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Aging is a disease

Aging is a disease

Most people are not interested in their health even if they have had low energy for years, even if  their blood tests where not ideal,  even if they have put on some kilos. All these things came naturally when having a family, chasing a career and the aging process , right? And then all of a sudden something happens that triggers all alarm bells. We will lose a loved one, or we are diagnosed with a disease. And from that point on, we start reseaching, being very careful and start taking care of our daily lifestyle. Does this sound familiar?

If you agree with me on the above, you might also agree that these are a result of the fact that we cannot avoid the un-avoidable. Aging, disease and decay as we age. Most people respond that they don’t want to live past 80 since aging is such an unpleasant experience.

I beg to differ. Aging is a disease and we can do something about it.

Aging is loss of information

Why do we humans put a cap to how many years we want to live?  I guess we are all afraid since aging comes with loss of basic functions, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer, right? What if I told you that there are many scientists now believe that humans will very soon be regularly living past 120?

David Sinclair, my favourite reseacher, in his latest book Lifespan, has a very simple definition of aging. Aging is the loss of information over time. This information, such as DNA, is stored in a backup storage and can be retrieved to reverse time and together youth of cells in our body. And just recently his lab has succeed in doing so by reversing aging in mice!

We are of-course not there yet but what is fascinating is that the aging is now considered by a lot of scientists as a disease, as the root cause of all the illness. And that is why there is a significant amount of money now being spent on reseach on aging.


SUMMARY

  • Aging is considered in many reseach circles as a disease and there is a lot of reseach taking place to treat aging.

Be pro-active with your health

There will be a time when we will be able to take a pill and reverse back the aging  process. 

But till that time there are many things we can do to be health and filling full of energy. And to summarise in one sentance I would say. Take care of yourself before your doctor tells you to do so. And this starts already in our 20s not in our 40s. You see our health capacity has always a downward trend and if we reduce that capacity in our 20s and 30s, but living with principles like “I will sleep when I am dead” and similar anectotal sayings the end will indeed come sooner. 

Taking care of our health and prioritising ourselves is a daily practise in order to maintain the highest possible level of function. Keeping those batteries fully charged will ensure that we are full of energy and still having dreams in 80s, 90s and even 100s!

SUMMARY

  • Practise healthy habits already when you are young to have the highest possible function when you get older and still be able to chase your dream!

I want to be 80 and full of energy!

Let’s look at some practises that Dr.Sinclair follows himself, but also are generally accepted in the research world as practises that everyone should follow to live a healthy life. And you will be surprised how simple it is!

Exercise

We all know exercise is good for us. It improves our heart health, we maintain muscle mass, we lower insulin and many more. But on a cellular level exercise can make our telomeres a decade younger than those who live a sedentary life. And telemores are one of the makrers accossiated with longevity

Hormesis

You probably have heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That is the hormesis effect. Small doses of “acute” stress actually make you stronger. Take cold-therapy for example. A cold shower every morning or a cold plunge makes a lot of magic happen in our cells. Our breathing pattern changes, our blood flow changes and all surival mechanism in our body come to life.  And hormesis is well researched. Our body wants to have an easy, couch potato, life. Forcing it out of its comfort zone has been proven to makes us more resilient and extend lifespan. Try strength training, cold and hot therapy as part of your daily lifestyle

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting and calorie restriction can have tremendous health benefits. This is another hormetic effect that as the right doses makes us stronger. This is because many pathways and longevity hormones are triggered when we are not eating. Hormones like HGH, IGF-1 are required for healing, repairing and maintaining healthy bones, muscle, cells and tissues. Try intermittent fasting on most day and once in a while a prolonged fast which has even more benefits like autophagy and stem-cell regeneration.

Sleep

Sleeping the time that so many critical processes happen in our body. Detoxification, cleansing, memory consolidation, healing. We need to get every day quality sleep, 7-9 hours of sleep out of which 25% should be REM sleep and 25% deep sleep. 

Insulin sensitivity and proper nutrition

Insulin resistance is very closely linked many health issues, which we have discussed already Reducing refined carbs and sugar will help you maintain healthy blood glucose and insulin levels and stay insulin sensitive. By eating a proper diet (preferably low-carb) you can then ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs and that your cells are insulin sensitive and will make proper use of them!

Stem-cells and NMN

For those who want to take it a step further you there many more hacks which can help in our quest for health and longevity. Consider taking NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) as a supplment to boost your NAD levels, or have new stem-cells implant. But these are for another post!

SUMMARY

  • Acute stress called hormesis makes us stronger, while sleep helps us heal and regenate. 
  • Being insulin sensitive is a key marker of health. 

Key Takeaways

  • Do not put a limit to the healthy years you can live. Growing old and healthy is a choice and one that we can make already.

Further reading

  • Buy the book Lifespan from Dr.Sinclair at our store
  • Dr.Sinclair’s talk at Google
  • Check the detailed breakdown of our series on Nutrition, Sleep and Biohacking

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What is keto

What is keto

A keto or ketogenic diet is a nutritional diet where the body uses fat instead of carbs as it’s main source of fuel.

In the absense of carbs (or sugar) the body will break down either the dietery fat or it’s own fat to ketones and use them for energy. When the body creates ketones, we are then in a state of ketosis. 

Being able to use fat for energy and be in a moderate state of ketosis is sign of a healthy and flexible metabolism which has many benefits and should be the foundation of design a proper healthy diet.

Benefits of keto

A keto lifestyle has great health benefits as ketones are the preferred fuel for the body and the brain! Most people follow the keto lifestyle for the increased energy, clarity of mind and congitive function, better glucose and insulin levels and no cravings! In this blog post we are only touching the surface, but let’s have a look.

Glucose Management

We start with glucose since so many people have an issue with their blood sugar levels. Unfortunately diabetes is one of the  main killers of our age along side with cancer and heart attack.  

The underlying issue is called insulin resistance. You see when we eat carbs these are converted very fast into glucose (sugar) and it travels our blood to be distributed into various cells A hormone called insulin then comes and acts as a key to allow glucose to be used by the cells as energy or to be stored as fat. However if you overconsume carbs by eating 5-6 times a day or you eat too many refined carbs the insulin requirements to distribute the glucose shoot through the sky. And after some time your cells stop responding and reject to uptake the glucose as they can’t meet the demand. The pancreas then secretes more and more insulin to keep the blood sugars in check, which results into a vicious cycle with only catastrophic results. 

When you either have high glucose or high insulin, you need to remove those carbs. A keto or high-fat diet does not spike insulin keep the glucose levels stable and will help your body heal and become insulin sensitive  once again.


Weight Loss

This not one of the main benefits of keto but I want to mention it to clarify any wrong impressions about fat. Eating fat like butter or the chicken skin does not make you fat!

The mechanism of storing fat and burning fat is quite complex and we are discussing in depth in Nutrition Series 2, but it is mainly the job of insulin to signal storing of excess energy into your fat cells. That and vegetable oils which are heavily processed and should be avoided at all costs. 

