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Tag: functional medicine

Surprisingly, Heartburn Relief has Serious Health Risks

Nearly 20% of Americans suffer from chronic indigestion sometimes called heartburn, acid reflux or GERD.  Widely used remedies can cause even more problems for your health.

The uncomfortable burning of “ I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” can lead to real damage to the esophagus and throat making acid-reducing remedies such as Prilosec one of the most widely used medications.

Common theory is that heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid and the solution is to simply reduce or bind the gastric acid.  Heartburn medications fall into a category of proton pump inhibitors (proton/potassium pump inhibitors) which inhibits the function of the parietal cells in the stomach and thereby suppress the production of stomach acid.

If only the solution was as simple as taking a pill.

However, serious complications to the regular use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) include:

(1) proton pumps are not  limited to the stomach but found in all energy producing cells in the body.  The function of the proton pumps is essential in the ATP cycle to produce energy. Regular use of PPIs can lead to fatigue of cell function.

(2)  the highly acidic pH created by gastric acid is required for the absorption of minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium as well as vitamins B12 and C.  Gastric acid sets the stage for the an effective process of digestion through the remaining digestive tract.

(3) Gastric acid is the first line of defense against ingestion of opportunistic pathogens and harmful bacterias. SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth) and an infection of colostridium difficle  (CDI) is common among PPI users. CDI disrupts the normal function of digestion with symptoms of diarrhea, nausea and fever causing colitis perforation of the colon and sepsis.

(4) Fifty percent of the people using proton pump inhibitors actually produce too little gastric acid which shows up with the same acid reflux symptoms as too much gastric acid. Too little gastric acid prevents normal digestion and nutrient absorption leading to a wide range of poor health conditions.

Interference with natural production of gastric acid has been linked to increased risk for heart attacks, dementia, osteoporosis, kidney disease,  decreased diversity of the microbiome community, malabosroption and deficiency of essential nutrients.  Too little gastric acid can cause an acid rebound effect causing even more acid to be produced as your body tries to make up for the missing gastric.

Recent research at the Veterans Administration identified a link between the use of Prilosec and kidney disease.  Kidney disease is particularly worrisome as it develops without warning signs until it is too late to reverse.

TUMS, although not a PPI creates other health risks.  TUMS contributes to the acid rebound effect as it binds the acid your body needs to secrete for digestion and your body responds by increasing production.  In addition TUMS contains aluminum, a metal ,that has been associated with risk for dementia.

Home remedies like baking soda in water can provide temporary relief but does not resolve the cause of the condition that interferes with proper digestion and nourishment of the body.

No-risk freedom from heartburn

Fixing the cause of heartburn is the solution for both the dangers of heartburn, acid-reflux or GERD and the dangers of using heartburn medications.  Triggers for heartburn include reactions to specific foods and alcohol, insufficient digestive enzymes and/or gastric acid, use of other medications such as antibiotics, SIBO, infectious pathogens and emotional stress.

Healthcare professionals who practice integrative or functional medicine are experts at identifying and reversing the underlying cause digestive problems.  Working with a healthcare professional can  help you determine if your symptoms are the result of too much or too little gastric acid.  Then they can expedite your discovery of the triggers for heartburn that are specific to you. Institute for Functional Medicine, www.IFM.org and the  National Association of Nutrition Professionals, www.NANP.org, are good resources to locate a healthcare professional in your locale.

Seven Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Seven Benefits of Dark Chocolate 

Rarely can anything taste so good and be so good for you.  Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively effect your health in seven key ways.

The Good Stuff dark chocolate is primarily made from  at least 60% organic cocoa powder, coco butter and sugar (milk chocolate packs more sugar and fat while white has nearly no health benefits).

Dark chocolate contains soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals and antioxidants.  The primary minerals in dark chocolate include iron, magnesium, copper and manganese accompanied by smaller amounts of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. The fat content is mostly saturated and monounsaturated with small amounts of polyunsaturates.  It also contains caffeine and theobromine but in small amounts that should not keep you awake at night.

Enjoy one to two ounces of dark chocolate guilt free to reap the following benefits:

Brain:

1. Powerful antioxidants (polyphenols) increase blood flow to the brain boosting smarts and memory.

Skin:

2. The flavinoids contained in cocoa can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.

Heart:

3. Epicatechin one of the compounds that lends cocoa its bitter taste lowers blood pressure.

4. Raises HDL and protects LDL against oxidation.

Energy:

5. The same epicatechin can boost your cells’ mitochondrial function.  Mitochondria are the organelles, little energy factories, found in the nucleus of every cell in the body.

Weight Loss

6. Research has found the regular chocolate eaters were slimmer than those who abstained altogether.  Chocolate satisfies cravings as it  lights up your grain’s frontal lobe, its reward center.

Mood:

7. Cocoa butter fats trigger natural endorphins (natural opiates) and serotonin (a mood modulator).  These brain chemicals induce calm, decrease pain sensation, improve sleep and elevate mood.

Weight Loss Made Simple

Celebrations took a toll on your waistline and you jut don’t want to face another diet of measuring, calorie counting and special diet foods to purchase.  Here is how to make it simple with choices you can adjust to fit your preferences.  Eat until your stomach is no longer hungry.  Whenever possible choose clean food sources which are organic and non-GMO.

Follow these guidelines to establish a smaller waistline and a healthy pattern for 2017

  1. Protein breakfast such as eggs, paleo granola or vegan protein shake (see Healthy Recipes  page for ideas)
  2. Lunch and dinner meals are comprised of 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 protein (your choice of non-GMO, pesticide free, animal or vegan protein)
  3. One cup of fruit daily, eat the whole fruit, avoid fruit juice
  4. Plan for a go-to alternative when you experience cravings.  Snack on vegetable sticks with yogurt dip or hummus,  handful of nuts or cup of hot tea
  5. Strive to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water  every day
  6. Use raw, organic agave or stevia, no artificial sweeteners
  7. Move…… your choice of 10,000 steps and 30 minutes of elevated heart rate activity 4 times a week

Enjoy the shrinking waist and create a eating style that will sustain you through 2017.

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