Bug Alert: You’ve Got Company

Headache

Bug Alert: You’ve Got Company is the introduction title of the book Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life by David Perlmutter, MD

This book came highly recommended to me recently by a friend and I’ve dove into it. While I haven’t finished it as of yet, I wanted to share part of the introduction because I found a lot of the statistics to be worth sharing as most of us need some eye openers once in a while to make us sit up and pay attention or to take action.

Death begins in the colon. – Elie Mechnikov (1845-1916)

Take a moment to think about how much has changed in our world over the past century, thanks to medical research. No longer do we worry about dying from smallpox, dysentery, diphtheria, cholera, or scarlet fever. We’ve made huge strides in lowering the death rates of many life-threatening maladies, including HIV/AIDS, some forms of cancer, and heart disease. But when you consider brain-related diseases and disorders, the picture is vastly different.

Advances in preventing, treating and curing debilitating neurological ailments across the life cycle – from autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to migraines, depression, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – are virtually nonexistent. And, sadly we are quickly losing ground as the incidences of these conditions are increasing in our society.

Let’s consider a few numbers. In the ten wealthiest Western nations, death from brain disease in general, which largely reflects death from dementia, has risen dramatically over the past twenty years. And the United States leads the way. In fact, a 2013 British report showed that since 1979, death due to brain disease increased a breathtaking 66 percent in men and 92 percent in women in America.

In the words of the study’s lead author, Professor Colin Prichard, “These stastics are about real people and families, and we need to (recognize) that there is an ‘epidemic’ that clearly is influenced by environmental and societal changes.”

The researchers also noted how this surge, which is affecting people at younger and younger ages, is in sharp contrast to the major reductions in risk of death from all other causes.

In 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report revealing that we spend about $50,000 annually caring for each dementia patient in this country. This amounts to approximately $200 billion a year, twice what we spend on caring for heart disease patients and almost triple what we spend on treatment for cancer patients.

Mood and anxiety disorders are also on the upswing and can be equally as crippling to quality of life as other neuorological conditions. About one in four adults in the U.S. – more than 26 percent of the population – suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder. Anxiety disorders afflict more than 40 million Americans, and nearly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population has a mood discorder for which powerful drugs are prescribed. Depression, which afflicts one in ten of us (including a quarter of women in their forties and fifties), is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, and diagnoses are growing at a startling rate.

Medications like Prozac and Zoloft are among the most prescribed drugs in the nation. Mind you, these drugs treat symptoms of depression, not the causes, which are flagrantly ignored.

On average, people with severe mental illness, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, die twenty-five years earlier than the general population. (This is partially due to the fact that these individuals are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol and drugs, and be overweight with obesity-related illnesses in addition to their mental challenges).

Headaches, including migraines, are among the most common disorders of the nervous system; nearly half of the adult population wrestles with at least one headache per month. And they are more than an inconvenience; they are associated with disability, personal suffering, damaged quality of life, and financial cost. We tend to think of headaches as being inexpensive nuisances, especially since many drugs that treat them are relatively cheap and easy to access (e.g., aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen), but according to the National Pain Foundation, they cause more than 160 million lost work days each year in the U.S. and result in about $30 billion a year in medical expenses.

Multiple sclerosis, a disabling autoimmune disease that disrupts the nervous system’s ability to communicate, now affects an estimated two and a half million people worldwide, with close to half a million in America, and is becoming increasingly more prevalent. The average lifetime cost of treating someone with MS exceeds $1.2 million. Mainstream medicine tells us that there is no cure in sight.

And then there is autism, which has surged seven to eight-fold just in the past 15 years, making this truly a modern-day epidemic.

To be sure, hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on these and other enfeebling brain-related ailments, yet we are seeing precious little progress.

Now for the good news: New, leading-edge science coming from the most well-respected institutions around the world is discovering that to an extraordinary degree, brain health and on the flip side, brain diseases, are dictated by what goes on in the gut. That’s right; what’s taking place in your intestines today is determining your risk for any number of neurological conditions.

Dr. Perlmutter goes on to make the connection between brain and gut, which ironically not-so-mainstream has known all along.

What I find interesting is that now science is finally backing what many of us have known and that’s really good news for so many afflicted with today’s inflictions.

It all basically comes down to “You are what you eat.” Anyone can change the state of their microbiome (gut flora) – and fate of their health – through dietary choices.

The sooner you realize that the choices lie in your hands, the sooner you can take back your health.

We’ll continue this discussion in further posts. There is just so much to share.

Need help mapping out a plan, book an appointment with me and let’s talk about this might look like for you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below. Do you agree that you have control or do you believe you are destined to be ill and let the Doctors take over?

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor

Gut health and serotonin production

Depression

A recent health news article was an interesting read because it involves us, you and me! Gut health and serotonin production are being further studied to scientifically prove the correlation between the two.

This is important to you because serotonin is the happy chemical. It’s the one that makes us feel like we have sunshine or a dark cloud following us around. It affects our emotions and behaviors.

This particular study is interesting because scientists estimate that 90% of serotonin is made in the gut and imbalances in this peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases ranging from irritable bowel syndrome and cardiovascular disease to osteoporosis.

In this particular study done at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena the researchers were interesting in find out more about how gut microbes and the nervous system talk to each other and explore the idea that normal gut microbes could influence levels of neurotransmitters in their hosts.

In the gut, there are three types of cell we know of that produce serotonin: immune cells, nerve cells or neurons and enterochromaffin (EC) cells.

For this particular study, they compared peripheral serotonin levels produced from these cells in two groups of mice, one with normal gut microbes and another group of germ-free mice without gut bacteria.

