YOUR ORAL MICROBIOME
"A primary cause for incorrect flora is often a diet that contains either too much sugar, fruit, fruit juice, alkaline water, or raw food such as salad, sweets, alcohol and even medical or over-the-counter drugs. In fact, taking too many vitamins, minerals or herbs can upset the digestion enough to unbalance the flora." -Dr. Lawrence Wilson (MD) from Your Intestinal Flora
"I don't believe that vitamins are essential ingredients of a healthy diet, but rather I contend that all of the necessary nutritional chemicals are produced by the microorganisms of the gut. I have previously discussed the gut flora (bacteria and fungi) as the source of most vitamins." -Dr. Art Ayers
"Dr. Oz and the general biomedical community promote the idea that vitamin supplements or in foods are needed or improve health. Of course, several research studies show that typical multivitamin supplements or the levels of vitamins in "enriched" foods do not provide improvements in health. Since gut flora produce all of the needed vitamins, this should be no surprise." Art Ayers from Vitamin C, Guinea Pigs, Limeys and Gut Worms
"Almost all multivitamins are from synthetics. The same goes for fortified foods. There’s a good reason for this. Synthetic vitamins are cheaper to make and usually more stable. This means they can last on shelves for months or years, be added to foods in high doses, and create small dense tablets packed with insane amounts of every type of vitamin. These vitamins are allowed to call themselves “natural” even when they are actually synthetic because scientists say the synthetics are virtually identical to the ones found in food. The way these compounds are made is not remotely similar to the metabolic processes that plants and animals use to create them. The finished product is also usually a compound not exactly the same form as any found in nature. These synthetic vitamins, according to a multitude of studies, are not as bioavailable, absorbable, or usable. These “virtually identical” vitamins are not what we find in natural foods, not recognizable to the body, hard on the kidneys, and can often be treated as toxins." From Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins – What’s the Big Difference? at the sunwarrior website
Just a couple of days ago I saw where Mal Wart and several other similar retailers (GNC was in the mix as well) were busted for selling herbal supplements; the vast majority of which (79%) contained zero (that would be none) of the active herbal ingredients they claimed to contain on the label (echinacea, ginseng, St. John’s wort, garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto). And now this. Dr. Art Ayers latest blog post (Healthy Gut Microbiota Means: No Supplements, No Cleanses, No Drugs, No Processed Foods) twists our brain capacity a little bit more --- or maybe a lot more. In this post (as well as several previous ones) Ayers reveals that (the following points were cherry picked from his latest post).........
"A healthy, functional gut microbiota (bacteria and fungi) supplies all of the vitamins needed, daily multivitamins are not beneficial, vitamin deficiencies are a symptom of gut dysbiosis, spiking your diet with multivitamins may disrupt your microbiota, because vitamins are actually the chemical signals used for communications between bacteria in biofilms, bowel cleanses damage gut microbiota, chronic inflammation is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency, and most medicines have substantial antibiotic activity."
The more I learn about GUT HEALTH and DYSBIOSIS, the more I realize that solving it is the key to everything related to ill health. And the really good news in this post is that Ayers lets us know that our plight is not hopeless, "damaged gut microbiotas / immune systems can be fixed". We learn some things about this process of "fixing" that besides HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, you can find in the "Gut Health" link above. Oh; and I almost forgot to mention something really important. After warning people about taking vitamins or partaking of foods with added vitamins ("fortified"), he makes an interesting statement. "Try some whole foods instead."
Is Ayers correct? Just remember that no matter what anyone tries to tell you, there is a dramatic difference between WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION and SYNTHETIC NUTRITION. It's not that people can't get drug-like effects from SYNTHETIC VITAMINS (ANTIOXIDANT EFFECTS from mega doses of Synthetic Vitamin C, for instance). However, using drugs has consequences --- even if those drugs happen to be "natural" vitamins ("natural" is almost always the code word for "synthetic"), usually in the form of MONOTHERAPIES. I would strongly recommend that you read Dr. Ayer's post on this matter.
The best thing about using Standard Process Nutritional Supplements in our office is that they are made from food --- plants and animals. The best thing about Standard Process is that when you get the Whole Food Vitamin / Mineral Complex, it doesn't take much. Less is more. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A little bit of Whole Vitamin Complex from nature is typically much better than a whole bunch of an isolated chemical fraction synthesized in a lab. None of this plays well in our if-a-little-is-good-a-lot-must-be-better society. Food or food-based supplements are where it's at, because anything that puts our body OUT OF PHYSIOLOGICAL HOMEOSTASIS essentially becomes a toxin. To see more on this phenomenon (as well as a free generic template to help you start getting your life back), HERE'S THE POST.
DEFEATING SYSTEMIC YEAST NATURALLY
It's important that you realize a certain amount of Candida is found as a natural part of your Gut Flora. Unfortunately, there are certain things that can cause the Candida to reproduce, grow, and literally take over the body. Although there are any number of things other things that along with sugar, fuel Candida (we'll cover that list in a moment), like most forms of DYSBIOSIS, it is usually caused by taking ANTIBIOTICS (or other SIMILAR DRUGS). This is also the reason that I think most doctors tend to blow this problem off, unless there is a visible thrush or vaginal yeast present. They certainly don't want to answer any of those pesky questions such as, "Doctor Smith, why do I have Candida?"
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CANDIDA
My last post was on PARASITES. I mentioned the fact that "parasitosis" (the condition of having parasites) produces many ill-defined or vague symptoms that can also be seen in any number of health problems. Candida is no different, and is (interestingly enough) commonly concurrent in people who have parasites. Some of the most common signs, symptoms, or hints that you may have an issue with Candida include......
