Dr. Laura: Menopause-could probiotics be the answer?

The microbiome shows distinct differences in pre and post menopausal women, a 2019 study reports.

The change in microbiome could help us better understand the reasons for health decline in many post-menopausal women. The presence of estrogen protects against cardiovascular, metabolic disease and bone health. Now mounting evidence shows how the gut microbiota affects estrogen metabolism levels. It is unclear if the post-menopausal decline in estrogen is directly related to the change in diversity of the microbiome. We do know that estrogen hold some regulatory capacity in the immune system and more than 70% of the immune system resides in the gut.

Bone health

Additionally, probiotics can help in bone mineral matrix as the microbes in the gut are responsible for secreting a host of metabolites into the blood stream. Aging women tend to have more Tolumonas microbes. These particular bacterium produce toluene which can reduce bone mineral density.

Some evidence that compares the microbiome of the pre and post menopausal women showed that the bacteria seemed to be more satisfied in the earlier years and tend to compete with each other for nutrient substrates in later years. A decline in estrogen after menopause could increase the bacterial demand for calcium.

Cardiovascular health

Post-menopausal women have a microbiome that produces more cysteine and homocysteine. These components absorb across the small intestine into the blood stream and pose as risk factors for cardiovascular disease. You can take a lab test to measure you homocysteine levels.

Immune health

It is important to uphold a diverse microbiome to keep the immune system healthy and strong. Older women have higher levels of E.coli and Bacteroides and lower levels of bacteria in the Firmicutes family. Younger women have more Roseburia and less Parabacteroides. The ratios of these microbes in older women links to metabolic and endocrine disorders.

Probiotics for anti-aging

This might be all Greek to you and me, (actually the names of all these critters are in Latin), but the take away is pretty cool. Some of the difference found between pre and post menopausal individuals may provide leadership into the field of anti-aging with probiotic therapy.

References

Hui ZhaoJuanjuan ChenXiaoping LiQiang SunPanpan QinQi Wang Compositional and functional features of the female premenopausal and postmenopausal gut microbiota. First published: 05 July 2019 https://doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.13527

Dr. Laura: Opioids have lasting affect on the microbiome

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.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND is a registered naturopathic doctor with a Functional Medicine approach.  She has advanced training in pharmaceuticals, is a certified HeartMath Practitioner and a Certified Gluten Practitioner  and holds the designation of ADAPT Trained Practitioner from Kresser Institute, the only Functional Medicine and ancestral health training company.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5827657/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26906406

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27895265

Dr. Laura: The Science of Eating a Rainbow

The colours that our foods employ are very functional and serve a purpose. Phytonutrients are vast and the last time I counted, there were over 5,000 known.

Allow me to introduce Dr. Deana Minich, MD. She has dedicated her career to express why, in scientific means, we should “eat” a rainbow. In the chart below she simplifies how different coloured foods serve our body.

image

What makes this even more interesting is that this chart also closely reflects the colours that relate to the energy centres of the body called chakras. This makes eating polyphenol rich foods easy to prescribe!

Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits is critical to good nutrition. Try 6 cups of vegetables a day and 1-3 cups of fruit per day. Choose foods for their vital nutrient function in ways that serve the needs of your body.

Plant Power!

Turns out, mother nature has packed a punch of power in the plant kingdom. Many plants contain one or more of these 5,000 nutritional perks that helps us:

  • Defend against pathogens, parasites, and predators.
  • Protect against chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and cancer.
  • Purify and renew the blood
  • Nourish
  • Cleanse body of toxins
  • Stimulate effects
  • Relaxing effects
  • Anti-inflammatory

So next time you are in the grocery store, hit the fresh produce aisle and think “Eat a Rainbow”! You just might find the gold that exists at the end of it…your good health.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Laura: Is Your Thyroid Tired ?

Perhaps your thyroid needs a check-up? It does if you feel sluggish, tired, constipated, have difficult concentration, and are a wee bit depressed.

Subclinical hypothyroidism is when a patient with sluggish digestion, cognition, fatigue and weight issues has a high TSH but normal T4. It is important to look at the reasons for the symptoms, which could have multiple causes, before reaching for the thyroid hormone replacement drug.

