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Archive for Body Systems

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.

The Gut-Brain Connection!

Have you ever heard anyone say (or have YOU said) “I eat because I’m bored” or “I eat because I’m depressed” or “I eat because I’m anxious”? Well, there’s something to that. You see, there are actually more nerve connections between the gut and the brain (or the whole Central Nervous System) than between any other two systems in the body.

From a coach’s manual I use for some weight control programs we read, “When you are born your brain and your gut develop from the same tissue. In these early stages, the colonization of gut bacteria regulates the development of hormones that affect your mood, sleep, and a variety of other key functions. So, it should come as no surprise that your body and mind stay closely onnected throughout your life.”

Situational anxiety, stress, and moods cause your brain to cause the release of hormones such as cortisol, which in turn increases your cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. The technical science is complicated, but the end result is the same – the brain stimulates the nerves to cause the organs to produce hormones that cause several unwanted actions in our daily lives. That’s the brain’s part.

So how about the gut? If your gut is unhealthy, diseased, leaky, full of pathogens (viruses, bad bacteria, undigested food, yeast, parasites, etc.) then it sends erroneous signals to the brain causing it to respond in error. The wrong hormones are activated, the wrong digestive substances are released at the wrong times to the wrong areas, or the wrong chemical responses complicate an already confused body and bad goes to worse.

Think about Pavlov – he had dogs that were not hungry releasing gastric and pancreatic secretions in response to sensory signals such as the sight and smell of food.

In humans, the gut has the largest numbers of bacteria and the greatest number of species as compared to all other areas of the body. Research shows the importance to human life of these bacteria, so the brain works to protect and nurture them. A loss of them has been shown in clinical trials to cause numerous inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. And the composition of our gut flora changes when our diet changes and as overall health changes. So overall health is directly related to the condition of the gut. A healthy gut directly equates to a healthy body.

For those who are more technical, here’s the summary: “The gut-brain axis is a two-way communication that is very important to maintaining a body’s homeostasis (regular, normal health).

-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 Health!

“As goes the gut, so goes the body!” Science has recently been studying the gut microbiome and discovered that the healthy gut is inhabited by some 40 trillion microorganisms living there, and they affect virtually every biological function of your body. The bottom line is “a healthy gut promotes a healthy body”.

This month we will spotlight how to improve our gut health from several different perspectives: the gut-brain connection, components of a healthy gut, nutrients that will improve our gut health, food that will help promote a healthier gut, and steps to helping to heal the gut. Check out our blogs and podcasts each week for related topics.

For purposes of this discussion, we’ll consider the main component of the gut to be the intestine. We live in a toxic environment and this leads to autointoxication of the gut. One writer stated that this has been around for ages, but we’ve now given it a new name – “leaky gut.” And leaky gut has been associated with a number of health problems: things like allergies, depression, chronic skin conditions, chronic sinus problems, yeast infections, irritable bowel and their associated bowel disorders, and a number of autoimmune disorders.

Your body has protective barriers: specifically, the skin and mucus membranes that line the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory passages. One writer called these “sifters and sorters”; they let in the good stuff and keep out the bad stuff. They should be tightly sitting next to each other, but due to improper nutrients and too much inflammation, they develop gaps in the constitution (like an army with soldiers missing from the lineup!). These gaps can let in toxins, undigested foods, and pathogens (like parasites, viruses, bacteria, yeast, etc.). And this can cause systemic inflammation.

A healthy gut doesn’t just happen. We have to be aware of our environment, conscious of the things we put into our bodies, and conscientious in planning for and caring for our bodies in general and our guts specifically.

  • 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.

A Healthy Brain

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Even if we never have a head injury or acute toxicity, most of us notice lapses in our memory as we transition to more sedentary lifestyles, or simply age! We think memory loss is a normal function of the aging process. But it doesn’t have to be so. There are several factors to consider when we desire to keep our minds sharp.

To begin with, we have to consider the popular computed adage “garbage in, garbage out.” We’ve looked in other articles about some of the nutrients we need to keep a healthy brain. But we didn’t cover things we do that should be avoided. We know things like alcohol, tobacco, drugs (even some legal ones) can promote memory loss. Read the labels! Many kill brain cells. And my dad was quick to point out that many of us can’t afford to lose ANY! Lol!!! But here are some other things you can do to keep your memory strong:

Eat better foods; get away from sugars, starches, and excess fats. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Make an effort to stay away from genetically modified foods – we don’t yet even know how these modifications may be treating our bodies. Add more of the food sources we mentioned in our “Healthy Brain” article.

Some specific vitamins and minerals to consider: I can’t stress more the importance of B Vitamins. Most references suggest 100mg of each of the B Vitamins for anyone who notices any memory slippage. It is noteworthy that a B-12 deficiency has been shown to be one cause of memory loss. Our brains need more free amino acids to function well. Specifically, consider the amino acid l-glutamine; it may help stall brain aging and is a key to boosting brain health. Another important amino acid is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid that functions a neurotransmitter in the brain. And the most important of the neurotransmitters is acetylcholine. Lecithin feeds brain cells and crosses the blood-brain barrier. Some research indicates that several health issues including brain disorders have been linked to a shortage of the Coenzyme Q10. And magnesium is an essential mineral for brain health.

