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Archive for Body Systems

Fighting Pathogens

We are currently in the middle of a rare and dreadful pandemic. Anytime I want to talk about things we can do to protect ourselves from these scary times, I begin by reminding my friends, family members and customers that I am a Naturopathic Doctor, not a Medical Doctor. As such we discuss body systems and do not seek to diagnose, cure or treat any named diseases. So, I am not trying to tell you how to prevent or “cure” any diseases – current pandemics, or even common diseases. Your body has a system to help you stay healthy, even in times of environmental stress. It is the immune system, and I simply want to help you understand some things that you can do to keep your immune system strong and active so that it will be better able to protect you in such times.

In a blog we did several years ago, I stated that “your immune system is made up of many body parts with big names like bone marrow, tonsils, spleen, thymus, and a subsystem called the lymphatic system with its many lymph “nodes” (collection points).” You can look back on our website at the blog entitled “A Child’s View of the Immune System” to get those details.

The bottom line is that the body has a system to protect you from the adverse effects of all kinds of pathogens. Let’s define “pathogen”. Directly from the web, I found this definition: “In biology, a pathogen, in the oldest and broadest sense, is anything that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a germ”. We often refer to some common pathogens as bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi, poisons, parasites, …, anything not natural to the body which could result in disease if not killed, eliminated, or simply passed on.

So, it stands to reason that the stronger and healthier our immune systems are, the better they will perform these functions. The next logical question then is “how do I keep my immune system strong?” I have a few ideas.

  • Dr. Joel Wallach, the Father of modern supplementation for humans, made a list several years ago of some 90+ nutrients that your body needs every day to perform all of its required functions. I did a blog several years ago on his complete lecture, but for purposes here I’ll just reiterate that he said “if you die before the age of 120, you’ll either die of an accident or a nutritional deficiency.” Therefore, it makes sense that a great place to start is to ensure you’re getting as many of these nutrients each day as possible. An absolute minimum would be a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement!
  • Just as your house collects clutter and needs regular cleaning, so does your body. Normal, less-than-perfect lifestyles necessitate regular body cleansing. Such a regimen is essential to good health. Next week, I’ll talk about a “whole body” cleanse that I like and personally use twice a year. Again, a great place to start.
  • Exercise regularly. Several body systems need movement to perform their functions. I recently read a medical article that declared that “a sedentary lifestyle is the new cancer.” It referred to the increase in disease which can be attributed to our just “doing nothing.”
  • Learn your genetics. You may need to be taking supplements to counteract family genetic weaknesses. I take a number of things for my heart because most of my family have died of heart failure. My cardiologist told me this has already once saved my life!
  • I don’t know who introduced the statement “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, but I understand the thought behind it. Clean lifestyles are also necessary. We live in a dirty, polluted world. We overtax our body’s immune systems by not taking better care of ourselves. Bathing, brushing your teeth, washing your hands regularly, and other common hygiene habits are necessary. Look at the differences in health conditions and life expectancy figures between our country and many countries where even simple water sources aren’t available.

There are many herbs, teas, supplements and essential oils to assist your body in putting up a good fight against those pathogens that would make you ill. But daily attention to our overall health and good health habits, including good nutrition, plenty of rest and exercise, and adjustments of unhealthy lifestyles and habits, will often “win the day”. Work at staying healthy and you won’t have to work so hard to get well.

Give your body a “fighting chance”. Give it the tools to strengthen your immune system, so it can fight the common pathogens in our own environments and keep us healthy.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

The Flow of Good Health: The Lymphatic System

I, like you, may not really give much thought to my home’s plumbing; until an uncomfortable issue arises. Clogged pipes, poor drainage—oh, what a mess that can be. The lymphatic system, like your home’s plumbing, is the drainage system of the body. Through its complex construction of lymph fluid, nodes, ducts and lymphoid tissues such as the tonsils, spleen, appendix, and thymus gland, the lymphatic system works to keep our bodies healthy. The systemic functions of the lymphatics:

  • Balance-By balancing fluids in the tissues, collecting fluid near tissues and organs and returning it to the blood stream, this process prevents fluid from building up and causing swelling.
  • Filtration-This system filters lymph by attacking any bacteria or virus when lymph fluid enters the lymph nodes and filters blood through the spleen by replacing old blood cells with new blood cells, and carrying away cell debris
  • Fights infection-Using specialized white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that are produced in the lymph, the lymphatic system fervently works around the clock to combat sneaky toxins and infections.