Eating fat will not cause you to gaining weight. It is actually the exact opposite! Fats carry many nutrients, are very satiating, will reduce your cravings and in the absence of insulin you will be a fat burning machine. We have seen that in every single of the people we are coaching. Read, in her post, how Christina reduced her weight and managed her glucose at the same.

Clarity of mind, focus and energy

Using ketones as fuel will switch your energy switch ON.

Without getting too technical you should remember two numbers. Each molecule of glucose can create 38 energy molecules (ATP) whereas each molecule of a fatty-acid can produce 129 energy ATP molecules. And this supply is steady and continious so you will have increased concentration and focus levels. 

High-carb diets can make you tired as you burn through blood glucose quickly and consequent blood sugar plummets creating feelings of fatigue. When you’re fat adapted, you are on a fat-burning diet and have stable energy levels throughout the day, which means you experience more energy, less fatigue, more focus.

Fat has a lot of nutrients

Carbs are non-essential macronutrients, where as fats are essencial. Essential means that the body cant produce those nutrients, so we have to get them from food. Omega-3 (DHA, ELA) and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids (e.g from fish) which are key for brain health, healthy skin, hormone production, and much more. 

Take butter for example. It is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin A, D, E, K, B12, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and short-chain free fatty acids (SCFAs). These compounds are essential and should be part of any healthy diet. And imagine that butter has been demonised the last 50 years! The reasons why are for another blog.

How to start a keto diet

You should always start slowly and step-by-by step. No need to crash and burn and just quite after a couple of weeks. This is a journey but here are some tips.

  • Reduce carbs. In order to get into ketosis and use fat for fuel you will need to cut your net carbs typically below 50gr / day. Do this step-by-step. Cut first the processed foods, then grains and wheat etc.
  • Keep it healthy. You will need to substitute your old food will better more quality options. Include plenty of salads and avoid any fast food, low quality meats. Avoid any deep-fried food.

Key Takeaways

  • In a keto diet you are getting most of your calories from fat.
  • Keto has many health benefits. In this blog post we have discussed it’s benefits on managing blood glucose, helping with weight loss and giving us energy and clarity of mind, while at the same time fueling our body with plenty of nutrients. 
  • Other benefits include lower inflammation, better gut health, lower risk of Alzheimers and more.

Next Steps

  • Book your free discovery call to discuss how ketOntrack can help you start your nutrition journey.


Book your free discovery call

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My experience with oxalates

I used to love spinach and many other similar veggies until I had to learn the hard way of what eating high oxalate foods really means. 

Oxalates are naturally occurring tiny molecules that are really toxic and they form crystals which are the number one cause of most kidney stones.

Plants make and use oxalic acid (oxalates) in different ways.

  • Oxalic acid is formed as part of photosynthesis to bind to minerals which plants require (such as calcium).
  • Oxalic acide is also used as a defence mechanism against predators like animals, insects, and fungi. Animals that eat too much of it die unpleasantly unless they have well-developed oxalic acid detoxifying systems.

Humans produce 10-30mg per day but don’t really need it. However we can invest through certain compounds such a spinach several hundreds of miolligrams . 

You could even ingest a thousands of milligrams of oxalates from a green smoothie!

Symptoms of a high oxalate diet

Symptoms can vary as oxalate crystals can be deposited into almost any part of the body. Joint, tissues, cells !

The most common condition associated to oxalates is kidney stones, but the symptoms can vary a lot. Here are only some

  • Oxalate poisoning can happen when your chronic (daily) consumption of oxalates is so high that your body fails to clear it.  The body has no way to disarm oxalate and must excrete it. When cells are required to handle oxalate they are moving it or “managing” it, not metabolizing it.
  • Muscle pain. When oxalates bind to calcium in your blood, tiny, sharp oxalic acid crystals form and can be deposited anywhere in the body and cause muscle pain or weakness.
  • Joint problems like gout, arthritis-like joint pains, stiffness, soreness, swelling. Oxalates’ ability to accumulate in joint spaces, to harm connective tissues, and to trigger inflammation has implications for joint tissues. 
  • Mineral deficiencies. Oxalates bind with minerals and not only with calcium. They can cause deficiency in iron, zinc, copper although the exact impact is not researced in depth at the time of writing. Oxalate may also bind with toxic metals such as lead, mercury, aluminum, or cadmium

My experience

I always liked beet roots and similar greens. And I always though I could have endless amounts of them. And they were keto friendly. 

However recently I did manage to have much more than my body could handle. I probably had a bowl of wild greens (xorta) most days in a week for a few weeks in a row. I was actually collecting them from my back garden!

But I then had symptoms which at the time I could just simply not understand.  

I had frequent urination which I could not control, and also started having pain on my kidneys. I decided to check it further and it turned out that one of my kidneys was inflammated. At that point I started suspecting oxalates, and completely stopped all oxalates.

The next few weeks confirmed that this was indeed an oxalate issue and more specifically oxalate dumping. You see, once you stop eating oxalate foods your body will slowly start excreeting what has been stored in your joints or other places. And my body was trying to get rid of oxalates in any way it could find.

I had some some very interesting symptoms.

  • Pain in some old injuries (without being injured)
  • Twittering of the eyes
  • Tireness and lack of energy

This lasted for some weeks with some on and off periods until all was back to normal which another round of tests confirmed.

I still enjoy my green oxalates(!) once in a while but I am extra careful not to go over-board.

How you can reduce the effect

There is a big list of foods with oxalates so it is important to know how to prepare and eat those foods if you still want to be able to keep them in your diet.

Dosage is important

Keep the amount oxalates per day to maxiumi 100mg.  Avoid having big amounts of high oxalate foods in one meal.

Boiling / Steaming

Boiling reduces soluble oxalate content, however the losses of insoluble oxalate during cooking varies greatly.

Calcium Loading

When calcium is taken with foods high in oxalic acid, the oxalic acid actually precipitates in the gut and drastically reduces the levels of oxalate absorbed by the body. If you allow free oxalic acid into your body without minerals at the exact same time, it will absorb into your body, then it can form crystals in your muscle tissue and/or kidneys.

Use with Citric Acid

Always add lemon juice and/or apple cider vineger.

Key Takeaways

  • Oxalates are toxic and there is no good test to test your levels
  • Limit the oxalate foods, and when you do have them prepare them properly.

Further Reading

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Is a low-carb diet healthy?

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Is a low-carb diet healthy?

Are you one of those people that think that a low-carb , high-fat diet is unhealthy, even strange and that we are not meant to eat it?

This could not be further from the truth and I am sure this article I will convince you that a low-carb lifestyle is not only healthy, it is the easiest way to be healthy! It is also the preferred state of the body and that’s why people doing keto have great energy levels. 

Carbs, high sugar and insulin

We all know that reducing sugar from our diet is very beneficial but what most people don’t know is that all carbs turn into sugar.  Especially refined, processed carbs.

