medicine Doctor for Constipation

Treating symptoms does not tackle the underlying cause of constipation. Taking stool softeners or laxatives may work temporarily but can leave you struggling with discomfort and other health consequences down the road. If your constipation that lasts longer than a couple of weeks, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a certified functional medicine doctor. We emphasize the fact that a functional medicine doctor should be certified because it means they’ve fully completed their training.

If diagnosed with dysbiosis, your doctor will walk you through the Four R Program – Remove, Restore, Repair, Renoculate. Here’s how this program treats dysbiosis:

Remove – First, it’s important to remove everything that’s contributing to your dysbiosis to give your gut flora a chance to heal. This includes sugar, simple carbs, alcohol, antibiotics, and anything else that may throw your microbiota out of balance. This step may require a proper gut flora restoration treatment — “Weed and Seed”

Restore – Through adding dietary changes and supplements, you can begin to restore your gut.

Repair – Through vitamins such as A,C, and E, zinc, fish oil, and the amino acid glutamine you can support your GI tract as it begins to repair itself. In my practice I use healing the gut treatment — “Heal and Seal”.

Renoculate – Probiotics and prebiotics will help your gastrointestinal tract rebuild it’s microbiota and return the needed balance for a healthy gut.

Constipation caused by dysbiosis is a serious health condition that can complicate other areas of your health. Your functional medicine doctor will work closely with you to identify the exact cause of your constipation and create a comprehensive treatment plan.

Click here to read more about treatment of dysbiosis on our blog. 

Click here to view a video about dysbiosis.

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 2: Low Bile Flow

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 2: Low Bile Flow

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 2: Low Bile Flow

Constipation is incredibly uncomfortable for those who suffer from being stopped up. Often you feel uneasy, bloated, full, as though everything isn’t coming out, and even nauseous.

But constipation is more than discomfort. Stool that doesn’t pass fully through the digestive system actually rots and prevents absorption of nutrients from new food. Defined as fewer than three stool movements a week, it’s the most common gastrointestinal problem in the United States.

When you’re suffering from constipation, it seems easy to take over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners – but you’d just be treating the symptom, not the underlying cause.

If you only treat the symptoms, you might continue to struggle with constipation for the rest of your life. How to get rid of constipation depends on the underlying causes, which we aim to help you identify in this guide.

In this six-part series, we are looking at the different causes of constipation in an effort to find you true constipation relief. The first part of the series, we discussed low hydrochloric acid or stomach acid levels, an often-overlooked cause of constipation.

The second part of this series, we are going to take a closer look at low bile flow, what causes it, and what helps constipation caused by low bile levels.

Part 2: Low Bile Flow

Bile is a digestive fluid created by your liver and stored in your gallbladder. Bile is important in digestion and absorption of fat in the small intestine. Bile’s makeup includes:

  • Water
  • Bile acids (also called bile salts)
  • Bilirubin
  • Fats (cholesterol and fatty acids)

Fat is digested differently than carbohydrates and proteins, it requires the help of bile to break it down after it passes through the stomach. When fat reaches the small intestine, it looks like large fat droplets. Your bile then breaks down these large fat droplets, with bile salts, which emulsifies (breaks)  them into fatty acids and monoglycerides. These particles are then small enough to pass through the intestine wall. Bile is also important in breaking down bilirubin (old blood cells byproduct) and cholesterol.

When your liver isn’t producing enough bile or it is too thick to flow freely (peanut butter vs water-like) fat can build up in the intestinal wall and cause slower movements via digestive tract therefore cause constipation. If your constipation is due to low bile flow, symptom treating medications won’t help you in the long run. Identifying low bile flow as the cause of your constipation brings you one step closer to lasting relief.

The Importance of Bile Flow

Why is bile so important? Bringing to mind a yellowish, green slime, it’s a common reaction to think of bile as vile, but it’s critical to gut health and smooth digestion. Bile is important in a number of critical roles, including:

  • Aid in fat digestion and absorption (and some digestion of proteins and starches)
  • Emulsify fats (the detergent-like reaction done by bile salts)
  • Assist in absorption of fat-soluble substances, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Helps regulate your intestinal microflora
  • Encourages fecal matter movement through your digestive tract
  • Serve as a route of excretion of bilirubin
  • Help your liver rid your body of waste products
  • Aid in destroying unwanted organisms that invade the body through the digestive system

When your body isn’t making enough bile, you can experience several uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Acid reflux
  • Acne
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Gall bladder disease (stones and inflammation)
  • Migraines
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Jaundice
  • Poor gut microflora
  • Impaired liver function
  • High cholesterol
  • Greasy, foul smelling, and light colored stools

If your body has low bile flow, your constipation is also probably contributing to nutritional deficiencies, even if you’re eating healthy. This is why it’s so important to find the cause of your constipation instead of reaching for a quick fix.

