When was the last time you received a good hug? How about the last time you gave someone a good hug?
A hug only takes seconds, but most adults feel as though the act is too personal to share with others on a daily basis; however, this mindset needs to shift because science is showing us just how important a simple hug is. Research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in many ways.
Under high psychological stress, we are more likely to get sick. Knowing that a heartfelt hug can decrease stress levels, do you believe that hugs can help keep you stay physically healthy? Science believes this may be true, at least when it comes to the link between stress and illness. Researchers investigated the relationship of hugging, social support, and the probability of getting sick in 404 volunteers. The participants were called every evening for 14 days and asked if they had been hugged that day. There was a clear relationship with individuals who had been hugged more also feeling like they received greater social support. After the two weeks, the participants were invited to an isolated floor of a local hotel and were quarantined in separate rooms. The researchers gave them nasal drops containing a virus that caused common-cold-like illnesses. The results were amazing. How often somebody had been hugged clearly influenced their infection risk. Participants who had been hugged more had a decreased risk of infection, and out of those who were infected, those who had been hugged more had less severe symptoms.
Including hugs in your day is also linked to a happy lifestyle. We release the hormone oxytocin when touched, which elevates feelings of attachment, connection, trust, and intimacy. A 2018 study showed how hugs impact negative situations. Several hundred adults were called every night for two weeks and asked about conflicts with other people in their lives, whether they felt in a good or bad mood, and whether they had received one or more hugs that day. If participants received a hug on a day in which they had gotten into an argument with someone, the conflict appeared to lead to a smaller increase in bad mood. The hugs also had a protective effect, meaning that the participants who received a hug on one day and got into a fight the next day had experienced a smaller increase in bad mood than when not having received a hug the day before. Again, hugging has a huge impact on the psychological effects that stress causes.
When you include hugging in your everyday life, you are benefitting in the following ways:
- Lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease.
- Balancing the nervous system.
- Strengthening your immune system.
- Encouraging honest, deeper connections.
- Keeping you young and maintaining muscle strength.
- Lowering stress levels.
- Reducing feelings of pain
- Boosting self-esteem.
- Reducing feelings of depression.
- Releasing tension and relaxing the muscles.
- Providing the skin contact that bodies need to remain healthy.
- Healing feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Increasing feelings of happiness.
Breast Cancer is growing in staggering numbers – and in younger generations. We can blame hormones in the water, birth control, our food system, toxins in the air, and chemicals in our body products… and of course genetics, but the truth is, we just do not know what causes it. There are many links, and much research to support these thoughts, but the case may be different for each person battling the cancer.
This article is not meant as medical advice, but instead as a way to help those struggling to cross into a more natural-minded lifestyle while battling breast cancer. One person’s “right way” is not the same as another’s, so there is no judgement or shaming, only acceptance and words of guidance as you start to include more organic, back-to-the-earth options into your arsenal.
So, you have breast cancer. You have a team of doctors and surgeons. You have started chemotherapy and radiation. You have never questioned medicine in your life, until now. You have started googling and have become so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to go from here. You are starting to think that you need to change your lifestyle, whether to beat this cancer, or to prevent it from coming back in the future. You may even be worried about some of the things you have already put your body through.
The first thing I can tell you is this: BREATHE. You are being proactive. If you have a slow growing tumor or time in between treatments, then take the time to educate yourself with options and start a list of changes you would like to implement. The hardest battle you will fight is against closed-minded medical professionals. But remember that this is your journey to health, not theirs, and you have the right to include (or not include) what you feel would better your body. If you present your research, hopefully your team will be open to hearing your thoughts.
Everything that I will talk about can be done in conjunction with medical treatments, or whatever path you have chosen thus far. I’ve broken them into basic categories so you are not overwhelmed. You can pick and choose, dig deeper into more research, and go at your own pace. I am in your corner, and am here if you have questions or would like further ideas.
Bridging Gently into the Natural World While Battling Breast Cancer
Detoxing and Flushing Out the Toxins
There is no doubt that your body needs to eliminate toxins. The cancer toxins, and any radiation or chemotherapy that has been used so far. Chemotherapy and radiation does its jobs in killing the bad cancer cells, but they don’t stop there; they kill all of the good cells too. By killing these good cells off, you increase your risk of a second cancer later in life. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199206253262605
Fundamental to detoxification are the main organs of elimination, the liver and kidneys. Special attention is paid to the liver which processes chemotherapy and eliminates it. The safest and most effective natural detox will optimize liver function and restore liver health.