Unlike the circulatory system, there is not a pump to keep the flow of fluid and debris through the vessels. Instead, this system depends on muscle movement and compression to help with flow. Any lymphatic congestion is an underlying issue in chronic pain and inflammation. So how can we relieve any congestion that might present as tender and swollen nodes in the neck, breast, arm pits, or groin?

  • Movement– Inactivity creates lymphatic stagnation. Exercise as a gentle walk or gentle bouncing on a mini trampoline are excellent ways to keep lymphatic fluid moving.
  • Hydration-In dehydration, up to 70% of water loss is inside the cells, but approximately 20% is from lymph. When you are thirsty, it may be due to congested lymph fluid.
  • Deep Breathing-Deep breathing compresses the thoracic cavity which creates a pumping action in the lymph system. Sobbing and laughing work similarly. Proverbs 17:22 says laughter is a good medicine. Not only does laughter increase oxygen flow, it also creates lymphatic drainage.
  • Massage-Massaging an area can help improve lymph flow, ease pain and promote healing.

Along with these lifestyle tips to increase lymphatic flow, there are some herbs that are very helpful as well.

  • Cleavers-This herb is soothing to the lymphatic system and helps ease congestion and lessen swelling
  • Red Clover-This herb strengthens the lymph system, improves lymph flow, and aids swollen lymph nodes. This herb is particularly helpful for inflammation in the mammary glands.
  • Echinacea-This is a powerful lymphatic cleanser and immune system stimulant. It is helpful for swollen lymph nodes due to infection.

Just like with any other body system, lifestyle changes and quality supplements can be helpful in keeping this powerful system working well so you can continue to stay healthy. Here at The Healthpatch we are happy to help you with any of your natural health needs.

Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

The Circulatory System: The Heart of Good Health

The circulatory system is made up of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries with the primary function of carrying oxygen and nutrients to every cell of the body as well as carrying away waste from each of those cells. The circulatory system also works intricately with the immune system to carry white blood cells and the endocrine system as an avenue to deliver hormones to tissues.

This system is vital for good health in every area of our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies and when circulation is impaired, tissues can begin to deteriorate and begin to lose function. Some common symptoms of poor circulation include cold hands and feet, poor memory, poor wound healing, and a pale complexion. Diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes can increase heart disease and poor wound healing by decreasing the circulatory system when there is a constant high glucose level in the blood. It is imperative to keep the circulatory flow to every tissue of the body and there are some wonderful herbs that help us achieve that goal.

Capsicum– has long been used as a circulatory stimulant. Its alkaloid, capsaicin, is what causes the herb to be hot. It is also the active part that is responsible for the ability of the herb to stimulate circulation. By helping to increase circulation, Capsicum has been useful in lowering blood pressure and in aiding in the healing of wounds. This herb is often blended with other herbs to work as a catalyst in getting the medicinal properties throughout the body. Capsicum is also rich in Vitamin C and E as well as other antioxidants known for their ability to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Ginkgo Biloba– this herb has a group of antioxidants known as bioflavonoids that help increase circulation, particularly to the brain and extremities. Several clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Ginkgo Biloba for improving blood flow to the brain, helping to improve memory loss, depression, headaches, and ringing in the ears.

