Curebiome Naturopathic

The Top 5 Reasons Why You’re Bloated

The Top 5 Reasons Why You’re Bloated

 

Bloating is not fun and it’s never been a joyful thing that you can’t fit into your pants because of it. Why do we wake up some days with a soft flat tummy and other days with a pushed out full and uncomfortable one? There a few things at play here that we can dive into but it all comes down to the normal bacteria and yeast in our digestive tract. There’s a term called “dysbiosis” which is used to describe an unhealthy balance of our microbiome (the bacteria and yeast in our gut).

 

It’s not unusual, nor do I think it ever has been, for our digestive microbiome to get out of balance. The bacteria and fungi in our digestive tract are easily affected by acute illness, stress, diet and lack of exercise which lead to problems ranging from gas, belching, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation and more. There are many historical accounts of the diagnosis today known as SIBO (Small Intestinal Microbial Overgrowth), which is the overgrowth of normal bacteria which cause gas, belching and bloating after eating many foods. There were many treatments in the past which were very effective, which is great news but now is a rather small piece of the picture.

 

In the modern-day we perfect ways to create these microbial imbalances like SIBO as part of our daily life. While many of the treatments are still viable, they are less likely to last when recreating the problem is so easy and quick through common foods, antibiotics and lifestyle. So what can we do about it? Well first thing is to understand the details of what causes the imbalance, then remove them while helping correct the balance. Below is a list of some common causes of microbial disruption leading to the dysbiosis that causes gas and bloating.

 

  • Antibiotic use (intentional or unintentional).
    • Thankfully the FDA has taken antibacterial hand soaps off the market, which was a high potential for bacterial disruption in the gut. There are still many cleaners and substances available which can contribute to this effect. When you think of washing your hands or preparing foods on a clean surface, understand that some of what is on your hands or that food will probably hitch a ride with your food – impacting your microbiome.
  • Pesticides and chemicals
    • One example is glyphosate is a more recently uncovered cause of microbial disruption, it’s the chemical herbicide known as round-up. It can commonly hitch a ride on GMO “Round up ready” plants like corn, soy, canola and others.
  • Hygiene
    • The hygiene hypothesis has been taught for decades, which is an observation that children raised in more sterile, clean environments tend to have more allergies, asthma, infections and other immune problems across their life than someone who was maybe raised in a farm rolling around in dirt and exposed to lots of microbes and nature. Being too clean can absolutely be a cause of digestive dysbiosis, which is why getting out into nature more often can help give us an inoculation of different microbes that might promote a healthy microbiome and immune system.
  • Processed foods, imbalanced diet
    • A diet high in foods that have additives, preservatives, sugars or artificial sweeteners can create major disruptions in our microbiome. So can having a diet too high in starchy foods. This is where plenty of vegetables make a big difference in the delivery of optimal foods to balance our GI tract.
  • Sedentary lifestyle
    • The human body was created to be in motion, muscle contraction and normal movements like walking, squatting, lifting, etc actually help to move blood carrying nutrients and oxygen through the body, support muscle and nerve function and also directly impact digestive health and the microbiome. Studies have found that exercise alone can have a positive impact on the microbiome. Sitting around too much can be another cause of your bloating.

 

Whether you’re getting bloated every day or it’s less frequently you can take action by removing some of these main disruptors of your healthy gut bacteria. A few simple habits like regular movement and better food choices can make all the difference in your bloating, which will translate to your health overall when you realize how much the microbiome does for your health TK LINK. Good luck getting after it!

 

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6 Cancer Prevention Strategies

Six strategies for prevention (and potential management) of cancer

 

Cancer stinks, and in today’s world almost everyone knows someone who has or had one form of cancer or another. There is a ton of literature and even more people telling us their opinions (whether right or wrong). So I’m sharing three less known cancer prevention strategies and three more well studied ways to prevent cancer, all of which are being used to support treatment of certain cancers. Hopefully some of these will be familiar to you, others may be new or surprising.

Mitochondrial Support

If you’ve read our article on mitochondria (tk link) and cancer, then you already know that it’s extremely common for mitochondria to be abnormal in almost every cancer cell and that this abnormality eliminates that ability of mitochondria to signal the broken cell to die. Mitochondrial support can be supportive for multiple reasons. First if this support can rehabilitate the broken mitochondria, sometimes this can trigger cell death alone. Even if that cancer cell mitochondria does not recover there is the benefit for all the other cells in the body, which can help support more resistance of healthy cells and more susceptibility of the cancer cells to other approaches like chemotherapy.

