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Digestive Dysfunction = Gut Gone Bad!

Filed in Adults, Cancer, Chronic Disease, Constipation, Diarrhea, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Heart Disease, Heartburn, Immune System, Indigestion, Inflammation, Liver, Preventable Issues, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/21/2017


digestive dysfunction girl - brenda watson.com

As we move into the third week of Colon Cancer Awareness Month it’s time to discuss what can go wrong in your gut. Last week I presented a very brief overview of how a healthy gut works. This week I’d like to help you recognize signs of digestive dysfunction. The result is multiple disease processes like constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, myriad chronic health conditions and even cancer.

However there is one critical point I must make, and I can’t stress this too strongly. In my 30+ years of working closely with people experiencing all levels of digestive issues, I have seen far too many cases of colon cancer. The unfortunate thing I’ve noticed time and again was this – when a person was diagnosed with colon cancer – they thought they had healthy digestion! Needless to say, they were floored by the diagnosis. When I questioned them further, I might hear “I had a little indigestion here and there” or “sometimes I was constipated”. Often they didn’t notice anything that might have tipped them off to a life-threatening situation brewing inside them.

That’s why it’s so important to truly understand and appreciate what really happens in your own body to do with digestion and absorption. The colon can be very quiet for a long time as disease smolders within. I believe this knowledge has fueled my passion to continue, day after day, to implore people to recognize that their gut is literally the core of their health.

What can go wrong? Intestinal toxemia = poisoning of the intestines!

Intestinal toxemia occurs when the bacteria in the gut act upon undigested food. This interaction can produce toxic chemical and gases. These toxins, in turn, can damage the mucosal lining, resulting in increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut). The net result is that the toxins are then able to spread throughout the body via the bloodstream.

7 common habits that may be poisoning your intestines:

  1. Inadequate amounts of living foods and quality proteins in our dietary choices
  2. Not chewing our foods thoroughly
  3. Drinking with meals
  4. Over-consumption of processed foods (including sugar!)
  5. Overeating in general
  6. Eating foods that we know we are sensitive or allergic to
  7. Inadequate water consumption between meals resulting in low-grade dehydration

Poisoning your intestines is a process that progresses over time. The good news is that you can reverse that process by changing your behaviors.

In the words of Dr. John Matsen, ND, “If you don’t digest your food quickly, some microorganism will digest it for you, making toxins.” These toxins created inside our bodies are called “endotoxins”. I want you to know that they are every bit as damaging to your body as external environmental toxins. We call those “exotoxins”, and are very familiar with the dangers of substances like pesticides, radon or car exhaust.

If the above mentioned habits continue for an extended period of time, the certain result is an overtaxed digestive system. That happens whether you experience mild to severe digestive symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Supporting organs such as your liver and pancreas become overburdened.

Ultimately, your once healthy gut begins its downhill spiral toward altered digestive function. Diagnoses like constipation, diarrhea, IBS or even IBD, along with cardiovascular issues, hormone imbalances, arthritis, fibromyalgia – the list goes on and on. And yes, even cancer.

This is primarily how the sad tale of disease begins – and if you truly understand this, you have the power to change your story and restore your health once more!

Digestive dysfunction. Please don’t let this happen!

Some major dysfunctional results of poor habits:

  • Deficiency of HCL – disrupted protein digestion and decreased stomach pH allowing harmful organisms access to the body
  • Pancreatic insufficiency – reduced enzyme and bicarbonate secretion – inefficient digestion of foods, reduced absorption of nutrients
  • Imbalanced intestinal pH – also reduces proper food breakdown and absorption and compromises immunity

You may think I’m being overdramatic – linking almost all variations of chronic disease processes to the gut. In two words – I’m NOT! Daily more and more supporting evidence is disclosed in clinical trials that prove that your digestion – breaking down and absorbing the nutrients you intake – is absolutely essential to every function in your body.

The premise is so simple it’s unbelievable that many Americans still fail to see the relationship between what goes in their mouths and the way they feel and function. As I mentioned, I think it’s largely due to the forgiving nature of the gut. Symptoms often don’t occur until quite a large amount of damage has been done. And it also has to do with our society’s obsession with simply eliminating symptoms. Many people don’t seem to care to understand what may have been causing that discomfort in the first place. Nexium be gone!

Next post I will give you an action list of exactly what you need to do to understand and heal your gut! Until then, eat lots of living foods!

BFF – Your Liver!

Filed in Cleansing, Environmental Toxins, Gut Solutions, Liver, Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease - NAFLD | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/18/2016


In terms of your health, one of your very best friends is your liver. It works tirelessly for you, performing myriad critical functions, keeping your body pure of toxins and harmful substances. It supports nearly every other organ in the body in some way.

We are all besieged daily by various substances that are foreign to normal body function. Pesticides, petrochemicals, plastics – and I’ve just mentioned a few that begin with “p”. Sadly, there are certainly toxins that begin with all of the other letters of the alphabet as well.