Nutritional deficiencies can lead to conditions that may appear unrelated to your constipation. If you experience regular constipation it’s important that you share that information with your functional medicine doctor.

Causes of Low Bile Flow

Since bile is produced in the liver, any impairment to the liver can cause low bile flow. Impairments of the liver include:

  • Jaundice
  • Bleeding in the liver
  • Infection of the liver
  • Liver inflammation
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Additionally, because bile is stored in the gallbladder, any impairment of the gall bladder could lead to low bile flow, including:

  • Gallstones
  • Cholecystitis
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Gallbladder polyps
  • Abscess

Other causes of low bile flow could include:

  • Obesity
  • Having a high-cholesterol diet
  • Diabetes
  • Old age

If you suspect you are suffering from constipation caused by low bile flow, it should be taken very seriously – schedule an appointment with a certified  functional medicine doctor to get your constipation cause pinned down and be on your way to smooth digestion.

Home Remedies for Constipation Caused by Low Bile Flow

Remember, what helps constipation best is determined by the underlying cause. With that in mind, there are several natural remedies for constipation caused by low bile flow that you can take at home, including:

  • Lemon juice – Lemon juice activates the liver and stimulates digestion. Try this in warm water on an empty stomach in the morning.
  • Healthy, raw oils – Fish oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados are good sources.
  • Promote good gut health – By reducing sugar, processed foods, and grains you’ll be encouraging a healthy gut.
  • Foods believed to stimulate bile production – Add garlic, beets, radicchio, kale, endive, arugula, celery, and radish to your diet.

There’s also Betafood and Cholachol, two additional natural remedies that your functional medicine doctor may recommend.

  • Betafood** – This is an extract derived from organic beet root and tops. It mobilizes the bile and transforms it from a thick, peanut butter consistency, to a water-like consistency.

With as much as 10 percent of the population suffering from gallstones, this is a great supplement that helps prevent and reduce gallstones and aid in fat metabolism.

  • Cholacol** – These are purified bile salts, which are great for stasis and gallbladder relief. If you’ve had your gallbladder removed, these are a necessity. You’re missing the bolus bile release that occurs during normal food digestion. Those without a gallbladder suffer from fat digestion and therefore lack nutrients that are fat absorbent such as vitamin A, K, D, and E (and many others).

If you’ve had your gallbladder removed (cholecystectomy) and were left disabled in your ability to digest fats and other nutrients, you are not alone. Every year about 700,000 people have their gallbladder removed and require purified bile salts to aid in normalizing digestion.

These foods and supplements are a great way to start supporting your bile production. Be sure to see your functional medicine doctor in the early stages of your constipation issues. By seeing your doctor when constipation starts, prevents low bile production from going untreated and potentially leading to a cascade of conditions.

**To order these products you can call our office at 212-696-HEAL(4325)

When to See Your Functional Medicine Doctor for Constipation

As with many conditions, treating symptoms ignores the underlying cause. Additionally, waiting to see your doctor about your constipation can make diagnosis more difficult and the treatment more complicated. If you experience constipation that lasts longer than a couple of weeks, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your functional medicine doctor.

By working closely with a functional medicine doctor, you can discover constipation remedies that helps stimulate bile production and relieve your constipation discomfort for good.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to identify the root cause and relief your unsettled 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.
Is Coconut Oil Still Good For You?

Is Coconut Oil Still Good For You?

Yes. Coconut Oil Is Still Good for You. Here Are 4 Studies That Suggest Why.

You’ve probably seen the coconut oil articles spreading around social media. With headlines like “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy” and “Coconut oil is out” it’s no wonder people are confused.

These articles were spurred by an American Heart Association (AHA) report that revisited their dietary guidelines on fat and cholesterol. Overall, they didn’t really say anything new since they’ve been incorrectly blaming saturated fats for cardiovascular disease (CVD) for decades.

But in this AHA report, they emphasized the use of polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats. And what shocked the health and wellness industry further, is that they recommended dangerous, inflammatory vegetable oils over coconut oil.

I want to take a moment and set the record straight about some of the key points in the article.