Butcher’s Broom-this effective herb received its name from one of its uses many years ago. Butchers would tie several of the shrub branches together and use it to sweep their carving blocks clean. Butcher’s Broom is a vascular tonic which means it helps strengthen the veins and improve circulation, particularly to the lower body. Because it helps strengthen veins, it can be very helpful for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. This herb is also rich in iron, chromium, and B3. Due to its ability to strengthen the veins, this can cause the vessels to constrict and slightly increase blood pressure. Take caution if you have high blood pressure.

Hawthorn Berries– this herb loves the heart and helps protect it from oxygen deficiency. The Rutin, Quercetin, and other bioflavonoids in this herb help dilate and relax arteries, enhancing circulation to the heart. This increase in circulation and oxygen helps it to strengthen and normalize heart beats as well as help lower
blood pressure.

Garlic– the herb that those mythical creatures avoid is one that helps improve many circulatory problems. Garlic can help prevent the formation of clots in the circulatory system by inhibiting the clumping together of blood cells called platelets. Garlic is also a circulatory tonic, helping to strengthen and dilate circulatory vessels that can help reduce blood pressure.

In most of the herbs presented here, there is a rich presence of bioflavonoids that are important nutrients for the circulation. Foods such as blueberries, citrus fruits and pomegranate are rich in bioflavonoids. Pomegranate also enhance nitric oxide, a molecule produced in the body. Nitric Oxide’s important function is as a vasodilator—opening up the blood vessels—and this helps lower blood pressure.

Finally, an herb that can help with the stress and emotional component of good circulation is Holy Basil. This herb is an adaptogen and helps the body adapt to stress and helps protect the heart from stress as well as helps lower blood pressure connected to daily stress.

If you would like to learn more about how to better strengthen the circulatory system and help alleviate the conditions that can come from poor circulation, contact us here at The Healthpatch.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

The Digestive System: Root of Good Health

Our digestive system has many functions similar to how roots function in plants. They both absorb nutrients and water. If we are not properly absorbing the nutrients we need, this can lead to a host of issues. If fact, up to 50% of health ailments we suffer from can be rooted in poor digestive health; making the digestive system the root of good health when absorbing and functioning well and the root of poor health when it is not.

Toxins in foods, medications, environmental toxins and stress can all be culprits that can disrupt proper digestion and lead to irritation in the digestive tract that can cause such symptoms as bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, diarrhea and constipation. It’s not just these symptoms we need to be concerned about either. Up to 70% of immune tissue is found in and around the digestive tract and up to 90% of serotonin receptors are found in the gut; making gut health imperative to a healthy immune function and healthy mood.

So, how can we keep a healthy and happy digestive system?

Diet The most important step for a healthy digestive system is to look at what we are ingesting. Processed foods and allergens can create a world of havoc on digestion. Common food allergens are wheat, dairy and corn. Of course, there can be many other offending foods, but these are very good places to begin omitting foods that can cause gut irritation. Committing to healing foods like the Paleo diet can go a long way in healing the digestive tract.

Enzymes We have often heard the saying “We are what we eat.” In actuality, we are what we digest. We can eat very nutritiously, but if we are not breaking down and assimilating foods well, we will not benefit with nourishment needed for energy and good health. Enzymes are protein structures that have the ability to combine substances or to take them apart and regulate numerous body functions. They are typically found in raw foods. Because it is difficult to eat a 100% raw diet, supplementing with a plant-based enzyme supplement is important for good digestion.

Probiotics Good intestinal biofilm is crucial for good health. These biofilms act as a protective barrier against toxins and aids in assimilating nutrients. Biofilm is created by good bacteria in the gut. Once again, poor diets, stress and antibiotic use are destroyers of this good gut flora. Supplementing with a good probiotic as well as eating cultured vegetables and yogurt can help restore the intestinal biofilm.

Stress The big “S” word. Seems like we just can’t strive for good health without dealing with stress. As mentioned above, stress depletes the body of good gut flora, creating a poor foundation for health, and it also decreases our bodies ability to digest properly. Digestion works best when we are relaxed; making it important, as much as possible, to eat our meals in a low stress environment. That means avoiding eating while driving. Eating with family during the holidays might count as stressful, but we have an herb for that!
We here at The Health Patch are happy to help you find the best supplements for better digestion and a happy digestive system.

Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd., Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit http://TheHealthPatch.com.

Oral Health

Much research in alternative health of late has been directed toward the links between the gut and the brain – your microbiome. And the gut begins in the mouth. Good oral health is essential for a healthy biome. So let’s look at some factors to consider when we talk about oral health.

Regular brushing of the teeth, gums and tongue. The mouth is warm, moist, and dark – the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. And that bacteria can grow rapidly in such an environment. Regular brushing to remove that bacteria is essential. Few of us brush enough. You should actually brush after each time you eat – a meal or a snack. If you can’t (for whatever reason) ensure you brush with a good quality toothbrush at least twice each day – in the morning after you rise and at bedtime. Overnight there is nothing going on to disrupt the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

Don’t forget to floss! It’s obvious that brushing removes plaque-forming bacteria from the teeth. And it also gets particles from between the teeth often missed by a brush. But it also “massages” the gums, stimulating blood circulation in the mouth with its immune stimulating factors.

Choose a good toothpaste. Toothpaste is effective for removing tartar and plaque, and it also prevents cavities, periodontal disease and bad breath. It is also the agent for removing stains and discolorations from your smile, and adding ingredients to strengthen your teeth, preventing early breakage and tooth loss. Follow brushing and flossing with a good mouthwash to rinse away the stuff you just brushed off and leave a protective barrier against the bacteria.

And there are certainly things to avoid in your toothpaste:

  • We all know that processed white sugar is one of the worst inflammatory substances we can put in our bodies. It is empty calories that feed yeast, fungus, and bacteria while contributing to obesity, tooth decay and numerous diseases.
  • While many people have been told fluoride is a good thing, it is considered an over-the-counter drug by the FDA who actually warns you to keep it out of the reach of children under six; and tells you not to swallow it!
  • Artificial sweeteners often produce a laxative effect, and some have been linked to serious (and sometimes deadly) diseases. Try natural sweeteners like stevia or xylitol instead. Xylitol has actually been shown to prevent tooth decay. Dentists love it! Most artificial colors have been banned by the FDA for health reasons. If the toothpaste is colored, ensure it used natural colors.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent often used in tooth and hair products that has been shown to produce microscopic tears in the mouth. An often-used thickening agent called carrageenan has been linked to ulcers and gastrointestinal inflammation. And propylene glycol is an oft-used antifreeze used to soften the paste, but has been linked to nervous system, heart and liver damage.

And there are certainly things to avoid in your toothpaste:
We all know that processed white sugar is one of the worst inflammatory substances we can put in our bodies. It is empty calories that feed yeast, fungus, and bacteria while contributing to obesity, tooth decay and numerous diseases.
While many people have been told fluoride is a good thing, it is considered an over-the-counter drug by the FDA who actually warns you to keep it out of the reach of children under six; and tells you not to swallow it!
Artificial sweeteners often produce a laxative effect, and some have been linked to serious (and sometimes deadly) diseases. Try natural sweeteners like stevia or xylitol instead. Xylitol has actually been shown to prevent tooth decay. Dentists love it! Most artificial colors have been banned by the FDA for health reasons. If the toothpaste is colored, ensure it used natural colors.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent often used in tooth and hair products that has been shown to produce microscopic tears in the mouth. An often-used thickening agent called carrageenan has been linked to ulcers and gastrointestinal inflammation. And propylene glycol is an oft-used antifreeze used to soften the paste, but has been linked to nervous system, heart and liver damage.