And these carbs, like white bread for example, spike our insulin sky-high as if we were eating sugar. This spike will create a rush of energy for an hour or two  but afterwards it can cause cravings and tiredness. 

In the long run, and after years of overdoing it (like most people these days) the body can’t handle this roller-coaster and sugar levels get out of control and you end-up with all sort of issues like diabetes.

Carbs and nutrient density

We have already talked (here) how important etting all your nutrients on a daily basis is for optimal health. 

And the fact is that getting all your nutrients from carbs is very difficult. This because 

  • Most nutrients are not bio-available in plants. 

Spinach is the best example. We all think it is full of iron, but the fact is that we don’t absorb almost any of it. Carbs are very low in nutrient density which will make you over-eat, feel bloated and after a few hours be hungry again.

  • Most carbs are very high in anti-nutrients

Most carbs contain a high amount of anti-nutrients that block the absorption of nutrients and can be very toxic and inflammatory.

Consider again white bread, which is contains gluten. Gluten is a protein which we can’t digest and which will cause inflammation to our gut and eventually lead to leaky gut syndrome. 

Spinach can have similar effect since it very high in oxalates, while most beans are very high in lectins and phytic acid and when soaked for 12 hours they are very difficult to digest.

Bottom-line is that is very difficult to get the nutrients you need from carbs.

Healthy fats is what our body needs

On the other hand increasing our healthy fat intake is very beneficial for the body since the body depends on them for many things. Fats are essential for health and we need fats for brain function, temperature regulation, vitamin absorption, creation of hormones and many more.

  • Vitamins : Did you know that saturated fat like butter is full of nutrients, like vitamin-A, D, E, K? 
  • Hormones : Cholesterol found in fat is a precursor for all hormone production
  • Omega-3 contains DHA and EPA required for proper brain function.
  • Weight Loss : Healthy fats are nutrient dense, promote satiety and help you lose body fat!
  • Lower inflammation : A low-carb, ketogenic diet will help in fixing high sugar issues and lower inflammation.
  • Healthy Skin : Fat is required to healthy skin.
  • Fat is the preferred energy (ATP) source of our cells and they produce 10 times energy more in a fat-burning state than in the presence of carbs. That is why being in ketosis (i.e in fat burning mode) give you some much energy and clarity of mind.

What should I eat

For a healthy diet look for a balance similar to the below 

  • 30% protein from meat, organs, fish and eggs.
  • 50% fat  from fatty meat, fatty fish, eggs, while use extra-virgin olive oil in  salads and butter/ghee for cooking.
  • 20% low-carb veggies like cauliflower, cucumber, squash, lettuce and once in a while (if you are metabolically healthy) some seasonal fruit.

How simple is that?

Key Takeaways

  • Carbs turn into sugar and the more refined they are the higher you spike your insulin while getting very little of the nutrients you need a daily basis.
  • Healthy fats are essential for our health, and the preferred energy source of our body.
  • If you want to start your journey and get your life back on track check out the Ketontrack Nutritional Series

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Addressing gut issues

Testing, Supplements and Actions

In this section we will cover what are the test you should be considering but also layout of actionable steps to follow to improve your gut health. This steps are to be built on top of the ten protocol steps provided.

Table of Contents

15-Actionable Micro-Strategies

Actionable non-specific steps  to follow every day which that will help to keep your gut healthy. These are on top of the main lifestyle choices addressed previously ( Stress management, Exercise, No Smoking, No Alcohol, No Processed foods)

Llist below is in a prioritized order.

  1.  Drink plenty of water (around 2lt / day)
  2. Limit your intake of caffeine (e.g. up to 1 cup of coffee in the morning).
  3. Take ACV before every meal (or Hydrochloric acid and pepsin)
  4. Bone broth (or collagen) on a daily basis which includes lots of glycine amino acid, which is important for the gut surface.
  5. Increase saturated fat which will help to heal the gut epithelial cells.
  6. Take L-glutamine + zinc which heals the gut epithelial cells ( e.g Rezcue). (5–10 grams 2–3 times per day)
  7. Eat Omega-3 fatty acids (for the Vitamins A, D and E) and to improve the regeneration of mucous membranes. 
  8. Use as a baseline amount of fiber around 20-30g/day and try to increase/decrease the amount depending on how you feel.
  9. Supplement with magnesium citrate to improve the movements of the digestive tract. It is an important mineral for the intestinal epithelium.
  10. Ensure you get plenty of Vitamin B12 and folate from food (or nutritional yeast) on a daily basis.
  11. Drink a soothing tea (e.g chamomile)
  12. Use turmeric and ginger
  13. Eat 1/2cup of Berries (especially blueberries/bilberries)
  14. Take Digestive enzymes
  15. Take activated charcoal before going to bed (without any other supplements)

If you follow the above for 4-6 weeks together with the gut supporting protocols and you do not see improvement you should consider doing detailed testing.

Testing for gut issues

Identifying and pin pointing gut issues can be very difficult, so in some cases it is recommended to do some tests which will help you act faster.

SIBO

  • Do a breath test for hydrogen [H2] and methane [CH4].
  • Evaluate the level of gastric hydrochloric acid production (e.g. Gastropanel lab test and self-produced gastric hydrochloric acid test).

Gut analysis

  • Microbiological analysis of the gut (including yeast cultivation and extensive species identification and sensitivity to various drugs and natural products). Good example is Genova Diagnostics
  • Stool cultivation for yeast. Identifies Candida as a species but no other species
  • Intestinal permeability measurement (again Genova Diagnostics)
  • Blood antibody testing (IgG and IgA antibodies) may be performed if a yeast infection is suspected.
  • Differential diagnosis test: the possibility of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

HydroChloric acid balance

Many laboratories today offer GastroPanel test, the largest complete laboratory test to determine the functional and inflammatory state of the stomach. This examination will also be able to identify situations in which the subject needs further gastroscopy.

The study investigates the following markers in the blood

  • Pepsinogen I (gastric body function – moderately correlated with hydrochloric acid production)
  • Pepsinogen II (structure and function of the entire gastric mucosa – correlates with gastric inflammatory status)
  • Gastrin-17 (Function of gastric fundus – correlates with gastric acid production)

Digestive Enzyme Levels

  • Fecal chymotrypsin test 
  • Putrefactive short-chain fatty acids (measures protein absorption; as part of CDSA)
  • Various fatty acids in stool (measures fat absorption; as part of CDSA)
  • Fecal pH (low level indicates carbohydrate malabsorption)

Bile acid secretion

  • Secondary bile acids in stool (as part of CDSA)
  • Determination of fat in stool (triglycerides, long chain fatty acids and phospholipids; also stool total fat) -> as part of the CDSA and GI Effects Comprehensive Profile tests

Leaky Gut

  • Intestinal Permeability Measurement
  • Measure the permeability of the intestinal epithelial cells and those between.
  • Intestinal Permeability and Absorption Test
  • Measure nutrient absorption and malabsorption, intestinal permeability, and intestinal damage in various in parts of the intestine.
  • Extensive digestive analysis (e.g. CDSA, which also tests for potentially harmful bacteria, fungi,and parasites)
  • Measurement of zonulin protein in stool and circulation

Food Allergies

  • Skin prick test
  • IgE antibody tests (for example Genova Diagnostics IgE Food Antibodies)
  • lgG antibody tests (for example Genova Diagnostics IgG Food Antibodies)
  • IgG4 antibody tests (for example Genova Diagnostics Allergix IgG4 Food Antibodies 90 Profile)

Testing for Histamine

  • Daily urine methylhistamine (NMHIN)
  • Histamine DAO test (DNA test)

Calcium

Measure your blood calcium levels (both free and ionized) and make a bone density measurement (DXA scan).