Herbals to consider: Ginkgo biloba and Gotu Kola help with oxygenation. Pregnenolone is called “the mother hormone” that is necessary for memory, especially ager 40!

Watch your stress levels. Too much stress has been shown to be a contributor to memory loss, too. The brain has difficulty forming memories when it is preoccupied dealing with high levels of stress.

Exercise for the brain! I personally had two friends who lived well into their 90s. Their bodies gave out, but their minds were “sharp as a tack” all the way till death. Their explanations to me were “Mental Exercise”. One worked a cryptogram every day and the other worked crossword puzzles every day! On the other hand, I personally know of dozens of customers who have retired to a sedentary lifestyle of hours of mindless TV every day who died within a couple of years of retirement. Find something to do that requires mental effort and do some of it EVERY DAY! Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

  • Randy Lee, ND, Owner, Nana’s Pawpaw Patch – Herbs, Oils & Teas for Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@promoteyourhealth.com.

Keep Your Nose in It

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Your nose is not just that pretty thing in the middle of your face. It works for you in many ways. It is a major component of your overall respiratory system. It filters trash to keep it out of your lungs; it warms outside air before it entered the lungs to prevent the pain of a cold day; and it, along with the adjoining sinuses, humidifies incoming air to prevent the entire system from drying out.

Here are a few interesting facts about the nose’s filtration importance: city dwellers may inhale 20 billion particles of foreign matter every day; while you are in heavy traffic, you may breathe as many airborne free radicals as a pack-a-day smoker; even if you are a nonsmoker, if you are in close association with smokers you raise your risk of lung cancer by 30%.

Your nose is a leading component in the distinction of smells.
~ This can be emotional. Think about the smells of your mother’s kitchen, or your favorite restaurant. The loss of your sense of smell can, therefore, take much of the joy out of eating.
~ This can be activating. Think about what the smell of a gym does to your energy level. Or think about your response to the smell of your favorite partner’s cologne or perfume.
~ This can be comforting. Think about the smell of your favorite room at home, your family’s favorite activities, or even your own motor vehicle.
~ This can be lifesaving. Your sense of smell may alert you to the presence of toxins, poisons, or other dangers.

The loss of the sense of smell is called anosmia. And this sense seems to deteriorate in most people shortly after the age of 60. Many people lose it completely. It is a chemical sensing system and requires the release of molecules to send signals to specific parts of the brain. The nerve bundle that does this is in the top part of the nose and is connected directly to the brain.

I read one article on the internet that listed over a dozen reasons why a person may lose their sense of smell. Some were unavoidable, such as injuries and birth abnormalities. Some were developmental, like developing polyps or problems with the central nervous system, or simply aging. Some came as a side effect of normal living, like cold, allergies, and chronic sinus conditions. But many were preventable, like inhaling toxic chemicals, tobacco smoke, illegal drugs.

Complete loss of the sense of smell is difficult (some say impossible) to treat. But I found a number of alternative remedies on the internet which have helped many to regain the sense of smell. Here is a “short list”:
~ Warm castor oil drops in the nose can alleviate swelling and inflammation.
~ Warm garlic tea can relieve cold and flu symptoms to help you breathe easier.
~ Chew small pieces of ginger to unblock a stuffy nose.
~ Make a tea from honey and cayenne pepper. Its capsaicin can clear congestion.
~ Warm honey-lemon tea stimulates the olfactory nerves
~ Continued, long term bentonite clay baths may detox your body so as to restore your sense of smell.
~ Drink warm apple cider vinegar with a bit of honey to thin nasal mucus and enhance smell.
~ Ask a practitioner about “oil pulling” using sesame or coconut oil as it helps oral health!

There are also several minerals that have been associated with the loss of smell. Consider:
~ B-12 is necessary for all nerve tissue health.
~ A vitamin E deficiency may lead to nerve damage which might diminish your sense of smell.
~ Zinc is also necessary for many sensory benefits.

Since smell is directly associated with your sense of taste, a loss of the smell sense can cause eating disorders as well and if you don’t eat, you don’t get nutrients for other body systems either.

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.

Managing Regional Allergies

allergy, allergies, regional, US, u.s., managing, relief, planningHave you ever noted how people who live most of their lives in a given location seem to have fewer allergies to the things in that area? I concede that this is not true for every person who lives there, but I still observe it to be generally true. Our bodies seem to have a great ability to adapt.

