Visit our Location
356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa
Give us a Call
613 230-0998
Send us a Message
info@dominickhussey.ca
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.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

Biofilms - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Dominick Hussey

Biofilms – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Biofilms are protective coatings that bacteria and fungus form to protect themselves from antibiotics and herbal treatment. Biofilms may be at the root of infections that won’t go away like Candida, fungus, H. pylori and SIBO.

Read on to learn more about biofilms, why they turn bad, how to tell if they are affecting you, common infections associated with biofilms, testing and how to treat biofilms.

What are Biofilms?

Biofilms exist pretty much anywhere there are microbes and moisture. Therefore, you can find them at the bottom of the ocean. You encounter them in the mucous membranes of any animal which includes their digestive tract, lungs or even in blood vessels.

Not all biofilms are bad. In the digestive tract of humans, the friendly bacteria use biofilms to protect themselves. So some play a part in us staying healthy. So we do not want to get rid of all biofilms.

When Biofilms go from Good to Bad to Ugly

You can illustrate the different biofilms by visualising a spectrum in front of you. Going from left to right, on the left you have good biofilms and on the right the bad biofilms.

The majority of biofilms begin as good or healthy. A useful way to imagine biofilms is to use an analogy of a fence. Good biofilms are like a garden fence that keeps the healthy bacteria in and any other unwanted intruders out.

As biofilms begin to become worse, then the fence becomes higher, and it starts to hold on to unfriendly bacteria.

At this stage, biofilms are known as early phase or phase type 1 biofilms. These are unhealthy but relatively easy to eradicate.

As you become sick and rundown and you lose your good bacteria, or they get rundown, the fence becomes more like a cage. Researchers liken this to a hive community, where you can have bad bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoans, as well as friendly bacteria.

How to Tell if Biofilms are affecting you?

According to Dr, there are some broad indicators that may suggest biofilms are playing a role in your health.

  1. If you have a lab diagnosed pathogen such as H Pylori that has been unresponsive to a standard treatment protocol. That is usually a sign that there’s biofilm protecting a pathogen.
  2. If you have been chronically sick for than a year or two.

Infections Commonly Associated With Biofilms

Certain infections are most prone to formation of biofilm including:

  1. H. pylori, probably the most well known.
  2. Pseudomonas family, which can cause persistent lung infections and death from pneumonia.
  3. Gram-negative type bacteria like the E. coli
  4. Lyme and coinfections
  5. Parasitic infections such as Blastocystis hominis
  6. Methane Producers such as archea found in SIBO
  7. Candida

How to Test for Biofilms

There is currently no easy way to test for biofilms. You can look for them through biopsy, but this is not practical or cost effective.

Diagnosis is mainly based on empirical evidence from signs and symptoms.

Treatment of Biofilms

Dietary Treatment

In most traditional diets, there are anti-biofilm things that are either part of the food or part of the additives to the food such as:

  • Turmeric
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary

Natural Treatments

There are a number of different natural compounds or biofilm disruptors that have been found to be effective for treating biofilms.

Weak Natural Biofilm Disruptors
  • Oils including Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary
  • Herbs including Curcumin and Olive leaf
Moderate to Strong Natural Biofilm Disruptors
  • Black cumin
  • Thiols like n-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid is also a thiol which can have that effect.
  • DMSA or DMPS
  • Bismuth
Strong Natural Biofilm Disruptors

Any natural biofilm disruptor stronger than those above are new molecules that have been developed from individual natural compounds. Examples of popular strong natural biofilm disruptor include:

Prescription Treatments

There is currently no scientifically validated prescription drugs to that treat biofilms.

How To Know If Treatment Is Working

When using biofilm disruptors it reasonable for you to experience some acute die off symptoms. This is a good sign that the treatment is working. Biofilm disruptors open up biofilms and make your immune system aware of the pathogens inside. When this happens, you get a very aggressive immune response which can not only be uncomfortable but scary.

Although every case is different, symptoms usually resolve between one and six weeks

Die-off versus Intolerance symptoms

Intolerance symptoms occur when you react to something in the supplement or drug. People tend to react to more sulphur containing compounds such as NAC, ALA or DMPS.

Typical intolerance reactions include flushing of the skin, itching, rashes and headaches.

Die off symptoms tend to be stronger and more global than from intolerances. Die off symptoms may include multiple painful joints or whole body muscle pains.

Ways to counter Die-off symptoms

Die off symptoms can be very unpleasant. There are however some useful strategies to help manage these symptoms.