Detoxification during or after chemotherapy should always include the foundational approaches of maintaining high water intake, eating a proper diet rich in fiber and phytonutrients, and appropriate use of exercise. Combining these fundamentals with liver support, antioxidant therapy and the most current research make up the strongest detox protocols.
- Increasing Water Intake: Drinking (in ounces) at least 50% of your body weight allows enough fluid to help flush toxins.
- Detox Baths: Detoxing through a bath is a gentle and soothing way to release toxins. Make sure to shower and rinse off before climbing out of the bathtub.
- o Detox Bath Example:
2 cups Epsom salt 2 cups baking soda (aluminum free) 8 drops of pure Rosemary and Juniper Berry essential oils
Basic Procedure: Add salt and baking soda to a very warm bath and let dissolve for five minutes. Add four drops each of Rosemary and Juniper Berry essential oils, as both are specific for detoxing the body.
Diet and Supplements
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies.
Cancer is a glucose metabolizer. Your normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. Cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility, so when you eliminate carbohydrates, which turn into sugar, you effectively starve the cancer!
You can create your own diet based on your research, of course, but the top things I would recommend are:
- Ditching Sugar
- Lose the Processed Foods (anything in a box – or with a long shelf life)
- Eliminate Gluten and Dairy as they are inflammatory agents.
- Let go of GMO’s: Nothing chemically altered should enter the body
- Eat the Rainbow: Include all the fruits and vegetables of the rainbow, as many as you can, and on a daily basis.
- Read labels: or better yet, don’t buy things with labels.
Several studies highlight two citrus flavonoids, hesperetin and naringenin, found in oranges and grapefruit, respectively, and four noncitrus flavonoids, baicalein, galangin, genistein, and quercetin. These have been tested singly and in one‐to‐one combinations for their effects on proliferation and growth of a human breast carcinoma cell line. Tumor development was drastically delayed in the groups given unprocessed, organic orange juice or fed the naringin‐supplemented diet. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635589609514473
o Antioxidants protect healthy cells from damage caused by chemotherapy or the lingering free radicals it creates. Antioxidants are also used by the body to clear waste and cellular debris left in the wake of chemotherapy oxidation. Research shows that antioxidants such as Vitamins A, B, C, E, etc. reduce chemotherapy side effects while increasing efficacy against tumors.
o There are specific phytonutrients that are even more promising antioxidants than these standard vitamins. Grape Seed Extract, for example, has been shown to be about 50 times more effective than Vitamin C at scavenging free radicals and through multiple mechanisms can inhibit cancer cell growth.
o Vitamin D: Studies show that by optimizing your vitamin D levels, you can double the chance of surviving breast cancer. Have your doctors check you levels regularly and supplement accordingly. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/13/vitamin-d-breast-cancer-prevention.aspx
Milk Thistle: Milk thistle is known as an elixir for your liver and is the king of detoxifying herbs. It contains the flavonoid silymarin, which is thought to be responsible for many of its beneficial effects, including liver protection and antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/14/milk-thistle-benefits.aspx
Curcumin (found in turmeric): Curcumin changes the regulation of DNA to help kill cancer. In fact, curcumin not only influences epigenetic settings, it also manages the downstream consequences, helping to guide multiple steps in the way gene orders are implemented. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/13/this-powerful-herb-changes-your-genes-to-combat-cancer.aspx
Omega 3: Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer, and studies have found that by simply supplementing the diet with animal-based omega-3 fats, you may reduce breast cancer risk by 32%. Studies also show that omega-3 fats influence two genes involved in keeping breast cancer at bay, all while reducing cancer cell growth. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/27/omega3s-reduce-your-risk-of-breast-cancer.aspx
Melatonin (only supplement if you are having trouble falling asleep): Peer-reviewed and published research has shown melatonin offers particularly strong protection against reproductive cancers. Cells throughout your body — even cancer cells — have melatonin receptors. So when melatonin makes its nightly rounds, cell division slows. When this hormone latches onto a breast cancer cell, it has been found to counteract estrogen’s tendency to stimulate cell growth. Read more on how to naturally increase melatonin levels: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/19/melatonin-benefits.aspx
Several studies show how juicing (organic, whole foods) fruits and vegetables can increase the body’s ability to fight cancer, especially breast cancer. You will come across so many recipes, your head will spin, but don’t over think it. Start with just basic juicing of foods that you know you will enjoy. Juicing allows you to “eat the rainbow” easier on a daily basis.