  1. Coconut oil IS high in saturated fat – One of the reasons the AHA recommended against using coconut oil is because of the high saturated fat content. Coconut oil is 82% saturated fat. As with nearly all foods, you should eat coconut oil in moderation. MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) Oil, are a component of coconut oil and are also beneficial to your health.

The report does recommend that 6 percent of your diet come saturated fats, which would be about two tablespoons of coconut oil. That’s a good amount of fat and coconut oil.

  1. Saturated fat does NOT cause cardiovascular disease, SUGAR DOES – The idea that cardiovascular disease is caused by saturated fat clogging the arteries is an incorrect concept that began in the 1950’s and has somehow stuck around. This notion causes the entire food industry to switch to “Fat- Free” and consequently increase sugar content in foods. The results are obvious — cardiovascular disease rate keeps climbing up and the rate of obesity increased dramatically since the implementation of the “Fat-Free” frenzy.

Numerous studies have proven that saturated fat does not cause cardiovascular disease. It’s inflammation that causes cardiovascular disease. And it’s time to set the record straight. Diets that are high in sugars and simple carbohydrates and low-fat cause inflammation, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

  1. LDL cholesterol is not the only factor in cardiovascular disease risk – The reasoning the AHA had against recommending coconut oil was that it increases your LDL cholesterol, “a known cause of CVD.”

They then said that coconut oil had “no known offsetting favorable effects.” This isn’t true. Coconut oil raises your HDL cholesterol levels, which studies have shown reduces CVD risk. More importantly, your LDL to HDL ratio is a better indicator when examining your risk for CVD than LDL alone.

  1. Vegetable oils are terrible for you – Vegetable oils are inflammatory, contain pesticides, are mostly GMO, and are unstable.

Polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils are packed with omega-6 fatty acids which are inflammatory. While you do need some omega-6s, many Americans eat up to 50 times more omega-6s than they should and vegetable oils found in processed foods and fast food restaurants are one of the major culprits.

Vegetable oils are also bad for you because they break down readily under heat when cooking. Polyunsaturated fats are easily oxidized when heated meaning they will react with free radicals in the body and can cause cell membrane and DNA damage.

Now that we understand where a lot of the confusion surrounding this report came from, let’s take a look at the ways coconut oil is good for you. And remember, as with most things in life – moderation is key.

4 Studies That Suggest Coconut Oil is Good for You

Studies on coconut oil are typically relatively small and require a little interpretation and gentle extrapolation for the purpose of making your own decision on whether or not you’ll incorporate coconut oil into your diet. Overall coconut oil is a safe food that should be experimented with to find if it’s best for you.

1. Coconut oil is better than soybean oil

study on the effects of coconut oil versus soybean oil on 40 obese women found that coconut oil reduced waist circumference, while the waist circumference of those that used soybean oil slightly increased.

Both groups consumed about two tablespoons of their respective oils each day, walked 50 minutes, and followed similar low-calorie diets.

While both groups lost about two pounds, the coconut oil group had an increase in the “good” HDL cholesterol and a decrease in C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker). The soybean oil group experienced an increase in the “bad” LDL cholesterol, a decrease in HDL cholesterol, and a decrease in the C-reactive protein.

What this means for you: Try switching out any vegetable oils you use for coconut oil and note the changes. Adding coconut oil to your diet could be especially helpful if you are overweight or struggling to keep inflammation down.

2. Simply adding coconut oil to your diet (with no other changes) may increase weight loss

study of 20 overweight men and women consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil each day for four weeks without changing anything else about their diet or exercise routines. The men lost an average of 1.2 pounds and 1 inch off their waist and the women lost an average of 0.5 pounds and 1.2 inches off their waist.

While a study of twenty people isn’t large enough to determine direct cause and effect, it does suggest this is a simple and safe experiment you can try. Just watch your sugars and carbs while doing that.

What this means for you: Why not do this yourself? Try adding two tablespoons of coconut oil to your diet each day for four weeks without changing anything else and see what happens. You may find coconut oil to be beneficial to you.

3. Coconut oil is great for natural dental hygiene

Coconut pulling is an age-old Ayurvedic technique thought to help fight plaque-forming bacteria in your saliva. A study of 60 people swished with either coconut oil or chlorhexidine mouthwash and their bacteria levels were measured before and after. Both mouth rinses significantly reduced the Streptococcus mutans bacteria.

Because there was no difference between the two washes and chlorhexidine is a disinfectant – coconut oil is a great natural replacement.

What this means for you: Add coconut pulling to your dental hygiene routines for a natural method that promotes good teeth health.

