Your Gut Response

By Dr. Michael Roth

At one time or another, most of us have felt our stomach talking to us. Perhaps we overate, or ate something that didn’t agree with us. Maybe we are stressed by our thoughts or our circumstances, or can’t “stomach” what is going on in our lives and it is affecting our health.

The fact is that most of us will suffer from one digestive disorder or another at some time in our lives. The highest number of calls received by the National Health Service is from people suffering with digestive problems. Our diet and the foods we eat play a major role in keeping our digestive system in good order. This month, I’d like to discuss three common digestive problems that I see in patients in my holistic chiropractic practice: heartburn, indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

Heartburn

First of all, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart itself. Rather, it is a term used to describe the burning sensation that occurs in the chest area, just behind the breastbone. Heartburn pain is often worse when lying down or bending over.

It may be accompanied by other symptoms including: regurgitation, a bitter taste at the back of the mouth or throat, excess salivation, belching, and difficulty or pain when swallowing. There is often a feeling of “fullness” after eating, feeling sick and/or vomiting. Heartburn can develop at any time and may not always be as a result of eating or drinking. Stress is also a common cause of heartburn.

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. Normally when you swallow, your lower esophageal sphincter — a circular band of muscle around the bottom part of your esophagus — relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then it closes again.

However, if the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus, causing heartburn. The acid backup may be worse when you’re bent over or lying down.

Flickr photo credit evindc

The advice for sufferers is to eat slowly and in a relaxed environment, concentrate on enjoying your food and chew it thoroughly. Do not drink too much while eating. Sip fennel, mint, chamomile or apple tea.

Foods to avoid include crisps, chips, nuts and rich creamy or fried foods; acidic foods like vinegar and pickles; citrus fruits or unripe fruit can cause acid reflex. Smoking can also cause heartburn—another reason to quit!

 

Indigestion

Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a term used to describe one or more symptoms including a feeling of fullness during a meal, uncomfortable fullness after a meal, and burning or pain in the upper abdomen. Sometimes the term indigestion is used to describe the symptoms of heartburn, but these are two different conditions. A person can have symptoms of both indigestion and heartburn.

Indigestion can be caused by a condition in the digestive tract such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts. If the condition improves or resolves, the symptoms of indigestion usually improve.

Sometimes, however, a person has indigestion for which  a cause cannot be found. This type of indigestion, called  functional dyspepsia, is thought to occur in the area where  the stomach meets the small intestine. The indigestion  may be related to abnormal motility—the squeezing or  relaxing action—of the stomach muscle as it receives, digests, and moves food into the small intestine.

Most people with indigestion experience more than one of the following symptoms:

Fullness during a meal. The person feels overly full soon after the   meal starts and cannot finish the meal.

Bothersome fullness after a meal. The person feels overly full after a meal—it may feel like the food is staying in the stomach too long.

Epigastric pain. The epigastric area is between the lower end of the chest bone and the navel. The person may experience epigastric pain ranging from mild to severe.

Epigastric burning. The person feels an unpleasant sensation of heat in the epigastric area.

 

Some people may experience relief from symptoms of indigestion by eating several small, low-fat meals throughout the day at a slow pace, refraining from smoking, abstaining from consuming coffee, carbonated beverages and alcohol, stopping use of medications that may irritate the stomach lining such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, getting enough rest, and finding ways to decrease emotional and physical stress, such as relaxation therapy or exercise.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS affects a third of the population at some time or another and about one in ten people suffer symptoms bad enough to go to the doctor. It can be painful and distressing, and a qualified medical practitioner should confirm diagnosis of IBS.

Symptoms include abdominal pain or a sharp pain felt low down inside the rectum, spasm/diarrhea and bloated stomach, rumbling noises and wind, constipation, nausea, belching and vomiting. Stress is believed to play a significant part in the occurrence of IBS.

Despite current awareness of IBS and its effect on the quality of life, a cure has yet to be found. Some people find their IBS is due to food intolerance. Foods to avoid are wheat products, cereals, pastries and pasta and sauces made with flour. Cut down on diary intake – milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and custard.

It is best to keep food as light as possible – try milk substitutes such as organic soy or rice milk. IBS is sometimes aggravated by particularly fatty and rich foods like fried or creamy dishes.

 

Stress

The common denominator found in all three of these conditions is STRESS!  Mental, emotional and physical stress often shows up as dis-ease in our body. Our “gut response” is a communication from our body that something needs to change.

I have found QNRT (Quantum Neurological Reset Therapy) to be an excellent program to remove the emotional stressors that prevent the body from functioning at its best. QNRT is a great complimentary therapy designed to aid with any other treatment you are now seeking to find relief from disease, behavioral issues, relationship challenges and addictions.

Flickr photo credit Celestine Chua

If your gut has been talking to you and you don’t know what it is saying or asking, please call Amber in our Ventura office at 805-644-0461 and make an appointment for an office visit with me. Don’t let the symptoms of heartburn, indigestion or IBS rule your body and your life. You CAN take charge of your health and wellbeing!

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Your Thyroid Gland — The Butterfly in Your Throat

By Dr. Michael Roth

 

The thyroid gland is part of the body’s endocrine system. This means it is a gland that produces secretions called hormones, which are delivered to the body through the blood. The thyroid gland is located in the neck, just under what we call the Adam’s apple. It is in the shape of a butterfly, with 2 ‘wings’ or ‘lobes’.

 

 

Controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, the thyroid combines iodine from the food we consume with the amino acid tyrosine and produces two main hormones. Over the years, in my holistic practice at my chiropractic office in Ventura, I have seen the health of many of my patients compromised by an out-of-balance thyroid.

