A Healthy Gut – What’s all the Fuss About?

Over the last three months, I have deliberately chosen to write and focus on understanding how a healthy gut affects every aspect of our health. It has become clearly evident to me that the true source of healing resides in the confines of our GI tract.

I recently attended a talk given by my dear friend on the topic of Ayurvedic Medicine. This healing concept originated in India over 3,000 years ago. The fundamental philosophy of Ayurveda is “heal thy gut, heal thy symptoms.” During this talk, the realization came upon me that what Eastern ancient medicine knew 3,000 years ago has only claimed territory in the West a decade ago.

How many times do we recall our mothers or grandmothers complaining of merciless symptoms of menopause or our fathers moaning with relentless joint pain? Not much at all, right? But now, it seems every article, every conversation, every ad mentions one physical ailment or another and how there is a medication to “fix” it. I often wonder why we see so many advertisements for medications but hardly any on exercise or nutrition. Why does medication have to always be the only answer?

Why are the children of this generation thrown into the fires of puberty before they even hit double digits? Why do the women in the third through fifth decade of their lives suffer when life is supposed to be rosy? What could have so drastically changed within the last 30 years that health is no longer the care free life we once thought it was?

Our DIET has changed. Our FOOD industry has changed. Our CONSUMPTION has changed. There is no big mystery disease that explains most of our symptoms. We, as humans, need to simply the search for the answers.

We are what we eat.

I know it is frustrating!! We eat the “right” foods. We eat the “right” quantities. We eat at the “right” times. Yet, nothing seems to help improve those dreaded badgering symptoms. If what you are doing is not working, stop trying to put a round peg in a square hole. Look at other causes. Look at what is going into your mouth!!

The term “leaky gut” is beginning to make its way into research labs and proving how our gut seems to have the answers. Here’s a very simplistic explanation. Altered, modified, hormone and antibiotic infested crops are not meant for human bodies to process. Over the years, this constant traumatic exposure has caused disruptions to our DNA structure. The breakage of the DNA molecule has resulted in maladaptive pattern to which our bodies don’t recognize. This causes our endocrine system to short circuit. It prevents our hormonal pathway from staying in true alignment.

Simultaneously, antibiotics in the food enter the lumen of the bowel and kill our “good” gut flora. With the diminishing army of the good guys, the bad guys, “bad” bacteria, flourish. These bad guys cause a “leak” in our gut. This leak triggers a release of inflammatory cytokines. The surge of cytokines leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance subsequently causes weight gain, hormonal imbalances, diabetes and eventually blankets the operation of every system in the body.

With full disclosure, I share the story of my own journey over the last two years. In 2014, my thyroid relapsed. Normally it is a small adjustment in my medication and I revert back to normal. At that time nothing worked. Long story short, I soon found out I had a severe sensitivity to gluten, which I never experienced before. I gave up gluten expecting to improve. Never came. Struggled on for the next 18 months while beating my head against a wall trying to figure out what I was missing. I was a “clean” eater. I exercised like a crazy person. Slept like a baby. Why couldn’t I figure this out?  So in February of this year, I had blood taken for the MRT Leap Food sensitivity testing. MRT checks for 150 of the most common food sensitivities.

I had my answer. The test confirmed I had high sensitivity to apples, quinoa, whey, milk, lentils, turmeric, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, chocolate, oats, and broccoli.

Say what??  But those are all the healthy foods I was “supposed” to eat. That’s what I was told. That’s what I read. And there isn’t anyone taking away my chocolate and peanut butter!!

It turns out those specific foods were continuously causing insults to my GI system. The leaky gut was now a high tide flood. I very slowly started decreasing and eliminating the high reactive foods. Within two weeks, swelling in my hands diminished. Energy levels improved. Weight started to normalize. Life started to have hope.

It has only been two months. But in these two months, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt, clear to me, we must heal the layers that lie in solar plexus. When getting evaluated by your physician, it is very important ALL medical causes are evaluated also. You are welcome to call my office and learn more about this test, and other ways I can help you.

If you are left with more frustrating questions than answers, I encourage you to look into the core of your existence, the core of your health, the core of your central energy. Look into the core of your gut!

Food Sensitivities and Weight Gain

Have you ever stopped and thought maybe your healthy diet of superfoods could actually be a source of your weight gain? Food sensitivities can be lurking in the background and derailing your weight loss efforts.

As you stand proud of the rainbow of anti-oxidants in your diet, or eager to brag of eating only things that end in “berry,” or wouldn’t dare even considering eating anything that has a shelf life of more than a few hours, maybe this blog is for you.

Now don’t get me wrong. Our foods should be super, colorful, and “berriful.” But if you are following all of the nutritional “do’s” and “don’ts”, why do you struggle?