It is true that as we apply homeopathy, we find that when we ingest a very small amount of a substance (say one part per million!) we don’t immediately feel the effects of that particle on our bodies. But the body recognizes that substance even at that small dilution. And, if that substance is something that could cause harm at a larger dosage, then the body begins immediately to prepare antibodies to the substance. It’s the same principle used in giving someone a flu shot to prevent the flu – a small, weaken germ that causes the body to prepare antidotes so that it is prepared when larger samples arrive.

I think in a broad sense this applies to the allergy example. If you live in an area for a long period of time and your body is subjected to the same substances repeatedly for several years, then your body may produce the antibodies so that with a healthy immune system you may not have the negative reactions that normally result.

This could account for travel problems where street vendors’ foods, local water, and different environmental factors cause you problems. And have you noted new immune issues when you move into a new area or decide to embark on a new diet or new regional activities?

To cover these types of allergy problems, several of our supplement suppliers offer “allergy drops” that are specific to a given regional zone. We purchase only Zone 5 drops from one such provider. They seem to cover the allergy discomforts for folks who live in or visit this zone.

A word of caution – whether this particular information is scientifically, fully accurate or not, you should be prepared to follow good health practices when you travel, move, or visit new places. Take your personal supplements with you and don’t let an allergic reaction to something new spoil your trip.

– 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.

Managing Personal Allergies

allergies, personal, pollen, manage, managing, cat, fish, eggs, How is your immune system? If it is healthy you probably are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have a lot of allergies. You see, when we ingest pollens, pollutants, toxins, etc., our bodies have to determine whether it is something natural for our bodies or something that will cause us trouble – e.g., a dietary dilemma, a respiratory resistance, a bowel blunder, or system-wide stress.

If the foreign material is new to us, or our bodies are not able to break it down, then the immune system has to come up with a plan to keep it from breaking us down. This is particularly true with seasonal distresses. We live in central Oklahoma. We recently had a warmer week in the middle of a couple of truly cold periods. I guess Mother Nature thought for a few days that it was turning to Spring, so the Red Cedar trees started to really pour out their pollen. Virtually the whole of the mid-Oklahoma population ran to our shop for anything we had to help them breathe. Histamines poured, nasal passages and sinuses swelled, mucus built and caused coughing, sneezing, and congestion, and dis-ease was rampant.

Fortunately, these are so common that we keep on hand a variety of supplements that block the histamines and minimize the other symptoms. But what can YOU do in these cases?

Be aware of your immune shortfalls. Ask family members what bothers them … they may also be the things that bother you. Particularly ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles what changes they noted as they aged. Be prepared for those seasons that cause you discomfort. Journal! Keep a record of foods that cause you dietary trouble. Stay away from animals that have dander to which you react negatively.

And when you find products that work for your particular allergies, keep some on hand. You may not have a lot of warning when your provokers arise.

I’ve noted a number of new techniques that my customers are able to use to manage their symptoms. Be aware! Look into homeopathic solutions. Consider aromatherapy. Pay attention to the weather and the seasonal changes. No one knows your body or your natural shortcomings like you do.

– 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.

Electrolytes 101

Most college students recognize the “101” designation! For any course of education you take up, that’s the basic, introductory course in that field. So, Electrolytes-101 is simply a beginning look at the study of electrolytes.

The “body electric” depends on electrolytes. An electrolyte is simply a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when placed in a solvent. In our bodies that is usually just plain water. And the electrolytes are generally cell salts. The cell salts are dissolved into electrically charged ions that interact with each other, conducting electrical energy and supporting the body’s electrical components.

Electrolytes are naturally occurring elements in the body and important to control many physiological functions. Examples of these electrolytes are sodium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and even calcium. We get them from numerous foods and drinks and many supplements also contain them. They are necessary for balanced loads in the body.

In severe cases of imbalance, we may see such drastic things as seizures, coma, kidney failure, and cardiac arrest. But we may regularly see symptoms in hot, sweaty activities like outdoor running and sports. You see, we lose a lot of electrolytes when we sweat. So it is not unusual to see young people with muscle cramps, muscle weakness, nausea, confusion and the like after an outdoor summer athletic practice. If we let it go further, we may see diarrhea, fast heart beating, headaches, and cramping.

When I was a kid our PE coaches use to give us salt tablets after hard play outdoors in the last spring and summer. Both sodium and chlorine which make up table salt are electrolytes. But a more complete form of “cell salts” are better balanced and more effective – and without the heart strain that can come from using too much table salt.

Cell Salt formulations go by the homeopathic names of their ingredients. A couple of examples might be Mag. Phos., which stands for Magnesia Phosphorica and is formulated to help with muscle cramps and pains, or Nat. Sulph., which stands for Natrum Sulphuricum, and helps with flu symptoms, nausea, and vomiting.

Original studies in cell salts led to the formulation of 12 standard cell salt formulas. More recent studies have identified up to some 27 different cell salts. They should always be replaced after any strenuous activity. So if your work or play produces active perspiration, or if you feel fatigue, lethargy, or a mild headache after a bout of physical activity – take some cell salts – or a salt tablet as a minimum!

– 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.