I was reading an article discussing a paper published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. It stated that more than 10 percent of the world’s population suffers from some form of liver disease. It also mentioned that many of these people choose natural remedies instead of pharmaceuticals as their therapy. Glad to hear that.

Liver cleansing is near and dear to my heart and I’ve been using herbal formulations for decades to support healthy liver function. What’s really remarkable about these herbs is that they are time and tradition tested across our globe, and found to be safe and effective, without the harmful side effects that we regularly encounter with man-made chemical medications.

So now let’s celebrate some natural herbs that can provide you with protection against liver cancer and various other forms of liver damage. Yes, there is a lot you can do to safeguard this essential ally of your health.

  • Turmeric, whose active ingredient is curcumin, has been extensively used in traditional Asian medicine to treat gut issues, arthritis, and low-energy or fatigue. It demonstrates anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. No wonder it gets such great press as one of the world’s healthiest foods!
  • Skullcap, active ingredient wogonin, has shown positive results in studies relating to Hepatitis B and C, as well as various forms of alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Interestingly, it has also been used in the treatment of a wide variety of nervous conditions, including epilepsy, insomnia, and anxiety.
  • Licorice Root, active ingredient glycyrrhizin, exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. In Chinese medicine licorice root has long been used to protect liver function and also to combat tumors, and is widely recognized as a go-to support in cases of chronic hepatitis.
  • Resveratrol is known widely for it’s anti-aging properties. It’s not surprising that it also protects the liver, helping to guard against the damage caused by free radicals and inflammatory processes. Resveratrol elevates levels of glutathione and promotes antioxidants in the body. It shines as a great liver-supporting herb.
  • Milk Thistle, active compound silymarin, is probably the most well researched supportive herb for the liver. Used medicinally for over 2,000 years and appreciated as a strong “liver tonic” worldwide, it is used extensively in preventing and even reversing liver toxicity caused by toxins and drugs. And if you heard that milk thistle should be avoided due to its possible effect on estrogen, disregard that information. Although some parts of the plant contain phytoestrogens, clinical evidence shows no significant effects on estrogen levels, and in fact is potentially beneficial for estrogen dominant conditions such as breast cancer.

There are many excellent liver cleanse formulas that contain most if not all of these fine herbs. As I discuss in my book, Gut Solutions, a liver cleanse is recommended for everyone. Always remember – Good Liver, Great Life!

Blended Drink for Loving Your Liver

Filed in Adults, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Liver, Recipes | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/12/2015


Here comes the summer, and with it, the opportunity to sweat! Of course, when you’re in your business clothes, you may not perceive that as a positive. Maybe if you remember that sweating is one of the most important ways that your body eliminates toxins, it will lessen your dismay at possible perspiration stains on your blouse.

I’ve been writing a lot lately about loving your liver, and suggesting that from time to time you make an effort to cleanse. So I decided to share one of my favorite blended detox drinks here today – one that includes ingredients that will help promote optimal liver function.

 

2 ribs of celery

1 cup chopped green cabbage

1/3 lemon or lime

1 small beet

1 whole Granny Smith apple

A handful of spinach

And/or dandelion greens and/or arugula – these liver supportive greens tend to be more bitter, so add them depending on your “bitter tolerance”

Handful of ice cubes, if desired

 

Place ingredients in Ninja or Vitamix and blend until smooth.

You might even consider adding some flax, chia or soluble acacia fiber to your drink that will increase your fiber intake. During a liver detox as bile flow is stimulated from the liver to the gallbladder to the gut, it’s helpful to provide extra fiber to absorb those released toxins, preventing them from being reabsorbed back to the liver.

Make loving your liver a habit. Believe me, it’s one that will pay off in the long run.

Recipe for a Healthy Liver

Filed in Adults, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Digestive Health, Inflammation, Liver, Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease - NAFLD, Obesity, Recipes, The Skinny Gut Diet | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/05/2015


If you happened to catch my newsletter this week, you’ll know that my mind has been on your liver (and mine).

In the grand scheme of health, your liver is one of your very dearest and most important friends, one to maintain an excellent relationship with – every bit as important as your Mom or Dad, spouse/partner or children.

Calling the liver a workhorse is putting it very mildly. In our toxic world, a properly functioning liver may be where the line is drawn between life and death – and it’s certainly critical for a vibrant quality of daily living. In my newsletter I shared with you how it functions and the many implications of dysfunction.

I thought it might be fun to offer you a favorite delicious and easy “liver support” recipe, and then describe for you what it is about the liver reinforcing ingredients that make them super heroes of good health.

Since my eating plan, Skinny Gut Diet, is an 85% plant based program, I’m always looking for yummy salad dressings to dress up the essential and foundational veggies. Here’s a favorite of mine.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • juice + zest of 2 lemons
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • a little less than a teaspoon of ground pepper (added by me)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw local honey — (I personally like some stevia or erythritol here)
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt (to taste)

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.

 

And now to describe those ingredient super heroes:

Olive oil – cold-pressed oils (flax and hemp too) support the liver by providing a lipid (good fat) base that sucks up harmful toxins during digestion.

