All Things Digestive Health

New technology cures GERD without surgery Published October 10, 2013

Category : Healthy Products · No Comments · by Oct 18th, 2013


Prevention is always best but there are other alternatives besides surgery. It is wise and prudent to try natural and/or alternative medicine before any surgery. Surgery should be a last resort and this sounds like a great breakthrough and less invasive.


A recent study published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice examined the long-term efficacy of the Stretta procedure in GERD patients and found that it may be a more desirable treatment than either medication or surgery.

The technology delivers radio frequency energy to the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter, remodeling the tissue.

Over 15 million Americans suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. While many patients manage their condition by watching what they eat and popping over-the-counter medications, a new technology can help relieve the burn for good.

Allen Ahmed, 36, relied on medication for years to control his GERD.

“It was a lot of pain with the acid reflux, very uncomfortable,” Ahmed said. “I would get a lot of chest pain and I would throw up a lot.”

Patients like Ahmed deal with a variety of symptoms including:

  • Burning in the chest or throat
  • A sour taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry cough or hoarseness
  • Regurgitation of food

When over-the-counter medications didn’t work for Ahmed, his doctor suggested he try a new alternative therapy called Stretta.

“It’s a non-surgical, minimally invasive, endoscopically-based procedure where there is a treatment directed at the lower esophagus and the upper part of the stomach to try to reduce the reflux tendencies through various mechanisms,” said Dr. Aaron Tokayer, a gastroenterologist who treated Ahmed at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

During the procedure, Tokayer placed a catheter through Ahmed’s mouth and into the valve between the stomach and the esophagus. The technology delivers radio frequency energy to the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter, remodeling the tissue.

“The Stretta procedure is a technique to reduce reflux tendencies in those people, (and is) associated with improved sense of comfort, sense of well-being, better function, less medications or no medications required in the future after the procedure is done,” said Tokayer.

A recent study published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice examined the long-term efficacy of the Stretta procedure in GERD patients and found that it may be a more desirable treatment than either medication or surgery.

For Ahmed, that was exactly the case.

“I felt a little pain here for a few days and it was gone and I started feeling better,” said Ahmed. “I just had wings last night – they were delicious.”

For more information, visit
Paula Tipton-Healy LM; CiHom

Feces-Filled Pill Stops Gut Infection The treatment has been found to halt recurrences of Clostridium difficile bacteria, but a commercial pill is still far off By Sarah Zhang and Nature magazine

Category : Healthy Products · No Comments · by Oct 9th, 2013

This is a good article about gut health and a simple cost effective solution. However, it’s likely the scientist will look to reproduce in a lab.

“The team followed the patients’ progress for up to one year afterwards by sequencing the gut microbiome. They found  that C. difficile had disappeared and bacteria associated with a healthy gut microbiome, such as BacteroidesClostridium coccoidesClostridium leptumPrevotellaBifidobacteria and Desulfovibrio, increased in numbers.”

Patients with a stubborn, debilitating bacterial infection may soon be treated with pills full of microbes derived from human feces.

Clostridium difficile is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea and fever in around half a million people in the United States each year, and is linked to the death of some 14,000 US citizens annually. Some physicians now treat recurrent C. difficileinfections with fecal transplants, delivering donor feces filled with healthy microbes via enemas, colonoscopies or nasal tubes that run directly to the gut.

But capsules containing the same donor bacteria are also effective at giving these ‘gut microbiome transplants‘, according to results presented on 3 October at a meeting in San Francisco, California.

Thomas Louie, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, treated 31 patients with the bacterial pills, curing all but one. Because the pills are less invasive than other techniques for treating the disease, they could make gut microbiome transplants available to more patients — including those who, for medical reasons, cannot tolerate an enema or tube from the nose to the small intestine. Louie had initially created the capsules when treating such a patient.

C. difficile often sets in after antibiotic use has disrupted a person’s normal balance of gut bacteria. A gut microbiome transplant using bacteria from the feces of a healthy donor restores that balance, and can be highly effective against C. difficile, which is notoriously difficult to treat with antibiotics.

Gut reaction
The patients in Louie’s study each swallowed 24–34 freshly assembled capsules of bacteria, which were coated with gelatin to survive the stomach and reach the intestines. The team followed the patients’ progress for up to one year afterwards by sequencing the gut microbiome. They found  that C. difficile had disappeared and bacteria associated with a healthy gut microbiome, such as BacteroidesClostridium coccoidesClostridium leptumPrevotellaBifidobacteria and Desulfovibrio, increased in numbers.