- YOU'VE TAKEN ANTIBIOTICS: I have repeatedly told my readers that Antibiotics will destroy you. This is because 80% of your body's total Immune System lives in your Gut and is made up largely of bacteria (HERE). Antibiotics kill them all --- the good along with the bad. Once you have tipped the balance in favor of the bad guys, Dysbiotic Infections (see the earlier links) take over and run rampant. The more Antibiotics you've taken, the greater your potential for problems (but as the earlier link showed, it only takes one round to throw a proverbial wrench in the machine). Just be aware that there are certain other factors at play. One of the biggest is....
- BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION / SUGAR ADDICTION: Any time you are consuming lots of sugar or high Glycemic Index carbohydrates, your chances of Systemic Candida go up --- even in the absence of FULL-BLOWN DIABETES or even PRE-DIABETES. Dietary sugar / starch becomes the BLOOD SUGAR that is Candida's meal-of-choice. Although there are many reasons for PATHOLOGICAL SUGAR / CARB CRAVINGS, Candida overgrowth is one of the biggies. This is one of the reasons that you will find the average person struggling with Systemic Candida to be severely OVERWEIGHT and a stark-raving-kill-you-for-that-candy-bar sugar addict. Oh, and for those of you who like to consume alcohol more than just "moderately," you must think of it metabolically as the equivalent of sugar.
- SYMPTOMS THAT RESEMBLE IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) tends to reveal itself in the form of bloating, foul-smelling gas / bowel movements, and a combination of both diarrhea and CONSTIPATION. These can all occur with Candida. By the way, this is virtually identical to what is seen in people with parasites. Be sure to remember that FODMAPS tend to fuel the entire mess, often leading to yet another issue commonly seen along with --- SIBO.
- YOU SMELL BAD: As is the case with any sort of parasitosis or other forms of Dysbiosis, the funky junky creatures living, thriving, and reproducing inside of you create toxic waste products that smell like; well, _ _ _ _. As you might be inclined to guess, the aroma of these compounds (Scatol and Cadaverol are two of the more interesting of the lot) is not exactly inviting. These smells could be in the form of horrendous B.O. or really bad breath --- or even smelly feet. Kind of like smokers who just ooze smoke out of their pores, people with Candida tend to ooze a rancid-smelling sort of toxicity.
- CHRONIC FATIGUE --- MENTAL AND PHYSICAL: Candida is one of those things that just plain drains the life and energy right out of you. These people are not just physically wiped out, but mentally exhausted as well, frequently exhibiting the classic "brain fog" (inability to think, concentrate, remember, or focus) so commonly seen with the next bullet. However, it is not uncommon to see DEPRESSION, ADD / ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Swings, Insomnia, and Irritability in these folks as well -- all signs of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE. Oh, and HEADACHES are another symptom commonly seen with Candida --- especially MIGRAINE HEADACHES.
- CHRONIC PAIN / FIBROMYALGIA: When I speak of Chronic Pain here, I am mostly speaking of FIBROMYALGIA. Show me a person suffering with Fibromyalgia (mostly women) who does not have the severe sugar cravings we mentioned earlier, and I'll show you 100 that do. Sort of like Cancer (HERE) or other forms of infection (HERE); because sugar is what is feeding this beast, people crave it like they were on CRACK, METH, OR HEROIN.
- OTHER FUNGAL INFECTIONS: These are seen in the form of Oral Thrush (see pic at top of page), Vaginal Yeast Infections, Athlete's Foot, Fingernail / Toenail Fungus, Ringworm and other fungal skin infections, etc, etc.
- AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: There are a whole host of things that tend to set your body's Immune System in motion the wrong way, leading it to start ATTACKING ITSELF. One of the biggest of these is GLUTEN, while another involves WHIPLASH AND HEAD INJURIES And while there are any numbers of others, Candida holds a prominent position here as well. If you are interested in knowing what some of these Autoimmune Diseases are, HERE is a list.
- FEMALE PROBLEMS: Unfortunately, one of the 'joys' of being a woman is finding out that you are significantly more likely than men to get almost every health problem under the sun. Candida can be specifically related to almost all of them, including DECREASED LIBIDO. ANEMIA --- much more common in the female population as well --- is also widely seen in Candidiasis. This might also be a good time to mention the fact that besides Antibiotics, Candida is also widely linked to oral birth control.
- ALLERGIES / SENSITIVITIES / SKIN PROBLEMS: These can be both food allergies / sensitivities, as well as seasonal allergies (HERE). They might also manifest with Eczema, Psoriasis, rashes, hives, as well as rectal or vaginal itching. If you have SKIN PROBLEMS, you have to at least be thinking Candida.
- A GENERALLY WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEM: Candida is another one of those problems that leads to generalized Immune System Dysfunction that can lead to either over-activity (you saw this with Autoimmune Diseases) or SUPPRESSION. Besides the ALLERGIES mentioned above, it can lead to CHRONIC SINUSITUS, CONSTANT COLDS, ASTHMA, all sorts of chronic infections, sore throats, EAR INFECTIONS, etc, etc, etc. And we haven't even as much as mentioned the granddaddy of immune system dysfunction yet --- "THE LEAKIES". As you can see, the big problem here is that when you go to your doctor with any of these things, what are you most likely to be given? That's right --- more Antibiotics. And the viscous cycle continues unabated.
- OTHERS: There are a number of others that I could have put here as well. Be warned that some of the foods / drinks associated with supplying "good bacteria" to your Gut (namely SAUERKRAUT & KOMBUCHA) can actually cause (or at least contribute to) Candidiasis when used to excess. I written about a similar phenomenon HERE and HERE.
TESTING FOR CANDIDA
Once it is determined that you might have Candida, the question becomes one of diagnosis. The only test I would recommend is the Comprehensive Stool Test with their Candida Intensive Culture (CIC) tacked on (see YESTERDAY'S POST). Not only is this the best test for determining whether or not you have Candida, it is also the best test for determining whether or not you have Parasites. And since the symptoms of each are so similar, you will be killing two birds with one relatively inexpensive stone.