 

Ketogenic Diet/Fasting

The ketogenic diet is a whole topic unto itself, but there are many fantastic researchers putting this together, like Dom D’agostino (TK link) and more. Ketogenic diet works in cancers through the mitochondrial malfunction we’ve talked about before. Any cancer cell with broken mitochondria is subject to the Warburg Effect, meaning it can only use glucose for energy, where functioning mitochondria can use ketone bodies produced by the ketogenic diet. These ketone bodies are both energy dense and antioxidant, they are protective to the brain and nervous tissues and improve mitochondrial function while starving out and sensitizing cancer cells to other therapies. Fasting functions very similarly in converting stored body fat into ketone bodies, granting very similar benefits. All in all the ketogenic diet is a fantastic consideration for most cancers, and can be utilized on a less intense and more occasional approach for anyone interested in prevention.

 

Detoxification of Environmental Toxins

We mention environmental toxins quite often here at Curebiome, that’s because they are everywhere and responsible for aggravating and causing many problems we are dealing with. Environmental toxins are also low hanging fruit, like mitochondrial support and the microbiome. Almost everyone is going to benefit from addressing these things, either directly through feeling more vitality or dramatically reduced risks of numerous diseases. Taking the time to shift your lifestyle to avoid toxins and even undergo some more extensive detoxification whether mild or intense, is removing many carcinogens from your body and helping to reduce your risk of multiple cancers down the road. Highest concerns are ubiquitous hormone disruptors like BPA, plastics and pthalates.

 

Green tea

If you haven’t heard about green tea and how good it is for you, then you’re one of the few who is in for a treat. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of studies around this plant and the health benefits it provides. Green tea is an antioxidant rich tea, which comes in many forms and includes an amino acid that is very calming and focusing to the brain. This offsets the small amount of caffeine green tea contains. There are studies using green tea extracts in regards to prevention of lymphomas, breast cancers and more.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28396252

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28765341

 

Turmeric/Curcumin

I would be very surprised if you haven’t heard about turmeric, but this is another highly studied plant in regards to cancer prevention and treatment. This plant is amazing for the scope of health benefits it has, for everything from pain, pesticide poisoning, to anticancer properties it makes it important to consider adding this food to your diet. Turmeric is a staple ingredient in Indian and Thai foods, and it’s easy to cook with and incorporate into a lot of dishes. There are things like fermented turmeric teas to we’re looking into which may provide a beneficial dose of healthy probiotics.

 

Physical Exercise

Exercise is huge for everything, including cancer. There are multiple studies showing the effectiveness of regular exercise in cancer prevention, as well as improving outcomes during cancer treatment. Without getting into too much detail, any type of exercise is likely to be a great benefit but the best will be consistent and introduce some variety with a combination of weight training and cardiovascular.

 

Bonus steps

If those three we’re too easy for you, a more difficult yet powerful preventative for cancer as well as diabetes, heart disease, depression, fatigue, etc, etc… I’m just going to give you a few action steps which will help reduce your environmental toxin intake, increase mitochondria health and can be used in conjunction with a ketogenic diet.

  • Eat organic, non-gmo, veggies when possible and affordable. Here’s a great guide to what’s important and what you can slide  on.
  • Eat organic, grass fed, pasture raised meats. And avoid farm raised fish. Here’s a guide to seafood and fish to choose or avoid based on environmental and heavy metals.
  • Drink more water and tea and limit sweetened drinks like sodas (yes that includes diet sodas which can actually lead to weight gain)

Mitochondrial Impairment and Rescuers

Mitochondrial Impairment and Rescuers

Stressors and Inhibitors of Mitochondria

If we want to understand how to improve things then it’s important to understand what’s holding the mitochondria back from functioning optimally. These inhibitors range from nutrient deficiencies, chemical toxins, lifestyle, physical and emotional stress and more. Each of these inhibitors can play a role in how you feel and most importantly how your cells and mitochondria are able to function.