  1. Over-the-counter antihistamine medications
  2. High amounts of adrenal support supplementation
  3. Sauna can be very helpful
  4. Drinking lots of water

If you want to learn more about biofilms, I recommend the following article, Biofilms: What Have We Learned from the Research?written by Dr Paul Anderson.

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

5 Complications of SIBO - Dominick Hussey - Functional Medicine

5 Complications of SIBO

You will not die from SIBO, but it does lead to various complications. The main complications of SIBO include:

  • Nutrient Deficiency and Excess
  • Malabsorption
  • Increased Small Intestinal Permeability
  • Autoimmunity
  • Blunted Small Intestinal Villi

Read on to learn about the complications of SIBO occur in the body.

Vitamin B12  Deficiency

SIBO is known to cause a B12 deficiency in the scientific literature. Vitamin B12 deficiency happens in SIBO as a result of utilisation of the vitamin by bacteria. When bacteria take up the vitamin, the bacteria partly metabolise it to inactive analogues, which compete with normal vitamin B12 binding and absorption.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include things like neuropathy, cognitive decline, or even dementia.

There is a high prevalence of SIBO in the elderly. This fact could make you question whether the B12 deficiency seen in the elderly is related to SIBO and not just “ageing.”

Fat Malabsorption

SIBO can also cause fat malabsorption, which leads to a buildup of free bile acids. A build-up of bile leads to mucosal inflammation can lead to increased intestinal permeability. Increased intestinal permeability aka leaky gut can lead to autoimmunity.

Fat malabsorption can also lead to a decline in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamin including:

  • Vitamin D and K2 which will cause osteoporosis
  • Vitamin A which will cause night blindness and retinopathy
  • Vitamin K leading to prolonged clotting times

Stunted Small Intestinal Villi

SIBO can lead to blunted small intestinal villi that will decrease the activity of disaccharides. Disaccharides are enzymes that are required to break down carbohydrate.

A reduction in disaccharide activity will lead to carbohydrate malabsorption. Carbohydrate malabsorption will lead to a build-up of carbohydrates in the small intestine. The bacteria in the small bowels feed on carbohydrates.

So blunted intestinal villi will lead to increase the number of bacteria so worsening the SIBO.

Protein Malabsorption

Bacteria digest protein. When you have too much bacteria in the upper part of the small intestine, where the protein is absorbed, then that will interfere with your absorption of protein.

Excess Folate

While B12 deficiency is prevalent with SIBO, folate levels can often be high in SIBO because of increased synthesis of folate by small intestine bacteria.

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

3 Primary Causes of SIBO - Dominick Hussey

3 Primary Causes of SIBO

The causes of SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and how it develops is not entirely clear, and it’s still somewhat debatable. SIBO begin when there is a disruption in the mechanisms that control the number of bacteria that live in the small intestine. There are at least seven risk factors that are potential causes for that disruption.

  • Structural or anatomic issues, for example, after surgery, if there was damage to nerves that enervate the small intestine, or patients with Cystic Fibrosis
  • Motility disorders, so dysfunction of the migrating motor complex
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Metabolic diseases like diabetes
  • Low stomach acid
  • Age
  • Organ system dysfunction
  • Medications

The 3 Primary Causes of SIBO

According to Chris Kresser, Functional Medicine and SIBO expert, three primary processes cause SIBO:

  • Low gastric acid secretion
  • Small intestine dysmotility
  • Disrupted microbiota

Low gastric acid secretion

Stomach acid suppresses the growth of ingested bacteria, which would limit bacteria in the upper small intestine. For this reason, hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid, is a primary risk factor for SIBO.

Low stomach acid can develop:

  • When H. pylori bacteria are present
  • With chronic stress
  • As a consequence of ageing

There are also drugs that inhibit acid secretion, like histamine type 2 receptor blockers, and Proton Pump Inhibitors, both of which are used to treat heartburn and GERD.

If a person has heartburn and they take these acid-suppressing drugs for a significant period, it reduces stomach acid it may predispose them to develop SIBO.

Small intestine dysmotility

The next primary of the causes of SIBO is impaired intestinal motility or dysfunction of the migrating motor complex (MMC). The MMC sweeps residual debris through the gastrointestinal tract so abnormalities in the MMC may predispose to the development of SIBO.

Disrupted microbiota

The third of the primary causes of SIBO is a disrupted gut microbiome, but there is less research on this proving a direct cause. There are however several lines of evidence that support an association.