OK; you have Candida. What are you going to do about it?
- EDUCATE YOURSELF: I firmly believe that if you do not understand things like INFLAMMATION, GUT HEALTH, or why ANTIBIOTICS are one of the most seriously dangerous / destructive medications you can put in your body, you will be hard-pressed to kick Candida permanently.
- GET OFF THE SUGAR AND STARCH: We know that SUGAR FEEDS CANCER. In fact, we know that SUGAR feeds virtually all non-genetic disease processes (and some 'genetic' ones as well ---HERE). If you are trying to get free from the claws of Candida and are still not doing a PALEO DIET or somethging similarly sugar-starving (KETOGENIC would be good as well) I would ask you why not? The truth is, you may have to get really hardcore with your diet and cut out all sugars (even those from things like FRUIT) in order to lick this thing. Be aware, however, that Candida has the ability to live on sugar, but on ketone bodies as well. Probably why most experts recommend at least some carbs in a Candida Diet.
- CAREFUL WITH THE FERMENTED FOODS: I have already mentioned alcohol and some of the naturally FERMENTED FOODS. Although I certainly don't want people to freak out here, be sure to tread lightly, as the fermentation process often uses yeast. Candida is simply a naturally occurring part of your natural flora (yeast) that has run amok.
- TAKE A BROAD-SPECTRUM PROBIOTIC: Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill numerous types of bacteria. Your Gut contains hundreds (maybe thousands) of different strains / varieties / species of beneficial bacteria. Wouldn't it make sense to take a broad-spectrum probiotic as well? HERE is what I take personally and provide our patients.
- A SERIES OF COLONICS: A person I knew who had struggled with MIGRAINE HEADACHES her whole life was told she had a serious Candida problem that was causing serious chemical sensitivities. After trying any number of things with limited success, she had a series of COLONICS (colonics are like enemas, only they go the whole five feet of the colon). The person doing the colonics used a machine that saved the stuff caked to her intestinal wall so it could be viewed for diagnostic purposes. She saw it herself and told me it was orange and fuzzy. Was this Candida? Not quite sure, but it was definitely some sort of yeasty moldy. What I am sure of is that this person had a dramatic change in her health after this. Depending on how many antibiotics you've been on as well as other signs and symptoms, you may at least need to ponder an FMT as well.
- TREAT IT LIKE THE PARASITE IT IS: I have said it before, but parasites and Candida are linked closely enough that most of the things that effectively treat PARASITES are also good for dealing with Candida.
- OTHERS: The truth is, there are all sorts of products (many of them proprietary) that you can purchase to help with Candida. Some of these are probably great, many are junk. Some of the things people find helpful in dealing with Candidiasis include Caprylic Acid (from coconuts), Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide, High Fiber, Colloidal Silver, Bentonite Clay, etc, etc, etc. As always, do your own research and realize that defeating Candida is going to require more than taking a bottle of Candida-be-Gone and wishing.
Rheumatological manifestations in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are frequent and include peripheral arthritis, axial involvement and peripheral enthesitis [Tendinosis], osteoporosis and hypertrophic osteoarthropathy, and ankylosing spondylitis. Cherry picked from the Abstract of a study called, "Rheumatological Manifestations in Inflammatory Bowel Disease"; an article found in the June 2011 issue of Annals of Gastroenterology.
I would argue that there is no such thing as a localized autoimmune disease. Certainly various tissues, glands or organs may be affected in one person more than another. However, autoimmune conditions are more systemic than they are localized. Certainly if gut dysbiosis can cause inflammatory cascades in tissues all over the body, the effects of autoimmune signaling are indeed systemic.... Refined and processed foods, rampant antibiotic usage, chemical and metal toxicity all derail the health of the intestinal micro-flora. Studies have demonstrated that the gut flora plays a critical role in regulating inflammatory cascades, including the factors which incite tissue inflammation..... The gastrointestinal tract is a large surface area containing trillions of microbes that make up a large percentage of the immune defenses. Dysfunction to the intestinal mucosal barrier leads to a condition commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome. Closer inspection often reveals a condition called villous atrophy. When this takes place there tends to be a very high level of inflammation that is present. There is now an increasing body of evidence that shows that gut dysfunction is a primary factor in autoimmune diseases such as RA, lupus, MS and AS. There are many studies which cite the association between intestinal dysbiosis and the development of autoimmune conditions. Studies such as this one, demonstrates that in the autoimmune condition ankylosing spondylitis, 70% of patients had gut inflammation. Cherry picked from Michael McEvoy's article, The Role of Gut Function In Autoimmune Conditions
"In hospitals, 190 million doses of antibiotics are administered each day. Among non-hospitalized patients, more than 133 million courses of antibiotics are prescribed by doctors each year. It is estimated that 50 percent of these latter prescriptions are unnecessary since they are being prescribed for colds, coughs and other viral infections". Interesting quote. I took it directly from the website of the American College of Physicians (Internal Medicine). I've seen estimates much higher than the 50% they mention.
Another prominent medical website, world-famous Mayo Clinic, lists health problems which they state,"are almost always" viral in nature ---- but are commonly treated with antibiotics. Which health problems facing you and your family are almost always viral? Mayo's list includes.......
- MOST EAR INFECTIONS
- Influenza (FLU)
- Sore Throats
- Bronchitis (CHRONIC CONGESTION)
- Upper Respiratory Infections (SINUS INFECTIONS)
- Stomach Flu (This is not the same as the "Flu" although it is what we call the Flu. The truth is, most of us have probably never had the Flu. The real name of the Stomach Flu is "Gastroenteritis".)
