Archive for May, 2010


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Lately, some commercials have cropped up touting the purported “safety” of high fructose corn syrup. In one of the advertisements, an attractive young couple is having a picnic in the park. The woman offers her boyfriend an ice pop. He responds by looking at the proffered treat, and then up at her saying, “I thought you loved me.” She says, “I do. Take two bites.” He mentions that the dessert has high fructose corn syrup in it. She asks what’s wrong with that and he goes suddenly quiet, embarrassed that he can’t think of anything to back up his word of caution. Smug, the girlfriend says, “That it’s made from corn, has the same calories as sugar, honey and it’s fine in moderation?”  

The commercial ends with the boyfriend now wanting the treat and an announcer advising the viewers at home to “get the facts.”

Good idea!

Here they are:

Fact 1: High fructose corn syrup is not “natural” as the commercial suggests. It is a synthetic, man-made artificial sweetener.

Fact 2: HFCS has no nutritional value and encourages weight gain since its sugar quickly converts to fat and is stored by the body.

Fact 3: Research shows that HFCS, though sweet enough to cause a blood sugar spike, causes an increase in sugar cravings and fools your body into thinking it’s hungry!

Fact 4: HFCS didn’t replace sugar in the 1970’s because it’s good for you, it’s simply cheaper and easy to transport.

Fact 5: HFCS has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depressed thyroid function.

So, unlike what the makers of this cheap, processed sugar substitute would like you to believe, high fructose corn syrup is not good for you and should be avoided.

High fructose corn syrup is in everything from condiments to yogurt so it’s important to become a label-reader. You’ll find, once your replace the HFCS-laden condiments, juices and desserts with those containing natural sugar, you’ll not only lose weight but you’ll have more energy and notice how much better everything tastes!

For healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

mad woman with scale © Stock Photo NYC

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Does your trip to the pharmacy to pick up your usual over-the-counter medications and prescriptions cause an acute case of sticker shock? You’re not alone. Below are a list of ten common ailments and their less expensive, alternative treatments. Each tip is designed to save your health and your money! Read on.

Heartburn

 

That terrible burning. That unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you have acid reflux, you’ll do just about anything to get rid of it. If you’re currently taking over-the-counter acid suppressants, you can save money by trying apple cider vinegar. Just one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twenty minutes before a meal can reduce the overproduction of acid in your system. The best part? Apple cider vinegar costs only 99 cents per bottle! Note: Chronic use of acid suppressants will cause your body to compensate by continuing its overproduction of acid, which will cause a dependency on the over-the-counter drug. Apple cider vinegar does not have this effect.

Acne

It’s hard to put your best face forward when you struggle with breakouts. If you’re currently using an expensive over-the-counter cream, you can save some cash by investing in a small bottle of tea tree oil. Two fluid ounces of this powerful antifungal, antibacterial oil will run anywhere from $7-$10 per bottle. The money-saver? A little goes a long way! Two fluid ounces can last anywhere from six months to a year! Note: If you have sensitive skin, do a ‘patch test’ by placing a minute amount on your inner arm to check for a reaction.

Allergies

Sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat and nose. It’s allergy season and you’re suffering but $1 a pill for over-the-counter allergy relief is a bit much in a tough economy. So, what to do? Head to your local health food store or farmers market and pick up a jar of pure, natural honey processed in an area within 45 miles of your home. Just one teaspoon twice a day helps ease allergy symptoms by getting your system used to minute amounts of pollen in the honey. A months supply commonly costs around $10 and it’s a tried-and-true natural cure that works!

Insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia, you’re not alone. Taking an over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid may cause side-effects and dependency. Valerian is an all-natural herb designed to calm the body and mind when taken in its prescribed dosage. Unlike over-the-counter sleep aids, it is not habit forming and a three month supply of valerian commonly costs just over $6!