One is that it’s well-established that antibiotic use can lead to disrupted gut microbiome and in turn SIBO.

Celiac disease also leads to a disrupted gut microbiome, and there’s a definite connection between celiac and SIBO.

Disrupted gut microbiome has been shown to cause dysfunction of the ileocecal valve, and we know that dysfunction of the ileocecal valve can lead to translocation of bacteria that should stay in the large intestine into the small intestine, which is one of the principal ways that SIBO develops.

 

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

What is the Correct Definition of SIBO - dominick Husey

What is the Correct Definition of SIBO?

There are several different definitions of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Part of the challenge of dealing with it is that there isn’t even really a consensus on how to define it. On the simplest level, it indicates the presence of excessive bacteria in the small intestine. But what is the correct definition of SIBO?

In this article, I discuss the different ways parameters or measures scientists have explored (at the time of writing) to find a correct definition of SIBO.

The Number of Bacteria

A more specific definition of SIBO is where the number of bacteria in the small intestine exceeding 105 to 106 organisms per millilitre. Usually, there should be less than 103 organisms per millilitre found in the upper small intestine, and the majority would be gram-positive. But this specific definition of SIBO relies on endoscopy, which is one of the two test methods used to detect SIBO, but it’s the least frequently used. In fact, I can not think of any Functional Medicine practitioner, that is using endoscopy to diagnose SIBO, so it’s not that helpful of a definition for our practical perspective.

The Type of Bacteria

In addition to the absolute number of bacteria in the small intestine, the type of flora also plays a role in the signs and symptoms of SIBO. The predominant bacteria metabolize bile salts to unconjugated or insoluble compounds, and that can cause fat malabsorption or bile acid diarrhea.

Microorganisms that preferentially metabolize carbohydrates to short-chain fatty acids in a gas can cause bloating without diarrhea. Whereas gram-negative bacteria that are overgrown in the small intestine like Klebsiella can produce toxins that damage the mucosa and interfere with nutrient absorption.

This explains why people with SIBO can have such a wide range of symptoms. It depends on which type of bacteria is overgrown in the small intestine. Again using the type of bacteria found in the small intestine to define SIBO relies on endoscopy.

Measuring Gases

The two main ways of testing for SIBO is through an endoscopy of the small intestine and a lactulose breath test. As mentioned above the former method is not practical. The breath test measures the quantity of hydrogen of methane produced in the small intestine. This method is relatively straightforward but there is no consensus on how to interpret the results. This lack of consensus makes it difficult to establish a firm definition based on the results of a breath test.

Conclusion

So what does this mean? There are three possible measures you could use to define SIBO: the number of bacteria, the type of bacteria and the gases produced in the small intestine. Using any of these measures to establish a correct definition is made difficult because of the limitation of the two main testing measures. It is my observation that currently, the majority of Functional Medicine practitioners (including myself) use the more practical breath test results to diagnose SIBO.

 

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

3 Overlooked Causes of GERD - Dominick Hussey - Functional Medicine

3 Overlooked Causes of GERD

According to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, 13% of Canadians suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This figure may be much higher because of the vast majority of people that experience GERD self-medicate. But what are the causes of GERD? Read on to learn more about this common disease and three overlooked causes of GERD.

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

GERD is when the contents of the stomach go up the oesophagus and into the throat.  The symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Acidic taste in the mouth
  • Burning pain in the chest
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • A chronic cough
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Erosion of the teeth in longstanding issues

It is important not to ignore GERD as it may lead to chronic inflammation of the esophagus (Barrats Esophagitis) and even esophageal cancer.

What are the medical causes of GERD?

Medical textbooks describe the cause of GERD as a dysfunction of the lower esophagal sphincter that usually prevents the stomach acid from travelling from the stomach and up to the esophagus.

The medical treatment for sphincter dysfunction is surgery known as a Fundoplication. Surgeons wrap the upper part of the stomach around the lower part of the esophageal sphincter.

Like medication, the use of surgery is trying to treat symptoms and is not resolving the underlying causes of GERD.

What are Underlying Causes of GERD?

When looking for the cause of any health issue, it is best to take a simple step by step approach. This approach means looking for the most straightforward reason first.

1. Think of Diet First

If you suffer from any digestive issue including GERD then looking at your diet is an excellent first step.

Following an elimination diet, whereby most food allergens are removed, is an excellent place to start. Most elimination diets exclude wheat, dairy, spicy foods and nightshade vegetables.