4. Coconut based, high saturated fat diet may improve LDL/HDL ratios in women

A study that had 25 women compare three diets (one high in coconut oil, one low in coconut oil, and one high in polyunsaturated fats) revealed that the best of the three diets for having the healthiest LDL/HDL ratio was the high saturated fat, coconut oil diet.

What this means for you: Again, a study of 25 women is not enough to be conclusive but it does suggest that it might be a good idea for you to see how coconut oil impacts your personal health, especially if you are struggling to maintain a good LDL to HDL ratio.

The Importance of Interpreting Data for Yourself

Beyond the irresponsible and misleading arguments regarding the cause of cardiovascular disease and the strange attack on coconut oil, the AHA is recommending polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which is downright dangerous.

A big concern is that the  – American Heart Association – packs authority. And they’ve published a poorly researched, grossly misguiding report. One that’s being repeated across mainstream news outlets across the country.

It seems surprising that the AHA would recommend vegetable oils so freely when there are mountains of data to suggest that it’s bad for your health. But then at the bottom of the report, you can see that some of the funding for the AHA and the report come from The Canola Oil Council. That’s concerning.

I encourage you to take information such as the AHA reports and keep a critical eye. Our bodies are fundamentally similar but also unique in how we metabolize and respond to environmental inputs.

Determine through careful personal experimentation whether or not adding coconut oil to your diet is good for you. Listening to your body and noting reactions is one of the best ways you can make the shift from treating symptoms and illnesses to encouraging optimal health.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her practice, she uses herbal and food-based supplements 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.

Resources:

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.0000000000000510
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/properties-of-coconut-oil.html
http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/31/bjsports-2016-097285
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109706013350
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3504986/
http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/gmos-and-pesticides/
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332202002536
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11981884/Cooking-with-vegetable-oils-releases-toxic-cancer-causing-chemicals-say-experts.html

The Four Studies

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3226242/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27084861
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12514271
Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 1: Low Stomach Acid (Hydrochloric Acid)

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 1: Low Stomach Acid (Hydrochloric Acid)

Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 1: Low Stomach Acid (Hydrochloric Acid)

Constipation can be uncomfortable or downright painful if left untreated. You may experience few bowel movements, the sensation that everything isn’t coming out, small and hard stools, a swollen belly, pain or throwing up.

But you’re not alone – an estimated 42 million Americans suffer from constipation, making it the most common gastrointestinal problem in the United States.

When you experience constipation, it may seem like a good idea to reach for fast relief like a stool softener or other common constipation remedies such as prune juice – but these are usually just a quick fix that doesn’t solve the underlying cause.

If you want long-term constipation relief it’s a good idea to get to the root of what’s causing your chronic constipation.

There are a number of causes of constipation, which we are going to address in throughout this six-part article series. First, we are going to take a closer look at low hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach – an often-overlooked cause of constipation.

Part 1: Low Hydrochloric Acid

Your stomach acid is made up of three parts: hydrochloric acid (HCl), potassium chloride (KCl), and sodium chloride (NaCl). Hydrochloric acid is the primary acid in your stomach and it plays important roles in keeping the digestive tract running smoothly. Often, stomach acid and hydrochloric acid are used interchangeably.

When your body isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid, it can cause serious and chronic constipation. Also called achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria, low stomach acid can disrupt several important bodily processes.

The Importance of Stomach Acid

Why is stomach acid so important? Stomach acid frequently gets a bad rap because an overabundance can cause heartburn or ulcers, but it’s just as problematic to have low stomach acid. Your stomach acid is involved in many critical roles, including:

  • Completely digesting food
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Encouraging the pancreas and intestines to produce necessary enzymes and bile
  • Ensuring good absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Activating pepsinogen – a protein-digesting enzyme
  • Helping to kill unwanted bacteria, viruses, and parasites

When your stomach isn’t making enough hydrochloric acid, you can experience an array of unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms, such as:

If your stomach has low hydrochloric acid levels, you might experience constipation but also nutritional deficiencies, even if you’re eating a healthy diet. This can make identifying your health issues difficult. In fact, low hydrochloric acid is a condition that is often misdiagnosed or overlooked.

Causes of Low Hydrochloric Acid

Low levels of hydrochloric acid can make you constipated and uncomfortable but it can also be responsible for a cascade of health consequences, which is why it’s important to address constipation with techniques that treat the root cause and not just the symptom.