A few pieces of research to read:
On including wheat grass: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635580701308083
On including pomegranate: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10549-012-2264-5
Creating a “Green Juice” and incorporating it into your diet a few days a week (4-5 or so) can assist in the rapid removal of metabolic wastes from the body and the rebuilding of damaged tissues. Juicing helps clear the kidneys of toxins and contributes to the proper digestion of food.
A note: All items need to be organic and in whole food form (not powdered).
One example of a “Green Juice” is:
1 apple (to sweeten) 1 orange 2 stalks of celery 1 cucumber 1 carrot 1 bunch of parsley 1 bunch cilantro 8 beet greens 1 red bell pepper 1 green cabbage 1 lemon 1/2 bulb of ginger
- Eliminate Toxic Environments: To the best of your ability, eliminate toxins from entering your body.
o Avoid second hand smoke, or smoking yourself.
o Stop using synthetic products, such as candles and scented items in your home.
o Eliminate skin care products that contain aluminum, other chemicals, dyes, and artificial ingredients.
o Avoid storing food in plastic or styrofoam containers, and limit or eliminate the use of a microwave.
o Turn off electronics whenever possible and do not rest phones, laptops, etc on your body.
o Make your own cleaning products with vinegar, natural soap, and essential oils.
- Exercise: Create more oxygenated blood flow, produce sweat to release toxins, and practice deep breathing to detox the lungs.
- Coffee Enemas: these will aid in detoxing the body by increasing the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Oil Pulling: Pulling with a high quality coconut oil (or other oil) for 20 minutes 1-2 times a day will draw toxins from the body.
- Essential Oils:
o Frankincense (also known as Boswellia serrata): Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties and, as research shows, is a potential treatment for brain, breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate and stomach cancers. Cancer scientists emphasize that this potency makes frankincense a viable candidate for both cancer prevention and treatment. It can be used in diffusers with ease to treat respiratory conditions, or you can use it as an essential oil or salve directly on your skin. You can also take frankincense (Boswellia) as a supplement with a few essential oil drops placed under your tongue, on the roof of your mouth or in powdered capsule form for treatment of many health conditions. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/frankincense-oil.aspx
o Thyme: Wild thyme has been used to induce cell death in breast cancer cells. After 72 hours of treatment, thyme essential oil killed 98 percent of human breast cancer cells, with researchers concluding wild thyme “may be a promising candidate in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2012.719658?journalCode=hnuc20&
Doctor Selection and Including Alternative Care
Make sure that you trust and feel comfortable with your cancer team. Include a holistic naturopathic doctor who supports cancer patients. Insurance typically do not cover these doctors, and bills can add up very quickly; however, meeting with a naturopathic doctor just once may be enough to help you on your journey.
Alternative Care you may choose to include:
Chiropractic Therapy: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/comp_med/types/chiropractic
In order to truly restore your health, you will need to ensure that you are detoxing through all pathways of the body. These include:
- Colon: 1-2 Bowel movements a day
- Kidneys and Bladder: Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water and organic tea a day
- Skin: Sweating or Skin Brushing
- Lungs: Deep breathing exercises
- Emotional Cleansing: Forgiving others and evaluating relationships
If you are concerned about overdose, or a toxic level of Tylenol being consumed, contact poison control immediately. More information on the toxicity can be found here:
“Oxidation” is a normal process in the body that happens when we use oxygen to create energy for the cell. The byproduct of oxidation is the creation of “free radicals” which are unstable molecules. Free radicals are “bad” because they can damage cell DNA, potentially causing permanent mutations. The body uses anti-oxidants to “scavenge” free radicals, neutralizing them so they can’t damage the DNA or any other part of the cell.