We all know that processed white sugar is one of the worst inflammatory substances we can put in our bodies. It is empty calories that feed yeast, fungus, and bacteria while contributing to obesity, tooth decay and numerous diseases.
While many people have been told fluoride is a good thing, it is considered an over-the-counter drug by the FDA who actually warns you to keep it out of the reach of children under six; and tells you not to swallow it!
Artificial sweeteners often produce a laxative effect, and some have been linked to serious (and sometimes deadly) diseases. Try natural sweeteners like stevia or xylitol instead. Xylitol has actually been shown to prevent tooth decay. Dentists love it! Most artificial colors have been banned by the FDA for health reasons. If the toothpaste is colored, ensure it used natural colors.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent often used in tooth and hair products that has been shown to produce microscopic tears in the mouth. An often-used thickening agent called carrageenan has been linked to ulcers and gastrointestinal inflammation. And propylene glycol is an oft-used antifreeze used to soften the paste, but has been linked to nervous system, heart and liver damage.

Just a word about probiotics. “Pro” means “for”; “biotic” means “life”. And we always want the “good” to win out over the “bad”, right? So if one of the real reasons to brush is to get rid of bad bacteria that cause any number of tooth and mouth disorders, it should make sense to use a good probiotic to fight against the bad stuff that invades our mouths and causes the diseases. I don’t see many toothpastes or mouthwashes with probiotics, but you can certainly use a chewable probiotic at the end of the toothcare routine, and don’t rinse it out of your mouth. They usually taste great and add yet another level of protection to the entryway to your whole digestive system – the mouth!

  • For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Intro to Reflexology

Reflexology is a type of massage that involves applying different amounts of pressure to the feet, hands, and ears. It is based on a theory that these body parts are connected to certain organs and body systems. People who practice this technology are called Reflexologists.

There are “main circuits” to every organ, gland, and nerve, and these circuits have pressure points in your hands, feet and other parts of your body. By massaging or “working” these pressure points, you not only stop pain, but you also send a healing force to all parts of the body. When these life lines are closed or clogged, malfunctioning glands and organs will make you ill.

Through reflex massage, you will be able to eliminate the causes and symptoms of sickness and pain from virtually every part of the body. The powerful healing forces of reflexology will bring you renewed vitality and health, and eliminate some illness and pain from your life.

No one should depend completely on reflexology as a “cure all”. However, it is an effective alternative method for treating many symptoms and alleviating some pain.

A person is a structural, chemical and spiritual being, and reflex massage will assist in bringing these three elements into balance.

Reflexology is truly “magic”, but you don’t need a magician to make it work for you. The power is in the hands of the reflexologist. Call The Health Patch and we will refer you to someone to help alleviate pain and illness from your life, and from the lives of those you love.

Your Wellness Friend:
Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net.

The Health Patch
1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, PH:736-1030, http://www.thehealthpatch.com

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Age-Defying Bodywork

We talk a lot about medicine, supplements, and the latest fad health programs, but you may not be aware of simple “bodyworks” that help us to slow down the aging process. They are simple ways to mark the day-to-day small changes in our bodies and alleviate simple stresses, helping us age more gracefully and with less pain and aggravation. Let’s look at just a few!

Have you ever had anyone look into your eyes and explain that they can tell you about internal stresses in your body? If so, they were probably practicing a science known as iridology. Iridology is a non-invasive, safe and painless diagnostic technique. The irises of your eyes contain a unique pattern in the delicate fibers. This pattern is mapped into areas representing all the organs, glands and functions of the body. By determining exactly where a particular marking lies, an “iridologist” may gain insight into a potential health problem.

Most of us think of the foot as being relatively unimportant – until we stub a toe! At that moment all the energies of the rest of the body are concentrated toward that hurting member. So it is with our feet. Over a century ago, the feet were “charted”. It was noted that the feet were particularly sensitive in spots that directly related to areas of distress in the body. A chart was created that linked areas of the feet to specific portions of the body. Thus “reflexology” was born. In her book on Reflexology, Inge Dougans states, “The art of reflex foot massage must not be confused with basic foot massage or body massage in general. It is a specific pressure technique which works on precise reflex points on the feet, based on the premise that reflex areas on the feet correspond with all body parts. As the feet represent a microcosm of the body, all organs, glands and other body parts are laid out in a similar arrangement on the feet.”