Strategies for specific issues

Below you can find an actionable list for specific issues

Constipation

  • Drink enough water (the recommendation is about 40 ml / kg body weight including water from food)
  • Try immediately after waking up drinking a glass of water with 1 teaspoon of salt, as well as fresh squeezed lemon juice. This significantly increases bowel movements.
  • A light morning exercise can improve bowel emptying (5–10 minutes after waking up) – also, many rotation movements present in yoga will help.
  • The use of magnesium citrate increases bowel movements and the amount of water in the stool
  • Increase fiber intake especially in the morning and evening (good fiber products later on). Do not use cereal products
  • Experiment with the so-called ”salt flush” to effectively boost intestinal emptying. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt in warm water (approx. 1 liter) and allow it to soak, and then you drink it quite rapidly. This should within 20–40 minutes accelerate intestinal emptying quite a bit.
  • Optimize defecation position (squatting is the optimal posture). A good tool for this is Squatty Potty.
  • Check the possibility of hypothyroidism.

Diarrhea

  • Try a grain-free, dairy-free, and legume-free diet
  • Remove all sweeteners and excess sugars from your diet
  • Reduce coffee and alcohol use (replace with tea)
  • Increase use of fermented foods (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha; fermented dairy products, if you tolerate them) – these are not for everyone, especially for people suffering from SIBO
  • Check your diet for insoluble and soluble fiber
  • Bentonite clay and activated charcoal can improve the excretion of toxins from the intestines and ease
  • Try  probiotic  (Saccharomyces boulardii, Boulardii)
  • Try Traditional probiotics (containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains) 
  • Consider FODMAP restriction diet

Leaky Gut approach

1. Diet (grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free; no processed foods, oils, and sugars)

2. Adequate intake of vitamins A and D, and fixing deficiencies

3. Adequate intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and fixing deficiencies

4. Regular stress management (Meditation and breathing exercises)

5. Probiotics 

6. L-Glutamine (5–20 g/day)

7. Lactoferrin 250–500 mg/day

8. Colostrum (Recommended: Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Powder/2 servings daily)

9. High-quality fish or liver oil packaged in a dark glass bottle (omega-3 fatty acids)

10. If necessary, select one of the following:

– Biotics IPS (Intestinal Nutrition Supplement), Thorne Research Perma-Clear, GI-Revive (formerly GI Renew), 

11. Use of digestive enzymes with food

12. Intestinal toxin removal and absorption:

– Activated charcoal (1–2 capsules 1–2 times a day; taken separately from pharmaceuticals and supplements just before bedtime)

– Bentonite clay (for toxin removal)

– Chlorella (purifies heavy metals from the intestines and reduces inflammation)

– Calcium-D-Glucarate 500 mg (1 capsule 3 times daily; removes excess toxins)

Other Topics

Fiber

Fiber is not necessary strictly speaking however many people many benefit from it so this is very individual. We suggest getting 20grams of fiber per day and then adjust depedning on how you feel.

Best fiber choices are vegetables (Cucumber, lettuce), berries, low-sugar fruits and high-quality fiber such as psyllium, acacia fiber, and sensitive oat fiber.

Others options

• Fresh carrot juice (supports intestinal mucous membranes)

• Celery juice (promotes intestinal movements and alleviates constipation)

• Carminatives reduce gas in the intestine: Orange, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, cilantro, oregano, parsley, peppermint oil, rosemary, sage, dill, thyme, garlic

• Bitters stimulate the production of stomach acids and digestive enzymes:Jerusalem artichoke 

• Silica and silicic acid-carmellose gel: Protects the mucous membrane of the stomach

• Lactoferrin, Lowers the inflammation on gut surface and reduces/fixes gut permeability

Probiotics

Probiotics refer to living microbes that have positive effects on health. The official definition for a probiotic is: ”Live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotic bacteria are those that

1. Microbes must be alive in an adequate number when administered.

2. Strains must be identified genetically, classified using the latest terminology, and designated by numbers, letters, or names.

3.Appropriately sized and designed studies must be performed to designate a strain as probiotic and using the strain(s) on the host to which the probiotics are intended (human, livestock, companion animal, etc.)

4. Strains shown to confer a benefit for one condition may not be probiotic for another application.

5. Strains that are probiotic for humans but are being used in animal studies should be clearly designated as human probiotics under experimental testing.

Fermented foods, prebiotics, fecal microbiota transplants, and microbial strains of the same genus or species as documented probiotic strains but have not undergone appropriate testing on the target host should not be considered as probiotics based on adherence to the scientific definition. The benefits of probiotics become apparent through the balancing of the microbiota (microbiological ecosystem) and microbiome (microbiological genome) in the digestive tract.

Bacterial strains producing hitamine (use less)

• Lactobacillus casei (many probiotic preparations contain this but usually in very small amounts)

• Lactobacillus bulgaricus (most yogurts), Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bacillus coagulans SL5

Neutral bacterial strains for histamine

• Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactococcus lactis, Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus reuteri (this causes the conversion of histidine to histamine, but the overall effect is anti-inflammatory via its effect on cAMP)

Histamine-degrading bacterial strains

• Lactobacillus rhamnosus (especially GG; reduces histamine receptors & anti-inflammatory effect)

• Bifidobacterium infantis (also, for example, in breast milk), Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus plantarum

• Lactobacillus gasseri, SBO (soil-based organism) probiotics

Resistant starch

Resistant starch (RS) differs from conventional starch in that it is not absorbed by the digestive tract. Thus, the term resistant refers to this fact. Resistant starch is a good food for intestinal bacteria, meaning its role in nutrition is similar to that of oligosaccharides and soluble fibers.

The dietary recommendation is a minimum of 6 grams of resistant starch per meal recommended for health benefits.167 The energy produced by resistant starch is 2.5 kcal / g (cf. starch 4 kcal / g). Resistance starch is found in bananas, cooked and cooled white rice and potatoes, broad beans

and some other legumes, and to some extent, whole grains. Potato starch also has high levels of resistant starch that can be used to feed intestinal bacterial strains.

Resistant starch is classified into five different categories:

RS1 (physically inaccessible starch)

• Starch that is resistant to digestion due to its physical density or physical protective structure

• Starch from seeds, whole grains, and pulses

• Grinding and careful chewing releases at least some of the resistant starch to the digestive tract.