Understanding some of the causes of low hydrochloric acid can give you clues to help you determine if low HCl is causing your constipation. Some causes of low stomach acid include:

  • Medications – Some prescriptions and over the counter drugs suppress HCl production.
  • Chronic stress – This is when HCl secretion is inhibited by chronic low-grade worry (acute stress may cause overproduction of HCl, which is associated with ulcers).
  • Older age – Your body tends to decrease HCl production levels as you get older.
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency – In particular, low zinc and thiamine levels can contribute to insufficient hydrochloric acid levels.
  • H. pylori infection – When there’s an overgrowth in the stomach, H. pylori can cause low HCl levels.
  • Processed foods and refined sugars – These foods are mineral deficient and cause inflammation of the stomach, which alters your gut microbiome and can reduce stomach acid production.
  • Chronic illness – Some chronic illnesses have an increased risk of low HCl production.
  • Antacids – Antacids interfere with your acid levels and can be the cause of low HCl production.

If you are experiencing constipation – other related symptoms – and also have any of the above contributors to low hydrochloric acid, you should test yourself for low stomach acid. There are three simple ways you can test your HCl levels at home before you make a trip to the doctor.

How to Test Your Stomach Acid (HCl) at Home

These three easy ways to test for low hydrochloric acid production in your stomach are much cheaper than a conventional HCl test administered by many doctors. Keep in mind a negative test result for these techniques is not an absolute diagnosis. These methods are simply for seeing if your constipation is caused by your stomach’s inability to produce enough stomach acid.

Self-Exam for Low Stomach Acid

A quick method for checking low hydrochloric acid levels is an old homeopathic trick. Take both your hands and find your xiphoid process – the bottom of the sternum where it meets the ribs – marked in red in the image below.

Then, with both hands slide along the rib cage in both directions while pushing in and under your ribs – on your left and right side of your body.

In people experiencing low levels of stomach acid, it’s common for the left side to be more tender than the right side – this area is marked in blue in the image below. It can be so tender it may cause you to jump when you find the right area – if this occurs you likely have low hydrochloric acid levels.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Low Stomach Acid

Another test you can try at home is taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar when you experience temporary symptoms after eating, such as indigestion or upset stomach. If your symptoms are relieved after taking apple cider vinegar, that could be a sign of inadequate hydrochloric acid production.

Betaine HCl Test for Low Stomach Acid

The betaine HCl is another at-home test you can use to check for low stomach acid. Take a betaine HCl capsule during or right before your last bite of a meal containing protein and fat. If you experience indigestion or burning, then you have plenty of HCl and shouldn’t take any more of that supplement. But if you don’t experience any burning, your stomach isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid.

Home Remedies for Constipation Caused by Low Hydrochloric Acid

The best choice of remedy for any individual’s constipation always depends on the underlying cause. If you’ve determined the underlying cause of your constipation may be low stomach acid, here are a couple of changes you can make:

  • Add fermented vegetables to your diet
  • Reduce processed food consumption
  • Increase zinc intake
  • Reduce chronic stress in your life, especially at mealtime
  • Have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water before each meal
  • Add betaine HCl supplements to your diet

These are a couple of remedies that may give you constipation relief. But if you continue to struggle with constipation, you should see your doctor so you can have a comprehensive diagnosis made as early as possible.

When to See Your Doctor for Constipation

As with many conditions, using temporary fixes that relieve symptoms only prolongs the underlying issue. Waiting to treat your condition can cause complications and make it more difficult to treat. If you are experiencing constipation that lasts longer than a couple of weeks, or if one of the three at-home self-tests for low stomach acid appears positive, it’s a good idea to see your doctor.

There is a myriad of ways to treat low hydrochloric acid levels naturally. By working closely with a holistic physician, you can restore balance to your stomach and relieve uncomfortable and widespread symptoms.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to identify the root cause and relief your unsettled 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.

Managing Seasonal Allergies

Managing Seasonal Allergies

Those who suffer from seasonal allergies, especially during the spring time, know that it is around the corner. There are three major allergy seasons for outside allergens, which are:

· Spring (starts February, tree pollen is the main culprit here)

· Summer (caused mostly by grasses which release allergy-causing pollen. The typical grasses include Timothy, Johnson and Rye) and

· Fall (weeds especially ragweed, which grows almost everywhere).

Causes

Our environment and abundance of the toxins, including pharmaceuticals are the mail cause of the immune system become overly stimulated and reacts easily to changes. Dr. Leo Galland and his book titled “The Allergy Solution” that the body’s immune system can be overly sensitized due to environmental toxins in the air, excess use of antibiotics and a fluctuating food system which causes internal inflammation and nutrient deficiencies.

Preparation for Allergy season

The most important and first step in preparation for allergy season is to know what you are really allergic to. This helps to reduce the burden of exposure if you avoid it. The second step is to identify the allergy remedy that works for you. It advised to start taking natural medicine for allergies at least a week before the exposure.

Treatment

Not every environmental allergy needs to be treated pharmaceutically. Actually, the drugs are very effective, but they don’t address the root cause of the allergy. There are a lot of natural substances that we use in our practice working really well, as well as homeopathic medicines. Here are my favorite.

  1. Improve nutritional status of the patient with basic food based supplement Catalyn by Standard Process. The rich content of this supplement provides wide variety of nutrients that body needs to perform well. This product is available in gluten-free version and in chewable version for kids (great support for kids who don’t like to eat veggies).
  1. Antronex by Standard Process is a unique formula with antihistaminic effect and improving liver circulation. This helps to detoxify blood from the “storm of antibodies” that are formed by immune system in response to exposure.
  1. Albizia Complex by MediHerb is a special combination of herbs: Albizia bark, Chinese Skullcap root and Feverfew leaf and stem. This is intended to maintain normal upper respiratory tract and skin function. promotes a normal response to occasional seasonal allergy, and supports a normal immune response.
  1. Allerplex complex by Standard Process is a powerful nutritional supplement used in the treatment of seasonal allergy. It helps to support the upper and lower respiration. It contains Vitamin A and Vitamin C which supports the ability of the body to handle seasonal, environmental, and dietary challenges. It supports healthy state of mucous membranes, liver, lung, and respiratory function.

There are certain food that help to combat seasonal allergy. Some which include:

· Vitamin C: this is a natural antihistamine which opposes the activity of histamine receptors in the body, thereby stopping the symptoms of allergy. This can be found in berries, lemons and other citrus fruits, broccoli, leafy greens and chilies.

· Vegetables that are rich in chlorophyll such as watercress, arugula, kale, swiss chard, spinach and mustard green, all help to clear allergies immune enhancing inflammatory properties and also because of the fact that they detoxify the liver, thereby helping the body process any immune triggers present in the body

· Quercetin: this is a flavonoid present in onions, apples, and cabbages, which help to prevent allergies

· Probiotics: they are live bacteria and yeast which are good for digestion of food in the human body. These bacteria are extremely good for the human health. They normalize the immune system and kill unhealthy bacteria in the gut.

In our functional/integrative medicine approach to treatment of allergy the patient is in the center of the care. The goal of functional medicine is to build therapeutic relationship between the patient and the doctor, which addresses the healing of the whole person, including the lifestyle.

If this approach resonate with your believes and you believe that prevention is the best treatment, functional and integrative medical care is for you. Call us we’ll be happy to help 212-696-4325 or email at [email protected]

Eliminate Indigestion with Ginger

Eliminate Indigestion with Ginger

Eliminate Indigestion with Ginger

(Zingiber officinale)

Ginger is an Asian spice well-known for its sweet and zesty zing. It has been shown that ginger reduces pain and inflammation and supports metabolism and digestion. As a digestive aid, this root has been used in traditional herbal medicine to nourish and warm the digestive organs including the mouth, stomach, pancreas, and liver. Ginger stimulates the production of enzymes in all digestive pathways. It also provides support in the breakdown of starches and fatty foods. Herbalists have long used ginger as a tool to heal upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and morning sickness.

Modern naturopathic and functional medicine doctors often prescribe ginger to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, cancer treatment, motion sickness, after surgery and for indigestion. Current research indicates that compounds in ginger bind to receptors in the digestive tract to help minimize sensations that create nausea and indigestion. It also facilitate digestion, reducing the time food sits in the stomach.

There are many preparations for ginger including ginger chews and lozenges, fresh or dried tea infusions, capsules, and extracts. Here is a great recipe for healthy homemade Ginger Ale, prepared with a freshly grated ginger.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification, holistic healing methods, herbal and food based supplements to address the root cause of your 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:

Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (2015) p.186. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.

Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. (2012) p.140; 158-160. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.

WorldsHealthiestFoods.com “Ginger” Accessed October 4, 2016. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

Borrelli F, Capasso R, Aviello G, Pittler MH, Izzo AA. Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Obstet Gynecol. (2005) Apr;105(4):849-56. PMID:15802416.

Hoffmann, D. Medicinal Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Healing Art Press 2003. Ginger root supplement reduced colon inflammation markers, University of Michigan Health System, 11 October 2011. http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/ginger-cancer-1011

 

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.