Miriam Rabkin (M.D. M.P.H.), wrote in the Medical House Staff Training Program in Internal Medicine for the Department of Medicine at the Ivy League's Columbia University Medical Center: “It is clear that there is no role for antibiotics in the management of simple upper respiratory infection [URI] and bronchitis. This statement is data-based, uncontroversial, and supported by every expert panel and management guideline. Why then do physicians continue to prescribe antibiotics – of wider and wider spectrum – for these syndromes? The scope of the problem is immense. A large 1997 survey indicated that antibiotics were prescribed for 52 percent of patients with URIs and 66 percent of patients with bronchitis. This practice did not vary by geographical area, physician specialty or patient socio-demographic or insurance status. These data are consistent with other U.S. surveys and with data collected in other industrialized countries. Antibiotics unnecessarily prescribed for URIs and bronchitis represent 31 percent of total antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S.” Her statement is backed by dozens upon dozens of scientific studies from around the world.
I do not have the time required to tackle all of the questions raised by Dr. Rabkin's quote. However, I want to show you just how bad antibiotics are when it comes to your overall health and immune system function. This is because contrary to popular belief, antibiotics are not an immune system booster. They are an immune system suppressor. Here are the definitions of what it means to suppress: To end or stop, end, or put down something by force. To keep something secret or hidden: to not allow people to know about or see something or to keep from public knowledge. To exclude from consciousness. To inhibit the growth or development of something. I would say that these fairly well describe the twisted relationship between antibiotics and your immune system --- whether you realize it or not.
Gut Health & Antibiotics
A decade and a half has passed since a group of Australian doctors from the University of Melbourne's Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology published a scientific paper in The American Journal of Physiology called, "The Intestine as a Sensory Organ: Neural, Endocrine, and Immune Responses". The authors told us something that alternative health field already knew, and the Scientific-Medical Community had suspected for decades. "The gut immune system has 70 – 80% of the body's immune cells". Stop! Did you catch that? Read it again and let it sink in. Your gut (intestines and digestive tract) is where the vast majority of your entire immune system lives! Why have I been telling people for over two decades that Antibiotics are one of the single biggest destroyers of health in this country? Plainly stated, they kill immune system cells. Antibiotics always leave you with a WEAKENED GUT and immune system. And when you get sick again, what are you given? More antibiotics. Repeat ad infinitum. As you see, antibiotics and infection can quickly become a vicious cycle. But this is just the beginning.
This vicious cycle of antibiotics and infection opens a Pandora's Box of health problems with the potential to affect virtually every part of the body. This cycle has been strongly linked to LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, GLUTEN SENSITIVITY and Dysbiosis. DYSBIOSIS (too many bad organisms in the gut crowding out the good) is now being touted in the peer-reviewed scientific literature as a primary culprit in AUTOIMMUNITY (at least 20-30% of the American population has some sort of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE, with some researchers are putting that number closer to half).
These include things like Type I Diabetes, HASHIMOTO'S THYROIDITIS (low thyroid function --- affects nearly 10% of the American population), RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, Restless Leg Syndrome, PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, as well as all sorts of HORMONAL PROBLEMS. Dysbiosis is also a prime suspect in FIBROMYALGIA, MIGRAINE HEADACHES, DEPRESSION, and OBESITY as well. On top of this, low grade, "occult" (hidden) viral and / or bacterial infections are being touted as a potential cause of all sorts of CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES, NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS, and INFLAMMATORY DISEASE PROCESSES --- including DIABETES and CANCER!
The only way you are ever going to have a prayer of solving some of these problems is to step outside the box that is conventional medicine. Your problem may be purely mechanical (HERE is an example). Or, it could have all sorts of crazy components that require some intensive testing ---- but not the same testing you have already been through. Figure out what your underlying problem are (HERE) and deal with them. Click on the link for several articles that contain a variety of strategies.
DYSBIOSIS AND OBESITY
FEEDING THE BEAST
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. Thomas Edison
Just one short week ago, I reported in a post called EAT DIRT, about a recent Danish study linking the type and number of bacteria in one's gut to things like CHRONIC INFLAMMATION, INSULIN SENSITIVITY, DIABETES, OBESITY, as well as poor lipid profiles (HIGH CHOLESTEROL / high triglycerides, etc). In this study, Dr. Gordon's team of researchers found identical twin females (human), where one twin was lean and the other was obese. They then bred rats with no gut bacteria whatsoever (can anyone say GMO?).
Next, they transplanted fecal material from the various humans into different rats. Amazingly enough, despite identical diets, the type of fecal material that was transplanted to the mice made them either fat or thin --- depending on the weight of the host. Furthermore, Dr. Gordon's team found that when fed a 'healthy' diet, the lean rats could confer the leaning effects of their bacteria to their fellow rats (yeah; rats are "coprophagists" --- they eat each other's feces). However, when they were fed cruddy diets, the ability to transfer weight reducing properties was negated.
Dr. Gordon went on to conclude that, "In the future, the nutritional value and the effects of food will involve significant consideration of our microbiota, and developing healthy, nutritious foods will be done from the inside-out, not just the outside-in." Wow! This quote sounds suspiciously similar to things that were said by some rather intelligent people of generations gone by (see quotes below). The truth is, despite Big-Pharma's stranglehold on the practice of modern medicine, a new generation is discovering (or re-discovering as the case may be) ancient truths regarding dietary habits and health. For more articles on this topic, visit our GUT HEALTH PAGE.
WEAK STOMACH ACID AND THE RELATIONSHIP TO
POOR DIGESTION, DYSBIOSIS, AND DISEASE
The problem is that each of these myths (not to mention dozens of others --- HERE) directly affect your health in an adverse manner. Today we are going to throw one more on the junk heap. There is a myth that is so ingrained in people's minds that getting it out is often times impossible --- the myth that your digestive issues are caused by too much or too strong stomach acid.
Acid is rated on a pH scale (see diagram above left). 7 is neutral, 14 is the strongest base (alkali), with 0 being the very strongest acid. How strong should stomach acid really be? Listen to what my 1986 version of Guyton's Textbook of Medical Physiology (the standard physiology text for all physicians of every sort) says about the gastric secretion of stomach acid. "The pH of this acid solution is approximately .8, thus illustrating it's extreme acidity." Let me spell out to you what Dr. G is saying here.
Considering battery acid (sulfuric acid --- H2S04) is the strongest acid listed on most pH charts (it's about 0), the fact that normal stomach acid (hydrochloric acid --- HCl) is next on the list should at least get your attention. Add to this the fact that on a pH scale, each number represents a factor of 10 (in other words, 1 is ten times more acidic than 2, 100 times more acidic than 3, 1,000 times more acidic than 4.....), and you can start to see how acidic stomach acid really is. What does 'strong' stomach acid do? We'll get there momentarily, but first it's important to understand how you are being conned.
"Convincing people they are sick and need a drug is a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2015, Big Pharma dropped a record-breaking $5.4 billion on direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads, according to Kantar Media. And it paid off for Big Pharma. The same year, Americans spent a record $457 billion on prescription drugs. Americans also pay more for drugs and devices than any other country." From Michelle Y. Llamas 2015 article in Drug Watch (Selling Side Effects: Big Pharma's Marketing Machine)
"The biggest spender, Johnson & Johnson, shelled out $17.5 billion on sales and marketing in 2013, compared with $8.2 billion for R&D. In the top 10, only Roche spent more on R&D than on sales and marketing. Most of this marketing money is directed at the physicians who do the prescribing, rather than consumers. More than $3 billion a year marketing to consumers in the U.S. in 2012, but an estimated $24 billion marketing directly to health care professionals." Anna Swanson from the February 11, 2015 issue of the Washington Post (Big Pharmaceutical Companies are Spending Far More on Marketing than Research)
When it comes to marketing, the medical community spares no expense. One of the ways that medical marketing has exponentially increased market share is by convincing people they have "Diseases". If that tag-team of YOUR DOCTOR and BIG PHARMA can convince you that you have a disease that can never be cured --- only 'MANAGED' with a lifetime of drugs and surgeries --- they see you and your diseases as a cash cow that will put money in their pockets for decades to come. Multiply this scenario by tens of millions of people, and you have a gold mine whose value is unfathomable. Take, for instance, GERD (Gastro Esophogeal Reflux Disease).
GERD used to be known as 'heartburn'. And of course everyone knows that heartburn is caused by too much or too strong stomach acid. Or is it? It's funny how the medical research is catching up to the things that the "Alternative Practitioners" (aka QUACKS) have been telling their patients for decades.
Despite the fact that acid-blocking PPI's (PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS) are the third most-prescribed class of drug in America (as of 2008, Nexium --- the 'purple pill' --- was America's number two selling drug behind only LIPITOR), the mainstream medical community is starting to realize the wisdom of men like DR. ROYAL LEE. You see, it has only been in the past couple of decades that the medical community 'discovered' that both Gastritis and Stomach Ulcers are caused by a bacteria ---- Heliobacter Pylori (usually just called H. Pylori). Listen to what Dr. Lee wrote eighty five years ago.
The ability of the human body to resist the invasion of its tissues by microorganisms is dependent upon a number of factors. But probably the best way to insure the highest degree of resistance for any given individual is to see that his dietary intake of vitamins is amply high.... Stomach ulcers are probably the best instance of a bacterial invasion primarily due to lowered resistance resulting from vitamin deficiency. Dr. Royal Lee from the September 18, 1933 issue of The Vitamin News
- 15% of the entire American population has Hypochlorhydria.
- 40% of the 40 year olds have Hypochlorhydria.
- 50% of the 60 year olds have Hypochlorhydria.
- Over 30 percent of the over-60 crowd suffers from something called Atrophic Gastritis, a condition characterized by Achlorhydria (they produce zero stomach acid) .
- 40% of women over the age of 80 have Achlorhydria .
- One in five Americans experiences heartburn monthly.
- Nearly half of these have heartburn daily.
- GERD is thought to be dramatically underestimated because of the crazy numbers of people taking over-the-counter antacids and PPI's.
- Approximately 20% of those who have H. Pylori infections end up with ulcers.
- About 1% of these get Stomach Cancer.
- 70% of partners / spouses share H. Pylori.
- H. Pylori is the only bacteria recognized as a Grade I Carcinogen by the World Health Organization (it is strongly associated with Stomach and Pancreatic Cancer).
These statistics on Hypochlorhydria and Achlorhydria (no stomach acid) are shocking. Throw in the stats on H. Pylori and they are stupefying. As you can see, the problem could (and probably should) legitimately be referred to as an epidemic. But what are all of these people told over and over and over again by their PCP's and Gastroenterologists?
They are told that they have too much or too strong stomach acid. Not only is this not true, it is 180 degrees opposite of the truth. Make sure you catch this point. As crazy as it sounds, the reason that most people have GERD-like symptoms is because they are making too little or too weak stomach acid. Allow me to explain, while you remember that Guyton said normal stomach acid is 0.8.
Healthy people have a slightly alkali body (about 7.4) and a very acidic stomach. Unhealthy people (a huge percentage of Americans) tend to have a body that is more acidic (all sick people are acidic) and because of this, are wearing out their body's capability for buffering this acid. Because there should be, at least in healthy people, an inverse relationship between the acidity of the body and the acidity of the stomach, this means it's likely that the unhealthy stomach will not be acidic enough (HERE). What are the consequences of poor quality / quantity of stomach acid? They are many and potentially severe.
(LOW STOMACH ACID)
Not only is this a huge misconception, but low stomach acid (higher pH acid) has actually been tied to a wide array of serious diseases. This should not be surprising considering that if your digestion is screwy, the nutrition you consume is going to go through you without being broken down and absorbed into your bloodstream.
COMMON SIGNS OF HYPOCHLORHYDRIA
- Bloating, Burping, and Gas immediately following meals / Staying full long after a meal is over
- Bad breath (seen with H. Pylori infections or Putrefaction) / PERIODONTAL DISEASE
- Heartburn / Indigestion
- Diarrhea or CONSTIPATION or other common symptoms of IBS (IBS is now the second-leading cause of missed work, behind only the common cold.)
- Undigested food in stools / Feeling Hungry despite Eating (due to maldigestion and malabsorbition of protein)
- Zits (HERE)
- CANDIDA (yeast overgrowths) / Rectal Itching / PARASITES / DYSBIOSIS of all sorts
- Food Sensitivities such as GLUTEN, ALLERGIES, and ASTHMA
- Iron Deficiency / Various types of ANEMIA --- particularly Vitamin B-12 / Mineral Deficiencies in general / OSTEOPOROSIS
- CHRONIC FATIGUE / Adrenal Fatigue (FIBROMYALGIA) / Lethargy / Apathy / DEPRESSION
- Dry Skin, Dry Hair, Cracked Nails
- Severe Morning Sickness
- Spontaneous Recurrent Abortion (INFERTILITY)
- AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES of all kinds, including HYPOTHYROIDISM
- Various forms of CANCER, including Stomach and Pancreatic
Weak or diminished stomach acid is bad for you in three chief ways.
FIRSTLY: All alkalizing minerals (the minerals that create the slightly alkali pH that your body requires) can only be absorbed in an extremely acidic environment. This is why antacids are a huge cause of OSTEOPOROSIS, even though some (like TUMS) actually tout themselves as anti-osteoporotics due to the fact that their buffering ingredient is calcium (i.e. a poor source; Calcium Carbonate -- limestone or chalk). Click HERE to learn about the single best calcium supplement on the planet.
SECONDLY: Strong stomach acid prevents dysbiotic overgrowths of bacteria, yeasts, or other microbes from making their way from the intestines to colonize the stomach --- something not uncommon in SIB) (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). If your stomach's pH is too high (too alkali), you create an environment for bacteria to gain access, take hold, grow, and reproduce. The most common of these is Heliobacter Pylori (H. Pylori for short). Although these critters are normally found in the Gut in small numbers, they should never be present in the stomach. Thus, it's not surprising that the drugs taken for heartburn (PPI's) commonly cause various sorts of Dysbiosis (HERE), including H. Pylori infections.
THIRDLY: It is stomach acid that stimulates the pancreas to release the proper ENZYMES needed for digestion. Without the acid trigger, digestion will be severely hampered. If you are not digesting your food properly, there is no way to get it into your system in its proper form. It will, however, along with the microbes we've already discussed, end up in your blood stream in an improper form. LEAKY GUT SYNDROME is where inflammation causes the gaps between cells in your gut to get too large, allowing all sorts of things into your blood stream that should never be there. The body begins to mount immune system reactions against what it perceives as foreign invaders (it is) and attack it. This is why increased intestinal permeability (a "leaky" gut) is a hallmark of the "Trifecta of Misery," chronic inflammation, chronic pain, and chronic illness. It's impossible to fix a leaky gut in a person with Hypochlorhydria!
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE HYPOCHLORHYDRIA?
Although there are several ways to test for hypochlorhydria (HERE are a number of them), there are a couple that I recommend you start with in the privacy of your own home (no, I do not feel it is necessary to swallow the radio transmitter pill that broadcasts stomach pH back to the doctor via a computer printout --- great test, but it will cost you about 500 bucks). Another popular test is consuming a significant amount of Baking Soda and seeing how long it takes to belch. Truthfully, if you have lots of the symptoms I've listed in this post, rest assured that you have Hypochlorhydria.
In fact, when recently discussing the the tests in the link in the previous paragraph with a practitioner with decades of experience in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, he said he has never one time seen a person with too much stomach acid except in the case of gastric tumors called gastrinomas (Zollinger / Ellison Syndrome) --- an extremely rare disease that is a major risk factor for Pancreatic Cancer. Here are the signs you may have Hypochlorhydria.
- YOUR SALIVARY pH IS TOO LOW: If your salivary pH is low, this means that your body is probably too acidic. Remember the earlier discussion on stomach pH? The pH of the body has an inverse relationship to the pH of the stomach. If you have an acidic salivary pH, it probably means that your stomach is not acidic enough. Get some test paper at the local drugstore (pH paper) and check it. Your salivary pH should be a slightly alkali 7.4.
- YOU FEEL CRAPPY WHEN YOU EAT HIGH PROTEIN MEALS ---- PARTICULARLY MEAT: Stomach Acid (HCl --- Hydrochloric Acid) is what helps break down and digest protein. When you are unable to digest proteins, they go through a funky process whose name alone might make you vomit ---- putrefaction. Putrefaction occurs when the food you eat fails to digest. It moves slowly through the digestive tract, often undergoing a process similar to fermentation.
- YOU ROUTINELY HAVE HEARTBURN OR INDIGESTION: Some people don't even have to eat protein to get stomach symptoms. They get it routinely from anything they eat.
- YOU ARE NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER: Although I do not recommend that you drink much water with your meal (it tends to dilute your stomach acid), you need lots of water throughout the day if you want your stomach acid to be strong and effective. Here is a simple moniker to help you understand why. Hydro means 'water'. Hydro-chloric acid is a water-based acid ---- it is manufactured by your body using H2O. Without ample water, your stomach acid will be too weak. Many people can cure Hypochlorhydria simply by hydrating themselves properly with water or green tea.