“This pill idea really is a big advance,” says Colleen Kelly, a gastroenterologist at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, who performs fecal microbiome transplants using colonoscopy.

A pill made of bacteria grown in a laboratory rather than those extracted from donor feces is a future possibility, and Louie says that he has been contacted by parties interested in commercializing his pill. He adds that his team is currently experimenting with freezing bacteria for C. difficile treatment.

However, economic barriers to such a synthetic pill are significant. Elaine Petrof, an infectious-disease expert at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, has created RePOOPulate, a mix of 33 different types of bacteria grown in the lab to mimic the microbiome. Her team spent two years getting the equipment to grow the bacteria up and running, but the process is still expensive and the bacteria finicky. “Honestly, good luck to you,” she says to companies trying to commercialize the technology.

The high cost of producing bacteria in this way would be less of a barrier if the alternative were not so cheap. As Tom Moore, a physician and infectious-disease specialist in Wichita, Kansas, puts it: “It’ll be difficult to compete with the ready availability and very cheap costs of human poop.”

This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on October 7, 2013.

Paula Tipton-healy LM, Chom

Ah, There’s Nothing Like New Baby Smell By DOUGLAS QUENQUA

Category : Healthy Products · No Comments · by Oct 2nd, 2013

When given the smell of newborns taken from pajamas, the women all showed activity in the same dopamine pathways that light up after ingesting cocaine, enjoying food, or other reward-inducing behavior.

I know I love the smell of newborns and puppies seem to have the same effect on me.

Ah, There’s Nothing Like New Baby Smell

Nature provides plenty of reasons for parents to adore their newborns. The giant eyes, the adorable coos, the flawless skin.

But in the days following the birth of my son in May, it was his fresh, slightly sweet and immensely satisfying scent that did me in. At all hours of the morning, I would take long, greedy sniffs as I cradled him in the dark. I’ve already forgotten the sleep I lost, but I don’t think I will ever forget that smell.

But what, exactly, was I smelling?

It’s a question that proved surprisingly hard to answer. And there is a sizable group out there, a Web search revealed, who insist that new baby smell is merely a myth, the lingering effect of scented wipes or an olfactory hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation. I couldn’t buy that.

Now a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology confirms my beliefs, suggesting that baby smell is not only real, but acts as a kind of sensory compensation for mothers.

Researchers asked 30 women — 15 who had recently given birth, and 15 who had never given birth — to identify mystery scents while their brain activity was monitored. When given the smell of newborns taken from pajamas, the women all showed activity in the same dopamine pathways that light up after ingesting cocaine, enjoying food, or other reward-inducing behavior.

The reactions were observed in all the women, though they were stronger in the new mothers.

Johan Lundstrom, a biologist formerly with the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and a study author, believes that women’s brains are hardwired this way to provide an evolutionary incentive. “We think that this is part of a mechanism to focus the mother’s attention toward the baby,” he said. “When you interact with the baby, you feel rewarded.” A similar process may apply to men as well, Dr. Lundstrom said, though he lacks the data to prove it.

Much of the earlier research in the area of smell and babies has focused on how infants react to their mother’s scent. It had been shown, for example, that babies are more likely to reach for a pad soaked with their mother’s breast odor than a clean pad, and that newborns undergoing painful procedures are calmed by exposure to their mother’s breast milk but not the milk of others. It’s not surprising, then, that hospital staff now often place an article of mom’s clothing in the incubator alongside preterm babies in the hopes that it will calm and stabilize them.

But there’s research on new baby smell to be found, too. A 1984 study found that mothers who were given three hospital gowns to sniff guessed which one their child had worn 80 percent of the time, a finding confirmed by later studies.

A 2006 study found that mothers prefer the smell of their child’s feces to that of other children. Do with that what you will.

Still, nobody seems to know for sure what causes new baby smell. But like any body odor, it is probably a combination of factors.

“Odors are chemicals,” Dr. Lundstrom said, but “it’s really hard to establish which chemicals. In natural body odor, we have roughly 120, 130 individual chemical compounds, and they vary by individuals.”