Lemon – contains high amounts of vitamin C, which aids your body into converting toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water. By the way, drinking freshly squeezed lemon in the morning helps stimulate your liver.

Avocado – helps your body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins.

Garlic – activates liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also contains high amounts of allicin and selenium that aid in liver cleansing.

Turmeric, as mentioned in the name of the dressing, is widely recognized as an anti-inflammatory nutrient. It’s actually the liver’s favorite spice and boosts liver detox by assisting enzymes that actively flush out dietary carcinogens. In order for turmeric to be absorbed into your circulation, it’s helpful to eat it along with pepper in a roughly 8 to 1 ratio.

And of course, pour your liver-loving dressing over your favorite salad, making sure to include leafy greens like arugula, dandelion or spinach. These greens help increase the production and flow of bile, which removes waste from the organs and blood and assists the liver in detoxification.

I think it’s interesting to see specific functions of liver supportive foods. More options are listed here. Come to think of it, the list looks a lot like the shopping guide from Skinny Gut Diet! Come join us in our Facebook Group, and let’s support our livers together.

To Your Health~

Probiotics for Fatty Liver Disease

Filed in Liver, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by lsmith on 10/15/2014


The liver is the body’s powerhouse of detoxification. The main function of the liver is to filter blood that comes directly from the intestines to the liver via the portal vein. The health of the liver, therefore, is very much dependent on the health of the gut. The intestinal lining is the main interface between the immune system and the external environment, and the health of the intestinal lining is determined by its balance of bacteria. When gut bacteria are out of balance, the intestinal lining can become damaged. As a result, a higher amount of toxins are able to pass through the lining and into the bloodstream, accessing the immune system as they travel directly to the liver for processing.

Because of the close proximity and intimate relationship between the gut and the liver, conditions that affect the liver are being increasingly linked to gut bacterial disturbances. There are two main ways in which researchers believe that gut bacteria contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), as discussed in a recent review paper published in the Journal of Functional Foods:

  1. Increased production of ethanol (alcohol) by gut bacteria2
  2. Increased absorption of bacterial toxins (such as lipopolysaccharide, or LPS)3

These toxins trigger inflammation in the liver via upregulation (increase) of immune function, which initiates the development of NAFLD. These toxins more readily flow to the liver under three main conditions, all known to be contributing risk factors of NAFLD:

  1. Leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability)
  2. Small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a form of dysbiosis in which bacteria from the colon back up into the small intestine and overgrow.
  3. Bacterial translocation, or the migration of bacteria from the gut through the intestinal lining and into the mesenteric lymph nodes, where they trigger inflammation that reaches the liver.

To reverse or prevent the harmful effects of gut bacterial disturbances on the liver, probiotic administration has been suggested. The researchers note the following possible mechanisms by which probiotics can improve NAFLD:

  1. Decreased inflammation
  2. Decreased SIBO
  3. Immune system regulation
  4. Decreased LPS production
  5. Decreased bacterial translocation

An important function of probiotics is the protection of the intestinal lining. This function explains the protective functions of these beneficial bacteria. In a human clinical trial, patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)—a condition that often follows NAFLD—received a multi-strain, high-dose probiotic and were found to have significant decreases in inflammation and improvements in levels of the liver enzyme aminotransferase.4 In another uncontrolled trial on the same probiotic formula, NAFLD and alcoholic cirrhosis patients experienced decreased inflammation and lipid peroxidation.5 In another clinical trial, the probiotics Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus supplementation resulted in improved liver aminotransferase levels in people with NAFLD.6

“Probiotics, as safe and effective compounds, have the potential to influence gut barrier functions and immune cell regulations resulting in liver health improvements,” noted the researchers.

Due to the scarcity of treatments available for NAFLD, probiotics are a promising option. More studies are needed to further pinpoint just how the probiotics exert their benefits in people with fatty liver disease.

References

  1. Mohammedmoradi S, Javidan A, and Kordi J, “Boom of probiotics: This time non-alcoholic fatty liver disease—A mini review.” J Functional Foods. 2014 Nov;11:30–35.
  2. Compare D, Coccoli P, Rocco A, et al., “Gut—liver axis: the impact of gut microbiota on non alcoholic fatty liver disease.” Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Jun;22(6):471–6.
  3. Vanni E and Bugianesi E, “The gut-liver axis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Another pathway to insulin resistance?” Hepatology. 2009 Jun;49(6):1790–2.
  4. Loquicercio C, De Simone T, Fe3derico A, et al., “Gut-liver axis: a new point of attack to treat chronic liver damage?” Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Aug;97(8):2144–6.
  5. Loquicercio C, Federico A, Tuccillo C, et al., “Beneficial effects of a probiotic VSL#3 on parameters of liver dysfunction in chronic liver diseases.” J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul;39(6):540–3.
  6. Aller R, DeLuis DA, Izaola O, et al., “Effect of a probiotic on liver aminotransferases in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients: a double blind randomized clinical trial.” Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2011 Sep;15(9):1090–5.