Don’t let the sunset on your thyroid…

What nutrients help the thyroid?

Nutrition is a factor. Consider levels of zinc, iodine, selenium and iron as they all play a role in thyroid function. B12 is also an important one to look at and easy to run the labs to determine its status.  Also the health of the gut microbiome and liver needs to be healthy as a large amount of the inactive T4 converts to the active T3 thyroid hormone in the liver and the gut. So many people have issues with the balance in their microbiome.  

Does stress play a role?

Another area of thyroid health to consider is the stress axis. This involves the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal, or HPA. Chronic long term stress can make it difficult for optimal thyroid function. In addition to mineral level attention, it is highly important to support the adrenals and provide opportunities for stress management.  

Are there natural thyroid medications?

Finally, there are other options to synthetic thyroid. Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) may be something to consider if diet and lifestyle changes don’t break through the fog. NDT provides both T4 and T3, which is good if there is an issue with conversion.

How can a naturopathic doctor help?

Naturopathic doctors are medical trained and naturally focussed. They can run labs for the nutrient levels, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), T4, T3, and any antibodies to help rule out autoimmune thyroid disease. This helps determine what nutrients might be missing and what foods or nutraceutical dose to suggest and for how long. Naturopathic doctors with education in pharmaceuticals are able to prescribe natural desiccated thyroid. They are also very good at stress management and adrenal (HPA-axis) support with both nutrition, lifestyle and stress management programs.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND is a board certified naturopathic doctor with advanced training in pharmaceuticals, functional medicine and stress management. She is a Heart Math Certified Practitioner, a graduate of the Kresser Institute’s Adapt Level 1 functional medicine training and is a Certified Gluten Practitioner.

Dr. Laura: Drugs that affect the microbiome

Drugs are one of the major factors that affect the microbiome. The impacts vary depending on the drug and duration of treatment.

The environmentfoodstress and drugs  all contribute to changes in the microbiome. This is why it is important to recognize and address any contributors that cause troubles.

Clinical intake and tests flushes out root causes and provide clarity. 

Why should I care?

Unique patterns in the microbiome link to different diseases. An unhealthy microbiome links to depression, anxiety, autistic disordersvitamin and mineral status (nutrient absorption)hormone production,  eczemadiabetes, obesity, arthritis and inflammatory bowel psoriasis and other autoimmune, conditions, heart healthcholesterolnon-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), diseases.  Research continues to expand this list.  

What is the microbiome?

The human microbiome exists in the gastrointestinal/urogenital tract and the skin. The trillions of cells that make up our microbiome actually out number the human cells that we have in our body by tenfold. Are we microbes having a human experience?

Healthy microbiome?

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:

  • Antibiotics
  • Cancer Therapies
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidiabetic drugs
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • GI disorder drugs
  • Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-psychotic drugs
  • Anti-coagulants
  • Hormones: estrogen, birth control, thyroid hormone

Find out more…tests available

One helpful test to look at the key players of the microbiome is the comprehensive stool and parasitic analysis. Knowledge of the landscape certainly helps streamline the treatment. 

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

Dr. Laura Shares: GUT Viruses Implicated in Parkinson’s Disease

This article on the link between viruses found in the gastrointestinal tract and Parkinson’s Disease is from www.medscape.com

Gut Viruses a Potential Trigger for Parkinson’s Disease?

Pauline Anderson

July 19, 2018

Shifts in gut bacteriophages, viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria, are implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD), new research suggests.

“Most likely, bacteriophages are previously overlooked triggers for the development of Parkinson disease in some patient populations,” lead author George Tetz, MD, PhD, head of R&D at the Human Microbiology Institute, a not-for-profit scientific research organization in New York City, and of the Tetz Laboratories, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr George Tetz

Although the results need to be confirmed, they open the door for discussing bacteriophages as a novel therapeutic target and diagnostic tool for patients with PD, said Tetz.

The study was published online July 17 in Scientific Reports.

Incidence Rising

The incidence of PD is on the rise in the Western world, with a higher prevalence among white men.

PD symptoms of tremors and motor symptoms are mainly related to depletion of dopamine in the striatum. The hallmark pathological signs of PD are Lewy bodies, which have a main component of α-synuclein protein.

While genetic risk factors contribute to PD, about 90% of PD cases are attributed to environmental factors. Up to 75% of patients have gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities that can precede motor symptoms by many years.

Given the influence of gut bacteria on human health and the early involvement of GI microbiota in PD, the concept that the microbiota-gut-brain axis plays a role in PD has recently emerged.

The human GI tract houses bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, including bacteriophages, which outnumber other viral and bacterial species.

How bacteriophages negatively affect health has recently gained scientific interest.

“These bacterial viruses can lead to the death of bacterial populations,” said Tetz.

He and his team previously showed that bacteriophage administration can cause shifts in mammalian microbiota, leading to increased intestinal permeability and triggering chronic inflammation.

Gut bacteria may be implicated in PD through several pathways. One such pathway outlined by the authors involves the enteric nervous system (ENS), which  that is in constant direct communication with the brain through the vagus nerve.

Vagus Nerve a Disease Pathway?

According to the model of gut-originating, inflammation-driven PD pathogenesis, PD starts in the ENS and spreads through the vagus nerve to the central nervous system.

This concept is confirmed by the presence of α-synuclein aggregates in myenteric neurons of the ENS before the onset of PD motor symptoms, the authors note.

An unrelated 2016 study, reported by Medscape Medical News, showed that truncal vagotomy, or removal of the vagus nerve, was associated with a reduced risk for PD.

The authors of that study concluded that this finding suggests Parkinson’s pathology may ascend from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve.

In the new study, Tetz and colleagues note that changes in the composition of gut microbiota may cause alterations in the intestinal barrier function and permeability, affecting both the immune system and the ENS.

The new analysis was based on another study that included 31 patients, mean age about 65 years, with early-stage PD and 28 sex- and age-matched people without PD.

The patients with PD had not yet been treated with L-dopa. This, said Tetz, is very important.

“It’s well-known that the administration of dopamine in Parkinson’s disease patients leads to a significant shift of the microbiome.”

Patients with chronic and inflammatory GI diseases and those using laxatives, immune suppressants, or antibiotics in the past 3 months were excluded from the study.

To analyze the study participants’ fecal samples, researchers used metagenomics analysis and a unique algorithm developed by the authors to quantify bacterial and phage content. They also examined the phage/bacteria ratio.

Environmental Origin?

Under normal circumstances, this ratio is 1, which means one bacterium has one bacteriophage inserted in its genome, said Tetz.

“Alterations of this ratio represent an increase of bacteriophages, and as a result, lead to a decrease of bacterial populations that are killed by these bacteriophages.”

The investigators found a significant between-group difference in the phage/bacterial ratio for Lactococcus (lactic acid bacteria). There was more than a 10-fold decrease in Lactococcus species  in patients with PD compared with controls.

Lactococcus plays an important role in the metabolism of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. It also regulates intestinal permeability, another factor implicated in PD pathogenesis.

Despite the “striking” depletion of Lactococcus species in patients with PD, the total number of respective Lactococcus phages was about the same between the PD and control groups, the investigators report.

To investigate this discrepancy and a possible role of bacteriophages in the depletion of Lactococcus, the researchers divided Lactococcus phages into two clusters: strictly virulent (lytic), which can lead to the death of bacterial populations, or temperate. They compared the distribution of these two types between patients with PD and controls.

In the control group, the number of the lytic and temperate phages was similar, whereas in the PD group, most lactococcal phages were strictly virulent.

Tetz noted that the increase in these strictly lytic phages was accompanied by a decrease of Lactococcus bacteria. This, he said, suggests that the depletion of Lactococcus in patients with PD could be caused by lytic phages.

It’s not clear why the patients with PD had increased levels of lytic phages — whether, for example, it was from diet or a particular genetic susceptibility. This question must be addressed in further experiments, which are already in the planning stages, said Tetz.

However, he believes that the appearance of these lytic phages is most likely due to some external factor. The fact that these phages are lytic, meaning they enter microbiota, lead to the death of the bacterial population, and don’t persist for long in the gut, “would suggest that it’s something that originates from the environment.”

Dairy to Blame?

He noted that the type of phages that were increased in patients with PD in the study are found in yogurt and other dairy products. But he said it’s too early to conclude that such products play any role in PD.

