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3 Natural Ways Of Preventing and Treating Food Allergies and Sensitivities

3 Natural Ways Of Preventing and Treating Food Allergies and Sensitivities

In this article, I am going to discuss ways of preventing and treating food allergies and sensitivities.

Some people have the perception that food allergies and sensitivities are more prominent than in the past.

For example, when I was a child in the 1970’s, we were never told about the dangers of bringing peanuts to school. Today, I hear from the parents of my child clients that this is commonplace.

However, despite hearing this observation, is the issue increasing or we are merely more aware of it.

Scientific research shows us that the incidence of celiac disease is much higher than when I was a child. Researchers can show this increase by analysing old blood samples and applying the modern day diagnostic criteria.  What they found is that celiac disease is over four times higher today than it was a half-century ago.

So why is the incidence of food allergies and sensitivities increasing?

To answer this question we must first look at why some people develop allergies and intolerances, and some people do not.

Eggs and Liver

Over the past fifty years, we have seen a change away from particular foods including a reduction in the consumption of eggs and liver.

When we remove foods from our diets, this will have a detrimental effect on our nutritional status.

Our immune system requires certain nutrients to work efficiently, and without them, it can become over-reactive, and we can develop allergies and intolerances.

Two essential nutrients for a healthy immune system are retinoic acid and prostaglandin E2.

Retinoic acid is a molecule that we make from retinol. Prostaglandin E2 Is made from arachidonic acid an omega-6 fatty acid that we also find in animal foods.

Retinol is found mainly in liver and cod liver oil with smaller amounts in egg yolks and dairy fat. Arachidonic acid is found primarily in liver and egg yolks. Therefore a reduction in the consumption of liver and egg yolks has probably played a role in the increase in food allergies and food intolerances.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Another important consideration is the increased use the over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. These drugs block the enzyme COX in the body. The enzyme COX converts arachidonic acid into the prostaglandin E2 which we require to ward off allergies and intolerances.

If we are in pain, out of all the NSAIDs from a research point of view, the safest one is aspirin.

How Can We Use This Information?

Regarding food intolerances, I think it is more accessible to prevent them than to fix them. To avoid the development of food intolerances of, we need to introduce both liver and eggs into the diets of our children from an early age. For example, beginning with eating liver once or twice a week and eating egg yolks every day or every other day.

Secondly, avoid the unnecessary use of the NSAIDs. There are many natural and safer alternatives to NSAIDs. I suggest seeking out a local Naturopathic Doctor or Homeopath for advice.

As I mentioned above, there is no easy way to fix food intolerances. The first thing to do is identify which foods you cannot tolerate and cut them out of your diet. My preferred method of determining food intolerances is to carry out a food elimination diet. I also find muscle testing a useful tool.

If you suspect that gluten is an issue, it is essential that you rule out celiac disease. Celiac is a serious medical condition which means you must be very strict with the avoidance.

Similarly, if you are anaphylactic to a food such as peanuts, complete avoidance is imperative. Unlike Celiac disease, it may be possible to treat food allergies even if they cause anaphylaxis. I recommend you look at Natural Allergy Treatment which I have found very effective.

If food intolerances do not induce a medical condition or very uncomfortable effects, it may be possible to reintroduce them over time. I suggest trying to reintroduce foods after say 3-4 months. If there are several foods then introduce them one at a time over a week.

You may also try consuming the foods in a predigested form. For example, if you have a problem with nuts, try soaking them and sprouting them. If you are dealing with grains, try using sourdough grains, long-fermented grains, and so on.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Lyme Disease - Why Antibiotics Often Fail - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

Lyme Disease – Why Antibiotics Often Fail

The standard medical regimen for Lyme disease is three weeks of antibiotics. However, when those three weeks are over, even if you still have symptoms, your physician is likely to discontinue your treatment thinking three weeks of antibiotics is sufficient to kill eradicate the infection.

Many Lyme literate doctors feel that six weeks of antibiotics is most appropriate for treating Lyme disease since the bacteria are very slow growing.

While most bacteria in your body replicate every twenty minutes, the Lyme bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi are replicated every one to sixteen days. This replication time is much slower than a bacteria that would cause a sinus infection.

Long-term Effects of Antibiotic Use

Some people end up taking antibiotics for months or even years with little or no improvement. When taking antibiotics, they can kill off a lot of your healthy bacteria, which are essential for having a robust immune system and ability to fight off infection naturally.

Up to 80% of immune function comes from your gut making these healthy bacteria essential for a robust immune system.

Long-term antibiotic use can also cause kidney and liver damage as well as many other harmful side effects.

As a functional medicine practitioner, I have witnessed the long-term effects of using antibiotics including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Some of the new research has suggested that the Lyme bacteria have become immune to several of the antibiotics that are usually employed to treat Lyme disease.

Some of these Lyme organisms are called Persister cells, and they have developed ingenious ways to alter hundreds of their genes to survive antibiotics. These Persister cells appear to grow at a slower rate than other Lyme bacteria giving the antibiotics less time to eradicate these bugs.

The Effectiveness of Antibiotics in Treating Lyme Disease

If you have acute Lyme disease then taking antibiotics is an appropriate treatment and eradicate the infection and prevent them from causing long-term damage to your body.