 

The hormones produced by the thyroid do two important things:

1) They help the necessary enzymes and electrolytes pass into each cell of the body.

2) They help the processes of energy production in the mitochondria.

 

The mitochondria are the “energy-generating stations” within each cell. In the mitochondrion (singular), enzymes are used to combine carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms, forming carbon dioxide and water, and releasing chemical energy. This process of converting oxygen and the food consumed into energy needed by the body is referred to as metabolism. This conversion is imperative to carry out every function necessary to maintain life.

 

The hormones produced by the thyroid also perform the following functions:

1. Raise the metabolic rate of almost all the cells in the body

2. Stimulate protein synthesis and degradation

3. Stimulate the heart

4. Increase the breakdown of fat

5. Interact with the adrenals and the catecholamines (the fight-or-flight hormones)

 

When the thyroid is working improperly, or is out of balance, one of two conditions tends to happen. Hypothyroidism is the term referred to when the thyroid produces too little or is underproductive. The overproduction state is called hyperthyroidism.

 

If the thyroid is under-producing, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue or lethargy, weight gain, cold hands and feet, infertility, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), constipation, dry skin and hair, sensitivity to cold, sinus congestion, premenstrual syndrome and depression.

 

An overactive thyroid may leave you with feelings of being anxious or nervous for no apparent reason, increased pulse rate and rapid heartbeat, the inability to gain weight even when eating above-normal calories daily, frequent loose bowel movements, and excessive sweating.

 

These are not comprehensive lists, yet they show the diversity of the effects of an out-of-balance thyroid. Because the symptoms of a thyroid condition can appear to be problems all their own, thyroid conditions are often mis- or under-diagnosed. As a holistic chiropractor, I use non-invasive procedures to determine if the thyroid gland is the culprit in my patient’s dis-ease.

 

Stress, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins and other diseases such as diabetes and cancer wreak havoc on the thyroid. Therefore developing a healthy lifestyle is just as much key to having a healthy thyroid gland as it is to your general overall health.

 

Ensure you are eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, taking omega-3 oils, eating complex carbohydrates rather than refined sugars, and limiting your fat intake. Remember the higher the quality of nutrition your body has to work with, the better quality fuel it can create.

 

Exercising, getting plenty of uninterrupted sleep and reducing or dealing with life-stressors as efficiently as possible, are also lifestyle factors that can help keep you running your best.

Flickr photo credit der wunderbare mandarin

 

If you are experiencing any of the possible symptoms of an over-or under-active thyroid, please call Amber in our Ventura office at 805-644-0461and make an appointment with me for an evaluation.

 

A Holistic Chiropractor Takes a Look at Sugar…and YOU!

By Dr. Michael Roth

 

“Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime…” 

The lyrics of this song from a bygone era address the sweetness of love. However, in today’s modern world, the sugar we consume at meals is very real and very addictive!

Flickr photo credit Moyan Brenn

 

Most people are not aware that they are addicted to sugar. Yet, try to go a few days without it and you will briefly experience the pangs of withdrawal. Most of the clients I see in my holistic chiropractic practice know that too much sugar is not good for their bodies and their health.

 

Sugar leads to excess weight gain and puts you on the path to Type II diabetes. Although you most likely won’t be able to eliminate sugar from your diet completely, I offer here a few tips to reduce your sugar intake.

 

Plenty of people eat sugary foods throughout the day because their bodies tell them that they are hungry. One of the best ways to combat this feeling is to drink plenty of water. In addition to staying hydrated, you will not feel as hungry.

 

 

It is very common for people to eat all sorts of foods without bothering to read the list of ingredients. If you are trying to overcome your addiction to sugar, then make label-reading a habit. If sugar is one of the first three ingredients, don’t buy it.

 

The type of food that you eat is very important. Eat foods that are as close to their original form as possible. For example, instead of eating canned peaches in syrup, eat a whole fresh peach. Eat organic oatmeal for breakfast instead of packaged cereal, which usually has added sugar.

 

In my book, The Healing Code of Weight Loss, I recommend the following:

 

Avoid large beverages such as “super-sized” sugar-sweetened soft drinks. They have a large number of calories. Instead, try drinking water with a slice of lemon. If you want to drink soda, choose a calorie-free beverage or fruit juices instead.

 

Eat a breakfast that contains protein and fat to keep sugars low. This will help stave off cravings for chocolate and starches. Protein takes longer than sugar for your body to digest. You will feel full for a longer period of time and be less inclined to reach out for a sweet snack.

 

Stay away from fast food. The high sugar and fat content of fast food, combined with lack of exercise, creates a chain of events that puts the body into chemical stress. The digestive system is down-regulated when the body is under stress and one of the symptoms is belly fat.

 

Keep an accurate journal of everything that you eat. You may be surprised at how your sugar intake adds up when all of the foods you eat are combined. Keeping a journal will allow you to see exactly how much you consume.

 

You will also help yourself by staying as active as possible. People tend to eat more often when they are sitting around relaxing or watching TV. Starting an exercise regimen is a great idea since it helps you get or stay in shape. In addition, when you are physically active, you will be too busy to reach for the sugary foods!

Flickr photo credit Brett Lohmeyer

 

If you are concerned about your sugar intake and overall health, and if you would like assistance in developing healthier eating habits and lifestyle choices, please call Amber in my Ventura office to make an appointment for a personal consultation and start singing a different tune! (805) 644-0461