Caution:

Do not overdose on valerian. Even though it is a natural herb, it can cause side effects such as vivid dreams, drowsiness, headaches and upset stomach. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not use valerian. If you are currently taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, do not use valerian unless directed by your healthcare practitioner. If you have liver disease, avoid using valerian.

Stress

Between the economy and the current state of the world, all of us are experiencing more than our share of stress. The irony is; stress costs money! Anxiety, insomnia, digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure and depression are all common side effects of stress. Medical offices are packed with patients suffering from stress. So how can you save money and yourself? Find a healthy outlet for your stress. Write down the causes of your stress on one side of a piece of paper and some suggested solutions on the other. Having a plan of action creates feelings of empowerment, which can greatly reduce your stress. The cost? Nothing at all!

Skin rashes

Since there are different types of skin rashes, it is important to first find the cause of yours. Red, inflamed, itchy skin could be the result of stress-related dermatitis or an allergic reaction to something in your environment such as latex, alcohol-based creams or chemical-laden sunscreens. Instead of simply masking the symptoms by continuing to purchase over-the-counter creams, I suggest seeing an alternative health practitioner who can get to the source of the problem and eliminate the rash entirely. In the long run, it will be a money and skin-saving choice!

Sinus congestion

Nobody wants to be known as a mouth-breather. If you have blocked sinuses, try a neti pot. A neti pot is a small pot designed to irrigate the nasal passages with saline solution. To use: Insert the tip of a neti pot filled with lukewarm, lightly salted water into one nostril, tilt your head to the side over a sink or basin and allow the solution to drain from the other nostril. This process clear out allergens and mucus from the nose, reducing congestion and post-nasal drip. The cost? A neti pot commonly runs anywhere from $6 to $20. The savings? Unlike most sinus remedies, you only have to buy one!

Back pain/inflammation

It hurts to bend. It hurts to stand. Millions of people suffer with chronic back pain. If you’re one of them, there is a natural, inexpensive treatment for the inflammation that is causing your pain. Omega 3 is a natural anti-inflammatory that has none of the side effects of over-the-counter pain relievers. And, unlike OTC pain relievers, Omega 3 helps the body to heal naturally instead of simply masking the symptoms. The savings here? A three-month supply of Omega 3 costs under $6!

Hypertension (High blood pressure)

High blood pressure is becoming more common as our stress levels increase and our physical activity decreases. The good news? This common natural treatment for hypertension is most likely already in your cupboard at home. What is this inexpensive, ultra-common remedy? Garlic! Allicin, the active ingredient in garlic, relaxes the blood vessels thereby reducing pressure and helps prevent further damage to the blood vessels. The best benefits of garlic are obtained by using it in its raw form; diced or chopped in food. However, if you prefer, garlic supplements are also effective in reducing blood pressure. The common cost of a bulb of garlic is less than $1 and a one-month supply of a garlic supplement is less than $3 per bottle. A significant savings for your health and your budget!

Constipation

Everybody gets it. Nobody talks about it. Not only is constipation uncomfortable, it can cause serious health problems if left untreated. But before you reach for an over-the-counter stool softener, which has been linked to dependency, try this instead. Psyllium fiber. Psyllium fiber is not a stool softener or a stimulant. It is a bulk fiber designed to ‘grab’ stagnant waste materials and flush them easily and gently from the body. Psyllium can be taken in whole husk or pill form. Whole husks cost less than $5 and capsules are under $7.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

heartburn © Jason Lugo

sneeze © Evah Smit

stress © Melodi T

back pain © Jo Unruh

 

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of living but when it becomes chronic and/or begins to interfere with your daily life, it may be time to get some support.

Some people are reluctant to turn to the medical community for help because they do not want a prescription medication that may cause dependence or side effects. Understandable.

Below are ten natural remedies for treating anxiety.

  • Homeopathic remedy – Ignatia Amara

Homeopathy works on the principle “like cures like”. Highly diluted substances of what would cause symptoms in a healthy person are given to treat the symptoms of the ailing person. Though homeopathy eludes scientific explanation, quantum physics is moving toward shedding light on just how it works. It has been used effectively for over 200 years. Ignatia Amara is a homeopathic remedy I have been using with great success for many years. My naturopath prescribed it to me. When first trying homeopathy, I recommend consulting a naturopath first to find the correct dosing for your individual needs.