Examples of elimination diest include:

The underlying cause of GERD may be Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Their symptoms are very similar. A low fodmap diet has been shown in clinical trials to help symptoms of IBS.

2. Dysbiosis

If the elimination diet does not give 100% relief, then the next consideration is dybiosis. Dybiosis is an imbalance or overgrowth of bacteria that live in the gut. Two types of dybiosis are associated with GERD.

H.pylori Overgrowth

H.pylori is a type of bacteria that live in the stomach and have been shown to be a cause of stomach ulcers. If someone has GERD and an overgrowth of H.pylori then it would seem reasonable to treat the H.pylori.

You can test for H.pylori using a stool, breath and blood test. Using a combination of all three tests ensures a more accurate diagnosis.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

SIBO can often be the underlying cause of IBS. It, therefore, makes sense that the treatment of SIBO may also help GERD.

SIBO can cause increased gas pressure in the small intestine and the stomach. This gas pressure may be one the mechanism by which SIBO causes GERD.

Reduced intestinal motility is associated with SIBO and may also contribute to GERD.

Testing for SIBO is achieved via a lactulose breath test.

Treatment of SIBO is a combination of a low fodmap diet, herbal antimicrobials and prokinetic supplements.

Prokinetics help with gut motility. Iberogast, a prokinetic, has been shown to relieve symptoms of heartburn and reflux. Another useful prokinetic supplement is Motilpro.

3. Increased Stomach Acid

If both dietary and dybiosis interventions do not give 100% relief, then the cause of GERD could be due to excess stomach acid.

The symptoms of high and low stomach acid often overlap however excess stomach typically occurs in younger people.

If younger people report a gnawing-type stomach pain or any family or personal history of gastritis or ulcers, there is a likelihood they are having issues with high stomach acid.

Treatment of increased stomach acid

In some cases, it may be necessary to use a take a short-term course of acid lowering medication.

Alternative treatments for increased stomach acid include a combination of Melatonin, B Vitamins, Betaine and Methionine.

Alternative treatments are not recommended for long-term use.

In Summary

Many Canadians suffer from GERD. The medical treatment of GERD is surgery.

3 often overlooked causes of GERD include diet, dybiosis and increased stomach acid.

If you think you have GERD then looking into these overlooked causes in a simple step by step approach may resolve your problems.

 

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

How Do Probiotics Work For Constipation and Gas - Dominick Hussey

How Do Probiotics Work For Constipation and Gas?

There is a growing body of evidence showing that probiotics help digestive symptoms. This evidence has anecdotal, clinical and research origins. But how do probiotics work?

One popular theory is that probiotics repopulate the gut. Scientific research has not currently proved this argument.

Another hypothesis is that probiotics help to rebalance the friendly bacteria by killing the harmful microbes.

Read on to learn about a recently published research study that shows how probiotics work for constipation and gas.

A recent study published in the PLOS One journal has shown that probiotics can help reduce gas and improve constipation by decreasing certain “unfriendly” bacteria in the gut. These unwanted bacteria included Citrobacter, Klebsiella and Methanobrevibacter.

The researchers recruited 21 healthy adults. Each adult took a probiotic mixture. The composition of the mix included five strains of Lactobacilli and two strains of Bifidobacteria. Each adult received the combination once a day for 60 days.

What the study found

At the end of the study, the researchers found that there was a significant reduction in the numbers of Citrobacter, Klebsiella and Methanobrevibacter bacteria. This decrease in bacteria coincided with a decline in gas and constipation.

More specifically the researchers were able to show that there was a direct association between the reduction in abundance of Methanobrevibacter, the decrease in flatulence (for all the adults) and a decline in constipation (for women only).

This finding is not a surprise as there is a close correlation between Methanobrevibacter species and constipation and the production of methane gas.

A frequently overlooked ability of probiotics is their antibacterial effect. Probiotics can produce antibacterial and antifungal peptides (chemicals) that help reduce bacterial overgrowth in the gut.

How Probiotics Work For Constipation and Gas

The researchers concluded that the probiotics work for constipation and gas through their antibacterial effect which led to the reduction in the unfriendly bacteria.

There have been many studies like this one that show that taking probiotics may help reduce digestive symptoms. These studies have used different types of probiotic species.

As well as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium there are two other classes of probiotics including Saccharomyces boulardii and Soil Based Probiotics.

Does it matter which probiotics you use?

The simple answer is no, but it does matter which particular probiotic supplements you buy.

When choosing a probiotic supplement, you should consider the following:

  • Make sure you purchase a high-quality scientifically tested product that is safe.
  • Be wary of marketing that claims that a product can help with specific symptoms.

If you do decide to take a probiotic, then listen to how your body reacts and ignore any purported claims. If you don’t feel any improvement or your symptoms worsen, stop that supplement and move on to the next.

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

Dysbiosis- #1 Overlooked Cause of Weight Gain - Dominick Hussey

Dysbiosis – #1 Overlooked Cause of Weight Gain

According to Statscan one in four adult Canadians are obese or carry excess weight. For some of these people, the cause of their weight gain is due to diet and lifestyle. For others, the reason seems less obvious. They eat well and do a right amount of exercise but still the pounds roll on. Some of these people visit their family physician for a medical explanation. Their doctor checks their thyroid but after testing that everything appears normal. Read on to learn about the #1 overlooked cause of weight gain that may be stopping you lose those unwanted pounds.

Dysbiosis – The Cause of Weight Gain for Susan

Susan, 44, came to me complaining of bloating, constipation, abdominal pain and weight gain. The digestive symptoms began one year previously shortly after a round of antibiotics. Her doctor gave the antibiotics for a chest infection. Susan had never before had digestive issues and so being health conscious went back to her doctor. Her doctor said that she was reacting to the antibiotics, which would resolve itself and in the meantime prescribed Laxaday (a laxative) for constipation and acetaminophen for the pain.

Susan took the medication for a month, but each time she tried to stop them her symptoms returned. Again she went back to her doctor who suggested she may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and referred her to Gastroenterologist (GI) consultant for a proper diagnosis. After waiting two months for her appointment, she spent 10 minutes with the GI consultant who agreed with the diagnosis and advised her to manage her symptoms with her current medication. During the same consultation, Susan asked the consultant about some recent weight gain. She had put on 10 pounds in a month. The consultant replied that it was not their area of expertise and told her to ask her family physician.

Keen to find answers she went back to her doctor for an explanation for her weight gain. She told her doctor that her mother had a low thyroid and wondered whether that might be causing her weight gain. Her doctor agreed and sent her for blood work, but the results came back as normal.

For the next seven months, Susan put on another 20 pounds despite being careful with her calorie intake and increasing her exercise. Nothing would help, and she was becoming depressed about her weight. It was at this point after speaking to a friend who was a client of mine that she came to me for a functional medicine consultation.

As a functional medicine practitioner, I am trained to take a very in-depth case history and spend a long time (45 minutes) listening to our client’s story. This process allows me the best opportunity to identify the root cause of my client’s health issues.

After hearing Susan’s story, I told her that the cause of her weight gain might be the result of her poor digestion. More specifically I was suspicious she had dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis is an imbalance of bacteria that live in your intestines.

Research on Weight Gain and Dysbiosis

There is a growing amount of scientific evidence that there is an association between the makeup of the microbiota and weight gain. In studies of twins who were both lean and obese, researchers found that the thinner twin had a much more diverse microbiota compared to the fat twin.

The fact that we associate microbiota diversity with weight gain does not mean one affect the other – cause and effect. To demonstrate cause and effect researchers devised a novel experiment where they bred two same bacteria-free mice. Then they populated their guts with bacteria collected from obese women and their lean twin sister. The mice ate the same diet in equal amounts, yet the animals that received bacteria from an obese twin grew heavier and had more body fat than mice with microbes from a thin twin. As expected, the obese mice also had a less diverse community of bacteria in the gut.

In my practice, the #1 cause of dysbiosis is from medication most commonly antibiotics but also birth control medicine.

Dysbiosis is present in certain gut infections including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), candida and parasites.

To identify the cause Susan did a breath test for SIBO and a stool test to look for candida and parasites.

Susan was positive for SIBO.

To treat the SIBO, I put Susan on low FODMAP diet and various antimicrobial supplements to help balance and reduce her bacteria.

After two weeks, Susan reported 90 percent improvement in her digestive symptoms. After four weeks, she had lost 8 pounds. After ten weeks she had lost a further 10 pounds.

After 15 weeks her SIBO was gone (after retesting), and she was back to her healthy weight.

Susan was, of course, was thrilled and at the same time was amazed how treating her digestion had reversed her weight gain.