Glutathione is a sulfur-containing molecule that can absorb the impact of many of these free radicals. Once it absorbs a free-radical it needs to be converted back to the active form. When the body takes a large oxidative “hit” it causes the depletion of active glutathione. The result is lots and lots and lots of oxidative damage. Glutathione is especially important because it is active in the brain, unlike most other antioxidants. Can you imagine what would happen if you deplete glutathione in the brain? You end up with oxidative damage, inflammation and brain injury.
So guess what medicine is known for depleting glutathione?
You guessed it, acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Tylenol has been called into question for decades now, but yet remains to be the last remaining member of the class of drugs known as “aniline analgesics” on the market. Acetaminophen only blocks the feelings of pain and reduces fever, it exerts no anti-inflammatory action. In reality, Tylenol can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause inflammation on the brain, all while masking the symptoms.
But Tylenol is Safe, Right? NO.
Acetaminophen (known as paracetamol in the UK) is linked to more deaths per year than any other over-the-counter pain reliever.
Acetaminophen (sold under the brand name Tylenol, among others) may be among the most dangerous medicines on the market. I’m sure this comes as a surprise to most of you, as virtually every single household keeps a bottle on hand for the occasional ache and pain, and doesn’t think twice about taking it.
Not thinking, it turns out, could cost you dearly… Acetaminophen overdose is actually the leading cause for calls to Poison Control Centers across the US—more than 100,000 instances per year—and, each year, is responsible for more than 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and an estimated 458 deaths due to liver failure.
The International Journal of Epidemiology said children born to mothers who took acetaminophen during pregnancy were more likely to have behavior problems and slow motor development at age 3. Another study cited an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, at age 7.
Even scarier than this information is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rating system for drugs in pregnancy ranks Tylenol safer than ibuprofen, and much safer than aspirin. The truth: There are no “safe” pharmaceuticals to take while pregnant (or at all.) So much is unknown about fetal development, especially in relation to pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, every mother should do her best to avoid taking any pharmaceuticals.
Brain Development while in utero: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24566677 Research data suggest that acetaminophen is a hormone disruptor, and abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy may influence fetal brain development.
Acetaminophen is the most commonly used pain and fever medication during pregnancy. Research shows a positive correlation between acetaminophen use and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and the longer duration the use of the medication (i.e., use for >20 weeks in gestation), the further increased risk of ASD or infantile autism with hyperkinetic symptoms occurs (almost twofold.) Studies suggest acetaminophen exposure early in fetal life may specifically impact this hyperactive behavioral phenotype. (Autism Res 2015. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.)
Infants and Children
The thing that makes Acetaminophen dangerous, especially for children, is that the difference between a “dose” and an “overdose” is fairly small. If twice the recommended daily dose is taken, liver damage can result. That does not give you much margin of error. It is very easy to improperly measure Tylenol drops and give your child too much.
There are four easy ways for your child to get an overdose of Tylenol/Acetaminophen:
- Giving your child the wrong dose of the medicine by mixing up infants’ and children’s Tylenol. If you have several children of different ages and one of them is an infant, this mistake can be extremely easy to make, especially at night.
- You can accidentally give your child a double dose. One parent gives the child a dose of tylenol, and then the other parent does the same thing 10 minutes later because of lack of communication.
- You give your child two medicines simultaneously, both of which contain Tylenol/Acetominophen.
- You drop a Tylenol pill on the floor, your toddler pops it in his/her mouth, and because Tylenol is “safe” you don’t even think about the ramifications.
Children Given Acetaminophen are at risk of:
*Note: These can be caused while in utero if the mother takes acetaminophen.
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Behavioral Disorders (ADHD)
- Learning Disabilities
- Prolonged Illness
- Liver Damage
- Hyperkinetic Disorders
- Leaky Gut
- Fatal Skin Reactions
Strong evidence proves that acetaminophen (sold as Tylenol or Paracetamol) increases in the rate of autism, asthma, and attention deficit with hyperactivity in genetically and/or metabolically susceptible children. http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/study-evidence-that-acetaminophen-especially-in-conjunction-with-vaccines-is-a-major-cause-of-autism-and-asthma/#sthash.bxNDiAiS.dpuf
Using Tylenol in lowering fevers actually prolongs illness: Studies show aspirin and acetaminophen suppress production of antibodies and increase cold symptoms, with a trend toward longer infectiousness.
- In a study of children with chickenpox, acetaminophen prolonged itching and the time to scabbing compared to placebo treatment.
- In test-tube studies, therapeutic levels of medicine suppressed the ability of human white blood cells to destroy bacteria.
- Another study found that a host of pain relievers, including aspirin, tylenol and ibuprofen, inhibited white-cell production of antibodies by up to 50 percent.
ADHD: Exposure to acetaminophen in utero and in infancy, increased both the likelihood of a diagnosis and prescription, and more exposure increased the chances even more. Based on the researchers’ estimates, any exposure to acetaminophen increases the risk of an ADHD prescription by 30 percent.
Asthma: A major study of over 20,000 children suggests that giving this popular medicine even as infrequently as once per year could have a permanent, life-threatening health effect – Asthma. Children who receive Tylenol (or other acetaminophen) only once per year are at 70% greater risk for asthma while those receiving Tylenol once a month or more were shockingly 540% more likely to have asthma. The study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, also found that children who had even a single dose of Tylenol before their first birthday had a 60% risk of developing asthma. http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/4/706
Liver Damage/Failure: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26706992 Acetaminophen is the cause of many poisonings, which lead to liver damage. (Acetaminophen poisoning is responsible for nearly HALF of ALL acute liver failure cases in the US.)
(The liver is the place where your body processes acetaminophen to remove it from the bloodstream. This natural removal process is the reason why you have to take Acetaminophen every four hours or so. When you take too much acetaminophen, it overloads the liver’s ability to handle the drug. In the process, it creates a toxin that kills your liver, eventually killing you.)
Fatal Skin Reactions: Acetaminophen has been linked to very serious skin reactions. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/03/26/acetaminophen-overdose.aspx
As of 2013, the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) reports the following cases of skin reactions caused by acetaminophen:
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS):This reaction begins with flu-like symptoms that progress into a painful purple or red rash that blisters and causes the top layer of your skin to slough off. This can lead to serious infections, blindness, damage to internal organs, permanent skin damage, and even death.
- Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TENS):TENS also typically begins with flu-like symptoms (cough, headache, aches, and fever) and progresses into a blistering rash. Layers of the skin may peel away in sheets, and hair and nails may fall out. TENS is often fatal, typically as a result of infection.
- Acute Generalized Exanthematous Pustulosis (AGEP):This skin eruption causes numerous pustules to appear on the skin, often accompanied by fever. This condition typically resolves within two weeks once the acetaminophen is stopped.
Leaky Gut Syndrome: 50-70% of chronic Tylenol users (even children) have increased intestinal permeability, which is linked to autoimmune diseases. http://www.side-effects-site.com/tylenol-side-effects.html
Cancer: New research shows that acetaminophen can be linked to blood cancers. Chronic acetaminophen users (as young as childhood even) have nearly twice the risk of developing blood cancer. The definition of “high” use was using acetaminophen at least four times a week for at least four years — an amount that numerous Americans could easily exceed without even realizing it. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/05/25/this-common-otc-painkiller-found-linked-to-cancer.aspx
Hyperkinetic Disorders: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24566677 Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk for HKDs and ADHD-like behaviors in children.
Autism: “In the early 1980’s about 42% of women used acetaminophen during the first trimester of pregnancy. The rate (of autism) climbed to over 65% in the early 1990’s, where it has essentially remained through 2004.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20030462 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18445737
Tylenol and Vaccines: Research shows that acetaminophen use after measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination is significantly associated with autistic disorder when considering children 5 years of age or less. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18445737
A large part of what makes acetaminophen so dangerous is that it’s found in so many products. Please read your labels and understand the possible outcomes of your choices.
Remember that adults are at risk for the above mentioned side effects (and others), but today, we are just focusing on the pregnant mother and child.
Shaw W. Evidence that increased acetaminophen use in genetically vulnerable children appears to be a major cause of the epidemics of autism, attention deficit with hyperactivity, and asthma. J Restorative Medicine 2013;2:1–16.
Deth R (PhD). Personal communication 2010.
Hong RW, Rounds JD, Helton SW, Robinson MK, Wilmore DW. Glutamine preserves liver glutathione after lethal hepatic injury. Ann Surg 1992;215:114–119.
Bauer AZ, Kriebel D. Prenatal and perinatal analgesic exposure and autism: an ecological link. Environmental Health 2013;12:41.
Poor gut health affects much more than the picture displays. Your digestive health affects every physiological system in your body. The digestive system is the second largest part of the neurological system. Called the enteric nervous system, it is located in the gut. This is why the gut is known as the second brain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19149514/
80% of the immune system is located in the digestive track.
“According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), upward of 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases.” Inflammation is believed to be the root cause of most diseases. Guess where inflammation typically begins? The gut. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11157355 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17024003
What researchers believe is that an overactive immune system results in the body being flooded with defense cells and hormones that damage tissues. Dietary and environmental toxins may build up in the body, turning the immune system on and keeping it highly reactive. As these toxins build, they throw the balance of good to bad bacteria off, causing the gut to become inflamed.
The gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Digestive experts agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria. If this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis, which means there is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria that is affecting the body in a negative way. By consuming certain types of probiotic foods and supplements you can help bring these ratios back into balance and eliminate the inflammation. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/4/overlooked-role-probiotics-human-health/page-01
Some common warning signs of a bacteria imbalance: http://www.steadyhealth.com/topics/signs-of-bacterial-imbalance
• Bad breath, gum disease & dental problems
• Sleeping poorly, possible night sweats
• Frequent colds, flu or infections
• Faulty digestion, acid reflux and other gut disorders
• Chronic yeast problems, candida
• Frequent constipation or diarrhea
• Acne, eczema, skin & foot fungus
• Frequent fatigue, poor concentration
• Extreme menstrual or menopausal symptoms
• Difficulty losing weight, sugar/carbohydrate cravings
• Allergies and food sensitivities
• Painful joint inflammations/stiffness
Two additional signs that your gut flora may be adversely impacted are depression and lowered immunity. Both of these are actually common-sense side effects of poor gut health, but they’re usually completely overlooked. Most people, including many physicians, do not link the immune system to the gut, when they should be making a healthy gut a major focal point if they want to help the root issues.
The gut originates from the same type of tissue as the brain. During fetal development, one part turns into the central nervous system, while the other develops into the enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. Hence the gut and your brain work in tandem, each are influencing the other. And this is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. This also helps explain the link between neurological disorders (including ADHD and autism) and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For example, gluten intolerance is frequently a feature of autism, and many autistic children will improve when following a strict gluten-free diet. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/05/microbes-manipulate-your-mind.aspx
Foods that promote inflammation are:
• Corn and Soybean oils
• Pasteurized dairy
• Refined carbohydrates
• Conventional meat
• Trans fats
The secret to restoring your digestive health is all about balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you are going to be healthy you MUST consider consuming probiotic rich foods and supplements daily.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. They are found in many foods and can be taken in supplement form. (Review our guide to choosing a quality supplement because they are not created equal.)
How do you benefit from probiotics?
The website Green Med Info has assembled an amazing list of more than 200 studies, which together explore more than 170 diseases which can be helped or treated with probiotics. https://www.healthambition.com/probiotics/
Digestive Health: http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics We have more than 1,000 types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracks. They help us break down food and absorb nutrients. Environmental and chemical toxins can throw off the bacterial balance of the gut. For example, when antibiotics are introduced, the drugs can kill-off the good bacteria, the healthy intestinal flora that helps us digest, as well as the bad. Probiotic intake should increase if antibiotics are being taken. The probiotics can keep the bacteria balanced throughout the antibiotic treatment so the body does not experience extreme side effects. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071814
Probiotics can help with many, if not all types of digestive issues. Research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Probiotics can help with overall digestive health, even if you are not suffering from any urgent problems.
Urinary Health: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics
Probiotics taken regularly can help prevent bad bacteria from invading the urinary tract by maintaining a population of healthy bacteria on the tract’s adherence sites. Infections in this area of the body are extremely common, especially in women, and taking probiotics daily can help prevent reoccurring infections.