The investigators believe that boosting Lactococcus bacterial species, or preventing a drop in levels, may prove useful in halting the development of PD.

But he stressed the importance of “diagnosing the death of the Lactococcus population at the appropriate time — before and not after the development of the disease.”

While it’s still unclear whether changes in dairy food consumption, or use of supplements, would change the gut Lactococcus population, fecal transplants are an intervention under active investigation.

However, Tetz believes that to be successful, such transplants would likely need to involve a limited number of bacterial species.

“There are a lot of drawbacks to regular fecal transplants, especially in the elderly population,” said Tetz. “It can lead to unpredictable shifts of the microbiome,” so new methods and new algorithms need to be developed “to make it safer.”
In light of these new results, bacteriophages should be added to the list of possible factors associated with the development of PD, the authors note.

They add that gut phagobiota composition may serve as a diagnostic tool as well as a target for therapeutic intervention.

The research team has also investigated the role of bacteriophages in type 1 diabetes. Tetz said the results “have revealed a striking difference” in children with this autoimmune disease.

Gaining Momentum

Commenting on the findings for Medscape Medical News, Michael S. Okun, MD, professor and chair of neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville, and medical director, Parkinson’s Foundation, said the idea that change in the gut microbiome and bacterial content may be important to PD is “gaining momentum.”

The new study, which is “novel” in that it analyzed the phage/bacteria ratio in study participants, contributes useful information on the topic, said Okun.

“There were possibly important shifts in the phage/bacteria ratio in lactic acid bacteria potentially important to dopamine and to intestinal permeability.”

The depletion in Lactococcus was “intriguing” as previous studies have linked dairy products to development of PD, said Okun.

However, he warned that the new study needs to be interpreted carefully because all the patients with PD were drug naive and there were only 31 of them.

Okun agreed with the authors that it would be “speculative” to use this information “as a direct link” to the cause of or potential treatments for PD.

“Understanding the microbiome in Parkinson may unlock new diets or treatment approaches, or even help current medications and therapies work more effectively, but much more research will be required.”

Tetz and Okun have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Sci Rep. Published online July 17, 2018. Full text

For more Medscape Neurology news, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Dr. Laura: Probiotics to Treat Depression

Research strengthens the GUT-Brain axis connection; McMaster University find benefits of probiotics in cases of depression.

Probiotics may relieve symptoms of depression, suggests a new study.
Credit: © WrightStudio / Fotolia

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523124119.htm

Specific Strains Identified

A number of patients come to me with a history of depression. Some may or may not be medicated at the time. Probiotics are a safe addition to current regimes and there are specific strains which have been researched for helping depression. One of my clinical favourite multi-strain probiotics happens to carry these four strains, in addition to seven others. This together with other forms of supplementation like B-12 injections, fish oil in the proper format and doses can make a big difference in over all mood and productivity.

Are you a candidate?

After a full intake and physical screening, a review of your latest blood work and any imaging, Dr. Laura M. Brown ND can help you build a plan for a happier healthier you.

Book now

Dr. Laura: Micro biome linked to fatigue, insomnia and hormone regulation

Did you know? You can fix your fatigue, insomnia, and hormones by focussing on your flora. Find out how and why your gut affects your biorhythms in the next complimentary seminar with Dr. Laura M. Brown.

The GUT-Circadian Rhythm Connection

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor, Certified HeartMath Practitioner, Ceritified Gluten Practitioner and has a Functional Medicine approach in her practice. What she really does is help people better digest their food and the world around them.

Wednesday, July 12th 6:30-8:00pm @ Goodness Me

Register Now!

Flourish Your Flora

When the bacteria and yeasts in the gut, also sometimes referred to as microflora, micro biome or simply “flora”, are imbalanced, it can not only promote gassiness and bloating, it fails to provide the front line defence needed to prevent disease.  A healthy microflora will mean a healthy person! 70-80% of our immune system is in our gastrointestinal tract and the microbes in there play a big part in many aspects of our health.

What affects Flora in a Bad Way?