Complicating matters is the fact that baby smell is so fleeting. By six weeks of age, it is typically gone.

One likely component is the vernix caseosa, the white, cheese-like substance that covers babies at birth, Dr. Lundstrom said. Hospital workers usually wash it off right after delivery, but traces can remain in the baby’s hair or the folds of the arms and legs and contribute to new baby smell as it breaks down.

Amniotic fluid, too, has a distinct smell that both mothers and fathers can recognize that could also be a source of new baby smell. In 1988, researchers asked 15 mothers and 12 fathers to determine which of two bottles of amniotic fluid belonged to their child. Twelve of the mothers and 11 of the fathers guessed correctly.

And maybe the fragrance industry knows something that scientists don’t. After all, they’re the ones pumping out lotions and powders that smell “baby fresh,” containing ingredients like white musk, vanilla and orange.

Interestingly, those ingredients vary by country. “If you look at baby products from Spain or France, they tend to have orange blossom as an ingredient, because that’s in the countryside and that’s fresh,” said Michelle Krell Kydd, a fragrance industry consultant and prominent flavor and fragrance blogger. “Americans,” on the other hand, “have a love affair with vanilla and powdery scents.”

With my son approaching 5 months of age, his new baby smell has long since faded. But I still love his scent, as fresh and satisfying – and addictive — as ever. Who knows? Maybe it’s the lotion.

Study questions brain benefit of omega-3s….

Category : Healthy Products · No Comments · by Sep 26th, 2013


So this has a lot to do with our brain but how many times have we said “my gut is telling me… ”

I think when we listen to our hearts and guts we can learn to do what is best for our bodies. So much is preventable!

Why, then, have associations been found in other studies between omega-3s and brain benefits? Ammann points out that people who eat a lot of fish or nuts, or take omega-3 supplements, may be more affluent and health-conscious than those who do not. “They are also less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and have a lower body mass index,” he said.

If we read and search enough we can find what it is we want to hear but are we really listening?


05:04 PM ET

Study questions brain benefit of omega-3s

If there were a food or dietary supplement guaranteed to help preserve our thinking skills, memory and verbal fluency later in life, we’d all take it. Unfortunately, we don’t have such a miracle pill.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish and nuts, have been touted as potential brain-boosters in aging. In some studies they were shown to be associated with a lower risk of dementia.

A new study in the journal Neurology is a knock against that theory, but more research needs to be done to confirm, as it does not prove or disprove a cause-and-effect relationship.

“Our study was observational and should not be viewed as a definitive answer on the relationship between omega-3s and cognitive function,” lead study author Eric Ammann of the University of Iowa said in an e-mail. “In making health-related decisions about diet and supplements, we would advise people to consider the total body of evidence and to consult with their health care providers.”


The study looked at 2,157 women aged 65 to 80 who had normal cognition and were already enrolled in a clinical trial for hormone therapy. They were part of a sub-study of the large Women’s Health Initiative study.

Researchers followed the participants for a median of 5.9 years.


The study authors analyzed results from blood samples that were taken from participants before they were randomly assigned to take estrogen or placebo in the broader Women’s Health Initiative Study.

Researchers looked at two omega-3 fatty acids, which have been implicated in protection against cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline: DHA and EPA. They measured biomarkers of these fatty acids in participants’ red blood cells as a way of seeing how much exposure they had to these acids.

Participants also received a variety of tests to assess such skills as fine motor speed, spatial ability, short-term visual memory, verbal memory, verbal knowledge, verbal fluency and working memory. They took these cognitive assessments annually during the study.


Researchers did not find a significant association between the DHA + EPA levels and cognitive function at the start of the study, or with change over time in any of the areas that were tested.

“In our study, cognitive function declined at the same rate in older women across the range of omega-3 blood levels. Our results are more in line with the findings of randomized trials of omega-3 supplements, which have not found a protective effect on cognition over short treatment periods,” Ammann said.

A randomized controlled trial, in which participants are randomly assigned to take a given quantity of omega-3s – or not – is considered much stronger scientifically than an observational study such as this one. A 2012 systematic review of such studies found no evidence that omega-3s in cognitively healthy older people leads to cognitive benefits, but noted that studies of longer duration are required for further investigation.

Why, then, have associations been found in other studies between omega-3s and brain benefits? Ammann points out that people who eat a lot of fish or nuts, or take omega-3 supplements, may be more affluent and health-conscious than those who do not. “They are also less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and have a lower body mass index,” he said.


Although the new study had a large sample size and gave annual cognitive tests to participants, there are a few caveats that limit the strength of the study. For instance, the DHA + EPA levels were measured at the start of the study but never again, even though participants’ dietary habits may have changed over time.

Furthermore, participants in this study were all women and tended to be healthier and more educated than the average older American woman who does not have dementia, the study said.

More research is necessary to see whether omega-3s really do live up to the potential hailed by other studies. In the meantime, talk to your doctor about what diet and supplements are right for you.


Paula Tipton-Healy Lm, Cihom


Healthy Living Can Add Years and Reverse Aging

Category : Healthy Products · No Comments · by Sep 17th, 2013


 There was a pilot study done by Live Science that showed a significant difference in aging based on nutrition and healthy living. Our telomeres get shorter as we age naturally but it now looks possible to lengthen them through healthy living adding years to our lives.

The discovery of telomere function in cell aging, along with the enzyme that builds telomeres won the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for three scientists, including Elizabeth Blackburn, also of UCSF, who also worked on the new study.


Paula Tipton-Healy L.M., CiHom


Read more:



Probiotics and Chemotherapy

Category : Healthy Products · (3) Comments · by Aug 9th, 2013

I think we all know someone who has been affected by cancer or perhaps you personally have been. There is a new breakthrough in science showing how probiotics help support the growth of new stem cell production within your own intestines. This healthy gut is what can allow one to survive what could otherwise be a lethal dose of treatment.


The research was done at the University of Michigan with their work about to be published in the journal Nature.


In the Journal of Medical Microbiology it was stated that colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common form of cancer. Some beneficial effects have been seen with chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation however; they are limited because of the levels of their safety and toxicity. The correlation between CRC, gut health and probiotics has given great promise in the treatment of CRC in the early and preventive stage.


The study itself is very difficult for laypeople to understand so I will do my best to keep it simple. There is a level of nutritional censorship in medical journals and universities, both of which have a somewhat anti-nutrition bias, therefore the excerpts on nutrition are from Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.


In the study from the University of Michigan they were giving mice lethal injections that would kill most adult human beings however certain mice survived those injections. The author stated that “All tumors from different tissues and organs can be killed by high doses of chemotherapy and radiation, but the current challenge for treating the later-staged metastasized cancer is that you actually kill the [patient] before you kill the tumor.” We all know that chemotherapy kills so how was it that these mice survived?


They injected some of the mice with a molecule that our bodies produce naturally. Good nutrition is necessary to generate this substance but our bodies do have the capacity 24 hours a day.


“The substance is called “Rspo1” or “R-spondon1.” It activates stem cell production within your own intestinal walls, and these stem cells are like super tissue regeneration machines that rebuild damaged tissues faster than the chemotherapy can destroy them, thereby allowing the patient to survive an otherwise deadly does of chemo poison.”


Fifty to seventy five percent of the mice that were given R-spondon1 survived the fatal chemotherapy dose. The chemotherapy treatments actually are killing the patients but the Rspo1 or R-spondon 1 is what is saving them. (It seems this is good if you are in the cancer business and want repeat customers). R-spondon1 is actually a patented “drug,” sold at $50,000 a dose. Remember, this is what we naturally produce. Most oncologists admit they would never undergo chemotherapy knowing it does not work 98% of the time. Chemotherapy is fatal!


Thus, probiotics are a key factor in determining the ability of your intestines to maintain the appropriate gene expression for the very kind of rapid cellular regeneration that can help your body survive a fatal dose of chemotherapy.


Probiotics are likely the key to generating your own R-spondon1. Now remember this research was done on mice and not humans so this may not be 100% proof that the same mechanisms work in humans. It may be different. However, mice are nearly identical to humans in terms of biology, gene expression, endocrine system function and more and that is why they are used in research.

Your cells already possess the blueprint to produce R-spondon1 on their own. Our intestines are coated with a layer of epithelial cells that are regenerated every 4-5 days in a healthy person. This is only possible through the activation and continued operation of intestinal stem cells, a normal function for a healthy human. The health of these stem cells is totally determined by our gut health.


This would require our gut bacteria to be balanced for health. How do we achieve this? Not only through nutrition but probiotics help to balance and ward off disease maintaining the integrity of the gut bacteria.


I keep mentioning good nutrition what does that look like? Rather let me tell you what it isn’t. Large quantities of processed meat, cheese and dead, pasteurized dairy products, starchy carbohydrates and processed sugars. The American diet generally lacks in fiber, which also is essential to your gut health. It has been stated that those who eat more plant-based diets have a better chance at surviving chemotherapy than those that eat as the list stated. The worse the diet, the higher the fatality rate.


Here are some takeaway points quoted from this article:

• New research shows that a substance generated by intestinal stem cells allows subjects to survive an otherwise fatal dose of toxic chemotherapy.


• Healthy gene expression of intestinal cells allows them to naturally produce protective molecules that support and boost cell regeneration.


• Probiotics may protect and support the intestinal stem cells that help cancer patients survive toxic chemotherapy. (More studies needed to explore this and document the impact.)

Imen Kahouli, Catherine Tomaro-Duchesneau, and Satya Prakash

Probiotics in colorectal cancer (CRC) with emphasis on mechanisms of action and current perspectives

J Med Microbiol August 2013 62:1107-1123; published ahead of print April 4, 2013, doi:10.1099/jmm.0.048975-0

Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, Editor of Natural News

More on Probiotic Research

Category : Healthy Products · (3) Comments · by Aug 6th, 2013


In a recent article from Newswise, Dr. Eamonn Quigley whom is an expert in gut health (head of the gastroenterology and hepatology division at Houston Methodist Hospital) stated five interesting claims about Probiotics.  He found that:


1. Probiotics decrease the incidence of colds, allergies and eczema.

Probiotics are not a magic bullet, but those that contain live organisms may provide health benefits, like shortening the duration of a cold. They can also help with common intestinal symptoms and decrease urinary tract infections in women. There is even some evidence that probiotics might help you lose weight. There are trillions of strains of probiotics, and some are becoming more common in beauty products like lotions, skin creams and cosmetics. They’re also added to dental products like mints, gums and toothpaste. However, not all have been tested adequately to show that they contain live organisms.


2. All probiotics on the market have proven health benefits.

There’s a lot of hype in the marketplace, so you need to look for products that not only list a specific strain on the label but also offer readers easy access to scientific studies supporting the health benefit claims. Most of the valid products contain bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium that already live in your gut and help keep you healthy and digest your food. We still need to determine what are the best bacteria strains and doses for particular situations.


3. Examples of “valid” probiotic food products.

The types of foods on the market claiming to deliver probiotics have expanded greatly over the past several years to include granola and candy bars, frozen yogurt, cereal, juice and cookies. Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 is the strain in Align, but Lactobacillus may be one of the most commonly known probiotics that comes in a variety of strains: 
• Lactobacillus GG (often called LGG), which can be found in the diet supplement Culturelle, as well as some milk products in Finland; 
• L. casei DN114 001 can be found in Dannon products; and
• L. casei Shirota is included in Yakult, a popular probiotic drink from Japan.


4. Probiotics can relieve everything from irritable bowel syndrome to high cholesterol.

Since probiotics are live microorganisms, when taken in large enough quantities, they can help improve and maintain the health of your gastrointestinal tract. If you boost the populations of good bacteria in your gut, it makes sense that you’re not only improving your gut health, but also benefitting other aspects of your health linked to the gut – including your immune system. This is because the gut encounters foreign substances every day in the food we eat, making it a major line of defense against potentially harmful pathogens. Irritable bowel syndrome, with its range of unpleasant symptoms including bloating, flatulence and diarrhea, is a condition often treated over the counter with probiotics. The link between the gut and our immune system has also prompted great interest in the benefits of probiotics in treating a range of allergic and autoimmune conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease. There is growing evidence that gut flora plays a significant part in these diseases.


5. Fecal transplants can be an effective mega-probiotic.

We already know introducing good bacteria can treat gut infections. Now, more research shows that a reliable source of healthy bacteria may be healthy people’s feces to help restore the balance of bacteria. This certainly has the “ick” factor, but fecal transplants can have almost instant results in the sickest patients, like those who have experienced the gut infection, C. diff. (or Clostridium difficile), and are not responsive to antibiotics. 
Fecal transplants can be performed in a number of ways. Once the feces are diluted with a liquid, like salt water, it is pumped into the intestinal tract via a colonoscope, a tube run through the nose into the stomach or small intestine, or an enema.


When we go to the market chances are you see several products marketed as “friendly bacteria” to help with your digestion. Do these products truly have health benefits or is it more hype in order to sell their products?


In the United States, probiotics are available as dietary supplements (including capsules, tablets, and powders) and in dairy foods (such as yogurts with live active cultures). According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, “prebiotics/probiotics” ranked fifth among natural products used for children, but were not among the top-ranking products for adults. Although probiotic products are more popular in Europe and Japan than in the United States, the U.S. consumer market for probiotics is growing rapidly.


True benefits are achieved through whole health and nutrition. Ideally if we are not getting enough through our diet we should be on a supplement such as Healthy Bowel Support.

Always consult with your Health Practitioner for the best outcomes.


For more information or to purchase products you may contact Paula Tipton-Healy L.M, CiHom at or by calling (760) 709-7396.



Paula Tipton-Healy L.M, CiHom

Eliminating Germs…How Far Should We Go?

Category : Healthy Products · (3) Comments · by Jun 25th, 2013

After watching the 4th television about wiping out “92% of all germs to keep my family safe” (or something very similar) I started thinking again about germs and their place in our homes, in our world and on our food.

As we develop in our modern biotech world of research and instant information and technology we seem to have made many advances with disease and medicine.

At the same time evidence now is showing that we may have caused much of what we have come to know as problems in our modern world.

Have we helped eradicate many diseases only to find that we have actually created other diseases by our ongoing efforts to eliminate germs alltogether?

According to an article in the New York Times May 2013, it states “our resident microbes also appear to play a critical role in training and modulating our immune system, helping it to accurately distinguish between friend and foe and not go nuts on, well, nuts and all sorts of other potential allergens. Some researchers believe that the alarming increase in autoimmune diseases in the West may owe to a disruption in the ancient relationship between our bodies and their “old friends” — the microbial symbionts with whom we coevolved.” (1) Seven key points were tested and shown to be evident:

    1. Our gut is our internal ecosystem.

      • Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a      civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut. (1)


    1. Breastfeeding is one of the greatest starts we can give our children for the    development of their guts.


      • “Mother’s milk, being the only mammalian food shaped by natural selection, is the Rosetta stone for all food,” says Bruce German, a food scientist at the University of California, Davis, who researches milk. “And what it’s telling us is that when natural selection creates a food, it is concerned not just with feeding the child but the child’s gut bugs too.” (2)


    1. We have lost the capacity to fight certain disease because of a lack of certain microbes ( a variety of both good and bad microbes are important to our wellness).


  • It is still early days in this research, as Lozupone (and everyone else I interviewed) underscored; scientists can’t even yet say with confidence exactly what a “healthy” microbiome should look like. But some broad, intriguing patterns are emerging. More diversity is probably better than less, because a diverse ecosystem is generally more resilient — and diversity in the Western gut is significantly lower than in other, less-industrialized populations. (3)


    1. Our diet influences the production or lack of microbes.


      • As for the lower biodiversity in the West, this could be a result of our profligate use of antibiotics (in health care as well as the food system), our diet of processed food (which has generally been cleansed of all bacteria, the good and the bad), environmental toxins and generally less “microbial pressure” — i.e., exposure to bacteria — in everyday life. (4)


    1. As we use more antibiotics we eliminate key microbes & become more resistant.


  • A change of diet or a course of antibiotics, for example, may bring shifts in the relative population of the various resident species, helping some kinds of bacteria to thrive and others to languish. Can new species be introduced? Yes, but probably only when a niche is opened after a significant disturbance, like an antibiotic storm. Just like any other mature ecosystem, the one in our gut tends to resist invasion by newcomers. (1)


    1. Our bodies strengthen the capacity to fight disease through exposure of a variety of germs.


  • Keeping the immune system productively engaged with microbes — exposed to lots of them in our bodies, our diet and our environment — is another important ecosystem service and one that might turn out to be critical to our health. “We used to think the immune system had this fairly straightforward job,” Michael Fischbach, a biochemist at the University of California, San Francisco, says. “All bacteria were clearly ‘nonself’ so simply had to be recognized and dealt with. But the job of the immune system now appears to be far more nuanced and complex. It has to learn to consider our “mutualists — e.g., resident bacteria — “as self too. In the future we won’t even call it the immune system, but the microbial interaction system.” (5)


According to Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford, we would do well to begin regarding the human body as an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants.” (6)

This humbling new way of thinking about the self has large implications for human and microbial health, which turn out to be inextricably linked. Disorders in our internal ecosystem — a loss of diversity, say, or a proliferation of the “wrong” kind of microbes — may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of chronic diseases, as well as some infections. “Fecal transplants,” which involve installing a healthy person’s microbiota into a sick person’s gut, have been shown to effectively treat an antibiotic-resistant intestinal pathogen named C. difficile, which kills 14,000 Americans each year. (1)

How is it that we have become antibiotic resistant? Here and abroad we have had many scares with disease and illnesses often being told; wash our hands (repeatedly), Lysol your homes, don’t share germs, etc. This process seems to be responsible for wiping out the good as well as the bad.

Once again there has to be a balance. Kids are meant to get dirty so let them play in the dirt and make mud pies, it has proven value. It has been researched and evidence shows that our familial community of microbes is very similar. So to widen our internal community we need to widen our exposure. With a widened exposure our guts become more able to resist or fight off the diseases we struggle with.

Unconsciously as our children play more inside in a world of technology we have less and less physical contact therefore less spread of germs, good and bad. Our diet has contributed greatly to the gain and loss of certain microbes. The absence of constructive engagement between microbes and immune system (particularly during certain windows of development) could be behind the increase in autoimmune conditions in the West. (1)

By comingling with our environment we are building a tolerance through our exposure. This is received through minute doses but as it grows our bodies strengthen and have more power to fight off illness. Our bodies are amazing machines with more ability than we give credit to.

According to some scientists our Western diet is altering our gut microbiome in troubling ways. The sterility and additives of processed foods and other the antimicrobials we’re ingesting with our meals. The scientists agreed that the lack of fiber in the Western diet was deleterious to the microbiome. (1)

As our microbiome evolves to cope with the Western diet, there are various genes that are becoming harder to find as the microbiome’s inherent biodiversity declines along with our everyday exposure to bacteria.

So what can we do to protect and strengthen our gut? We can begin by viewing what we eat as healing or harming. Keep the microbiome in mind when shopping. You want to feed your gut what it needs to grow stronger so that it can protect you better from disease.

The less a food is processed the better. Al dente pasta, for example, feeds the bugs better than soft pasta does; steel-cut oats better than rolled; raw or lightly cooked vegetables offer the bugs more to chomp on than overcooked, etc. This is at once a very old and a very new way of thinking about food: it suggests that all calories are not created equal and that the structure of a food and how it is prepared may matter as much as its nutrient composition. (6) It also suggests that those germs have their place in our world…as they always have.


Paula Tipton-Healy L.M, CiHom


(2) Hinde K and German JB Food in an evolutionary context: insights from mother’s milk Jnl. Science of Food and Agriculture Article first published online: 21 JUN 2012 DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.5720


(4) Possible long-term consequences of overuse of antibiotics from Nature Magazine podcast, August 25, 2011.

(5) Dyeing to learn more about the gut microbiota.

Donia MS, Fischbach MA.

Cell Host Microbe. 2013 Feb 13; 13(2): 119-20. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2013.01.011.

PMID: 23414750 [PubMed – in process]

(6) Sonnenburg JL. Fischbach MA. Community health care: Therapeutic opportunities in the human microbiome. Sci. Transl. Med. 2011; 3(78):78ps12. download pdf

Natural Food Solutions for Gut Problems

Category : Healthy Products · (5) Comments · by Jun 2nd, 2013

 It is reported that more than 70 million Americans annually seek help for digestive problems. Not really that surprising since we appear to be the fast food, bad-fats, sugar intake capital of the world. We do this in immense amounts.

Many factors lead to digestive problems such as hereditary factors, stress, fatigue, alcohol and smoking.  Recent research has shown that diet is also one of the most important factors to look at.


Natural food sources for gut problems


Aloe Vera juice

The aloe Vera juice is a natural remedy for many ailments, especially bowel related problems. Some of the problems related to ulcerative colitis are a deficiency problem, which means the body lacks a few vitamins and minerals. Aloe Vera has almost all minerals and vitamins, and is a natural remedy for this problem. One is advised to take a glass of the aloe Vera juice twice in a day, as this helps calm the irritation completely. The juice provides a protective cover or mucus on the injured tissues, thus facilitating a faster cure. The patient gets a cooling effect in the bowels, which takes away the pain in minutes.


