Health and Wellness Blog

Why Do I Feel Bloated?


Do you feel bloated? Abdominal bloating refers to the sensation of abdominal inflation or swelling that may or may not be accompanied by measurable distension of the belly. According to an article by Dr. Brian E. Lacy, Dr. Scott L. Gabbard, and Michael D. Crowell, PhD, titled “Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Bloating,” studies have shown that 15–30 percent of the U.S. population experience bloating symptoms. Obviously, that statistic doesn’t represent occasional bloating such as a full belly after Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, the stat refers to people who suffer from chronic or recurring bloating that cannot easily be traced to a specific cause.

If you’ve experienced such bloating, you know all too well that it can be uncomfortable, annoying, painful, and embarrassing. At BioDesign Wellness Center, a Tampa Functional Medicine practice, we often hear complaints from patients that their clothes no longer fit or that they look pregnant! Bloating can be a real setback to a person’s self-esteem, and it can be a frustrating problem. That’s because regardless of how diligent someone may be in following a strict diet and exercise regime, many patients continue to feel bloated.

Worse yet, modern medicine has no single solution. We have pills for indigestion and gas, but no pharmaceutical equivalent for bloating. (Granted, you can find numerous de-bloat supplements on the market, but in medical experience, they’re mostly ineffective or provide only temporary relief.) Given how common bloating is, the absence of a medication for bloating may seem surprising, but bloating is usually just a symptom of an underlying condition, such as a food sensitivity or yeast or bacterial overgrowth in the gut.

Causes of Bloating

Many conditions can cause bloating, including the following: continue reading

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) as an Adjunct Treatment for Autoimmunity


Over the last year or so, Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has received a lot of press. From an NPR story asserting in tiny doses, LDN — traditionally thought of as an addiction medication — is now moonlighting as a treatment for chronic pain, to an article appearing on suggesting LDN may be an affordable medicine for many chronic health conditions, there’s no shortage of thoughts about the potential LDN holds for those suffering from chronic illness and pain.

Low-Dose Naltrexone

So what is Naltrexone and what do we here at BioDesign Wellness, a Tampa Functional Medicine practice, think about the possibility of this medication playing a role in your battle to overcome chronic illness? Well for starters, naltrexone, which was synthesized and patented in 1961, is an opioid antagonist that was first used about 10 years later primarily to prevent relapse into opioid abuse. But we mentioned above, naltrexone has generated interest lately in the treatment of other diseases, including disorders related to immune system dysfunction, such as the following:

  • Autism
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

In this post, we explain how naltrexone may help to prevent relapse into opioid abuse and how it may be helpful, at significantly lower doses, to restore healthy immune function, at least temporarily while the underlying causes of immune system dysfunction are identified and treated.

Historically Speaking — Naltrexone in the Treatment of Opioid Abuse

Classified as an opioid antagonist, naltrexone blocks opioid receptors on cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. If you’re unfamiliar, opioids are a class of drugs including heroin (which is illegal); synthetic opioids such as fentanyl; and prescription pain relievers, including oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and others. These drugs bind to and activate opioid receptors throughout the body to alleviate pain, slow breathing, and calm the mind and body, but as you probably already know, they are highly addictive.

Imagine opioid receptors as parking spaces in a parking lot. Naltrexone takes up all the parking spaces, so the opioid molecules have no place to park. While on naltrexone, someone taking an opioid won’t feel the continue reading

Testing for Micronutrient Deficiencies


Nutrients are often divided into two groups. There are macronutrients, which the body needs in large quantities, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. On food labels, these macronutrients are measured in grams (g). And then there are micronutrients — vitamins and minerals that the body needs in much smaller quantities, for normal growth, development, and function. Quantities of micronutrients are given in milligrams (mg).

While macronutrients get the most press — in the context of diets to lose weight, reduce fat, increase muscle mass, and increase energy — it is often micronutrients that steal the headlines in news stories related to illness and preventing infection.

Take, for example, the recent worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. Many articles, as well as published reports, highlight the potential benefits of vitamins C and D and the mineral zinc in boosting the body’s immune system to fight this deadly virus and other disease-causing microbes.

However, micronutrients are also important for supporting the health and function of not only the immune system but other systems in the body, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, nervous, muscular, skeletal, and reproductive systems.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the major micronutrient issues affecting populations in developed and developing countries are shown in the following table: continue reading

Restoring Health Through the Use of Therapeutic Peptides


For thousands of years, people have been searching for the mythical fountain of youth — a spring that purportedly adds years or even decades to the lives of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. Spanish conquistador Ponce de León has long been the poster child for allegedly stumbling across this mystical water feature in the 16th century. But even as early as the fourth century B.C., Alexander the Great is claimed to have found a healing “river of paradise.”

In many ways, we are still on a quest to discover the fountain of youth, though now the search has turned to science — medications, supplements, or therapies that hold some promise of turning back the hands of time and restoring our health and vigor. Today, more and more evidence points to peptides as the anti-aging solution we have long been seeking.

(Copyright: Dan Cojocari ✉·✍· / CC BY-SA via

Peptides are short chains of amino acids (between two and 50) that signal the release of other substances the body needs for healthy function. You may already know that amino acids are also the building blocks of proteins, but proteins contain far more amino acids and a more complex structure than peptides.

Your body contains a variety of peptides that work on different areas of the body, typically acting as highly specific messengers in many crucial functions, including the release of human growth hormone (HGH). By using different peptides, potentially we can restore healthy cell function and communication to treat a variety of illnesses and maybe even make you look and feel younger.

But restoring health is a more complicated process than simply supplementing with the right peptides in the right amounts. Here at BioDesign Wellness Center, a Tampa functional medicine practice, we follow a three-step approach tailored to each patient: continue reading

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