RS2 (granular starch with the B- or C-polymorph)

• Resistant to digestion due to physical density and the dry nature of starch

• From the outside these may not look dry (e.g. raw potatoes and bananas)

• Cooking releases starch resistant to digestion.

RS3 (retrograded starch)

• The most resistant starch

• Amylose becomes resistant when heated and then cooled. For example, boiled and refrigerated potatoes or cooked and cooled rice

RS4 (chemically-modified starches)

• Industrially-modified starch used as an additive in the food industry

RS5 (amylose-lipid complex)

• Stearic acid-complex high-amylose starch

• Amylose-lipid complex formation is an instant reaction and the complex can reform after cooking.

Type V resistant starch (RSV) is considered thermally stable. Resistant starch may not be suitable for sensitive stomachs (IBS), as it is fermented in the same way as FODMAP carbohydrates.

Supplements

Supplementation is a key area for supporting your gut in case of issues and until you are completely healed and have pinpointed the root cause.

Hydrochloric acid

Get hydrochloric acid tablets or capsules (called Betaine-HCL) The strength of the capsule may vary from 300 to 600 mg. However, it is a good idea to take a so-called hydrochloric acid test at home, which gives an indication of how well your stomach’s hydrochloric acid level is.

Bile

  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • Vitamin C may prevent the formation of gallstones. 
  • Melatonin may also be used to prevent the formation of gallstones and possibly even treat cholelithiasis.
  • Bile Salts
  • Artichoke juice due to Phenolic compounds
  • Turmeric
  • Oranges
  • Soluble fiber (for example, from oats; do not use if you are on a grain-free diet)
  • Dandelion 

Enzymes

  • Bioptimizers HCL breakthrough (includes digestive enzymes)
  • All Enzymedica products: Digest Gold ATPro, Digest Basic, Digest Spectrum (great for food intolerances)
  • Now Foods Super Enzymes
  • Thorne Research Bio-Gest (Contains hydrochloric acid, pepsin, pancreatin and bile)
  • Life Extension Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes

Probiotics

These are high-quality, clinically researched products 

• Seed Synbiotic

• Vivomixx (contains up to 450 billion living bacteria -> particularly effective in balancing the gut from major dysbiotic states; scientifically well studied and documented)

• Saccharomyces boulardii (for example: Thorne Research Sacro-B Probiotic)

• Living Nutrition Your Flora-probiotics (Symbiotic probiotics)

• Advanced Orthomolecular Research Probiotic 

• Life Extension Florassist Balance

• Primal Probiotics

• Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA

• Enzymedica Pro-Bio Potency Probiotic

Prebiotics

Prebiotics refer to non-digestible fiber compounds, such as oligo- or polysaccharides, used by thebacterial strain of the intestines as growth media. T

he use of prebiotics increases the growth of good quality probiotic bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria in the intestines. 

Prebiotic intake can have positive effects, among other things, in the absorption of trace elements, immunity, blood pressure Prebiotics (inulin and oligofructose) are the most abundant in weight in, artichokes, dandelion leaves, garlic, leek and asparagus. 

If you have a problem with IBS or SIBO, do not use these foods or any fiber-containing fructo-oligosaccharides or inulin, as they will make symptoms worse due to  excess fermentation. Prebiotics are also abundant in potato starch, which in recent years has been used as a dietary supplement to support the intestinal bacterial balance. Potato starch is rich in so-called resistant starch, which can be used by the bacterial strain of the gut. In addition to the general health benefits of prebiotics, resistant starch has been shown to have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and obesity and on hunger control.

Dyspepsia and Gerd

  • Ginger and artichoke extract
  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • Magnesium
  •  Chamomile tea and ginger
  • Hydrochloric acid supplementation and digestive enzymes
  • Carnosine and zinc



Increase melatonin and sleep better

You need good quality sleep every single day, to regenerate, repair, detox and feel energetic.

Not getting enough sleep can be a major issue. Did you know that lack of sleep contributes to:

  • Increased blood pressure, higher stress, heart attacks.
  • High blood sugars. Even one night of poor recovery can make your blood sugar levels equal to that of a type-2 diabetic.
  • A poor night sleep will make you insulin restistant and make it much harder to metabolizing carbohydrates and is more prone to store them as fat.
  • Pre-Mature Aging. Lack of sleep releases cortisol that is the catabolic stress hormone.Your body will begin to break down its muscle and accumulate fat. It also accelerates aging and makes your skin more wrinkled and dry.
  • Hormonal Malfunctioning. It decreases your testosterone and leads to lower libido in both men and women. Human growth hormone actually gets released during the first hours of our sleep which is incredibly important for building tissue and maintaining leanness.

Signs you are not getting enough quality sleep

Watch-out for some of the below signs. The list is in a prioritized order as these are very strong indicators of quality of sleep

  1. Need a coffee first thing in the morning. If you’re the kind of person who needs coffee to wake up, then chances are you’re not getting enough sleep. When you wake-up you should be at your most energetic as cortisol is at it’s peak.
  2. Needing to sleep during the day. Do you feel you always need to catch-up on your sleep during the day?
  3. Brain fog and problems concentrating. Do you have trouble achieving what you have set out to do for the day, and spend the day scrolling through your mobile?
  4. Over-eating and cravings. Do you have your mind on food?Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin the satiety hormone and elevated ghrelin the hunger hormone.

A good night sleep measured with my Oura

For most adults, the recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours per night. However, the composition of that sleeping period is more important. You need around 25% REM and around 25% Deep sleep. These two phases are the most important. To achieve a good night sleep we need to start with melatonin.

Melatonin

Melatonin is the hormone of darkness. Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine), hormone of the pineal gland, is concerned with biological timing. It is secreted at night in all species, whether day-or night-active. 

 
Melatonin is produced when you find yourself in a dark environment. As any sleep expert will tell you, it is incredibly important to kickstart the sleep cycle by turning off the lights and using black-out blinds or an eye mask in the bedroom. This is because the change in light causes messages to be sent from the eye to the brain telling it that more melatonin should be produced. The melatonin winds the body down to a more lethargic and sleep-ready state.

Without melatonin, it would be impossible to achieve relaxed, restful sleep and so the body would not be able to go through the restorative processes that typically take place in bed. Since the secretion of endogenous melatonin decreases after childhood, increasing dietary consumption is a good strategy.

Studies show that melatonin can significantly increase REM sleep percentage and promote decline in rectal temperature during sleep. This is pretty important if you are suffering from reduced REM sleep!

Melatonin supplementation

Melatonin is so important for sleep that successful use of melatonin supplementation is found in sleep disorders associated with abnormal timing of the circadian system: jetlag, shift work, delayed sleep phase disorder, and some sleep problems of the elderly. 

