Category:

Gut Health

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Understanding Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

If you frequently feel bloated after eating or you experience repeated bouts of abdominal pain or discomfort, gas, cramps, diarrhea, or constipation, you probably already suspect dysfunction in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also known as your digestive system or “gut.” However, the problem may not be with your digestive system itself but what is inside a part of it, specifically the microorganisms living in your small intestine.

The small intestine is a narrow tube-like organ approximately 20 feet long that connects the stomach to the large intestine and is responsible for extracting most nutrients from food. The large intestine is a much wider and shorter tube-like organ that primarily absorbs water from undigested food and carries solid waste out of the body.

Bacteria and other microorganisms (both beneficial and potentially harmful) naturally reside in both the small and large intestines. Beneficial microbes perform essential functions, such as producing nutrients that the body cannot obtain from food alone. However, when bacteria (good or bad) multiply too fast in the small intestine, it leads to a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which results in symptoms described at the beginning of this post.

Left untreated, SIBO can lead to nutritional deficiencies, unplanned weight loss, and continue reading

Heartburn Medication is Again Linked to Fatal Risks

Heartburn has been in the news a lot lately — and we’re not referring to the type you might experience while watching a talking head or pundit on CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.

Rather, we’re referencing recent reports that drugs commonly used to alleviate symptoms associated with heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, and stomach and small intestine ulcers, may raise the risk of numerous fatal health conditions. Among these risks are cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and upper gastrointestinal cancer.

One such study — Estimates of mortality associated with proton pump inhibitors among US veteranswas published in May of 2019 in the British Medical Journal. In that peer-reviewed study, researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs-Saint Louis, Saint Louis University, and Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis concluded taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is associated with continue reading

Gut Microbiota

Gut Microbiota: Restoring a Healthy Balance

By now, most people are aware of the importance of gut microbiota to their overall health. Gut microbiota is the term used to reference the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms living in our intestines. In fact, the number of microbes living in your gut outnumbers the total human cells that comprise your body! This increasing awareness of the importance of the gut microbiota to one’s health has driven explosive growth in the probiotics market. According to Zion Market Research, the Global Probiotics Market is expected to increase from $40 billion in 2017 to nearly $66 billion by 2024.

Gut Microbiota

Regardless of the amount of money being spent on gut health, each person’s gut microbiota is as unique as their fingerprint. If you stayed in a hotel room for a week, researchers could swab the room and identify it was you, based solely on the bacteria you left behind! Yet, some of you are routinely taking over-the-counter probiotics without knowing whether you really need them, which microbes you need, or the quality of the product. In some cases, we’re seeing patients who are taking too much of a good thing and feeling worse for their efforts (and their money).

By the end of this post, you will know how to do probiotics right — by testing first and then taking quality probiotics, if necessary, to restore a healthy balance. continue reading

Leaky Gut (Intestinal Permeability): Part 2 — Tests and Treatments

In Part 1 of this two-part series on leaky gut and intestinal permeability, we explained what leaky gut is, described its symptoms, and revealed its most common causes/triggers. We also pointed out that many in the conventional medical community still do not recognize leaky gut as a legitimate medical illness. However, those of us in the medical community who are more familiar with diagnosing and treating the condition believe otherwise. We know that there are several lab tests for diagnosing leaky gut (or ruling it out), and we have witnessed the positive impact treatment has had on the lives of our patients.

In this part, we describe the various tests we use for diagnosing or ruling out leaky gut and the treatment protocol we follow to restore gut health, address related conditions caused by leaky gut, and start making our patients feel better overall.

Testing for Leaky Gut

There are currently three main tests for leaky gut, each of which provides unique information that can guide treatment: continue reading

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