In July 2007, Diabetes, published jaw dropping results of HOW the inflammatory nature of foods is to blame for the obesity rate in the United States. The study took thin mice and placed them on a high fat diet for few weeks. It was then analyzed the high fat meals altered the gut pH, producing “leaky gut syndrome.” The weakening of the gut wall subsequently caused the mice to produce a bacterial toxin called “LPS”. LPS was secreted into the blood stream, which triggered a massive release of inflammatory molecules (TNF, Interleukin, Cytokines). These molecules caused insulin resistance, hormonal disruptions, fatty liver and metabolic breakdown.The researchers took it one step further and injected normal fed mice exogenous “LPS.” This response produced the SAME inflammatory mediator release response as the mice that were fed the high fat diets. It was concluded that eating a healthy diet can also cause inflammation, if the right foods are not consumed.

The American diet, the overuse of antibiotics, the hormonally laden crops, the over zealous need for medication have all contributed to our obese nation. We have disrupted the ecosystem of the natural gut flora into a battlefield of good vs. evil. The bad bacteria have taken over and laid roots into the very chakra of our health! THE GUT!!

You may be eating the correct number of calories, burning the desired amount of fat, consuming the perfect ratio of water, but how do you know that the very source of fuel you think is sustaining your well-being isn’t actually the cause of your symptoms?

Countless research has exposed gluten, dairy, sugars, and grains for their inflammatory properties. Properties that have had a direct hand in causing much of the heart diseases, diabetes, cancers, and auto-immune processes. As we look at “super foods” that seem to be so heavily marketed, we begin to wonder how good are they really? The underlying issue lies in the WAY these crops are blanketed with pesticides, toxins, and pollutants. As the food enters our GI tract, so do the chemicals that come with it. These toxins have played a direct role in super sizing our nation.You want to lose weight??? Then question EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth-good and bad.

Food Reactions vs. Food Sensitivities

When we talk about reactions to food, there are different gradients of a “reaction.” True food allergies may present as a rash, trouble breathing, GI upset or anaphylaxis, to name a few.

Food sensitivities are not so obvious. Some symptoms may include sudden fatigue after eating, itchy skin without a rash, headaches, sudden shift in mood, menstrual changes, hair loss, skin dryness, muscle or joint aches, constant fatigue, mental fogginess. Identifying the sensitivity is not an overnight process. It takes patience, perseverance, and intuition. So where do you start?

Step 1: Begin a food journal. You can use any nutrition tracker to make this necessary first step. Again, you may think you are eating healthy, but you have to assume everything is causing your symptoms until you prove it otherwise.

Step 2: Pick ONE food or ingredient to eliminate for 3 weeks. Don’t stop everything all at once. Trying to find the trigger is like finding the needle in the haystack. You know it is there, but if you scattered the hay all at the same time, you will have a bigger mess to clean up. Take it one ingredient at a time.

Step 3: Start a pro-biotic. Restoring the gut’s natural flora keeps the “bad” gut flora from multiplying. When the good guys are there, the walls of the leaky gut can begin to heal and realign the natural hormonal pathways.

Step 4: If you are wanting to be more aggressive with your health, consider having blood work done to identify potential pathogens. One such test is the LEAP Mediator Release Test (MRT) for food sensitivities.

The LEAP diet, which stands for Lifestyle, Eating, And Performance is done in conjunction with the Mediator Release Testing and is an ImmunoCalm Nutrition Program. Dr. Raman is specially trained to help you reduce or eliminate symptoms due to food or chemical sensitivities, have a healthier lifestyle, well balanced nutrition, and optimum performance. It has helped many individuals eliminate chronic health problems.

MRT stands for Mediator Release Test.  MRT is a blood test that checks your immune system response (or non-response) to 150 foods and chemicals. MRT is a functional live cell analysis that identifies foods and chemicals which provoke the release of mediators that cause pain and inflammation. The results of the blood test are used to create an individualized healthy eating plan (the LEAP diet) for significantly reducing or eliminating symptoms.  Dr. Raman then works with you, teaching you how to eat using the LEAP protocol, and sleuthing out any potential allergies or intolerances that may also be present.

Not only does MRT give insight into inflammation provoking foods and food-chemicals, but more importantly MRT identifies your BEST foods – the foods that form the basis of their LEAP Eating Plan.

All of this is provided from a simple 4 vial blood test drawn in our office and sent to an outside lab with results available in 10 days.

If this is the last year weight loss is going to be named at the top of your resolution list, then fix the problem where it is broken – in the gut.

For more information on this topic or Dr.Raman’s practice, visit www.DrRamanSTL.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.