I believe you will find it very interesting that it has been found to  help many blind individuals, who lack the all-important light-dark time cue, and cannot maintain their internal clocks on 24h clock time. They suffer from what is called non-24h sleep-wake disorder, during which their individual circadian period keeps to its own time, and “free runs,” usually slightly longer than 24h. Essentially, visually impaired people have alternating poor sleep as they cycle in and out of the circadian clock. When oral melatonin is provided this is sufficient to synchronize their clock and improve their sleep.

Summary

  • Melatonin is essential for sleep and to help you tune in with your circadian rythm
  • Consider supplementing if you have issues sleeping. Consider supplementing an amount from 1-10mg but try out different doses to find what works for you

There is more to melatonin

Although melatonin is know for it’s importance on sleep it does a lot more! Melatonin is a master antioxidant and helps to boost antioxidant enzymes in the body by binding to melatonin receptors. 

  • Melatonin can freely pass into any cell and help fight inflammation. 
  • Melatonin can even concentrate in bone marrow to protect the stem cells that eventually form our immune cells. Having good melatonin is vital for a good immune system.

This is perhaps one of the many reasons why sleep is so important. It helps melatonin secretion!

Some not so obvious tips

Here are some tips to increase melatonin and sleep better. These are a lot more areas that we cover as part of the Sleep Series, but I wanted to share some simpe tips related to nutrition that you might not be aware of.

  1. Get plenty of morning sunlight. Morning light is crucial for melatonin secrition. Wake-up with plenty of light.
  2. Eat your last meal 3-hours before going to sleep. You probably heard this before, but you might not know is that insulin and melatonin are antagonists. In the presense of insulin you won’t secreate much melatonin. Additionally your body will be working overtime to digest the food you just ate, and you won’t be a able to get into deep sleep!
  3. Eat some carbs in your last meal. Best time to eat some carbs is with your last meal. Small amounts of carbohydrates like squash, potatoes, will help with serotonin, melatonin production and promote sleep. 50grams of carbs should do the trick.
  4. Eat mushroom, and eggs. Melatonin can be obtained from both animal and plant foods. However mushrooms are on top of the list for melatonin (especially shiitake mushorroms). Eggs have also a higher concentration of melatonin and will also provide tryptophan (an amino acid) which is needed to help you relax.
  5. Get your Magnesium. Magnesium is important for producing melatonin, including many other biological processes and reactions in your body.

Key Takeaways

 

 

  • Quality sleep will help you avoid many healthy issues while refreshed when you wake-up.
  • Track your sleep daily to understand how much REM and Deep sleep you are really getting.
  • Increase melatonin via nutrition since aging reduces what the body naturally produces.
  • Try-out today for dinner a mushroom, squash, omelette!

 

 

Further Reading

 

 




Digestion

Digestion

The process of digestion is quite complex but also very sensitive to what we eat and in many cases our gut is the mirror of our health.

Table of Contents

The importance of the gut

It is no wonder that the gut is called the second brain. The gut controls everything and so many of us have issues that even if we don’t realise it might begin from the gut. The gut is central to 3 of the 4 steps of how our body processes food.

Ingest

Digest

Absorb

Eliminate

The main function of the digestive system is to 

1. Digest the food by breaking it down

2. Absorb nutrients from the small intestine into the circulatory system. Digestion can be divided roughly into two functional phases: mechanical digestion (the food is broken into smaller pieces by chewing) and chemical digestion (enzymes break down food into molecules).

3. Eliminate waste products by forming of feces.

The digestive tract reaches from the mouth all the way to the anus. The most important parts of the digestive tract in terms of functions are the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum in the upper gastrointestinal tract and the jejunum, ileum, colon and rectum in the lower gastrointestinal tract. The digestive system also includes the salivary glands, pancreas, liver, spleen and gallbladder, each with their own role in digestion.  Every single organ in your body basically!

What is proper digestion

A lot happens between the time you eat a piece of food and the time you go to the bathroom. Most people are concerned only with the two parts of the digestive system that require some active participation on their part, the food going in and the waste coming out. The multitude of other steps between these two poles are involuntary, and you probably don’t pay a lot of attention to them.

When it’s all working well, normal digestion is an unremarkable experience. 

  • You typically have one bowel movements per day. 
  • They aren’t urgent, they don’t cause any discomfort, there is very little noticeable gas production, and they only take about five minutes.
  • Stools should be well-formed and not watery, generally dark brown in color, and passed easily without straining, cramping, or pain. And a healthy stool does not float in the water.
  • Ideally, at the end of the bowel movement, you should feel like you are fully through, and you shouldn’t need to wipe much. Pooping is a natural experience and should be comfortable and can even bring an enjoyable feeling of release.

As food travels through your digestive tract, it moves down the tube by an involuntary process called peristalsis, a wavelike muscular contraction that carries the nutrients and subsequent waste products from top to bottom. This movement is controlled by the digestive tract’s private nervous system. Eating triggers peristalsis. Therefore, about 30 to 60 minutes after eating, depending on various factors including how much was in the intestinal tract to begin with, a person may feel the urge to have a bowel movement. This bowel movement is not the same food you just ate.

Technically speaking, anything inside this tube is not really inside your body. It is still part of the exterior world. Only once it has been processed and broken down does it pass through the intestinal wall at a cellular level and actually move to the inside your body. This tissue wall is a permeable “skin,” similar in many respects to the skin that protects you on your other exterior surfaces like your arms, legs, torso, and face. Like your outer skin, this layer of tissue is protective, but unlike the skin that you see, it is highly specialized for digestion and absorption.

The food breaks down into smaller and smaller substances as it moves down the tube in stages. Chemicals necessary for digestion and absorption, including acid and enzymes, are secreted into different sections of the tube. Muscular valves close off portions of the tube while chemical processes are carried out at each stage.

Different areas of the digestive tract absorb different materials needed for life: vitamins, minerals, fats, amino acids (proteins), sugars (carbohydrates,) and even water. Waste is also created at each step and moves down the tube toward the exit. All of these functions are highly coordinated, working together to provide you with proper nutrition.

About 60 percent of the fecal mass is made up of water, although this figure can vary widely. When you have diarrhea, for example, the percentage of water is much higher.

Another 30 percent of a normal stool consists of dead bacteria, which gives feces its characteristic odor. These bacteria are from the vast ecosystem of bacteria that lives in the digestive tract. The rest of the stool is made up of indigestible fiber, fats (such as cholesterol), inorganic salts, live bacteria, dead cells and mucus from your intestinal lining, and protein.

Digestion and our immune system

Inside of your digestive tube is a vast ecosystem where some 100 trillion bacteria live, and this should not alarm you. We have been conditioned to think of bacteria as something bad, and the thought that we have 100 trillion “bugs” inhabiting our body can make us feel slightly queasy. But we now are beginning to appreciate the importance of these bacteria, and they have become known as the microbiome.

Although some bacteria are bad, others are very good. In fact, if you don’t have them, you feel very bad, because they are critical for proper digestion.

These bacteria have several important jobs: They help to break down food, they create some vitamins, yhey work directly with the immune system surrounding the digestive tract to protect us from bad guys, they also independently protect us against invading organisms.

Our relationship with the 100 trillion bacteria in our digestive tract is not new. It has developed over hundreds of thousands of years. There should be no doubt about the importance of this ecosystem to good health.

The digestive system also contains 80 percent of your immune system, which defends you from invaders coming down the pipe. The immune system is critically important in helping the digestive system react to bad bacteria and viruses that may be found in our food or accidentally ingested. Possibly the greatest challenge to the digestive tract’s immune system is to correctly tell the difference between what is bad, such as viruses and bad bacteria, and what is good, such as nutrients and good bacteria.

Recent advances in DNA analysis have enabled us to determine the different kinds of organisms living in the digestive tract. In just the last few years, researchers have created tests that analyze the DNA of these organisms and can determine which are healthy microbes and which are pathogenic microbes. This dramatic advance is available to physicians, though they are mostly used only in research facilities.

Your immune system must also determine whether or not to develop a reaction to everything that you put into your mouth. Whenever you try a new food, it must decide, “do I like this and let it go, or do I attack and kill it?”

You are always ingesting bacteria and other substances with your food, no matter how fresh and clean it is, so these must be screened out. While your immune system will say okay to most foods, genetic and other issues may affect its decision.

Recent studies also suggest your immune system’s ability to develop correct tolerances depends a great deal on the balance of good bacteria inside your intestinal tract. When you put something into your mouth that the immune system doesn’t like, it attacks with inflammation and excess mucus production. If your immune system is continually bombarded with messages to attack, its reactions can lead to long term inflammatory consequences.

Inflammation of the digestive tube can, in turn, lead to damage of the lining of this tube, often resulting in something called leaky gut or gut hyperpermeability. These two terms are simply descriptions of the damage to the digestive tract that is a result of something triggering an immune response.

Symptoms of poor digestion

Understanding the qualities of normal good digestion is vitally important to maintaining optimal health. If your digestion is anything less than perfect, your health is going to suffer. The entire digestive process should be unremarkable, meaning there is nothing to remark about it, because it’s functioning in the background and there is no reason for you to notice it.

If you are noticing your digestion, then it isn’t working properly. Likely you are suffering from some kind of digestive upset, such as abdominal pain, gas, urgent diarrhea, uncomfortable or incomplete bowel movements, or bloating. If anything like this is happening, then your digestive system is sending you a message. It’s saying, “Help me!”

If all you do is take something for the gas, or something to create a solid bowel movement or something to make you have a bowel movement, then you’ve only treated the symptom. Your digestion still isn’t working properly, and your health is still going to suffer.

The entire digestive function is based on relaxation and this is why stress is often blamed for bad digestion. When you are relaxed, the parasympathetic part of your nervous system is dominant. This same part allows your digestive system to do its thing an operate normally.

Low Stomach Acid

Stomach acid is vital to good health. It is the first major step, after chewing and saliva, in breaking down your food. Acid is especially important for breaking down proteins into amino acids and is required for the optimal release, preparation, and absorption of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Decreased acid levels can also cause digestive problems further on down the line. Pancreatic enzymes, bicarbonate, and bile are all released in the small intestine in response to the acidity (pH) of the food that normally leaves the stomach.

Without these, digestion continues to degenerate, resulting in a far less than optimal nutritional gain from your food and potentially damaging byproducts. The pH, now improperly balanced further down the digestive tract, damages the environment for billions of normal/good bacteria, which are critical to proper digestion and good health.

Vitamin B12 also isn’t adsorbed without stomach acid. The same cells that produce acid produce intrinsic factor, which is required for vitamin B12 absorption. Without B12, you become B12 deficient, which can lead to fatigue and neurological problems.

The acidity of gastric juice destroys harmful micro-organisms present in food. However, many people suffer from a deficiency in the production of hydrochloric acid due to stress, poor diet, or harmful chemicals. Hypochlorhydria (the low level of hydrochloric acid) contributes to nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, various infections, and stomach cancer. Stomach acid is also your primary defense against food-borne infections. Bacteria don’t usually survive the stomach, so decreased acid increases your risk of food poisoning. Another risk of low stomach acid is poor calcium absorption and therefore low bone density.

The long-term use of acid blockers may cause anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, and overgrowth of stomach and small intestinal bacteria (SIBO). In addition, acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors [PPIs]) have been found to predispose to the development of food hypersensitivity with gastroesophageal reflux disease. 

Nutrients provide the building blocks for our entire biochemistry. Optimal health requires optimal nutrition which is why you need stomach acid.

If you have low stomach acid you most probably will have some of the below symptoms

  •  Abdominal bloating after food
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Non-digestible food in stool
  • Bad breath
  • Splitting nails, Acne, Anemia
  • Depression/fatigue (due to low levels of vitamin B12 absorption)

Dyspepsia

Dyspepsia refers to unspecified upper abdominal discomfort. The underlying problem may be more of a functional reason, the most important of which are motility problems (the problem of gastric motility and in electric activity), abnormal touch sensation of internal organs and visceral hypersensitivity.

Symptoms of dyspepsia include, but are not limited to

  • Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Feelings of “full stomach”
  • Rapid feeling of satiety, belching
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Nausea

It is important to note that dyspepsia can be due to some more serious underlying reasons such as stomach ulcer, gallstone disease, cancer, etc.

As always lifestyle plays an important factor. Consider addressing the below areas

  • Smoking
  • High caffeine use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • High-fat processed food
  • Large-portioned meals
  • Extra kilos

GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the reflux of food or gastric fluids back into the esophagus.  and is caused by an increase in intra-abdominal pressure.

Main symptoms is usually heartburn. 

Two types of reflux disease can be distinguished: non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) and erosive reflux disease (ERD). Of these, NERD is far more common. 

Reflux itself is a normal physiological phenomenon during relaxation of the esophageal sphincter. However, in reflux disease these relaxations last longer than usual, leading to symptoms. 

Coffee, alcohol, chocolate, fatty meals, and many drugs such as beta-blockers, nitrates, calcium channel blockers, and anticholinergics all enhance and prolong LES relaxation. 

Also, progesterone (a glandular hormone) and nicotine increase the relaxation of the esophageal sphincter. Intra-abdominal or intraperitoneal pressure will increase further (perhaps unexpectedly) by low gastric acid level (hypochlorhydria), which in turn may lead to small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) and carbohydrate absorption problems. Treating GERD with acid blockers does not focus on the actual causes of the problems, since reflux disease is rarely caused by excess acid production in the stomach. The use of acid blockers masks and removes the symptoms momentarily but has no effect on intra-abdominal pressure or the function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

Bile and Enzymes

The small intestine receives pre-digested food from the stomach and continues to break down ingredients. 

The digestive process is assisted by bile (formed in the liver but secreted through the gallbladder) as well as pancreatic juice, which contains plenty of digestive enzymes. The small intestine breaks down three main groups of nutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. 