  • Natural herb – Valerian

Valerian is an all-natural herb that helps calm the body and mind when taken in its prescribed dosage. It is commonly used for insomnia but also works well for anxiety. I have been using this remedy for years with great success.

Caution:

Do not overdose on valerian. Even though it is a natural herb, it can cause side effects such as vivid dreams, drowsiness, headaches and upset stomach. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not use valerian. If you are currently taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, do not use valerian unless directed by your healthcare practitioner. If you have liver disease, avoid using valerian.

  • Supplement – Magnesium

Magnesium is vital to 300 of the body’s enzymatic reactions. One of the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency is anxiety and tendency to startle easily. Ironically, cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, causes magnesium depletion. Magnesium occurs naturally in foods such as: chicken, green, leafy vegetables, oats, cocoa, nuts and seeds and whole grains. If you choose to take a magnesium supplement, take chelated magnesium as it is best absorbed by the body.

  • Flower essences

Flower essence work to heal the body on an energetic level, much like homeopathy. Aspen, rock rose, and agrimony are helpful in relieving anxiety. Flower essences, as with homeopathy, work on an individual’s energy. I recommend experimenting with them slowly, one at a time, to see what works best for your individual needs.

  • Natural herb – Chamomile

A nice cup of chamomile tea is helpful to calm the mind before bedtime and is also used in the treatment of anxiety. For a little more potency, chamomile can be taken as a tincture or in capsule form.

Caution:

If you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, have a bleeding disorder or taking medications that would increase the risk of bleeding or if you are pregnant or nursing, do not use chamomile. Common side effects are drowsiness when combined with other sedatives. Take caution if you are on medication for diabetes or high blood pressure.

  • Supplement – Vitamin B3

Since niacin, or vitamin B3 is responsible for supporting the neurotransmission system of the brain, deficiencies in this vitamin has been linked to anxiety & depression. Foods such as salmon, chicken, red meat, tuna, milk products and mushrooms contain natural niacin. You could also choose to supplement your diet with B3 in capsule or liquid form. A common side effect of niacin is flushing if used in high doses.

  • Activity – Writing

Writing may seem like an odd ‘natural remedy’ for anxiety but it helps. If your worry comes from too much to do or financial or business concerns, getting your thoughts organized with a list is a great stress buster! Try this: write your worries on the left side of the page under ‘Stress’ and on the right side, under ‘Busters’ write down a possible solution to your problems. Having a plan of action creates feelings of empowerment, which can greatly reduce your anxiety. 

  • Activity – Meditation

When you read the word ‘meditation’ visions of silent monks crunched up into uncomfortable positions for hours may be the first thing that comes to mind. Meditation is simply a way of quieting the thoughts. Try this: find a comfortable chair in a place where you will be uninterrupted for at least twenty minutes. Close your eyes and settle back. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose 5-10 times and then, just let your breathing return to its natural rhythm and allow your thoughts to drift. Sometimes it is helpful to concentrate on a mantra, just one or two words to help clear the mind such as: “peace” or “calm”. Just ten to twenty minutes a day can work wonders!

  • Activity – Exercise

When you work out, your body releases natural endorphins called serotonin, which give you an instant mood lift and help release “nervous tension”. You don’t have to join a gym either; a brisk walk or hike, dancing to your favorite music while pumping 2 lb weights or even vigorous housecleaning can give you just the boost you need to release stress.

Note: If your anxiety is related to a recent or past trauma and/or the above steps do not make a significant improvement in your mood and well being, it is a good idea to consult a qualified therapist who may have additional suggestions for healing from panic and anxiety. If, at any time, you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, call a crisis center immediately.

