Pain medications that include opioids have a lasting negative affect on the gut microbiome. Have you ever taken a Tylenol #3 with codeine? Had an operation and needed pain killers like meperidine (Demerol) or morphine? Or a prescription for oxycodone (OxyContin®) or hydrocodone (Vicodin®) to help relieve intense pain? Opioids are a class of drugs that also include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
Consequences of opioid use are well known. If overdosed, it suppresses breathing function. Also commonly experienced at prescribed levels are: constipation, nausea, vomiting, bloating and “leaky gut” (gut barrier dysfunction). There is an evident change in bacterial colonies and bile acid production is also affected. Bile acids are used to break down fats and digest food. Gut barrier dysfunction can lead to multiple food sensitivities and chronic inflammatory patterns like headaches, joint pain and brain fog. All of this disruption can increase risk of infectious disease.
Support of the microbiome with probiotics is key to health maintenance. Research continues on which would be most beneficial during opioid therapy. Critical is the restoration of a healthy microbiome post surgery, opioid pain medications or even addiction.
Naturopathic doctors excel in identifying food sensitvities, removing unwanted microbes, repairing and restoring gut function.
A healthy regular stool is not always indicative of a healthy microbiome. History of autoimmune conditions, food sensitivity, sugar cravings, gas, pain, bloating, bad breath, candidiasis, brain fog, mood changes, weight issues, skin issues, joint pain, trauma, stress, headaches, use of birth control or other hormones, frequent use of antibiotics and certain drugs can all be factors or indicators of microbiome disruption.
What drugs affect the microbiome?
Your microbiome may be out of balance if you are currently, or have history of taking, any of the following drugs:
Food sensitivities often rise when the microbiome is off balance. It is important to recognize the foods that are bothersome. Then remove them for a while and do the work to remove unwanted microbes and replace with healthy ones while repairing the gastrointestinal tract lining. Protocols are patient specific based on the microbiome the lining of gastrointestinal tract and the overall health of the patient.
Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a functional medicine approach. She is a Certified Gluten Practitioner, a HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is a graduate of Adapt Level 1 at Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine. Essentially, Dr. Brown helps people better digest their food and the word around them. More at www.naturalaura.ca and www.forwardhealth.ca
Electro Dermal Screening (EDS) Food Sensitivity Testing is done in-house at Forward Health. Please note the EDS is not a Health Canada approved device and does not treat or diagnose any condition. The results can be useful as a guided elimination diet tool. For scientifically backed blood testing, there are many options to test for food sensitivity. When you work with Dr. Laura she will help you choose what test best suits your needs and how much each of the tests cost. Laboratory tests may be completed by taking a paid requisition for blood draw to a local laboratory and the results will be subsequently reviewed in an appointment with Dr. Laura.
If you are a new patient, Dr. Laura will need to see you first to evaluate the the food sensitivity test that best suits your needs.
Often sensitivities go undiagnosed because the reaction is gradual and will happen within 3 minutes to 3 days. This makes it more difficult to pinpoint which food is the trigger. Being sensitive to a food may mean the person needs to avoid it completely, or be able to have a small amount occasionally. Sometimes after months of abstinence, a food may be reintroduced without an issue. Symptoms of food sensitivity can be variable and may involve:
SKIN: eczema, skin rashes, dark circles under the eyes, puffiness
GI: damage to the mucosal lining, perforation & “leaky gut”. This can make it difficult for nutrients and vitamins to absorb into the body and the person over time can become deficient in things like iron, zinc, and B12. It can also rear itself as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
WEIGHT GAIN: always good to rule out food sensitivities when there is unexplained weight gain.
Who is at risk?
Often affiliated with autoimmune disease (SLE/lupus, thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), toxic exposure to heavy metals, molds & family history.
Aggravated by alcohol, strenuous exercise and NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen)
History exogenous hormone exposure (birth control pills, pesticides, plastics), antibiotics
What foods typically cause IgG reactions?
Dairy, wheat, egg, sugar, corn & soy
Some with RA find the nightshade family harmful: (potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant)
How do I learn if I have an sensitivity?
IgG testing can be accessed through your health care practitioner via a blood draw test. Electrodermal screening will provide information suitable as a guided elimination diet tool. Call for availability.
What’s the difference between food sensitivity and food allergies?