 

Nutrient deficiencies are extremely common, for a number of reasons. First, processed foods pull all nutrients and vitamins that can degrade out to trade for a long shelf life. Processed foods might be fortified again with some nutrients, but  typically these are low quality nutrients not well utilized on top of being not enough and there are still many missing nutrients which are not fortified due to cost or their lack of stability (which is why they were removed in the first place). Other causes of nutrient deficiencies are low variety in diet, mainly a lack of plant based foods and essential fatty acid deficiencies. Refined sugar is another major stressor, which causes loss of nutrients like minerals to compensate the pure sugar and leads to other problems like insulin resistance, oxidative damage and roller coaster effects on blood sugar levels.
There are many chemical toxins that inhibit mitochondrial function, each of which comes with a range of other negative effects. A common class of mitochondrial toxin are pesticides that are found on non-organic or conventionally raised produce, in many rivers and waterways and especially near any agricultural areas. Pesticides interrupt normal function of the electron transport chain (the mitochondrial lifeblood) leading to inhibited function and a decreased energy output if not full on mitochondrial death. Different herbicides also have similar effects, herbicides are common contaminants in certain grain products like wheat and are inherent in the way some of these crops are grown. Outside of pesticides and herbicides there are multiple heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium that harm and inhibit mitochondrial function. These are found in sources ranging from high fructose corn syrup (mercury), fish (mercury), plants or animals grown or raised in polluted areas (lead/arsenic), cigarettes (arsenic) and many other places. Finally, and you might find this surprising, many pharmaceuticals are also mitochondrial toxins. Antibiotics are a specific class of medication which have negative impact on mitochondria (as well as the microbiome), this is because mitochondria are an ancient form of bacteria which basically teamed up with our more complex cells for a safe place to live and free food to provide us extra energy output. Chemical toxins are far and away a major inhibitor of mitochondrial and overall health, and always important to reduce our exposures to.

Certain personal lifestyle habits can also decrease mitochondrial function. Specifically, a sedentary lifestyle removes all signals to mitochondria to increase efficiency and produce more mitochondria. This is because when we stress our muscles enough, aka exercise, there are signals to the mitochondria to reproduce in order to provide more energy to prepare for more intense efforts. Without any sort of physical stimulus our body and mitochondria will go into conservation mode, which means less energy production overall.

 

 

Lack of sleep will also decrease mitochondrial function, among other problems. Sleep is where our body releases a number of hormones and antioxidants to signal repair and growth, without it there we miss out on that downtime for mitochondria to reproduce and repair as well. The last stress we’ll mention is emotional stress from a lack of stress management, or intense periods in life, this will also affect how well your mitochondria and cells in general can function. Emotional stress signals cortisol and a cascade of hormones which lock the body into a mode of “hold on tight until we get through this,” whether it’s a life threatening problem like a lion or not, like an angry boss or loss of a loved one. Finding ways to process and manage stress is a major improvement because lets the body move past survival mode and get back into relax and repair mode.

These are just a few of the many things that cause major decreases in mitochondrial function. The good news is each of these are able to be addressed and minimized to preserve and support mitochondria health, and your health and energy overall.

Mitochondrial Support and Rescue

Fortunately for all of us there are a lot of strategies to support our mitochondria. To know where to start we of course have to consider and decide what the most likely causes of mitochondrial inhibition are for us. We’ll cover a general approach right now, beginning with supporting deficiencies then removing the other problem makers.
It’s generally best to begin by addressing any deficiencies, as this will support all of the other forms of support. I like this strategy because giving a deficient system what it needs is almost always a good place to start, as it feeds the cell pathways that help manage the harmful excesses like toxins or stress which burn up many nutrients and lead to more deficiency. Some of the things to consider first are essential fatty acids and nutrient dense foods. Specific foods to consider are colorful plant based foods, wild caught fish and natural/organic meats, nuts and seeds. Specific nutrients are omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins and antioxidants like Coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, Alpha Lipoic Acid, N-acetyl cysteine and others. The goal here is to restore the basics and mitochondrial antioxidants as we eliminate major stressors, this means doses usually start out low and ramp up for a period then drop back to a maintenance dose.

 

Avoidance and detoxification of harmful compounds is required for healthy mitochondrial function, as well as whole body health. The first place to start is identifying exposures to harmful compounds and systematically decreasing these exposures as much as possible. I discuss this in detail in other places (TK link to avoidance). Once avoidance measures are in place, beginning mild detoxification support is the next step. Nutrients that support glutathione production and recycling like N-acetyl cysteine and more of the same nutrients that support mitochondrial function, many of which are found in a good multivitamin. Sometimes we will pull in more intensive detox approaches, including things like sauna therapies, heavy metal chelation, IV nutrients like glutathione and more. Generally the more exposures a person has had the more important it is to start slow with these approaches, too much too fast will trigger an attempt from the cells and tissues to release more toxins than the body can actually eliminate – which is an unpleasant experience to say the least.

Beyond basic nutrient support, there is very good research and clinical results to support a ketogenic diet and fasting as aids in mitochondrial health. Ketogenic diets involve very low carbohydrates, moderate proteins and high fat intake. This balance of macronutrients leads to body to produce ketones, which are energy dense antioxidant molecules that our brain, muscles and most of our tissues use as energy. There is lots of information about ketogenic diets available, so I won’t go into details right now but it’s very helpful in addressing blood sugar problems, insulin resistance, weight problems and more. Fasting will similarly produce ketones, and is more commonly used intermittently by skipping breakfast or one or more days of water only depending on the person.

Finally there is a more potent nutrient based compound which produces dramatic improvements in mitochondrial function. It is a lipoic acid mineral complex which can be taken orally or administered intravenously, and alongside these other supportive therapies helps to further augment and improve mitochondrial function. It is sold as Poly-MVA and is best taken alongside certain other nutrients to improve its efficiency. While the average person will likely notice benefits, we rely even more on it for support in various chronic illnesses which have a mitochondrial component ranging from cancer, lyme, fluoroquinolone injury and more.

This is just a brief intro into some of the therapies we have found to be most effective to improve both mitochondrial function and health. All of these are not required to be used together or at all and it’s not unusual for any of these therapies to disagree with people which is why it’s nice to have options. There is more than one path to health, and while it might be tempting to jump right in it is extremely important to work with a knowledgeable health practitioner who can guide you towards the most beneficial therapies and away from those which are potentially harmful in your situation.

5 Supplements You Need To Know About

Fish oilThere are nutrients that we can all benefit from especially if we bump up the dosage to therapeutic levels. Here are five nutrients that you should absolutely know about and most can benefit from (of course talk with your doctor and make sure they are appropriate for you as an individual). These supplements are a good multivitamin, EPA/DHA (aka Fish Oil), Vitamin D, Probiotic and N-Acetyl Cysteine. These all have broad actions and benefits in the body, help repair deficiencies and boost function in many areas. Let’s dive in.

Multivitamin

Whats in it?

A good multi contains the basic vitamins and minerals (listed below). The difference between a multivitamin that is OK vs really helpful depends on the form and amounts of nutrients. Not all forms are absorbed easily or provide the same benefits. Someone with a common genetic mutation (MTHFR) benefits more from the “L-5 MTHF” form of folate vs the usual “folic acid”. This can go for many of the nutrients, ones to focus on are in bold.

Vitamins/Minerals and average dose

A (mixed carotenoids and/or retinol) 5000 iu

Calcium 200 mg

C (ascorbic acid or ascorbate) 500 iu Selenium 200mcg

Selenium 200mcg

D3 (cholecalciferol) 600iu Magnesium (citrate, malate or glycinate) 200mg

Magnesium (citrate, malate or glycinate) 200mg

E (mixed tocopherols) 100 iu Zinc 15mg

Zinc (sulfate or picolinate) 15mg

B1 (thiamine) 25mg

Chromium 200mcg

B2 (riboflavin) 25mg

Boron 1mg

B3 (niacin) 25mg

Iodine (potassium iodide) 100mcg

B5 (pantothenic acid) 25mg

Vanadium 1mcg

B6 (pyridoxine) 15mg

Copper 2mg

B12 (methyl or hydroxy-cobalamin) 1000mcg

Manganese .5mg

Folate (L-5 MTHF or folate) 400mcg

Molybdenum 35mcg

Biotin 10mg

Potassium 900mg

 

How can it help me?

Regardless of how good your diet is you probably don’t track every nutrient in every piece of food, it’s likely there are some nutrient gaps day to day. A multi is a great way to cover yourself with the basic nutrients. They contain nutrients shown to improve immune, cell, mood, brain and digestive function they can prevent birth defects, and much more. We’re not always deficient enough to show obvious or life-threatening symptoms, but we could be functioning a few percentage points less. How can you tell the difference between your body functioning at 80 or 90% vs 95 or 100%? I sure can’t tell except in the few rare experiences where I was deficient enough to have a complete symptom turnaround in less than a day with supplementation. A good multivitamin improves function on a cellular level. That translates to feeling sharper and preventing diseases or problems from deficiencies down the road.

How to choose a good one?