Click the link below for a suicide hotline.

http://suicidehotlines.com/

I have first-hand experience with anxiety and some of the above natural remedies have worked wonders in my life. I hope they will in yours too.

For more information on how to heal your body naturally, visit: www.itoldyouiwassick.com.

anxiety © Joana Croft

cup of tea © Daniel West

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

You’ve seen them; unassuming pieces of metal jewelry with signature terminal ends that resemble two large ball bearings. Made popular by golfers, ionic bracelets have made headlines in more ways than one. But do work and are they really, as the 2001 “false advertising” lawsuit claims, just hype?

Not according to this dedicated customer. I wasn’t sure about buying an ionic bracelet. I’d started having trouble with my left wrist over ten years ago and I was diagnosed with the beginnings of carpel tunnel syndrome. I was forced to wear a metal brace, which made typing and other everyday tasks awkward. On a whim, I decided to try a magnetic bracelet. It seemed to help and I wore it for several years but still experienced wrist pain. So, when it tarnished to the point of being unattractive, I never replaced it.

Fast forward to 2003. I got into a fender bender where I was hit from behind and developed a herniated disk in my neck. I was told I’d need surgery but I elected to try physical therapy first. I thought about getting back into magnetic therapy and that’s when I found the ionic bracelet. It was costly and, at first, I was skeptical about its claims. Still, natural therapies had been working for me so far so I decided to give it a try.

I was so pleased! Not only did the pain in my neck improve but I had more energy, less anxiety and other aches and pains I’ve had as a result of my digestive/autoimmune problems disappeared. I never expected that. I’ve had the same ionic bracelet now for over six years and I never take it off unless I get into salt water (you shouldn’t wear ionic bracelets in salt).

So how do ionic bracelets work? Basically, our bodies are filled with a life force energy commonly known as, “chi”. This energy is designed to flow freely and naturally throughout the body. Unfortunately, stress, electromagnetic chaos (think microwaves and cell phones), poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and environmental pollution cause blockages in the natural flow of our life energy. Ionic bracelets help to unblock and balance that energy in the same fashion as acupuncture.

When my closest friend developed carpel tunnel syndrome a year ago, she asked me if I really thought an ionic bracelet would help her I told her I thought it would. She invested in one of her own and within a week, her pain was gone!

She went on to recommend the bracelet to her mother-in-law who suffers from fibromyalgia and her mother-in-law experienced such a decline in pain and an increase in energy, she was able to tackle house projects she hadn’t been able to in years!

So do ionic bracelets work? Yes! It is my sincere belief that they are an investment in ones health and well-being.

Which ionic bracelet do I use? Q Ray. I can’t vouch for any other ionic bracelets but I can say my Q Ray works.

Go to the websites, read the testimonials and talk to real people who wear ionic bracelets then make the decision if one is right for you. You’ll be glad you did.

Caution: 

If you have a pacemaker, consult your healthcare practitioner before wearing any ionic jewelry. Remove your ionic bracelet before entering salt water.

For more information on how to heal your body naturally, visit: www.itoldyouiwassick.com.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Public Diary #1

In addition to information on natural/holistic health, I also want to keep a public journal about my own struggles and triumphs with my health problems.

Originally, this blog was going to be a book titled, “I Told You I Was Sick”. I’m a fiction writer and I’ve been fortunate enough to have some of my short stories published.

My first real try at non-fiction was my e-book, “Healing Naturally ~ My Story” and the positive feedback I received made me think I may have a shot at writing non-fiction, especially on a subject I’m deeply passionate about.  

But then I thought about that. There was a chance my book would never be published and truthfully, my main objective was to get the information out there; above all else. So, I’m glad to tell my story for free. 

Helping people find natural healing and relief from the physical and/or emotional pain they’re struggling with means so much to me.

I know, first hand, what it’s like to have no energy, to be in pain, to be confused, anxious and sick most of the time and at a very young age.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was living on my own, working 2-3 jobs and trying to go to school and I was doing all of this with constant stomach/intestinal pain and behavioral and learning problems that were so bad, I got fired more than once for incompetence or a “bad attitude”.