- YOU GET POST-MEAL GAS IN THE FORM OF BELCHING, BLOATING, OR FLATULENCE: Although this can be caused solely from food sensitivities such as those seen with gluten or dairy, it is also a common symptom of having low stomach acid (Food Sensitivities themselves are actually heavily associated with Hypochlorhydria). Much of this has to do with a dysbiotic gut. Because your Gut's good bacteria play such a huge role in digesting food; and because strong acid keeps the bad bacteria from overgrowing your digestive tract --- strong acid keeps the bad bacteria at bay. Too many bad bacteria and you have half of the double-sided coin that is POOR GUT HEALTH --- Dysbiosis. Once you have Dysbiosis, it won't be long before you have the other side of the coin --- a Leaky Gut.
- MYOFASCIAL SYNDROMES AND MUSCLE SPASMS / CRAMPS: When you fail to absorb minerals (all minerals are only absorbed in a highly acidic environment), there is the potential to end up with MUSCLE ISSUES, including TRIGGER POINTS.
THE MECHANISM OF HEARTBURN OR GERD
As you have seen, one of the major signs / symptoms of this whole problem is gas --- lots of gas (which always means SIBO --- see earlier link). This gas causes a major increase in the pressure inside the stomach (bloating). This pressure, coupled with the closure of the sphincter valve between the stomach and the duodenum (it will not open unless there is enough acid to trip the trigger) will tend to push the putrefying food mass --- a mass that happens to be extremely acidic --- back up past the valve and into the esophagus. In fact, some people with severe GERD will have a red ring around their mouth from being constantly burned by stomach acid and a putrefying bolus of partially digested food at night. Since the esophagus is not protected by the same lining as the stomach, it is highly susceptible to being burned by HCl.
Now throw in SIBO's ugly sister, LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, and sooner or later you'll end up with one or more of THESE Autoimmune Diseases (Autoimmune Diseases are like Lays Potato Chips --- "you can't have just one."). Along the way, you'll develop GERD because the valve at the top of the stomach will fail to work properly. What does this all mean to you --- the average American?
American doctors are writing over 100,000,000 (100 million) prescriptions a year for acid-blocker drugs known as PPI'S. As a NON-EVOLUTIONIST, I simply have to ask myself if it makes sense that humans were created so faulty that such a huge segment of our population would require heartburn drugs? In other words, is such a huge segment of our society really making too much stomach acid? No way! So; why do these drugs appear to work --- at least on a temporary basis?
They block the acid that is part of the mess being refluxed back up the esophagus. But it's kind of like "REBOUND HEADACHES" (headaches caused by the medications being taken to control headaches). Having plenty of strong stomach acid helps the digestive process stay on track, preventing gas / bloating, and helping to keep the valve between the esophagus and stomach closed. This helps to prevent stomach acid and putrefying food from backing up into the esophagus or "refluxing". But where do you start as far as fixing this problem is concerned?
HOW TO FIX HYPOCHLORHYDRIA
- TRY AND EAT WHEN YOU ARE NOT STRESSED: There are two parts of the nervous system --- the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic. The Sympathetic Nervous System is geared toward fight or flight. It gives us a rush of adrenaline and moves blood away from the digestive organs to our limbs so that we can flee or stand and fight (this reaction occurs even if the stressor is not physical in nature). Conversely, the Parasympathetic Nervous System is all about relaxation and digestion. To learn more about that relationship, read the post that I consider to be one of the most important I've ever done; SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE.
- EAT LOW CARB: Sugar, Fructose, High Glycemic-Index foods, and even artificial sweeteners mess with your digestive system by decreasing stomach acidity. Some of this is because they acidify the body in general (creating the inverse relationship we spoke of earlier). Some of this is due to the fact that these things have a tendency to feed part of the very problem we are trying to correct ---- Dysbiosis (HERE). Also be aware that there is thirty years of research tying Gluten Sensitivity back to Hypochlorhidria (HERE). A PALEO DIET is a potential solution to all of this and more.
- IF YOU HAVE IBD OR IBS, DON'T EAT YOUR CARBS AND PROTEINS TOGETHER: For those of you struggling with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), it might behoove you to try eating your carbs separate from your protein (at completely different meals), since the acid is needed for protein digestion. All foods (fats, carbs and proteins) are digested via enzymatic activity. But it's important to remember that the enzymes the body uses to digest protein are only activated in the presence of strong stomach acid. Oh, and while we are actually talking about digestive enzymes, not only can they be purchased almost anywhere relatively inexpensively, but most can be found naturally in raw whole foods.
- GET TO A HEALTHY WEIGHT: Although GERD symptoms can hit just about anyone, like numerous other health-related problems, they're much more common in those who are overweight. Interested in getting to a healthy weight? CLICK HERE.
- GET PERIODIC ADJUSTMENTS: Although people who have never been to a Chiropractor do not understand this point, Chiropractors and their patients do. There is not a day that goes by where someone does not come to get adjusted because of their heartburn. Nerves from the spine (HERE) control the organs, glands, and tissues of your body. When the vertebrae are either misaligned or not moving freely in relationship to each other, it creates subtle dysfunctions in nerves that may or may not lead to pain, but can often trigger other seemingly unrelated symptoms. Heartburn is actually one of the more common of these.
- CHEW YOUR FOOD COMPLETELY: Not only does this help ease the digestive process, chewing actually stimulates the production of stomach acid.
- RAW APPLE CIDER VINEGAR AND LEMON JUICE: This is a concoction that despite being extremely acidic itself, will actually alkalize the body while acidifying the stomach. I generally use Braggs vinegar. This is because your vinegar needs to be raw and unpasteurized as opposed to the stuff in your pantry. I even know people who have been cured of their GERD by eating the proverbial apple a day.