  • Antibiotic use
  • NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Aspirin, Celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac and indomethacin)
  • Birth control pills
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep deprivation—even a single night of significant sleep deprivation can affect intestinal permeability and other aspects of digestion and gut function.
  • Overeating – even overeating in a single meal can affect the micro biome
  • Physical inactivity or excess physical activity
  • Hypothyroidism, (T3 is required for intestinal motility, less T3 leads to constipation)
  • Hyperthyroidism  (Too much T3 leads to diarrhea and loose stools).
  • HPA axis dysfunction -changes in cortisol secretion can lead to flora changes through a number of different mechanisms.
  • Excess alcohol intake (increases intestinal permeability)
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Environmental toxins such as mold, biotoxins, and heavy metals.

Good Flora Provides

Protective, Structural and Metabolic Function.

Protection.

  • Pathogen displacement
  • Nutrient competition
  • Receptor competition
  • Antimicrobial compounds

Structure.

  • Barrier fortification
  • Induction of IgA
  • Apical tightening of tight junctions
  • Immune system development

Metabolic function.

  • Aid in absorption of energy and minerals from food
  • Production of some vitamins
  • Help reduce inflammation. 

Flourish Your Flora

Fermented foods provide naturally occurring probiotics to the human through diet and have a long history of safe use. It is important to feed the gut micro biome with the right microbes every day in order to maintain beneificial protection, structure and function.

Yogurt: Fermented milk product. Slightly tart, varying thickness and creaminess. Yogurt is abundant in calcium, zinc, B vitamins, and probiotics; it is a good source of protein; and it may be supplemented with vitamin D and additional probiotics associated with positive health outcomes. Traditional yogurt contains: Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii (bulgaricus), and Streptococcus thermophiles. For best nutrition, opt for yogurt with no added sugar or flavours and one that states “live and active cultures”.

Recent studies have shown that yogurt consumption is associated with a healthier diet and metabolic profile in adults. In children, frequent yogurt consumption is associated with a lower fasting insulin level, reduced insulin resistance and increased insulin sensitivity.

Kefir: Fermented milk. Taste is tangy and smooth. Much like a liquid yogurt with about three times the amount of probiotics per serving. Kefir typically contains the following beneficial bacteria: Lactococcus lactis (lactis, cremoris, diacetylactis), Leuconostoc mesenteroides (cremoris), Lactobacillus kefyr (thermophilic)and Saccaromyces unisporus.

Kefir is also a reasonable source of phosphorus and protein, vitamin B12, B1, and Vitamin K. It is an excellent source of biotin, a B Vitamin that aids the body’s assimilation of other B Vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. Kefir can be calming with its calcium, magnesium, and tryptophan.

Also good news for people lacking lactase, the enzyme required to break down lactose (sugar in milk products). Not only does fermentation reduce lactose content in kefir from 5% to 3.6%, the beta-galactosidase in kefir additionally breakdown lactose. For this reason, Kefir is good to help re-build tolerance to lactose, especially those with Candidiasis. Generally, it is suggested to start with two shooter cups of kefir in the morning (about 4oz) on an empty stomach. Every other day increase the amount by an additional shooter cup (2 oz) until you are able to drink a full 8oz (236ml).

Kombucha: Fermented black tea. Look for ones that are raw and do not have sugar listed on the list of ingredients. Gluten free, dairy free and vegan. Craze started 2,000 years ago in the Orient. It’s tart, fizzes and is somewhat acidic: a bit of an acquired taste. Kombucha received some bad rap based on the home preparations fermented in lead-glazed ceramic containers (what were they thinking!). Any fermentation process is best done in clean glass, in conditions away from the risk of possible contaminants. Follow clean fermentation practice if brewing at home. Kombucha tea can contain up to 1.5% alcohol, vinegar (acetic acid), probiotics, B vitamins, and caffeine. If left unrefrigerated, the alcohol will continue to build. If pasteurized, the probiotic content will be killed. Probiotics are grown from a “scoby” which is made of Acetobacter xylinoides, Acetobacter ketogenum a Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Saccharomycodes apiculatus, Zygosaccharomyes species, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Schizosaccharomyces pombe: Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Gluconacetobacter kombuchae, and Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis. In animal studies, kombucha has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels.

Note: Too much kombucha can be toxic to those with weakened immune systems. A moderate serving is about 4oz a day, more increase risk for metabolic acidosis.