I couldn’t get it together and not only did I not know why, but I didn’t know what I was doing or saying to upset or alienate people.

I had a difficult childhood. Back in the 80s, when a child had behavioral problems, they didn’t test them for food intolerance or allergies. They didn’t see the connection.

Food intolerance manifests in behavioral symptoms such as social dyslexia (aspergers syndrome), sudden outbursts of rage, inability to process sensory information, brain fog, hyperactivity, non-stop, senseless talk , extreme phobic reactions and many others.

I exhibited all of these symptoms and more and because of this, social interaction with my family and peers was frustrating at best, exhasperating at worst. I acted out, talked nonsense, had extreme emotional outbursts, poor coordination which made me drop and spill everything and a terrible memory. A family member would ask me to, say, “Go into the kitchen and get the blue cup, fill it with water and bring it to me.” I’d go into the kitchen and I wouldn’t even be able to find the blue cup. It could be right in front of me and I wouldn’t see it. 

The problem was, nobody believed me. Despite my social and emotional problems, I got fairly good grades in school so nobody believed that a “smart” child could get confused about something that simple.

Because doctors could find nothing wrong with me, my confusion, outbursts and social cluelessness were thought to be a deliberate attempt to get attention. That created a huge rift between myself and my family. 

When I moved out on my own at 17, I maintained my conviction to get to the bottom of why I had the problems I did. I knew they weren’t in my head. I was in just as much physical pain as I was emotional and I was bound and determined to find an answer.

And I did. Food intolerance. 

Imagine that. Finding out at 22 that the reason you were being screamed at, shunned, punished, fired and disliked was because your body wasn’t properly digesting and assimilating food!

That’s what it was. I still remember calling my mother and telling her I had gluten intolerance. I said, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, “See, I told you I was sick.”

Getting to the root cause of the problems I had was such a validating experience. It started me on a process of healing and self-discovery that led me to where I am today.

The way I see it, if I can help people who have gone through something like this, if I can help them to feel validated and find the answers they seek, then what I went through was for a higher purpose.

Welcome to Public Diary #1.

Thank you for reading and sharing my journey.

For more information on how to heal your body naturally, visit: www.itoldyouiwassick.com.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

In 2007, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. Thankfully, all I needed was minor surgery and the cancer didn’t spread. I’m not a sunbather on account of my fair skin but for years, I had used artificial lotion and spray-on tanners. I wondered if there was a connection so I stopped using the fake tan, switched to natural skin lotion and discovered the beauty of mineral makeup.

Conventional makeup contains artificial chemicals, which can irritate skin and cause breakouts. Its additives have even been linked to cancer.

There are many benefits to the use of mineral makeup. It feels light on the skin and doesn’t clog pores. In most cases, even those with sensitive skin can comfortably wear it. Mineral makeup hides blemishes, dark circles and fine lines by reflecting the sun’s rays and gives skin a healthy, natural glow. And unlike conventional makeup, mineral makeup is inorganic, which means microbes and bacteria cannot live in the makeup and be transferred to the skin.

Another added benefit to the use of mineral makeup is the natural UVA and UVB protection (zinc and magnesium) that some brands provide.  

I personally enjoy using Sun Cat Naturals mineral makeup. She’s a private business owner who makes all the makeup herself.  

There are a lot of great brands of mineral makeup out there. Give them a try. Your skin will thank you!

For more information on healing your body naturally, visit: www.itoldyouiwassick.com.

 

photo © Trine de Florie

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Do you have a burning feeling in your stomach, chest and/or throat after you eat? Does your chest feel like it’s on fire when you lay down to bed at night? Do acidic foods such as citrus, tomato and chocolate make your symptoms worse? If so, you have acid reflux.

Below are ten natural remedies for the treatment of acid reflux.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

While it may seem counterintuitive to put more acid into your body when you’re already suffering, there are multitudes of positive accounts of those who have used it to treat their acid reflux. Suggested use: Take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water 3 times per day or take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twenty minutes before a meal.

Baking soda

Suggested use: If you’re having an attack of acid reflux, drinking a few tablespoons of baking soda mixed into lukewarm water will neutralize the acid and ease your symptoms.

Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal taken in pill form will absorb the excess acid in your stomach and relieve the symptoms of acid reflux.

 Caution:

If you are taking a prescription, consult your healthcare provider before taking activated charcoal, as this treatment will interfere with the effectiveness of your medication.

Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes containing pineapple and papaya help ease the discomfort of acid reflux by helping digest proteins and promote a natural acid/alkaline balance in the body. For more on digestive enzymes, click here.

Caution:

Digestive enzymes can sometimes produce a laxative effect as the body cleans out toxins. This is part of the healing process. Begin slowly at first to see how you’ll react.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera Juice helps to sooth the irritation in the throat and esophagus of those suffering from acid reflux. Suggested use: Take ¼ cup twenty minutes before a meal.

Caution:  

Use only Aloe Vera juice made for internal use. The use of a leaf directly from a plant has a powerful laxative effect and should not be used for this purpose.

Extra Virgin Pine Nut Oil

Extra Virgin Pine Nut oil is used in Russia, Europe and China for a wide array of digestive maladies including acid reflux. Extra Virgin Pine Nut Oil has a powerful anti-inflammatory property and offers a soothing, protective effect on the digestive system.

Yogurt 

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are part of the three main necessities of good digestion (the other two being digestive enzymes and fiber). Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that help the body to digest, absorb and assimilate food properly. Probiotics also help “crowd out” harmful bacteria in the gut which can interfere with digestion.

Ginger

Ginger has a soothing effect on the digestive system by helping regulate and normalize the flow of digestive juices. If your natural stomach acid is regulated, you have less of a chance of occurrence of reflux.

Slippery elm 

Slippery Elm is a “demulcent” or soothing herb with powerful anti-inflammatory and healing properties. When taken internally, this herb soothes the irritated tissues of the digestive system and promotes healing.

Chewable DGL

DGL is a licorice herb that has had the glycyrrhizin removed so that it could be used without causing water retention or hypertension (high blood pressure). Chewable DGL is enzymatic therapy designed to support the stomach lining and intestinal tract.

Remember, acid reflux is a sign that your natural digestive process is out of balance. Taking over-the-counter acid pills, chewable antacids and/or prescriptions will only mask the symptoms and, in the long run, make the problem worse. If you can get to the source of the problem and get your digestive system back in balance, your acid reflux will disappear naturally as your body heals.

As always, if you have serious health problems and/or have medical questions, please contact your healthcare provider.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Julia Freeman-Woolpert

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

“Let your food be medicine and your medicine be food.” ~ Hippocrates

 

The father of medicine knew what he was talking about. While modern or “allopathic” medicine has been around for only a little over one hundred years, natural medicine (including the use of kitchen herbs as medicinals) has been around for millennia.

Garlic is personal favorite of mine. I discovered its benefits when I was doing some research on candida and how to cure it naturally. Garlic is a powerful antifungal and antibacterial and can prevent a cold when taken regularly and/or speed up the healing process when sick.

Because of its blood cleansing properties, garlic has been known to improve in the healing of acne, high cholesterol and blood clots. The best way to eat garlic is to cut or chop it up and put it into food raw. Putting garlic in the microwave kills the active ingredients so if you plan to heat it up, do so by stovetop or oven. When cooking food, it is best to wait until the last ten minutes before adding the garlic so as not to “cook out” all of the active ingredients.

If you’re interested in the benefits of garlic but are concerned about garlic breath, you can take a garlic supplement instead.

Below, I’ve included a recipe I concocted when sick a few months back. If you’ve got a cold or bacterial infection, this recipe packs a wallop!