Look for:

Optimal forms: (noted above in parentheses)

Optimal dose: for a good multi this tends to be 4-6 capsules a day because you just can’t fit in high enough doses to make the big difference below that.

“Other ingredients”: should be minimal or non-existent. Things you specifically want to avoid: shellac, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated (soy) oils, titanium dioxide and artificial colors and anything you’re not sure about what it is.

Looking for an awesome multi? Find one that meets the minimal criteria of vitamins and minerals with some bonus nutrients. Possible add ins like CoQ10, EGCG, curcumin and Alpha Lipoic Acid are great nutrients that improve cellular and mitochondrial function.

Note: Some multis also have herbs in them, I recommend caution and researching each herb to know if it can cause any undesired side effects and decide whether it’s beneficial to you or not.

Top 3 picks

Pure Encapsulations: Polyphenol nutrients 

ITI: Multiplex 1 without Iron 

Klaire Multivitamin Complex

Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA)

Whats in it?

Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These are two essential fatty acids that we make but our body really just can’t make enough on it’s own. We can get EPA and DHA from fish, algae like spirulina, grass-fed meats, and to a lesser extent eggs and some from veggies and plants.

How can it help me?

Everyone has heard that fish is healthy, and the benefits come from the Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s benefits cardiovascular health, cell function, mental function, decrease inflammation and increase mood and energy. There’s a laundry list of how omega 3’s can benefit you.

How to choose a good one?

Rule 1) Fish oil – pharmaceutically/molecularly distilled. This keeps metals and contaminants at the lowest level possible.

Rule 2) It says how much EPA and DHA per dose on the bottle. Ideally you want to get 1 gram or more (combined) of DHA and EPA per day. You can factor in with how much good fish (like wild caught salmon, anchovies or sardines) you eat a week.

Rule 3) Not rancid: if it smells fishy, or unpleasant at all it’s a bad sign.

You can find good forms in both liquid and capsule.

Top 3 picks

Nordic Naturals ProOmega capsules

Pure EPA/DHA 

Now Ultra Omega 3 

Vitamin D3

Whats in it?

Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol. Naturally made in our body with the help of sunlight.

How can it help me?

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in anyone who works indoors. Correcting this deficiency can improve immune function, bone strength, inflammation, allergies, depression and more.

How to choose a good one?

Just make sure it’s Vitamin D3, which is the form our body can actually use. You can take it to a bonus by finding a supplement that includes and balances Vitamin D with Vitamin A and K2.

Top 3 picks

ARG Vitamin D3 complete

Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion 

Now Foods Vitamin D3

Probiotic

What’s in it?

Live beneficial bacteria usually different strains of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. These are the same bacteria that live in a healthy gut.

How can it help me?

1) Improve digestion: Bacteria support the breakdown of food and increase nutrient availability.

2) Improve immune function, decrease inflammation: Bacteria help train and regulate a major part of the immune system, this means you’re less likely to react to normal foods and more likely to react to pathogenic bacteria.

3) Prevent infection: Crowd out bad bacteria, no room for bad ones when you’ve got so many good ones there already.

4) Help excrete toxins: Certain strains of “bad” bacteria can prevent the excretion of chemicals. Prevent this by supplementing your good bacteria.

5) Help support healthy weight (find out more here)

How to choose a good one?

1) Multiple strains: preferably 5 or more different strains of different Lactobacillus and or Bifidobacteria.

2) High dose: generally you want to take at least 20 billion CFU (colony forming units) per day, you can’t really do that with a capsule that only has 10 million CFUs.

3) Powder or capsule based on personal preference.

Note: In general it’s recommended to refrigerate all probiotics as it improves the shelf life and potency.

Top 3 picks

1) Klaire therbiotic complete

2) Innate response Flora 20-14

3) NOW foods Probiotic 10

N-Acetyl Cysteine

What’s in it?

N-Acetyl Cysteine is a specific form of one of the non-essential amino acids.

How can it help me?

Research shows NAC can increase cellular levels of glutathione, our major antioxidant. Glutathione helps protect from, process and excrete environmental chemical toxins. We can’t avoid everything that isn’t healthy for us (think air pollution while driving in traffic) but we can make sure our body has the raw materials to manage any exposures.

How to choose a good one?

Specifically want the N-Acetyl form, it shouldn’t cost too much and you want 400-500mg per capsule. Standard dosage is up to 1500mg per day.

Top 3 picks

No major difference between brands with this one, go with what’s available and affordable!