- BETAINE HCl: Betaine Hydrochloric Acid is a simple inexpensive way to see if you are deficient in HCl (we use Standard Process's Zypan, which not only has the acid, but the enzymes as well). Just take HCl with your meal and see how you do. (WARNING: DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT A DOCTOR'S SUPERVISION --- particularly if you are on NSAIDS, CORTICOSTEROIDS, or other Anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs are known to damage the stomach's protective lining. Although it is not uncommon to get some degree of discomfort from taking Betaine HCl (particularly at first), this discomfort should not be severe. If it is severe, IMMEDIATELY STOP TAKING THE PRODUCT AS YOU COULD AGGRAVATE AN ULCER. Specific directions for taking HCl are forthcoming.
They range from Gluten, to SUGAR, to alcohol, to anti-inflammatory drugs and antacids, to dietary toxins, to even coffee (as a side note; both black and green tea have been shown to inhibit H. Pylori). Notice that this list looks suspiciously like the list causes low stomach acid. As a survival mechanism, H. Pylori actually releases chemicals (toxins) that decrease stomach acid. How do you know whether or not you actually have H. Pylori? You can either do a stool sample or a breath test.
TOP TEN WAYS
TO KNOCK OUT
H. PYLORI NATURALLY
The good news is that for many of you there are a number of things you can do to knock it out without having to go on antibiotics. Here are my top ten. Again, you'll notice that some of these overlap the list I gave you for low stomach acid. They are in no particular order.
- GET TESTED: There are a couple of ways to do this. Firstly, you could check via a Stool Sample. This is nice because you can check for other things like parasites, dysbiosis, leaky gut, etc, at the same time (see earlier link on parasites). Or you could simply do the urea breath test. Here's the thing. If you suspect H. Pylori, it is easy and inexpensive to confirm via testing. The breath test is cheaper, but a comprehensive stool test will provide tons more information about GUT HEALTH.
- GO LOW CARB (OR BETTER YET, PALEO): High Glycemic Index Carbs are the food of choice for Dysbiotic infections of all sorts (HERE) ---- including H. Pylori.
- AVOID PROCESSED FOODS: Smoked foods, refined flour, sugar and sugar substitutes, additives, preservatives, and chemicals found in foods are known to contribute to H. Pylori via their acidity (they acidify the body, while alkalizing the stomach). They also don't contain any of the enzymes needed to digest your food as do most whole foods --- particularly when eaten raw.
- GO GLUTEN FREE: If you Google "Gluten Hypochlorhidria" you'll probably be shocked at just how much information there really is on this unholy connection. To see the multitudes of ways that GLUTEN can adversely affect your health, just click the link. To see what it will take to go Gluten Free, HERE is the place to start.
- TAKE A STOMACH ACIDIFIER: I covered these earlier. If raw apple cider vinegar does not work, then some form of Betaine HCl is the way to go, but you need to use it the correct way. Just prior to eating a high protein meal, take a tablet (we use Standard Processes' Zypan). If you do not notice symptoms of burning or GI distress, you can continue this for a couple more days. Next, do the same thing with two tablets --- then three tablets, etc. When you hit the point where stomach discomfort occurs, back off by one tablet. Warning: do not hold these tablets in your mouth as they can burn you. If you already have ulcers, they can burn you as well. In that case, you'll need to do a different protocol. Besides helping with digestion, the higher acidity (lower pH) will help to kill H. Pylori by ruining their environment. DISCLAIMER: Do not do this unless you are under the supervision of a physician. Be aware that some of you might actually undergo a HERXHEIMER REACTION from doing this.
- AVOID ANTIBIOTICS AND OTHER DRUGS: Plainly stated, ANTIBIOTICS are usually the reason people end up with H. Pylori in the first place. Unfortunately, NEARLY ALL DRUGS are functionally antibiotics. By the way, according to a 2/8/2012 memo from the FDA, Acid Blocker drugs are not onlly associated with H. Pylori, but are strongly associated with C. DIFF as well.
- TAKE PROBIOTICS: This is a critical step, but in and of itself will probably not get the job done (HERE). However, for most people IT'S A START. Some of you, however, are going to have to look at STEPPING COMPLETELY OUTSIDE THE BOX in order to restore your normal MICROBIOME.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER AND ONLY WATER: Amazingly enough, there is actually a great deal of peer-reviewed scientific literature on this very thing. Hydro [water] chloric acid will help create an environment that H. Pylori hate. I will warn you, however, that soda (EVEN DIET SODA) will feed this problem. Although I have seen studies pooh poohing it, I tend to not drink with my meals so as not to dilute my stomach acid.
- EAT A WHOLE FOOD DIET: Diets chocked full of WHOLE FOODS, particularly things like onions, garlic, fresh hot peppers, Licorice, Cinnamon, Ginger, citrus seed extracts, Ethiopia's own berberi, rhubarb, cinnamon, and Coconut oil have all been shown to have beneficial effects on H. Pylori infections (HERE). Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and kale, have been shown to be effective in clinical trials as well (HERE). Bear in mind that the immature 'sprouts' of the cruciferous vegetables have been shown to contain 50 times the active ingredients as mature plants. Eating sauerkraut or even drinking the juice has been shown effective in regulating stomach acid, as have other fermented vegetables. There is also evidence that raw vegetables such as carrots, green leafies, and sweet potatoes can be beneficial as far as getting rid of H. Pylori infections are concerned. Plants such as Gentian, Dandelion, Scutellaria, Goldenseal, and Ginger have also shown themselves beneficial as they increase secretions of stomach acid.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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Death By Medicine
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D's Of Chronic Pain
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Gluten Cross Reactivity
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Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
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Re Invent Yourself
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Sleeping Pills Kill
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Tensegrity And Fascia
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