The team found that in the germ-free mice, their EC cells produced around 60% less serotonin than the mice with normal gut bacteria.

And when the restored bacteria colonies in the gut of the germ-free mice, their EC cells began producing normal levels of serotonin – showing the effect on the EC cells can be reversed.

Next they looked at which bacteria in particular were interacting with the EC cells to make serotonin.

They introduced single species and groups of gut microbes one by one in the germ-free mice and found that serotonin levels went up when there was a certain mix of about 20 species of spore-forming bacteria.

Also interesting is that introducing this particular bacterial mix into the germ-free mice increased the movement of food through their digestive tract. It also changed activities in their blood platelets, which use serotonin to boost clotting.

The team also found several metabolic byproducts of gut bacteria are controlled by the mix of spore-forming bacteria and act on EC cells to alter serotonin production.

When the metabolic byproducts were increased in the germ-free mice, it increased their levels of peripheral serotonin.

There are other investigations that have shown bacteria can make serotonin on their own. The researchers say their study suggests a lot of the serotonin in the body relies on the interaction between bacteria and host cells.

This is all really exciting news especially for those suffering from mild depression to those who suffer extensively.

The more scientific proof, the more mainstream pays attention and the more help there is.

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I’m a huge advocate for consuming a healthy mix of fermented foods and drinks, eating nutrient-dense food and imputing healthy fats into our bodies.

This also doesn’t mean eliminating whole food groups from your system either; unless of course you are in a healing stage and introduction of certain foods like dairy or grains are added in later.

It all boils down to the health of your gut. When it’s healthy, your whole body is healthy. Serotonin plays such a vital role in the body, namely lifting our mood and our entire outlook.

Are you unclear about what healing the gut looks like? Share your comments and thoughts below and let’s get some answers for you OR if you’ve had some success, share your wins so we can celebrate what’s working for you.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor

Autoimmune Disease: 3rd Leading Chronic Disease

Meds

If you’re like me, reading that Autoimmune Diseases are now considered the 3rd leading chronic disease, right behind right heart disease and cancer is eye opening!

Over 50 million Americans are affected and a large percentage of that number is women. They are the top ten leading cause of death in women under the age of 65 and they come in more than 80 different varieties.

These include things such as Lupus, Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Thyroid Disease, Thyroid Disease, Type I Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and so many more.

If you’re not familiar, autoimmune disease is a disease of the immune system and one of the biggest problems with diagnosis is that Doctors don’t look or recognize these immune diseases as diseases of the immune system as whole but instead they are looked at as diseases of particular organs.

What this means really, is that you’ll be shipped to different specialists for different issues. Many people who suffer from one autoimmune disease also suffer from a few and that means many specialists.

Our current medical beliefs are that once someone is afflicted with an autoimmune disease, they are no cures or ways to reverse the affects, only treatments of managing the symptoms, which means some really harsh meds that are supposed to suppress the immune system.

The problem with suppressing your whole immune system is the side effects that often arrive too. Things like depression, weight gain, fatigue, more chance for infection and even cancer.

My belief and that of many others who believe in holistic health and functional health believe that our bodies work together. So when one area is affected, it affects other areas. The same is for a healthy system or area.

When you can treat the root causes of diseases and not the symptoms, it’s possible to reverse many of the effects of these often debilitating diseases.

I believe, having my focus on the gut, plays an integral part on your whole body health.

If you were to look at the reasons that often times lay hidden behind other things, there really are only a handful of places to start paying attention to.

The first thing I look at is Gluten Intolerance. I think many people think of the gut first, which it is damaging to, but it’s also detrimental to our neurological system too, like pain, sleep, fatigue, depression, brain fog and others. Many don’t associate these symptoms to so many autoimmune diseases.

Let’s also think about the term “leaky gut”. Many times our gut is so damaged by things like stress, gluten, meds and infections that our gut becomes  permeable, which means it allows our food particles to escape through the gut walls into our bloodstream, which then means we’re not absorbing the nutrients that your body needs to function properly.

The escape of toxins and gluten starts to form inflammation which then leads us right to autoimmune diseases.

I just mentioned toxins as a culprit. We are surrounded my much in our current environment. Heavy metals, like mercury are a factor. Think of exposure from sources like mercury fillings you might have in your teeth. Some fish are heavily exposed.

Let’s not forget stress. While some stress isn’t harmful, chronic stress is. It leads to inflammation that is on all the time, which over time leads to autoimmune disease.

So, I hope you’re now wondering how one helps themselves to better health other than conventional medicine.

My answer; gut health healing is a great place to begin.

What this means is this, elimination to begin with. You have to learn what the culprits are. I’m not by any means saying to eliminate foods from your diet forever. You need to find out what the triggers are, heal the gut, which controls about 80% of your immune system, and then you can start slowly introducing foods back in.

The whole idea isn’t to eliminate gluten forever; the idea is to become gluten tolerant.

Dairy and grains is another culprit for many. The idea isn’t to eliminate forever.

Your body needs to heal. This means managing stress, treating any possible infections, and reducing toxins in your system.

The overall idea is to get to the root of the problems, treat and reverse those, and not to suppress your entire immune system, which leads to other problems.

I believe that you aren’t intended to be living a life of mediocrity and feeling bad or not living your life at all.

How many people do you know that are afflicted? We all need to ban together and spread the good news. There is hope and healing.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Health Coach

PS: Are you personally affected or do you know someone who’s suffering with an autoimmune disease(s)? Give yourself hope or someone you know. By clicking here, I would be happy to talk with you to determine where you are today and make a plan to get your life back. Not one filled with pain and suffering and fatigue. Light and Love are being sent your way!