Digestion, Immune System, & The Microbiome

Digestion Immune System and the MicrobiomeIn North America, many of us are obsessed with cleanliness. Actually, we need to be exposed to bacteria, fungi, and viruses in order to have a healthy, strong immune system. By killing off our good bacteria with antibiotics, stress, cortisone, and chlorinated drinking water, we leave the field wide open to pathogenic, dangerous bacteria. Too many hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps can change our PH and, in turn, mess with our immunological balance. Also, chemicals in plastics, cosmetics and clothing may negatively affect our microbiome which in turn affects the integrity of the small and large intestines.

 

The Human Microbiome consists of a collection of trillions of tiny microorganisms that make up who we are. They are part of us, not an addition to us. They help the body digest food and nutrients that the stomach is unable to digest. They also help in the production of some vitamins, like B and K. They program our immune system which needs their bacteria to teach it to function properly – to identify which should be there and which should not and then capture and destroy the bad guys. Even viruses living in our microbiome help to establish immunity against new and more dangerous viruses belonging to the same family. Our immune system takes care of most of our colds and flues in a way that actually causes the symptoms that we experience. The more diverse our immune system is, the smarter will be its reaction. When our microbiome is in balance, all is well. If disrupted, the lining of the gut becomes more porous allowing absorption of poisons, bacteria and viruses.

 

The majority of our microbiome is found in the digestive system; in particular, in the intestines. Our intestines include tight junctions that prevent the harmful bacteria from entering the body’s cells. When these junctions are weakened, as in the case of leaky gut, autoimmune diseases and allergies may arise. Stress, antibiotics, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, processed and fried foods, and hydrogenated and trans fats weaken these barriers. Probiotics, particularly acidophilus, good, clean water, foods high in fibre, and also sauerkraut, pineapple, bone broth, onion, garlic and kimchi strengthens these junctions by restoring the normal flora. New research is telling us that gut microbiome may also affect our central nervous system and brain health. The gut and its organisms have even been referred to as our “second brain” having the same grey matter as found in the brain.

 

The Immune System and the Microbiome go hand in hand. Dysbiosis, ie pathogenic bacteria that are out of control, create a persistent imbalance in this microbial community, and are implicated in IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, skin issues like rosacea, eczema, and acne, and in most, if not all, autoimmune diseases. Dysbiosis is also involved in gut issues like bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and/or heartburn. Once we clean up the terrain, the bugs will begin to live in harmony.

 

Change the terrain that supports and feeds the bugs. Don’t focus on the bugs! In order to enhance the immune system, change the environment that supports the growth of these pathogenic organisms. Sugar and a diet high in carbohydrates create a welcoming home for them. Sugar also lowers immunity by 80% for 2-5 hours after it is consumed. If the terrain is filled with toxic material and undigested food, that is where you will find the bugs.

 

Begin to make the changes that will bring the body back into balance. Drink abundant quantities of clean water, eat organic fruits and vegetables, fibre, fermented foods, and good quality protein. Eliminate all GMO foods. Stop consuming foods that you are allergic to, lower your stress levels, and get adequate sleep. Take good care of your microbiome and it will take care of you for many years to come.

 
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Sleep Issues

Sleep Issues Blog

The first sign of a problem with the brain is shortened sleep, in particular, napping during the day and not sleeping through the night. With even one hour loss of sleep per night, the brain slows down, we become more emotional and our thinking slows down. What is the major cause of sleeplessness? For most, it is chronic stress and anxiety, resulting in elevated cortisol levels, particularly in the evening, keeping us from enjoying a proper night’s sleep.

 

Sleep affects every organ system. The body does not do well without an optimal 7 to 8 hours per night. The more sleep deprived we are, the less effective our immune function, the more prone we become to injury and accidents and, even, to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

 

27% of sleep deprived people are more likely to become overweight. Sleep is vital for learning and memory so is necessary for education and maximum productivity in the workplace. Sleep allows for the body to balance itself.

 

There are four major sleep cycles. In general, we go from falling asleep, to light sleep, to deep sleep, to REM sleep. These cycles are repeated many times throughout the night. Earlier cycles have longer periods of deep sleep and later cycles, more REM sleep. Deep sleep makes us feel refreshed and keeps us healthy. During REM sleep, the brain becomes more active, the body more relaxed, and most of our dreams occur. “REM sleep is important to your sleep cycle because it stimulates the areas of your brain that are essential in learning and making or retaining memories.” Longer periods of REM sleep occur in the morning hours.

 

Suggestions for improved sleep include going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekends; sleeping in a totally dark, quiet, and comfortable space; removing all electronic devices, particularly computers, tablets, and cell phones from the room where you sleep; avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco for at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime; keeping all daytime napping short and before 4 or 5 pm. Try not to go to sleep hungry or stuffed. If you do wake up during the night, avoid checking the clock or looking to see if you have any new texts or emails. In a study of 20 volunteers, after 8 weeks of meditation and yoga, novices in meditation expressed 2209 new genes, most improving health and the body’s response to psychological stress.