One of the most important characteristics of probiotics is their safety for human health. Thanks to their ability to adhere to intestinal epithelial cells and to modulate and stabilize the composition of gut microflora, probiotics bacteria may play an important role in the regulation of intestinal and systemic immunity. They actually seem capable of restoring the intestinal microbic equilibrium and modulating the activation of immune cells.
Several studies have been recently conducted on the role of probiotics in preventing and/or treating allergic disorders.
Probiotics have also been shown to reduce childhood eczema (a sign of allergies) when mothers take them while pregnant. Researchers found that pregnant women with a history of seasonal allergies who took probiotics throughout their pregnancies passed on a 50% higher level of tissue inflammation in utero, which is believed to trigger the immune system and reduce allergy incidence.
Women’s Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26052924
Just like the digestive tract, the vagina relies on a balance of good and bad bacteria. When the balance is off, it can result in bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Studies have found that probiotics can help prevent infection, manage an already active one, or support antibiotics as a treatment. Utilizing the probiotics as a vaginal suppository rather than orally may be even more helpful if there is a current problem.Probiotics have an important role in maternal health, as pregnant women are susceptible to vaginal infections.
As you have read, in detail, the gut holds 80% of our immune system. By eating probiotic-rich foods and maintaining good intestinal flora, you can maintain a healthy immune system.
A study revealed that obese people have different gut bacteria than those maintaining a healthy weight. This shows that gut flora plays a role in obesity.
There are several strains of probiotics, and each one is being shown to affect the body in different ways. Some of these strains include: http://probiotics.org/strains/
- Bifidobacterium bifidum — The most dominant probiotic in infants and in the large intestine. Supports production of vitamins in gut, inhibits harmful bacteria, supports immune system response and prevent diarrhea.
- Bifidobacterium longum — Supports liver function, reduces inflammation, removes lead and heavy metals.
- Bifidobacterium breve — Helps colonize healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria.
- Bifidobacterium infantis — Alleviates IBS symptoms, diarrhea and constipation.
- Lactobacillus casei — Supports immunity, inhibits h. pylori and helps fight infections.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus — Relieves gas, bloating, improves lactose intolerance.
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus — A powerful probiotic strain that has been shown to fight harmful bacteria that invades your digestive system and is stable enough to withstand the acidic digestive juices of the stomach. It also neutralizes toxins and naturally produces its own antibiotics.
- Lactobacillus brevis — Shown to survive the GI tract, boost cellular immunity, enhanced natural T-killer cells and kill h. pylori bacteria.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus — Supports bacterial balance and supports healthy skin. Helps fight urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and reduce anxiety by reducing stress hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors.
- Bacillus subtilis — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant. Elicits a potent immune response and supports GALT. Suppresses growth of bad bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens.
- Bacillus coagulans — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant and improves nutrient absorption. Also has been shown to reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.
- Saccharomyces boulardii — A yeast probiotic strain that restores natural flora in the large and small intestine and improves intestinal cell growth. It has proved effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease. It’s also been shown to have anti-toxin effects, be antimicrobial, and reduce inflammation.
Taking probiotics is extremely beneficial, but making sure that you don’t prevent them from working is also important. Be sure to eliminate the following, or increase your probiotic intake if any of the following is necessary: http://www.shanti.com.au/body/probiotics.htm
• Prescription Antibiotics
• Tap Water
• GMO Foods
• Emotional Stress
• Chemicals and medications
• Birth Control/Steroids/Hormonal Drugs
• Chlorine (Use a good filter for your drinking water)
• Coffee (I know. I know. Just add a little extra probiotics if you are a coffee drinker.)
• Carbonated Beverages
• Ascorbic Acid (In low-quality supplements, bottled drinks and juices.)
• Radiation (chemotherapy, x-rays, microwaves)
• Additives/Preservatives (Avoid processed foods)
In order to improve your gut flora balance, make sure to avoid these probiotic killers the best that you can. We are exposed to many of these foods, toxins and stressors on a daily basis, and if you’re going to restore your digestive health, they must be addressed. If they’re not addressed, your gut micro-organisms become imbalanced and your system can become a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Fibromyalgia is a real condition that leaves women feeling frustrated when they are trying to find out why they are not feeling well.
There are many tests performed to rule out other conditions. Often times it is misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis, delaying treatment. You should start with your primary care physician and from there you may be referred to a rheumatologist who is usually the one to diagnose fibromyalgia. Chiropractic care and massage are part of the treatment for fibromyalgia. These are just a few of the more common questions that have come up in my office.
Q: What exactly is Fibromyalgia?
A: Fibromyalgia is one of the hardest conditions to diagnose. It can take months or years for an actual diagnosis because it can mimic multiple sclerosis, some cancers, and autoimmune disorders. The American College of Rheumatology defines Fibromyalgia as “a disorder that causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness, which tends to come and go and move about the body…It typically is associated with fatigue and sleep disturbances.” * It is as if the volume has been turned up in the brain as to how pain is perceived.
Q: What can cause Fibromyalgia?
A: There are many different triggers that can cause fibromyalgia and each person is different. Some causes could come from emotional stressors, some from physical stressors, such as arthritis or spinal disorders. There is also a chance that genes may play a roll as well.
Q: What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
A: There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with this condition. Some include migraine headaches, digestive/ irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ, and pelvic pain. Many say they feel “run down”, tired all the time and are not sleeping very well. Other symptoms may include feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. Some complain of a “brain fog”; meaning they may not remember things, and may take longer to retrieve information or do tasks. Most women do complain of muscle soreness or trigger points. If you have any or all of these symptoms, and they have lasted for over three months, you should consult a physician.
Q: Can Chiropractic care help?
A: Absolutely! Whether you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or you think you may have it, chiropractic care can help. While your medications can help calm your nervous system, chiropractic adjustments remove nerve interference. This allows the brain and spinal cord to communicate better to your muscles and organs of your body. This can help diminish the pain, allowing for better sleep, which in turn will rejuvenate your body! While under chiropractic care, diet and exercise will be introduced as well as some supplements such as magnesium and omegas. Massage is a wonderful compliment to chiropractic treatments.
If you have any questions, comments, or topics for future issues, feel free to contact us here.
Dr. Brenda Fairchild, RT(R)(M), B.A., B.S., D.C., Owner and Chiropractor of Pea and the Pod Chiropractic in Newark where her main focus of chiropractic is in the treatment of women (including pre-natal care) and children. Dr. Brenda is a graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic where she received her Doctorate of Chiropractic, along with Bachelor of Science degrees in Anatomy, and Health and Wellness. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from University Nevada Las Vegas and is currently working on her diplomate in children’s chiropractic care. Prior to becoming a chiropractor, Dr. Fairchild worked in the medical field as a radiological technologist in a Level 1 Trauma unit and in the cardiac cath labs for several years.
Dr. Brenda is one of the few chiropractors in Delaware that is Webster Certified to treat pregnant women and their babies. The technique is designed to allow the mother and the baby to have an easier childbirth by aligning the pelvis and its muscles and ligaments. This gives the infant maximum room in the womb, therefore decreasing trauma due to intervention. She is also a member of International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and the American Pregnancy Association.
Newark, DE. – Pea and the Pod Chiropractic is a chiropractic spa dedicated to women and children in all stages of life. More and more women are turning to chiropractic for natural option to help them during pregnancy. Some moms to be are seeking help with their back pain, some looking for help to get their baby in the best position for birth; others are looking for wellness or preventative care for them and their child. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is safe not only for mom, but the baby as well.
At Pea and the Pod Chiropractic, we are trained and specialized in pregnancy care through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Dr. Brenda Fairchild is one of the few chiropractors in Delaware who is Webster Technique Certified to help pregnant women and their babies. This technique balances the pelvis to allow the baby to have the maximum amount of room and moms notice easier and faster births and less back pain. Her own pregnancy with daughter Madelyn Jaymes allowed her to fully understand the unique needs and concerns of her patients. We also have a one of a kind custom pregnancy table designed by the owner, Dr. Brenda Fairchild which has a cutout for a growing belly to allow a mom-to-be to lay face down.
Benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy:
- Less back pain and neck pain
- Shorter labor times and more efficient contractions
- Baby in optimal position for birth
- Helps with getting labor started
- Decreases birth trauma
- Helps with reduction of C-Section
- Helps with heartburn and reflux