Massage is a popular and well-known bodywork. But many of us think of it only for its relaxation and “feel good” functions. As an age-defying bodywork, it is also a healing art. It reduces the stress on worn muscles, moves lymphatic fluids and other toxins from body systems which contain no pumps, and enhances nutrient rich blood flow into areas that normal day-to-day activities may not complement.

And other age-defying bodyworks are the various magnetic arts and devices such as magnet therapy, and the use of machines like the Body Compass and the Quantum Magnetic Resistance Body Analyzer which use magnetic pulses to measure tissue resistances to help identify weaknesses within the body.

Many herb stores and health food stores have technicians on staff who use these arts and sciences. Fees for the service vary. Call and compare. As with any service, the cost will depend on many variables – how many appointments are included, the length of the appointments, the experience level of the practitioner, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re looking for an alternative diagnostic tool to aid in determining your overall health, these may be for you.

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City Phone 405-736-1030 or email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com Visit our website at TheHealthPatch.com.

Gut Healing Ideas!

This blog is basically partial summaries of two resources that I have thoroughly enjoyed. They approach gut-healing from two separate perspectives. The first is from a Steven Horne publication. We have purchased several copies of the full copyrighted material and will provide you a copy as long as they last if you come by The Health Patch and ask for one, or we will give you the address if you wish to procure multiple copies for your own use. The second is from an online website called Viome.com – a site owned by Viome Laboratories. They also do extensive work and research dealing with gut health. Both provide excellent ideas for helping you heal your gut.

Dr. Horne lists four specific practices to help you in your efforts to heal your gut.

  • Improve your elimination. Your gut can’t heal adequately if you are experiencing poor bowel transit times. He references practices and products to help improve bowel elimination
  • Eliminate irritants. He suggests avoiding grains containing gluten, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup (they feed bacteria), substances that disrupt the friendly flora (antibiotics, NSAIDS, etc.), pesticides, food additives, GMOs, and other personally problematic substances such as dairy, nuts, eggs, nightshades, citrus, and shellfish.
  • Balance you gut flora. Fight yeast, substances that cause belching and bloating, and take good probiotics.
  • Nourish the intestines with a good variety of foods and supplements.

The Viome article lists activities which may help enlarge your access to a greater variety of microbiomes.

  • Test your gut microbiome. You can contact them on their website and get a scientific test that will find exactly which foods you should eat to boost the beneficial bacteria and bring balance to YOUR microbial ecosystem. Remember, we are all different!
  • Get outside and play. There are more varieties of beneficial microbes outdoors, but most of us don’t live or play outdoors these days.
  • Try intermittent fasting. Certain bacteria thrive in a calorie-dense environment, while others thrive in a calorie-scarce environment.
  • Get plenty of sleep. And it needs to be restful sleep!
  • Exercise the right amount. Exercise has been shown to enrich diversity, and increase beneficial bacteria.
  • Stick to a schedule. Many of our gut microbes run on a circadian rhythm.
  • Get a pet. Microbes on your pet increase your overall microbial diversity.
  • Keep your home microbiome healthy. Actually, being too clean may reduce beneficial microbe exposure.
  • Choose local, organic veggies. Enough said!

Gut health is not a diet. It is not a program. It is a lifestyle!

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com. Check out our blogs and podcasts under “resources” on our website each week for related topics.

Gut Supplements!

While we all should search for our own “gut healthy” diet, there are some foods that we have previously mentioned that seem to have a positive effect on the gut of most individuals. We’ve mentioned variety in the fruits and vegetables we eat – every food has its unique set of microbiomes – so the greater the variety we eat leads to a greater variety of microbiomes as well. And we know that an oriental diet introduces us to the added benefit of fermented foods, also in great variety. But for many, this is a culture shock, or a hard learning activity. Some of us simply don’t care for many otherwise healthy foods.