 

Magnesium before bed is a great, safe source of calming and relaxation. Bananas are loaded with magnesium. You can enjoy a banana tea by washing a banana, removing the tips, cut it in half and boil it, with the peel on, in 3-5 cups of water for 4-5 minutes. Pour the liquid into a tea cup, add cinnamon and a little honey and enjoy! You may find that you sleep like a newborn baby.

 

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Potassium

SIGNS OF DEFICIENCYNPP TIP Blog Potassium
Abnormal Heartbeat
Constipation
Fatigue
Headaches
Hypertension
Low Blood Sugar
Muscle Cramps
Muscle Weakness
Palpitations
Stomach Pain & Gut Obstructions

 

 

Many years ago, while on vacation, I noticed that my hands and fingers were swollen. To combat this, my friend offered me one of her water pills, which I gratefully accepted. About 2 or 3 hours later, I felt weak, dizzy, and light-headed. I felt as if I was about to faint. This was my first experience with a potassium deficiency. I learned, the hard way, that if one is taking a drug, like Lasix, it must be coupled with increased water and a consumption of high potassium foods, like a banana or orange juice. I also learned not to take anyone else’s prescription drugs.

 

Potassium is an essential macromineral. It is also an electrolyte, like sodium and magnesium. It partners with sodium to manage the water within the body. Sodium works outside of the cells while potassium works inside of the cells in order to maintain a proper fluid balance, preventing water retention or dehydration. Potassium supports blood pressure and helps to maintain proper pH levels, beating of the heart, muscle mass, and repair of body tissue. It is essential for proper muscle function, cardiovascular health, bone strength, and the transmission of nerve impulses sharing messages between your brain and your body. Potassium loss can be the result of diarrhea, vomiting, or low water intake during a flu or gastric ailment.

 

Optimal daily potassium intake from food for a healthy adult is 3500 to 4700 mg daily. Great sources of potassium are bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, apricots, cooked spinach, kale, beet greens, soy and lima beans, cucumbers, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, yams, wild salmon, and avocado. Most of us can easily get what we need from food. If you are unable to consume enough dietary potassium or if you have been ill, you can top it up with supplements purchased at your local health food store. An average dose may be one or two 250 mg capsule of potassium citrate daily with meal.

 

We are continuously reminded to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. Some people overdo their water intake thinking that it will help them lose weight more quickly. This can result in a depletion of potassium causing kidney stones or heart malfunction.

Our webinar, The Kidneys, includes:

    • a discussion on how a diet low in potassium and high in sodium is associated with hypertension;
    • that 95% of our potassium is found inside of our cells;
    • that a natural diet rich in fruits and veggies can give us a 100:1 ratio of K: Na;
    • how 2.5 to 5.0 grams of potassium per day can give significant drops in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, and much more.

 

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Magnesium

Magnesium blog

 

 

BENEFITS:

Relaxes every muscle in your body – including the heart

Relief from Insomnia

Reduces anxiety, depression, stress, sadness

Necessary to get calcium into the bones

Regulates blood pressure

Supports Insulin metabolism

Blood vessel constriction – may prevent migraine headaches

Improves PMS symptoms

 

 

Magnesium, as a macromineral, is essential for the bones, muscles, heart, brain, the immune system and the nervous system.

 

Foods rich in magnesium include dark chocolate (64 mg/oz), avocado (58 mg), nuts (82 mg/oz), legumes, tofu, whole grains, fatty fish, leafy greens, bananas, and seeds. 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds offer 307 mg and sunflower seeds, 129 mg.

 

As a supplement, in a capsule, Magnesium is taken to bowel tolerance. If you experience diarrhea, nausea, or cramping, back off by one. With calcium, the recommended dose is a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium but for women, a 1:1 ratio or even a 1:2 ratio is often more beneficial, particularly for those experiencing PMS.

 

Magnesium can also be taken as a Tissue Cell Salt, small tablets that are dissolved in the mouth. Mag Phos 6X is excellent for muscle pain, restless leg, and, for some, as a sleep aid. The body uses what it needs and expels the rest without causing bowel disturbances.

 

Women have often been referred to as “mag wasters” meaning that they lose an unusual amount of magnesium throughout the day.  Magnesium loss is also experienced by Massage Therapists, both men and women, who often experience muscle cramps in their hands and fingers.

 

In our “Heart & Stroke – Women vs Men” webinar, we focus on how a woman’s heart differs in size, heart rate, and also the contrast in structure of the arteries and valves resulting in a substantial difference between the two sexes in terms of risks, symptoms, care, diagnosis, and treatment. We discuss how Magnesium helps to keep calcium in solution preventing it from precipitating out into artery walls which would result in the building of plaque. Also, how magnesium prevents Aluminum buildup in the body. Magnesium is essential for a healthy heart, maintaining a steady heartbeat and a normal blood pressure.

 

In our “Adrenal Fatigue” webinar, we discuss Adrenal burnout and exhaustion due primarily to stress, emotional, physical, and environmental. We discuss the importance of Magnesium, the inhibitory mineral for the Sympathetic Nervous System. Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is instrumental in keeping you calm and relaxed.

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