Antibacterial tomato juice

4 oz tomato juice

1-2 cloves garlic

A dash of oregano

A dash of cloves

A dash of cayenne pepper

A dash of turmeric

A pinch of salt

Pour the tomato juice into a 4 oz glass, chop or mince one to two cloves of garlic and add it to the juice, then add the rest of the spices. Mix it all together with a teaspoon and down the hatch. It will clear our your sinuses and may burn a little going down. Remember to always use care especially with cayenne pepper, as it is a hot spice.

Caution:

If you are on an anticoagulant (blood thinner), consult with your health care provider before using garlic. Excessive garlic consumption can aggravate the digestive system so start slowly to see how your body will react. If you have any other concerns, consult your health care provider.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Alessandro Paiva

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Leaky Gut Syndrome

So far, I’ve talked about parasites, food allergies and the benefits of digestive enzymes. Now, it’s time to talk about something called leaky gut syndrome. Many autoimmune disorders have been traced back to increased gut permeability (leaky gut).

 

Just what is leaky gut?

In a person with leaky gut, the stomach lining is more porous than it should be, allowing protein molecules to slip through the gut and enter the blood stream where it causes an autoimmune response.

What causes leaky gut?

  • Prolonged/chronic antibiotic use
  • Parasites
  • Food allergies/intolerance
  • Low stomach acid
  • Food additives and preservatives
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Oral contraceptives

How can leaky gut be treated?

  • Probiotics
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Fiber
  • Herbs

Probiotics are live, active cultures found in yogurt, kefir and tempeh. They are the “friendly bacteria” that protect your body from invading organisms, break down food and produce vitamins in the intestinal tract.

You may be thinking, “Okay, I can just eat more yogurt then, right?”

Not really. There aren’t enough live, active cultures in yogurt to give you the type of benefit you’d need to begin healing leaky gut and its related autoimmune effects. It is recommended that you supplement your diet with probiotics containing 1-20 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units). Use a probiotic that requires refrigeration or is ‘shelf-stable’ to ensure your body is receiving an optimal dose of these live, active cultures.

Probiotic supplementation has been known to not only improve proper absorption of nutrients and help heal leaky gut; it has also been linked to helping improve symptoms of those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulceritive colitis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and inflammation. It improves immune system function, prevents infection and has even been touted as an anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer).

Caution:

Start slow with probiotics. Begin with a dose of 1-3 billion CFUs once per day at first, and then gradually increase your dosage based on its effect on your symptoms. Some people will notice ‘die off’ symptoms similar to those being treated for parasite infection. Those symptoms could be diarrhea, headache, bloating and gas as toxins are expelled from the body. This is temporary and a part of the body’s healing process. Lactose intolerant people and vegetarians should use a probiotic that is rice-based. If you have pancreatitis, consult your doctor before using probiotics. It is advisable to consult your healthcare practitioner before adding probiotics or other supplements to your diet.

Digestive Enzymes

Fiber is a very important element in the digestive process that is missing from today’s high-fat, sugary, processed diet. Few people get their recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it is important to add this essential ingredient into our diets through a bulk fiber supplement.

Bulk fiber acts as a sponge, which absorbs waste, water and toxins in the intestine. This helps form a soft, bulky stool that can be then quickly and smoothly eliminated from the body. This is especially essential for those with leaky gut and related autoimmune disease as those with these conditions produce far more toxins in the body than healthier individuals. A good bulk fiber I’ve used for years is called psyllium fiber. It can be taken mixed with water or in tablet form. Psyllium fiber helps to lubricate and heal damaged intestinal walls.

There are three herbs I have personally used for my digestive health. Those are turmeric, gentain root and ginger. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps strengthen the intestinal walls, decreasing gut permeability. Gentain root promotes the production of gastric juices and bile. Ginger also aids in digestion by stimulating bile flow and helps relieve bloating and flatulence.

If you’ve been suffering with autoimmune-related health problems, leaky gut may be the source. Help reverse the effects and you’ll discover a whole new world of good health!

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Sumners Graphics

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved