Naturopathic Medical Clinic
West Valley, Glendale, AZ

Gut Health Matters

Next to the common cold, digestive problems are the most common reason people seek medical attention.

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Do I need prebiotics?

Prebiotics complement the action of probiotics. They are a class of nutrients that help immune-supporting bacteria to proliferate in the colon. Prebiotics are either long chain carbohydates that only probiotics utilize or special nutrients and growth regulators that give probiotics a selective advantage. Scientists have found that complex carbohydrate molecules rank among the most effective of pre-biotic nutrients.

Prebiotics Include:

  • Inulin
  • FOS: fructooligosaccharides
  • mannosoligosaccharides
  • arabinogalactans
  • Guar gum

Lactoferrin is another type of prebiotic that gives probiotics a select advantage by working synergistically with probiotics.

Research is revealing more and more about specific indications of probiotic strains and types:

Bacillus Coagulans actually produces spores which are amazingly proving to have some interesting health benefits. Typically spore-forming bacteria are something to avoid at all cost. For example, Clostridium botulinum (the organism that causes botulism) can cause food poisoning and death. But instead of damaging health, recent research suggests Bacillus coagulans can reduce cholesterol.

In a published clinical trial, hyperlipidemic adults who supplemented with Bacillus coagulans for three months experienced reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), along with increases in beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Recently, Bacillus coagulans has been recommended by Mehmet Oz, MD, and Michael Roizen, MD, in their book YOU: The Owner’s Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition. Their probiotic of choice: a daily dose of 2 billion cells Bacillus coagulans (the amount found in a typical capsule).

What if gas or constipation worsens once starting a probiotic?

Remember this: Every individual has a unique microflora within their intestinal tract, some gastroenterologists believe it can be as discerning as a fingerprint.It should not be surprising that finding the perfect probiotic dose program may take a bit of trial and error.

Most of these reactions are versions of what doctors call the Herxheimer reaction. When a high potency probiotic is taken for the first time it may cause rapid die off of undesirable microorganisms such as Candida which the body needs time to eliminate. Usually Herxheimer symptoms clear up in several days and the intestinal tract gets back to a healthy balance with probiotics in control.

Remember, probiotic products that are not protected from stomach acid rarely cause any reactions since they are essentially dead by the time they enter the intestinal tract. 99 - 99.99% of unprotected probiotics are killed after 60 minutes in pH 1.6 stomach acid!

Do I have Food Sensitivities?

Food allergies are more common than most people think, and can cause of a host of health complaints. It is estimated that up to 20% of the population have adverse reactions to foods.

The most common types of food sensitivities include: dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, soy, corn, and sugar. You’re probably most familiar with a peanut or shellfish allergy, which triggers a specific type of allergic reaction called an IgE antibody reaction. This reaction can trigger anaphylactic shock, a life threatening reaction where the airways swell shut.

Doctors diagnose the IgE allergies with a blood test or scratch testing. In the world of food sensitivities, we are working with IgG reactions. IgG reactions can also occur where a person reacts to a food anywhere between 4-72 hours after ingestion.

Typical food sensitivity reactions:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema,
  • Constant runny nose (allergic rhinitis)
  • Hives
  • Digestive symptoms like vomiting, abdominal pain. diarrhea, or flatulence
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Moodiness or behavior extremes
  • Obesity