Fermented Vegetables: Pickles, Beets, Kimchi, Sauerkraut…pretty much any vegetable can be fermented. Traditionally, the vegetable is soaked in brine (salt) that kills off harmful bacteria. In the fermentation stage, the naturally remaining Lactobacillus bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them their unique, tangy flavor. Think of combining prebiotics in your fermented vegetable recipes for added goodness.

More at: https://chriskresser.com/become-a-fermentation-ninja-without-leaving-your-pajamas/ 

  • Feed the flora! Just like fish in an aquarium, your need to feed your flora. You need prebiotics to feed the colonies of probotics (Lactic Acid producing Bacteria). Prebiotics are non-digestible plant-derived carbohydrates. Not only is it important to supplement with fermented foods that provide beneficial bacteria, it is important to also provide the food that stimulates probiotic growth and further fermentation in the colon. Diets complete with prebiotics and probiotics have shown to reduce reactive oxygen species and markers of inflammation. Prebiotics include fructans like inulin or fructo-oligosaccharides which in English means chicory root powder or as it is labeled, FOS (Fermenting Oxygen Species). Inulin is also naturally found in asparagus, bananas, burdock root, dandelion root, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks and onions.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown ND. 

Carb Cravings? 5 easy tips

Craving carbohydrates and don’t know how to get them under control?

Here are 5 easy steps to help put you back in control.

  1. Test your Candida levels.
  2. Eat a meal with protein and healthy fats
  3. Eat within your 30 min glycemic window after exercise
  4. Eliminate processed foods
  5. Deal with your stress.

Candida?

If your Candida abicans levels are out of balance, you will find you have an insatiable sweet tooth, always need something sweet after a meal and suffer from a mix of possible symptoms like brain fog, headaches, sinusitis, join pain, skin rashes, bloating, gas and diarrhea. These crazy critters can actually yank on your nervous system chain, send messages to your brain saying “I want sugar”!! So, don’t blame your self wholly, however it is you who has to take responsibility. Just like saying to a child “no, you can’t have a cookie right now” you have to put your foot down and say the same to yourself. Or those terrible little Candida critters who are running your world right now. How do you know if it’s you or them? How do you get rid of them?

A simple 15 minute test in our clinic will help you get a sense for your levels of Candida. Email drlaura@forwardhealth.ca. Getting your micro biome back in balance will also reduce inflammation and restore nutrient absorption. With scientifically proven therapies, my patients are able to reduce Candida albicans levels and re-set many micro biomes within 1-3 months of therapy.

Boost Nutrient Density

Sometimes when we crave sweets we actually need to eat something with protein and healthy fat to increase nutrient density and satiation. For example, try eating a handful of almonds and an apple or a slice of chicken or turkey with some avocado – then wait 5-10 minutes and see if you still crave the sweets.

30 Minute Glycemic Index

After an intense workout, you have depleted the glycogen stores in the muscles. To optimize energy for your next workout and balance your carb intake later, eat something with carbohydrates in it within thirty minutes of working out. For some this means a quick protein drink with some carbs in it, an orange or a banana or a healthy homemade nutball. Eating a full balanced meal with in two hours of your workout will also help balance your blood sugar and keep you from craving carbohydrates.

Ditch the Processed Foods

Processed foods often have little fibre and a lot of sugar. This means the sugar from the food gets quick access to your blood stream. what results are spikes in your blood sugar levels, triggering an influx of insulin to quickly get the levels under control. Consequently,   your blood sugar quickly drops and you feel like you need to have more to eat. On it goes, the sugar craving roller coaster. Instead, try to eat foods high in fibre, with some proteins and healthy fats so your blood sugar levels are more regulated.

Get Stress Under Control

Serotonin and dopamine are feel good neurotransmitter which get depleted in stress. Eating carbohydrates helps boost these neurotransmitters. This is why, when we feel stressed, we crave comfort foods, which are carbohydrate based. Secondly, elevated cortisol will increased the demand for carbohydrate consumption because it blunts the desire for proteins and vegetables. Learn how to emotionally regulate and manage your stress and you will find it easier to naturally make healthier food choices.

From the heart and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND