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.

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.