  • Proteins are broken down into peptides and amino acids. 
  • Fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. 
  • Carbohydrates are broken down into monosaccharides (e.g., glucose) and starch into oligosaccharides. 

Once broken down, the nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal wall. 

Thanks to the structure of the small intestine villi and microvilli, the surface area available for nutrient absorption is enormous—roughly one half of a badminton court.

If you don’t produce enough enzymes you might face some of the below symptoms

  • Food sensitivities
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Non-digestible foods in stool
  • Fatigue

On the other hand, Bile is secreted from the gallbladder into the small intestine during the digestive process. The gallbladder is located below the right lobe of the liver. It is a small organ, approximately 8 centimeters in length, and its main function is to store the bile produced by the liver. The gallbladder and the hepatic duct merge to form the bile duct, which leads bile into the small intestine from the ampulla of Vater (a merging point with the pancreatic duct).

Bile facilitates the formation of micelles, which are essential for the absorption of fats. Bile also has an important role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and the recycling of bilirubin in the body. 

Bile acids function in a manner similar to hormones, participating in metabolism (energy balance, regulation of fat metabolism and glycemic control). Deficiency in the production of bile and bile acids may cause significant health problems such as excess weight and insulin resistance. The gallbladder may also form gallstones due to indigestion or imbalanced diet. For instance, a deficiency in the production of bile salts in the liver, in combination with a diet rich in cholesterol, may be a predisposing factor for the formation of gallstones. 

Risk factors contributing to the formation of gallstones include excess weight, rapid weight loss, constipation and the decreased intake of fiber and nutrients (folate, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C). 

Symptoms of little Bile production may include

  • Heartburn
  • Upper abdomen bloating
  • Fat digestion problem/fatty diarrhea
  • Fat-soluble vitamin absorption problems and deficiencies

Stool

Constipation is one of the most common stomach problems besides diarrhea and bloating. 

There are many reasons for this, but here is a look at the most important reasons for constipation. 

When functioning optimally, you may go to bathroom for a ”poop” every day. This is called gastrocolic reflex where stretching of the stomach lining activates bowel movements. This is a very logical reaction: when food is introduced into the body, waste comes out at one end. However, for many, this reflex does not work optimally. Textbooks define constipation as a condition where the bowel empties fewer than three times a week. Normally, the intestines should empty on a daily basis so that removing waste products from the system is optimal.

The most common causes of constipation are

  • Chronic stress (can also cause diarrhea)
  • Imbalance of the bacterial strain in the gut (dysbiosis)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Drugs (opiate-based painkillers, numerous antipsychotics, iron medications,diuretics, etc.)
  • Hormonal imbalance (especially hypothyroidism)

Leaky Gut

Gut permeability refers to the changed state of the epithelial cells on the surface of the intestine. 

Normally nutrients are absorbed through the epithelial cells. However, sometimes, the cells and the tight junctions between them start to “leak” and allow harmful substances into the circulation. Celiac disease is a typical example of an autoimmune disease involving gut permeability. Increased gut permeability (leaky gut syndrome) is one of the key factors in the development of autoimmune diseases. However, whether it is a cause or an effect is currently not known.

The continuous inflammatory condition or imbalance of the intestine may cause deterioration of the links between the enterocytes on the surface of the intestine, causing gut permeability. Similarly, impaired brain function or stress-related hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system undermines the function of the vagus nerve. This impairs the function of the immune system and reduces blood circulation in the intestine, which in turn increases the growth of harmful fungi and bacteria in the intestine. They can damage the surface tissue of the intestine and aggravate gut permeability (leaky gut).

A continuous low-grade inflammation of the system may also aggravate gut permeability.This results in the production of cytokines (inflammatory messenger substances) in the intestine. Due to gut permeability, the messenger substances are able to enter the circulation and the brain via the blood-brain barrier. The inflammation causes the blood-brain barrier to also become permeable, which in turn activates the connective tissue cells of the brain, also known as microglia cells. The result is a chronic inflammatory condition of the brain that impairs brain function and may cause anxiety and depression. Thus completing the vicious circle, which will get worse unless corrective measures such as those outlined in this web course are implemented.

Possible symptoms are

  • Bloating
  • Food hypersensitivity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Various skin problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Malabsorption & nutrient deficiency states

IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is a syndrome may have a number of different reasons. 

The affliction of IBS is very common, probably more common than studies show. 

Globally, irritable bowelsyndrome affects about 11 % of the total world population. Only about 30 % of people who suffer from IBS are in contact with their doctors. Irritable bowel syndrome may be classified into three major types

In IBS, the gas production in the gut is markedly increased. 

Typical of IBS is the fluctuation of symptoms and possible other symptoms associated with abdominal symptoms (arthralgia, mood swings, fluctuations in energy levels etc.). 

The most common intestinal symptoms in IBS are abdominal pain, straining stomach, muscle aches, rushing to the toilet, bloating, and general feelings of illness. In the development of IBS there has also been identified a genetic component, but its significance and importance has not yet been established. Indeed, environmental factors play a greater role in this syndrome.

  • Increased food processing (e.g. modified starches, additives, sweeteners, polydextrose, etc.)
  • Abundant use of cereals and legumes and heavy drinking of milk
  • Changes in intestinal bacterial balance and dysbiosis (including unnecessary antibiotic use)
  • Silent (low-level) inflammation of the body
  • Chronic stress
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Malfunctions of the gut-brain-microbiota axis
  • Serotonin metabolism disorders (especially 5-HT3 and 5-HT4 receptors)
  • Sitting and lack of exercise

The treatment of IBS is quite difficult since it is not just an intestinal disease, but rather a systemic syndrome created by environmental, physiological and psychosocial factors. Often, diet alone is not enough, and treatment requires a systematic self-assessment of lifestyle and, in particular, high-quality stress management measures.

SIBO

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth growth literally means just that: an excess of bacteria growing in the small intestine. 

Although many doctors do not yet recognize SIBO as a medical diagnosis, it has accumulated quite a bit of medical research over the last 10 years, which will lead to increased knowledge on the existence of SIBO. Normally, only small amounts of bacteria grow in the small intestine. Most bacteria live in the colon (large intestine). However, there are situations where the level of bacteria in the small intestine may increase to harmful levels and lead to many serious health problems. 

When bacteria ferment fibers, they produce hydrogen gas. Similarly, so-called arcanobacteria live on hydrogen and produce methane gas. Methane is usually associated with constipation-prone bacterial overgrowth, while diarrhea-prone bacterial overgrowth is caused by hydrogen. Hydrogen-dominant SIBO is usually easier to treat than methane-dominant SIBO.

  • Diarrhea (hydrogen is dominant in gas formation)
  • Constipation (methane is dominant in gas formation)
  • Intestinal cramps and pains
  • Fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, depression

Health factors to be considered

  • • Reduced gastric acid production 
  • Disorders of pancreatic digestive enzyme production
  • Systemic diseases (celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, fatty liver)
  • Intestinal surgery
  • Intestinal blocks (strictures, tumors, ulcers)