According to the CDC in the US, however, 20% of people with acute Lyme disease will fail antibiotic treatment and go on to develop persistent Lyme disease.

The evidence for treating chronic Lyme disease has not been very encouraging. Some studies have found no advantages of using antibiotics in chronic Lyme disease. Other studies have shown that any benefits were lost shortly after stopping the antibiotics.

Natural Options For Treating Lyme Disease

If you have been on the roller-coaster of antibiotics, then it is time to look at other options.

In his book, The Lyme Solution, Dr Darin Ingels, ND outlines the natural ways he used to treat himself for Lyme disease and thousands of his patients. I use this same approach to help my clients who have Lyme disease which includes:

  • Teaching people how to eat the right foods to help nullify the infection
  • Natural ways to improve the gut health and your immune system
  • Improve detoxification
  • Encourage deeper, restful sleep
  • Employing alternative therapies to help balance your immune system

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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3 Reasons Why Your Normal Thyroid Results May Be Misleading - Dominick Hussey

3 Reasons Why Your Normal Thyroid Results May Be Misleading

When your doctor tells you that your lab results for thyroid function have come back as “normal,” you would assume that your thyroid is functioning well. However, there are three reasons why these results can be misleading. In this article, we discuss the three reasons why standard thyroid testing may be misleading.

Meet Mary

Mary lives in Russell, Ontario. She came to see me complaining of a goitre. A goitre is an increase in volume, often visible, of the thyroid gland. The goitre became apparent five years previously. On blood tests, she had a TSH of 4 and thyroid antibodies were within the normal range. These results were perplexing to Mary as she had every sign and symptom of hypothyroidism including fatigue, constipation, hair loss, dry skin, depression and, goitre. The most disturbing aspect for Mary was how much the size of her goitre would vary on a day to day basis. When she was overtired or particularly under any emotional kind of stress or caught a cold or the flu, her thyroid would swell, and become inflamed, tender and red. When I asked Mary why she had decided to see me, she said that she lost confidence in her doctors and appeared incapable of looking past the so-called normal thyroid results.

Unfortunately, Mary’s story is the norm (pun intended!) and not an exception. Many clients report thyroid symptoms and have normal test results. Why does this keep happening? In the next section, we discuss the main reasons why thyroid test results are misleading.

1. Conventional Medicine Blood Testing Does Not Give You A Complete Picture

When testing thyroid function, most Canadian family doctors will only check the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The pituitary gland produces TSH. As the name suggests, TSH tells the thyroid gland how much thyroid hormone to produce. TSH is an excellent overall indicator for assessing thyroid function. However, TSH does not on its own give you a complete picture of what is happening with the thyroid gland. In other words, if all that is being tested is TSH, you certainly cannot rule out problems with thyroid function by that result alone.

Total vs Free Thyroid Hormone Testing

Some family doctors might also test total T4 in addition to TSH. T4 is the primary form of thyroid hormone that is produced in the thyroid gland. Approximately 93 per cent of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland is T4. The remaining is T3. T4 is a good indicator of how well the thyroid gland is functioning. However as we will discuss later in this article, T4 alone, does not give a complete picture because it is not the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone. The metabolically active form of thyroid hormone is T3. Thus, even if there is sufficient T4, if T4 is not getting converted into T3, then a person can still suffer from hypothyroid symptoms. This pattern is prevalent among people with thyroid dysfunction.

The two most common thyroid blood tests a family physician will run are TSH and total T4. Some doctors might also measure total T3, which is a better measure than TSH and total T4, as mentioned above, as it provides some idea about the conversion of T4 into T3. However testing TSH, total T4, and total T3 is also insufficient because they are forms of thyroid hormone that are bound to a protein carrier.

All hormones are fat soluble, meaning they are not water soluble, and the composition of the blood is mostly water. Consequently, for the blood to transport hormones around the body, they have to be attached to a protein carrier. The principal protein carrier for thyroid hormones is thyroid-binding globulin. So total T4 and total T3 are measurements of how much of thyroid hormone is bound to a protein carrier. These measurements are valuable as it shows, in the case of total T4, how well the thyroid gland is functioning. However, the problem with only looking at total thyroid hormones, the protein-bound thyroid hormones, is that it does not show metabolically active thyroid hormones.

Free thyroid hormones, or free T4 and T3, have been separated from the protein carrier. Free T4 and T3 assess the amount of metabolically active thyroid hormone in the blood. Such information is useful because it is not uncommon to have adequate amounts of total T4 and T3 and have low values of free T4 and T3. In such a case there is an excessive amount of the protein carrier of thyroid-binding globulin, which leads to a lower-than-optimal amount of the free thyroid hormone. And as we will discuss later, that can be caused by excess estrogen.

Antibodies and thyroid hypofunction

The most probable cause of thyroid hypofunction in the developed world is Hashimoto’s Disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland, where the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland and eventually decreases its ability to produce thyroid hormone. Unfortunately, conventional doctors, rarely test for thyroid antibodies, because if the antibody test is positive, it will not change their treatment. In traditional medicine, the therapy for hypothyroidism is to prescribe thyroid hormone regardless of the cause.

In many cases of hypothyroidism, the root cause of the problem does not come from within the thyroid gland. An underactive thyroid gland is a symptom of the real issue which is immune dysfunction or autoimmunity. It would, therefore, be useful to know if antibodies are being produced against the thyroid, because if there are, then the primary focus would not be on the thyroid. Instead, the aim would be on balancing and regulating the immune system to prevent it from attacking the thyroid gland. This is why thyroid antibodies, should be a part of blood testing for anybody who is suffering from hypothyroid symptoms.

Conventional Lab Ranges

The traditional lab ranges are, typically, based on a sample of people that have undergone those tests. There have been issues using this approach. For example, initial calculations to determine the normal range for TSH were based on data from the Nurses’ Health Study. When choosing which data to include steps where taken to exclude people that had already had a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, had abnormal TSH and thyroid antibodies. However, the nurses did not undergo a thyroid ultrasound of their thyroids or other kinds of evaluations to screen for people who did have hypothyroidism. It is a well-known fact that the number of people with hypothyroidism that don’t know that they have it is significantly higher than the number of people that have a definite diagnosis. Those initial calculations studies led to a TSH range of around 0.5 to 4.5, which is now the standard conventional range. Mary had a TSH of 4 which according to the traditional range would be deemed as normal.

There have been many studies written over the last 20 years that have been critical of those initial calculations. The study authors have said that there were likely many people included in those initial calculations that did have hypothyroidism. Their inclusion would have skewed the “normal” range of TSH to be too high. In the subsequent studies, researchers did a much better job of eliminating participants with hypothyroidism. As a result, a normal TSH range was more like 0.5 to maybe 2 or 2.5, dependent on the study. That is a much narrower range than 0.5 to 4.5. So if you go to your doctor and your TSH is 4, they will tell you that four is within the normal range while most of the evidence now suggests that that is not the case. A TSH of 4 in the case of Mary is indicative of perhaps a mild hypothyroid state.

2. Goitres Are A Clinical Sign Of Thyroid Disease

When considering Mary, the next relevant question is, what does a goitre typically indicate? We know from the research that in the developed world, the number one cause of goitre is Hashimoto’s Disease, the autoimmune condition I mentioned above wherever the body attacks the thyroid gland. In the developing world, the number one cause of goitre is iodine deficiency.

One of the ways to look for Hashimoto’s Disease is to test for thyroid antibodies. Mary’s antibodies were in the normal range.  However, about 20 to 30 per cent of people patients with Hashimoto’s, according to the studies, never test positive for thyroid antibodies. In such cases, a goitre that is visible on ultrasound may be the only sign that they have Hashimoto’s. This scenario is well documented in the scientific literature, and it is not understood why people with goitre do not test positive for antibodies. In some cases, they may have a compromised immune system, so they are not very good at producing antibodies, period. A compromised immune system can be assessed by testing total immunoglobulin levels IgG, IgA, IgM and IgE.

To summarise, if like Mary you a goitre is present it is extremely likely that there is a thyroid problem regardless of what the labs are saying. And statistically speaking, you likely have either Hashimoto’s Disease.

3. Thyroid Disease May Not Show Up On Standard Conventional Blood Tests

Is it possible that the thyroid is not functioning correctly, even if the lab results are all normal? In other words, is thyroid disease possible even if TSH, total T4 and T3, free T4 and free T3, thyroid antibodies results are all normal? The short answer here is yes. There are five main reasons why thyroid dysfunction may be present despite normal blood test results.

1. Pituitary Dysfunction.

The pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). A problem in the pituitary may affect the production of TSH. TSH tells the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. Pituitary dysfunction may lead to a low-normal TSH, T4 or T3 but the patient can still be suffering from hypothyroid symptoms.

2. Poor Conversion Of T4 To T3

Remember that T4 is not metabolically active and is the primary thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. T4 is converted to T3 which is metabolically active. Conversion happens in the gut and the liver and other tissues around the body, and it can be inhibited by inflammation, gut issues, and also nutrient deficiencies.

3. Elevated Thyroid-Binding Globulin Protein

Thyroid-binding globulin protein, as I described earlier, carries the thyroid hormone around the blood. Some states like high estrogen, which could be related to taking birth control or hormone replacement therapy, can elevate thyroid-binding globulin. Elevated thyroid-binding globulin can lead to low levels of free T4 or T3, even if total T4 and total T3 are normal.

4. Non-Thyroidal Illness Syndrome

Non-thyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS) is sometimes referred to as central hypothyroidism. NTIS is the result of low levels of TRH, or thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which is secreted by the hypothalamus to tell the pituitary how much TSH to produce. The causes of NTIS include leptin resistance, insulin resistance, inflammation, and other non-thyroid-related causes, hence the name.

5. Thyroid Resistance

Thyroid resistance is similar to insulin resistance or leptin resistance. Thyroid resistance is when both the thyroid and the pituitary glands are functioning normally, but the thyroid hormone is not entering the cells. The cellular receptors for thyroid hormone have become resistant to thyroid hormone, in the same way, that way that the cells for insulin can become resistant to insulin. Thyroid resistance can be caused by things like high cortisol levels, inflammation, elevated homocysteine, and other factors.

New Thyroid Function Testing

At this point, I should mention that some new tests may help identify thyroid dysfunction earlier than the current blood markers. One of them measures the ratio of free cortisol to total or metabolised cortisol.  This information is obtained from the Dutch test, offered by Precision Analytical. Thyroid hormone is required to metabolise cortisol. People with a high free cortisol low total cortisol ratio is, therefore, an indication of low thyroid hormones.

What next?

If you have a similar story to Mary and have been experiencing thyroid signs and symptoms, what should you do?

If it all possible, you should attempt to find a holistic health practitioner to work with who is familiar with thyroid physiology and proper assessment of these issues and is willing to treat you perhaps. A holistic practitioner may include a functional medicine practitioner, an integrative medical doctor, or naturopathic doctor. If you are not able to see a practitioner there are some steps you can take yourself:

  1. Under the presumption that your thyroid issues may be autoimmune you could try the autoimmune paleo diet (AIP). Follow the diet for a month and if your symptoms resolve then try reintroducing foods to identify the triggers.
  2. Optimize vitamin D and glutathione status, which can help balance and regulate the immune system.
  3. Take curcumin is an anti-inflammatory that has an immunoregulatory effect.

 

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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2 Best Leaky Gut Tests - Dominick Hussey - Functional Medicine

2 Best Leaky Gut Tests

Susan was experiencing severe bloating, gas and diarrhea. She had been to see her GP, 3 Gastroenterologists. All her tests were normal including bloodwork, an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. No one could explain her symptoms. Like most people in her position, Susan began to look for answers on the internet. Eventually, she came across an article on a condition known as leaky gut. Her symptoms appeared to match those of leaky gut. Her question was what were best leaky gut tests.

In this article, we will cover the fundamentals basics of leaky gut, is testing for leaky gut a good idea, and the two best leaky gut tests.

The Fundamentals of Leaky Gut

A leaky gut is a popular term that describes a condition where the lining of the intestines is not functioning correctly. The correct medical term for leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability.

The intestinal lining covers a surface area of about 400 metres squared and requires about 40 per cent of the body’s energy expenditure.  That is pretty extraordinary when you think that the brain needs only 20 per cent of the body’s energy expenditure.

This fact tells us that the intestinal lining is essential to our health.

The gut is a hollow tube that connects the mouth to the anus.  So, everything that is inside of the gut is technically outside of the body. Therefore everything that is inside of the gut is not technically inside of the body.

Therefore anything that is in the gut to move into the body has to cross that intestinal lining. A fundamental function of the intestinal lining is to let in things that should get in and keep out things that should not stay out.

When certain conditions are present, the intestinal lining’s capability of doing that task breaks down, and then all kinds of problems can happen.

Many factors can interfere with the function of the intestinal lining including:

  • A western-type inflammatory diet, lacking in fermentable carbohydrates and fermented foods
  • Bacterial, viral, parasitic infections
  • Fungal overgrowth
  • Heavy metals
  • Mold
  • Certain medications like proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics, or NSAIDs
  • Lifestyle factors like chronic stress or sleep deprivation or inappropriate physical activity, like too little or too much
  • Inadequate immune stimulation during our developmental period. Insufficient immune stimulation is known as the hygiene hypothesis. Better hygiene has done a lot to reduce acute infections, but these overly sterilised environments may have contributed to immune dysregulation because our immune systems aren’t adequately stimulated.

There are other factors which we call endogenous factors. Endogenous means they are factors that occur inside of the body that can contribute to leaky gut.

Endogenous factors include chronic inflammation, SIBO, or gut-brain axis problems

Is testing for leaky gut a good idea?

In my opinion, a leaky gut is almost always a symptom of a deep-seated underlying issue, meaning that the underlying problem comes before a leaky gut.

Causes of a leaky gut may include any of above factors that interfere with the function of the intestinal lining.

One of the critical principles of functional medicine is that we want to get to the bottom of what is causing symptoms or even manifestations of a disease. We want to remove or address those causes or triggers before we try to do anything about the symptom or the sign. The more we can get to the root of the problem, the more effective the intervention will be.

In other words, by suppressing symptoms, it is going to be less effective, and will not last for as long because we have not addressed the underlying cause.

So with intestinal permeability, if we remove the triggers that are causing leaky gut in many cases, you will not need to address intestinal permeability because it will take care of itself.

One of the astonishing things about the cells in the gut is they regenerate every two to three days. Therefore if you remove the triggers that are causing the problem, the cells will revive and the tight junctions can restore themselves, and the intestinal permeability will disappear.

Hence typically in my practice clinic, before looking at a leaky gut, I will test and treat the triggers such as food sensitivities, gut infections and stress. If the patient is still having problems that we could associate with leaky gut, at that point, I will consider testing for intestinal permeability.

Testing options for intestinal permeability

If you look at the research, many different leaky gut tests have been used to define or identify intestinal permeability. Some of these are more common than others, but I am just going to mention a few different ones, and then I will tell you what I use in my practice and what I recommend.

The first is the lactulose/mannitol permeability assay. This test uses molecules, sugars, long-chain sugars called oligosaccharides, and I will explain a little bit more about that in a later.

The second test is an antigenic permeability screen. This test looks at antibodies to particular antigens like lipopolysaccharides and then also antibodies to endogenous molecules like actomyosin, occludin and zonulin. These are proteins that the body produces in the gut that help to regulate tight junction permeability, the structure of the gut and determine whether the gut is permeable or not.

The next marker that researchers sometimes use in studies is an organic acid called D-lactate or D-lactic acid. D-lactate is different from lactic acid that you may have heard about that can be high after exercise. This organic acid is a product of bacterial metabolism which is produced in the gut. Some studies have shown a correlation between high D-lactate and increased intestinal permeability.

Butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid, has been investigated as a potential marker for intestinal permeability. Low butyrate is a sign of leaky gut.

Finally, zonulin is a protein that regulates the tight junctions in the gut has been investigated as a marker for intestinal permeability.

What Are The Best Leaky Gut Tests?

In terms of clinical practice and what is readily available and has been most validated by the scientific research, the lactulose/mannitol test and the antigenic permeability screen are the two best leaky gut tests.

The Lactulose/Mannitol Test

The lactulose/mannitol test involves measuring levels of two sugars in the urine after the patient consumes those sugars. By looking at the ratio of the two sugars in the urine you can tell you whether the gut is permeable.

The lactulose/mannitol test is available through Genova Diagnostics.

There are some shortcomings of lactulose/mannitol testing.

One of the issues is that the transport of lactulose or mannitol through the gut barrier is not actually or not necessarily an indicator of a malfunction of the intestinal tight junctions. In other words, a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean that there is intestinal permeability present.

There are a lot of variables that can influence the uptake of the sugars, like GI motility, use of medication like NSAIDs, the surface area of the intestine, gastric emptying, and mucosal blood flow so these variations can affect the result.

Another issue is that some studies have shown that only large molecules (over 5,000 daltons) can change the permeability of intestinal epithelial cells and then result in an inflammatory response in the body.

Lactulose and mannitol are below 500 daltons, which suggests that they may not be appropriate as challenge molecules for an intestinal permeability test.

There are ways to increase lactulose/mannitol testing accuracy including:

  1. Avoiding foods containing lactulose 24 hours before the test. Lactulose is found in heat-processed dairy and non-dairy beverages such as soy milk and some yoghurts.
  2. Avoid mannitol for 24 hours before the test. Mannitol is found in brown seaweed, celery, carrot, coconut, cauliflower, cabbage, pineapple, lettuce, watermelon, pumpkin, squash, cassava, pea, asparagus, coffee, olives and berries, and chewing gum.
  3. Avoid dairy products for 24 hours before the test.
  4. On the day of the test avoid drinking too much water.

The Antigenic Permeability Screen

The second test for leaky gut is called the antigenic permeability screen.  This test was developed by Doctor Aristo Vojdani at Cyrex Labs.

In large part, Dr Vojdani developed the test because of the shortcomings of the lactulose/mannitol test.

Doctor Vojdani wanted to create a test that would better reflect pathological permeability of the gut. So instead of using larger sugars, he decided to screen for antibodies to proteins and bacterial endotoxins, since those are the primary concern when it comes to immunoreactivity.

We know that the uptake of antigens, proteins and bacterial endotoxins, plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of a gastrointestinal and autoimmune disease.

Many studies are showing that the inappropriate transfer of proteins and endotoxins from the gut into the bloodstream initiates an inflammatory response and can contribute to autoimmune disease. This understanding explains the connection between leaky gut and autoimmune disease. Less than 10 per cent of subjects with a genetic susceptibility to autoimmune disease progress to having a clinical autoimmune disease in their lifetime. This fact suggests that environmental triggers like toxic chemicals and infections and dietary proteins are probably involved in the development of autoimmune disease.

The Antigenic Permeability Screen is a blood test. This test is only offered by one lab, Cyrex Labs, and is called Cyrex Array 2.

This test needs to be ordered by a healthcare practitioner who is registered with the Cyrex.

The test involves drawing a blood sample and then testing for antibodies to lipopolysaccharide, IgM, IgG and IgA antibodies,

Conclusion

In practice, for the reasons I explained above I do not check for intestinal permeability very often. Typically I tend to look at the underlying cause of intestinal permeability and address that first. So although the mannitol/lactulose and antigenic permeability screen are the best leaky gut tests, If I do a sound job with addressing the root, in most cases, the intestinal permeability will resolve on its own.

When I do test for permeability, I use the Cyrex test.

 

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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What is the best Soil based Probiotic - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

What is the best Soil based Probiotic?

Soil-based probiotics are bacteria that are found predominantly in the soil. I began using soil-based probiotics in my practice about two years ago, specifically, Prescript-Assist. I was pleased with Prescript Assist because it was very effective and few people would react to it. About three months ago the makers of Prescript Assist made a change to the formula that was not agreeable to many people (including me). Consequently, I needed to find an alternative that is the best soil based probiotic. To help me in this endeavour I took a look at the current scientific literature.

In this article, I will highlight what I uncovered in my search for the best soil-based probiotic.

What are the main categories of probiotics?

Soil-based probiotics are one of 4 major types of probiotics including:

  1. Lactobacillus-Bifidobacterium predominant formulas
  2. Saccharomyces boulardii.
  3. Soil-based probiotics
  4. E. coli probiotics

What does the scientific literature say about Soil-Based strains?

When we look at the studies soil-based probiotics, the most well-studied strain is Bacillus coagulans. The next most studied include Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, Bacillus licheniformis, and Enterococcus faecium.

The majority of the high-level studies (clinical trials) on soil-based probiotics were looking at the effect of one strain of bacteria. In other words, if you follow the findings, you should only use one species at a time. However, when we look at the body of literature on all types of probiotics, we see that a multi-strain form of probiotic seems to be better than a single strain form.

What are the main soil-based probiotic products?

So far we have talked about a little about the four most studied strains of soil-based probiotics. We have uncovered that a multi-strain may be better than a single strain soil-based probiotic. Now, let us briefly look at six primary soil-based probiotic products.

  1. Soil Based Probiotic from Functional Medicine Formulations is a two-strain product containing Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis.
  2. BioSpora from Klaire Labs is also a two-strain formulation containing Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis.
  3. MegaSpore from Microbiome Labs is a four-strain probiotic that contains Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, and Bacillus licheniformis.
  4. Thrive Probiotic is a three strain product containing Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, and Bacillus clausii.
  5. Proflora 4R from Biocidin, which contains Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, and Bacillus clausii plus marshmallow, quercetin, and Aloe Vera.
  6. Probiotic-3 from AOR, which contains Enterococcus faecium, Clostridium butyricum and B. subtilis.

These are the six leading soil-based probiotics. Is one of these better than the others?

When you go to each of the manufacturer’s websites, you will read lots of claims, but I think they are all somewhat comparable. These are all excellent probiotics.

Are they better than other brands that you may find that are half the cost? Very likely. One of the things you do see with some probiotics is an inconsistency with the label claims and what the products contain.

This is very important with the soil-based probiotics since some so-called soil-based probiotics (none of the above) contain soil-based organisms and not soil-based bacteria. Some soil-based organisms can be pathogenic and may harm you so using a product from a company that has good quality assurance is essential.

How do these products rate against the latest research?

As mentioned above, the best scientific data is for Bacillus coagulans, which we find in five out of the five products. There are eight high-level studies (clinical trials) using single a strain Bacillus coagulans showing benefit in humans.

There is one study looking at Bacillus subtilis, which we find in four out five products, which show a benefit in humans. And there are also six other clinical trials looking at Bacillus subtilis with different strains, showing benefit.

Bacillus clausii, which we find in three out of the six formulations, has three studies showing benefit.

Bacillus licheniformis, which we find in one out of six, has two studies showing benefit.

Enterococcus faecium has five, which we find in one out of the six, has two studies showing benefit.

Most of these the studies are using two strains, and for this reason, I would recommend using a two-strain formulation as a starting point.

What does the research say about soil-based products?

Currently, there is one clinical trial looking at MegaSporeBiotic, showed a reduction in intestinal permeability or leaky gut, which is an excellent first step.

What are the benefits of Soil-based Probiotics?

Based on study findings, soil-based probiotics have been shown to impart numerous benefits to humans, including:

  • Improvements in diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and stool consistency.
  • Increases in secretory IgA, the protective mucous membrane in the gut.
  • Decreased leaky gut.
  • Decreased respiratory tract infections.
  • A healthier microbiota.
  • Decreased inflammation.
  • Improvements in IBS severity.
  • Decreased post-exertional muscle soreness.
  • Secretion of antimicrobial peptides, meaning probiotics have an antimicrobial effect.
  • Decrease adverse events from antibiotics.
  • There is also mention that there is a slight benefit of improved constipation.

Does this mean that soil-based probiotics are the best form of probiotic?

Based on the list above, soil-based probiotics appear to impart a lot of significant benefits.

However, these benefits are not unique to soil-based probiotics.

So, just because I am highlighting the benefits of soil-based probiotics here, do not let that fool you into thinking that this is the best form of probiotic.

I think they are a viable option and worth including in a probiotic protocol.

What have we learnt?

Soil-based probiotics are one of three to five major categories of probiotics.

When we look at the studies soil-based probiotics, the most well-studied strain is Bacillus coagulans. The next most studied include Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, Bacillus licheniformis, and Enterococcus faecium.

There are six leading soil-based probiotics supplements, all of which appear to be sound scientifically based products.

Is there a best soil based probiotic? I would say no. But, if you have not taken a soil-based probiotic before I would recommend starting with a two-strain formula.

Are soil-based probiotics the best form of probiotic? I would say no again since all four categories of probiotics can impart the same benefits.

If you would like to learn more about how to choose the right probiotic for you then I recommend that you check out my FREE Probiotics ebook.

Click here to download the ebook.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Sulfur Intolerance - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment - Dominick Hussey

Sulfur Intolerance – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Sulfur intolerance is an old concept that is seeing a new lease of life. Some people are aware of sulfur because they are allergic to sulfur based medications. We associate sulfur with volcanoes. Others who live in the country around Ottawa, as I do, will know sulfur because they use well water.

In this article, I will describe what triggered me to learn more about sulfur, how sulfur is essential to the body, what are the symptoms of sulfur intolerance and how to treat it.

Close Encounter of the Sulfur Intolerance Kind

Meet Anne. Anne is a client of mine that I had been treating for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Whenever she was taking the antimicrobial herbs, I prescribed her symptoms would go away. But as soon as she stopped the supplements her gas and bloating would return.

Anne’s case was a puzzle, so I decided to go back to basics and look at whether the food she was eating was causing her symptoms.

I asked her to do a food-symptom diary. She was following a low Fodmap diet which generally would help people with SIBO.

She came back after two weeks with her completed diary, but there did not appear to be any noticeable correlation between her symptoms and diet.

I told her to return after three weeks.

On the next visit, she reported that she had begun experiencing joint pain.  I asked her if anything had changed in her life and she said that her family had moved into a new house in the country.

The new house had a well. Anne always had drunk lots of water, so we got her to have her water tested. On receiving the water report, it showed it was very high in sulfur

Armed with this new information, I began looking at what foods are naturally high in sulfur. I told Anne to stop eating those foods and drinking the well water.

The effect was immediate. After two days, her gas, bloating and joint pain disappeared.

What is Sulphur?

Sulphur is a multivalent non-metal, abundant, tasteless and odourless. In its native form sulphur is a yellow crystalline solid.

In nature, it occurs as the pure element or as sulfide and sulfate minerals. Although sulphur is infamous for its smell, frequently compared to rotten eggs, that odour is characteristic of hydrogen sulphide.

How does the body use Sulphur?

Sulfur in the form of sulphate is the third most abundant mineral in the body, about half being is found in the muscles, skin and bones.

Sulphate makes up essential amino acids used to create protein in cells, tissues, hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.

Our bodies require a constant supply of Sulfate.

Sometimes the metabolism of sulfur to sulfate is hindered. Poor metabolism can be problematic and can lead to sulfur intolerance.

What are the symptoms of Sulphur Intolerance?

Sulphur intolerance can produce a wide variety of symptoms because sulphur plays a role in so many systems in the body. That said there are some more common symptoms including:

  • Feeling exhausted and toxic
  • Brain Fog
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Eye inflammation
  • Skin issues like urticaria and eczema
  • Gas and bloating
  • Ammonia smell in nose
  • Joint pain

What is the cause of Sulfur Intolerance?

Sulfur intolerance is the result of an excess of sulfur in the body. This excess is partly due to a reduction in the bodies capacity to metabolise sulfur into sulphate.

A reason for this reduced sulfur metabolism is exposure to glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient found in the herbicide, Roundup.

Farmers spray Roundup on genetically modified crops such as canola, corn, sugar beets and soy.

When ingested into the body glyphosate binds to Molybdenum. Molybdenum is one of the cofactors used by the body to convert sulfur into sulphate.

What are the primary sources of sulfur?

So glyphosate slows the conversion of sulfur to sulphate. This slowing will lead to a build-up of sulfur in the body. There are five chief sources of sulfur exposure

1. Diet

Diet is an obvious factor that may be aggravating sulfur intolerance. If you are eating a high sulfur diet such as a paleo style diet or GAPs diet that is going to be problematic.

Food that is high in sulfur include:

  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Nuts
  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Meat

The highlighted foods are most common.

2. Water Source

Anyone who is on well water needs to get their water tested. If you see red rings around your faucets and in your toilets, then you may have a high sulfur content in your water.

3. Medications and supplements

Common detoxification supplements such as Alpha Lipoic Acid, MSM and N-Acetylcysteine will increase sulfur levels in the body.

Certain medications, like sulfur medications, may be problematic. You may have been prescribed sulfasalazine and felt very ill. If someone has a sulfur allergy, that might be another indicator that they may have a sulfur intolerance issues going on.

4. Hydrogen Sulfide Bacteria

Hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria can be found in water systems. Again, testing is essential here.

5. Environment toxins

Sulfur is one of the byproducts of fossil fuel. Breathing in exhaust fuels is a potential source of sulfur.

What are the best treatment approaches for a sulfur intolerance?

The Low Sulfur Diet

If you google any diet on the internet, there are often many different versions available. That said they are all very similar and it does not matter if you follow a particular diet.

You can find my personal favourite low sulfur diet on Dr Jockers.

You can use this source as a base and then begin experimenting. Rarely are all sulphur foods bad for everybody. If you feel much better on a low sulfur diet, then you try reintroducing one food at a time to see which ones bring back your symptoms.

If sulfur intolerance is your issue, then you should notice a reduction in your symptoms after 3 to 5 days of following the diet.

Supplements

Supplements are a necessary part of treating a sulfur intolerance. The supplements help mitigate symptoms and help reduce high sulfur food intolerance.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salts are composed of magnesium sulphate. Epsom salts can be very beneficial particularly for helping to reduce the toxic feeling. Take 4 cups of Epsom salts per bath.

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals that also have sulfate in them have been found to be clinically useful. Trace Minerals Research has a product called ConcenTrace that includes magnesium and calcium and also contains lithium orotate.

Calcium D-Glucarate

Calcium D-Glucarate has been found to be clinically useful for people with ammonia issues.

Molybdenum

As previously stated, molybdenum is a significant cofactor in the conversion sulphur into sulfate. Glyphosate exposure can cause a molybdenum deficiency. So avoiding glyphosate by eating organic foods and supplementing with molybdenum has been found to be clinically beneficial.

I recommend Biotics Mo-Zyme Forte, which is a food-based tablet based on sprouted lentils. Chew one tablet two times per day.

Hydroxocobalamin (B12)

There have been some impressive results in using hydroxocobalamin as well.

Bismuth

For those with digestive symptoms, I recommend Bismuth in the form of Bio HPF.

 

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Medical Marijuana - How it works and what it can help - Dominick Hussey - Ottawa

Medical Marijuana – How it works and what it can help

Medical marijuana has been a prescription drug since 2001 in Canada. With the upcoming legislation of recreational marijuana, there is a sudden peak in interest in the medicine. Only the other day my neighbour was asking me about her daughter using medical marijuana for her menstrual cramps. I had to tell her that I knew very little about it. I am always interested in learning about new alternative treatments so 8made the decision to find out what all the fuss was about.

In his article you are going to learn about:

  • The differences between marijuana, CBD and THC
  • The early history of medical marijuana
  • How medical Marijana works
  • What conditions may benefit from medical marijuana

Marijuana vs THC vs CBD

The term “marijuana” refers to any of the subspecies of the whole Cannabis sativa plant.

Within that, cannabidiol, or CBD, and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are the chemical compounds that we find in marijuana that are of particular medical interest.

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that’s responsible for much of the high and the changes in perception that people feel when they consume cannabis products.

CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive and does not produce the high.

The early history of medical marijuana

Early on, it was discovered by cancer patients that marijuana could help with the side effects of chemotherapy.

At that point, patients had to use it illegally, but it proved to be very useful.

People on chemo would have severe loss of appetite, nausea, and just feel rotten most of the time, but cannabis would enable them to feel much better.

Over time as our understanding began to expand, researchers started to look at physiological mechanisms behind how marijuana works.

How marijuana works

We know that the human brain contains endocannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoids can induce either an inhibitory or excitatory response by acting on these receptors.

These receptors bind not only to the chemicals found in marijuana but also in endogenous compounds, which are compounds that we produce in our own body.

There is a specific type of endocannabinoid receptor called CB1 which stimulates appetite and eating behaviours.

CB1 is the reason that we can use medical marijuana to increase appetites in patients undergoing chemotherapy, as we talked about, and also patients with AIDS and other conditions that reduce appetite.

Marijana has also been studied as an appetite stimulant in age-induced anorexia, low appetite in the elderly, which can become a pretty significant problem, and specifically those for Alzheimer’s because that disease can lead to lower appetite or forgetting to eat.

There actually is some research suggesting that cannabinoids may be able to slow the disease process of Alzheimer’s by preventing the inflammatory effects induced by beta-amyloid deposition, which is a hallmark of that condition.

Perhaps most interestingly regarding the therapeutic application, endocannabinoid receptors have been shown to reduce pain from a wide variety of causes.

For example, we know that the analgesic effects of acetaminophen can be prevented by blocking specific cannabinoid receptors. This fact suggests that one of the pain-relieving mechanisms of acetaminophen involves cannabinoid receptors, and, of course, also indicates that cannabinoid receptors play a role in pain.

Cannabis extracts containing both THC alone and a combination of THC and CBD have been shown to be effective at reducing pain from many chronic conditions as well as neuropathic pain.

For example, people with MS who use cannabis report a reduction in symptoms including muscle spasticity, pain in the extremities, bowel dysfunction and balance issues.

This effect could be due to not only cannabis’s role in controlling pain but also its impact on motor function, motor control, and gastrointestinal motility.

Conditions that may benefit from medical marijuana

Some conditions have already been identified in the medical literature regarding a potential benefit from medical marijuana.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a growing problem, and there are not many good options for people with PTSD in the conventional medicine. In the United States, New Mexico was the first state to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD. The one study that they did reveals a 75 percent reduction in symptoms among patients with PTSD. You do not see that with any conventional treatment.

Cancer

Cancer is another exciting application for medical marijuana. I have already mentioned that we use medical marijuana for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemo.

There is new research however that has suggests that cannabis may be able to treat the cancer cells.

Cannabinoids induce cell death, inhibit cell growth, and slow metastasis in tumour cells without harming the surrounding non-cancerous cells.

In one mouse study, pure THC and CBD were shown to prime glioma cells, which are cells found in a particular type of brain cancer for radiation therapy, making them more sensitive to it and the radiation and more effectively treated by it.

There’s not enough published research yet on cannabis and cancer. I would love to see more as conventional treatments are lacking at this point.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS is another condition that has been shown to benefit from cannabis.

Studies have found that it can provide relief from multiple symptoms of MS including spasticity, pain, and motor function and control.

In humans with MS, both whole-plant cannabis-based medicine and extracts combining THC and CBD have been shown to reduce the number of spastic episodes and pain.

Epilepsy

Marijuana has been used for millennia in the treatment of epilepsy. Marijuana is mentioned in ancient texts, but it is only recently investigated for safety and efficacy in humans.

In particular, that research is focused on cannabis use for childhood epilepsy that’s shown resistance to current treatments.

Conventional treatments for epilepsy in kids can cause terrible side effects, which in some ways can be worse than the disease itself.

In a recent study, CBD was found to decrease seizure frequency in participants with childhood-onset treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Those are the conditions that have been best studied so far, but there are many, many other therapeutic applications because when you understand how marijuana works.

Marijana can be:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic
  • anti-anxiolytic
  • anti-anxiety
  • help with depression
  • a miracle for sleep in some cases for patients who have intractable insomnia

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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