My advice is to do the best you can, and work at it. Our taste palates are often trained in childhood. Our cultures and our families taught us how to eat. My dad was a “meat and potatoes” man from the rural South. I ate a lot of home-grown vegetables, but nothing ethnically diverse. But I have enjoyed food most of my life and now enjoy virtually any international food delights – adding to what my friends and family call my “cast iron digestive system”. I have little problem enjoying and digesting most anything placed before me. But, if that is not you, I would suggest some gut-healthy supplements. Here are a few of them.

Number one on my list here is berberine. It is an alkaloid found as a stand-alone, or as a natural constituent in many herbs such as goldenseal, Oregon grape, and barberry. Clinical studies have shown that berberine helps to support already normal glucose and lipid metabolism, helps to control intestinal bacteria and reduce intestinal inflammation. It interested me, that in a recent program I took to improve gut health, the company recommended an eating program and added only two supplements: a strong probiotic and berberine!

Cinnamon has a strong antimicrobial action and is an astringent that will tone up the gut membranes. It is also used in many of the weight loss programs I have seen.

Golden Seal is one of our strongest immune system builders and it is usually suggested that it not be used for long periods without a break, but it has a long history of use for intestinal infections and diarrhea caused by giardia.

Finally, the amino acid L-glutamine is essential for many body functions including gut health. It helps the body produce energy in the mitochondria of the cells, and has been shown to repair leaky gut and reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory diseases like ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Besides supplementation, it is found naturally in bone broth, grass fed beef, spirulina and whey protein.

Other herbs that help reduce intestinal inflammation and/or tone up the gaps between intestinal cells include pau d’arco, cat’s claw, turmeric, kudzu and black walnut. Much of this information comes from a publication by my favorite herbalist Steven Horne. Drop by the store for a copy of his complete presentation, while copies last, if you have further interest.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com. Check out our blogs and podcasts under “resources” on our website each week for related topics.

Gut Needs – Mix it Up!

“A healthy gut promotes a healthy body.” But what specific kinds of nutrients does the gut need? Other blogs have covered the basics: some 50 or so enzymes, several bile salts, betaine hydrochloric acid, and hundreds of microbes and probiotics – all to ensure foods are broken down into consumable components. I believe the key focus here is “variety.”

For example, we carry dozens of brands and formulations of probiotics at The Health Patch. When we opened the store 22 years ago, we could only get supplements with half a dozen strains of probiotics containing some two to three million bacteria per capsule. But research has come a long way. As the function of a given strain is uncovered, it is added to the combinations. We now carry several brands with up to 35 strains and as many as 100 million probiotics per capsule.

Additionally, enzymes are often separated by their sources – plant based, animal based or both. And capsules may be gelatin or vegetable for those who don’t wish to use animal sources.

I found an article online by a group called Viome Laboratories who are dedicated to research on gut health. They listed “8 Gut Damaging Foods and Behaviors” to avoid. It’s an article worth reading because they also give valid reasons for the avoidances. Sugar was number one, followed by Artificial Sweeteners. We’ve covered those in our blogs before. They also mentioned GMO foods, Preservatives, Antibiotics, NSAIDS, Stress and Smoking. Each of these destroy specific microbiomes necessary for good gut health. Or conversely, the use of any of these will destroy some beneficial microbiomes which could denigrate your gut health.

Each of us is different; our bodies and their nutritional needs vary – either by genetics or by environments. So there is no “perfect” gut diet that will work for everyone. But it is well determined scientifically that we all need a variety of fruits and vegetables, usually some fermented foods (like sauerkraut or kimchi), green foods, foods from the sea, and proteins. Recent research also shows that bone broth, a supplemental food which has become very popular, may also help to heal leaky gut! Experiment to find those things that work best for you while avoiding those listed above.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com. Check out our blogs and podcasts under “resources” on our website each week for related topics.