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

SIBO Die Off Symptoms and Treatment Reactions - Dominick Hussey

SIBO Die Off Symptoms and Treatment Reactions

When taking treating SIBO with either herbs or medication, you may experience SIBO Die Off symptoms. This phenomenon is known medically as a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, or “Herx,” for short.

Read on to learn about SIBO die off symptoms, why they occur, and the difference between die off symptoms and treatment reactions.

8 Common SIBO Die Off Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Muscle Aches
  • Chills
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Rashes
  • Excess Mucus
  • Brain Fog
  • Increased Diarrhea, Constipation, Bloating and Gas

What is the cause of SIBO Die Off Symptoms?

This cause of SIBO die off symptoms depends somewhat on the specific mechanism of the herb or medication antimicrobials, but in many cases, the antimicrobials work by destroying the cell membrane of the bacteria.

When that happens, the bacteria release toxins known as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) into the intestines. If the lining of the gut
is permeable or leaky, the poisons will pass into the bloodstream.

The toxins will travel around the body resulting in the SIBO die off symptoms. This is the reason why you will often feel worse before they feel better or may alternate between feeling better and worse throughout the SIBO treatment protocol.

SIBO Die Off Symptoms Versus Treatment Reactions

Of course, not every adverse reaction to a SIBO treatment is a Herx response. In some cases, you may be reacting to the antimicrobial itself, perhaps a filler in the drug or a component of one of the supplements.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine the difference between a Herx and a reaction to the treatment, but there a couple of general pointers.

Herx reactions should pass or at least shift after a few days. You will start to feel better a few days after the die off symptoms, or you may alternate between feeling bad and feeling better than they felt before the treatment.

With a reaction to the treatment itself, patients usually feel bad continuously and do not improve even after several days or go back and forth between better and worse.

In my opinion, if you are experiencing SIBO treatment symptoms, it is crucial that you immediately discontinue treatment and contact the practitioner managing your case.

 

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required


 

5 Supplements To Reduce The Christmas Dinner Bloat - Dominick Hussey

5 Supplements To Help Reduce The Christmas Dinner Bloat

Have you ever felt bloated and sleepy after Christmas dinner?

As a young lad after eating my grandmothers Christmas dinner, I would look like I had swallowed a soccer ball and would soon be sound asleep on the sofa.

Dial forward some 45 years after learning I have celiac disease I can understand why young body reacted in such a way to a meal full of wheat.

My solution is simple I just avoid wheat and can then sit comfortably on the sofa and watch the Christmas day movie without falling asleep.

Have you felt bloated after Christmas dinners?  Do want to avoid the same experience this year? If you do feel bloated, read on to learn more about which supplements I recommend.

Supplements to reduce the Christmas dinner bloat

Increase your stomach acid production

One of the most common reasons for bloating after eating is due to a lack of acid production in the stomach. Stomach acid helps break down protein-rich foods such as turkey. If you have low stomach acid, then the turkey will not be broken down sufficiently and will cause bloating. Reduced stomach acid related bloating occurs 5-10 minutes after eating.

To help increase stomach acid production, I suggest the following supplements:

  1. Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – take one tablespoon in some warm water 5-10 minutes before eating.
  2. St Francis Canadian Bitters – take one teaspoon 5-10 minutes before eating.
  3. Betaine HCL capsules – take one capsule during the meal.

Stimulate Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are mainly produced by the pancreas and by the cells that line your small intestine. These enzymes help to break down your food’s macronutrients such as protein into micronutrients such as amino acids. If you have reduced enzymes and foods are left in their macronutrient form this can lead to inflammation and bloating. This inflammation and resulting bloating can be much worse if you have a sensitivity to a particular food protein such as gluten or casein. Pancreatic deficiency bloating becomes apparent 30 minutes after eating.

To help increase production of pancreatic enzymes, I suggest the following supplements:

Reduce Gas Production from Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO is condition occurs when bacteria that normally live in the large intestine overgrow onto the small intestine. A common symptom of SIBO is bloating that occurs roughly 30 minutes after eating. I find SIBO in the vast majority of my clients with or without digestive symptoms such as bloating.

To help reduce bloating from SIBO, I suggest the following supplement:

What supplements should I take?

If you are unsure what supplements to take, I suggest the following:

Determine when your bloating starts after eating. If it starts 5-10 minutes after eating, then you probably have inadequate stomach acid. I would then begin with the apple cider vinegar.

If the bloating starts later, then consider starting with the Bitters. If the bloating continues, then try the probiotics.

 

Disclaimer

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

Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.

* indicates required