Food sensitivities are a delayed response 3 minutes – 3 days later, as discussed above. Food sensitivities are not an immediate threat to life. Food allergies are an immediate (within 5-10minutes of ingesting the food) IgE immune response that can be life threatening. Once a food allergy (often shellfish or peanut) are identified, the body amps up its response at every subsequent exposure. Mast cells and basophils release proinflammatory mediators in response to allergen exposure. This is why it is important for people with food allergies to carry an EPI pen, use it when needed and get themselves to a hospital if they are exposed to the particular food. Symptoms of food allergy can be variable and may involve:
MOOD: feeling of doom or very unwell.
SKIN: hives, urticaria (pale red raised itchy bumps), swelling or flaring of atopic dermatitis (skin irritation)
Combined together in a very fast response, the person may experience ANAPHYLAXIS, a serious and potentially life threatening allergic reaction. Note that aside from food, insect bites, stings, medications can also be a trigger.
What foods typically cause IgE reactions?
Peanut, Pollen (could be on fresh fruit), shellfish, fish, sesame seeds, tree nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, and wheat.
Made worse with alcohol, exercise, NSAIDs (Advil, ibuprofen)
What if someone is experiencing these symptoms and has a known food allergy?
Ask if they have an EPI pen and where they keep it. It will administer epinephrine which will increase their heart rate and open their airways.
Ask if you can get it for them
Allow the person to administer the EPI pen themselves. It should be placed at the thigh and pressed into the muscle.
If no EPI, consider a dose of Benadryl
Get the person to the hospital immediately.
How do I learn if I have an allergy?
IgE testing can be done by your health care practitioner via skin prick or blood test. A naturopathic doctor may order some IgE blood tests for food allergy and it is usually an immunologist who will do the skin prick test to diagnose and provide an EPI pen prescription if need be. Feel free to call Forward Health and book an appointment to discuss your concerns and needs and to obtain the appropriate requisition via Dr. Laura.
Kick the New Year off right – reset your diet, your health and invigorate your life!
Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND offers Naturopathic Medicine with a Functional Medicine approach. She helps people better digest their food and the world around them. She is a Naturopathic Doctor, a Certified Gluten Practitioner, HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in a year long training module at the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.
Achieve Optimum Health
Why wait until disease sets in? A visit to Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help you identify nutritional deficiencies before disease sets in. With a physical exam and intake that looks at your hair, skin, nails, sleep, stress and diet, Dr. Laura may identify nutritional deficiencies that, if left alone may lead to a number of common problems:
poor workout recovery
poor memory and concentration
brittle, cracked or peeling nails
Food Sensitivity Testing
Sometimes we can be sensitive to foods and not even know it. Testing helps identify what foods may be bothering your system. Using blood or electro dermal screening test will help identify foods that need to be rotated, avoided or eaten occasionally. Knowing your personal food fingerprint may help reduce or even eliminate skin conditions, depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, joint pain and more.
Electro Dermal Screening Tests
Naturopathic Medicine is a comprehensive framework for medicine that looks at the body as a whole and integrated biological web of physiological function. Dietary analysis helps see if you get the ratio of fats, carbs and protein that best suits your individual requirements.
Clinical and laboratory testing is used to evaluate optimum levels for your best health. Most conventional interpretation use metrics that diagnose disease… but why wait until then? Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can evaluate:
Physical evaluation of the health of the hair, skin, nails
Dietary analysis helps identify meal timing and preference, macronutrient balance
Blood tests are available to evaluate status of nutrients like iron, B12, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, Vitamin D.
Electrodermal screening will help identify an imbalance of a given nutrient.
Kick off the new year with an overview of your nutritional status and find your optimum health. Call 519.826.7973 to book your appointment today.
Are you an emotional eater? Or have you ever wondered if what you eat can affect how your feel? Discover top 5 digestive links between the food you eat and the way you feel.
Join Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND to learn about:
1. The Hunger Cues
2. Food Sensitivities
3. Gut Health and Mood Connection
4. Sugar & Dopamine
5. Protein & Neurotransmitters
For example: Did you know the microflora or bacteria that lines your digestive tract can communicate to your hunger centres and trigger cravings to preferentially feed themselves? Learn how to build a healthy flora that will contribute to your mood, your weight and your well being.
This and the four other areas listed above will be covered in Dr. Laura M. Brown’s next complimentary talk entitled Food or Mood at Goodness Me! in Guelph on January 13th, 6:30pm. Register here.
What foods are best for you?
Note current Christmas SPECIAL on your Individualized Koru Food Sensitivity testing
at Forward Health with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. No Needles.