Papaya and Pineapple juice

The juice of a papaya gives a laxative effect being a great natural remedy for ulcerative colitis. Most patients with this disorder feel a lot of irritation in the bowels, which can be very painful at times. Ingesting a papaya fruit punch or juice helps relieve the irritation, hence giving the patient some relief. Papaya juice also helps enhance bowel movements, which are mandatory to ease pains in the large intestines. Patients feel pain because the food has been in the system for a long time and needs to be excreted.

Pineapple juice on the other hand helps by inducing an alkaline effect in the digestive tract. This helps in neutralizing the exceedingly high acidic levels in the body, which also creates a relaxing effect. Patients are however advised to eat small amount of pineapple or the natural pineapple juice as higher levels could induce another problem.


Prebiotics and Probiotics

Today, probiotic containing foods are commonly found and consumed in Japan and Europe.3 In the US, several probiotic and prebiotic containing foods have recently been introduced into the marketplace. The benefits associated with pro- and prebiotics are strain and substance-specific, respectively, and must be shown through adequate clinical trials reflective of the dose of pro- or prebiotics present in the food at the time of consumption.

Probiotic microorganisms can be found in both supplement form and as components of foods and beverages. These bacteria and yeasts have been used for thousands of years to ferment foods. Certain yogurts and other cultured dairy products contain such helpful bacteria, particularly specific strains of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.

Prebiotics are found naturally in many foods, and can also be isolated from plants (e.g., chicory root) or synthesized (e.g., enzymatically, from sucrose)—see below, “Examples of Probiotics and Prebiotics.”

In order for a food ingredient to be classified as a prebiotic, it has to be demonstrated, that it: (a) is not broken down in the stomach or absorbed in the GI tract, (b) is fermented by the gastrointestinal microflora; and (c) most importantly, selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria associated with health and wellbeing.7

Probiotic bacteria taken together with prebiotics that support their growth are called “synbiotics.” Both work together in a synergistic way more efficiently promoting the probiotics’ benefits.


Here is a reference chart adapted from International Food Information Council Foundation: Media Guide on Food Safety and Nutrition: 2004-2006.

Examples of Probiotics and Prebiotics



Potential Benefit


Certain species and strains

of Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria,


Certain yogurts, other cultured

dairy products,

and non-dairy applications

May improve gastrointestinal health

and systemic immunity


Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS),

Polydextrose, Arabinogalactan,

Polyols—lactulose, lactitol

Whole grains, onions, bananas,

garlic, honey, leeks, artichokes,

fortified foods and beverages,

dietary supplements

and other food applications

May improve gastrointestinal health;

may improve calcium absorption

Chart adapted from International Food Information Council Foundation: Media Guide on Food Safety and Nutrition: 2004-2006.

*Examples are not an all-inclusive list


Bottom Line

The healthful effects of pre- and probiotics factor in their potential impact on the balance of the body’s microflora, and directly or indirectly in their enhancement of the function of the gut and systemic immune system. Although benefits vary, depending on the type and amount of a pre- or probiotic consumed, experts agree that daily consumption of foods containing these functional components is beneficial. In addition, effects of probiotics are strain-specific and must be demonstrated through appropriate clinical trials.

Licorice bulbs

This plant extract is known to induce a relaxing effect on blocked or slow gut problems.  It can be used as a natural home remedy for gut problems, and one is only advised to chew a few slices of the bulb to ease stomach acids.

Eating Habits

This is something easy we all can do and it helps greatly to aid in digestion.

Eat properly and at regular times of the day, so that your digestive system can prepare itself.  Eat only when hungry and do not eat again until the previous meal has been digested. In order not to dilute the digestive juices do not drink liquids with the meal. Do not eat food cold from the refrigerator and if you have real problems try eating just one food at each meal for a period of time. Chew slowly making your food a liquid in your mouth before swallowing. If you drink hot or warm water between meals (at least 3 hours after the meal and 15 minutes before it will aid in your digestion.  Herb teas such as mint, chamomile, and anise help as well.


Paula Tipton-Healy L.M, CiHom





Category : Healthy Products · (2) Comments · by May 15th, 2013

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