Matcha Tea Decreases Anxiety by Activating Dopamine and Seratonin Receptors
See link to learn how Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University have shown that anxious behavior in mice is reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract.
See link to learn how Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University have shown that anxious behavior in mice is reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract.
For many years, Lyme disease was largely misunderstood and difficult to diagnose, as its symptoms are vague and similar to general feelings of malaise. However, the bacterial disease was conclusively identified in 1975 in Connecticut, United States, and was named after the town it was first diagnosed in. Recently, medical professionals have been able to better identify the disease using a variety of tests, and can diagnose patients more accurately.
Lyme disease is a parasitic infection caused from ticks carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. This bacteria is a type of spirochete, or corkscrew-shaped bacteria, and there are four closely related types in the Borrelia family – Borrelia burgdorferi is the most common throughout the United States; Borrelia mayonii is found in the upper Midwestern United States; and Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are both found in Europe and Asia. In the United States, the ticks that tend to carry the bacteria the most are the deer ticks, whereas in Europe, the primary carriers are sheep or castor bean ticks. The good news is that not all ticks carry this bacteria; however, with tick populations on the rise and the increase in global travel and exploration, humans are becoming more and more exposed to ticks.
The difficult part about diagnosing this condition is that its symptoms of Lyme disease are very similar to flu symptoms and can be difficult to pinpoint. Symptoms of Lyme disease also do not present themselves until 7–10 days after a tick bite, making the connection tricky to identify. Acute symptoms of Lyme disease can include a circular ‘bull’s eye’ rash that may appear anywhere from a few days or up to a month following a tick bite. Other symptoms of Lyme disease in this acute stage include headache, fatigue, chills, loss of appetite, fever, and achiness of joints and muscles. When identified at this stage, Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics; most people only experience these symptoms and never become seriously ill.
It is estimated that 30–50% of people will progress through to the next stage of the illness that can begin two weeks to three months after the infection starts, and they are then subjected to the chronic symptoms of Lyme disease. These can include arthritic pain, memory loss, trouble with vision, and other neurological symptoms that closely parallel multiple sclerosis.
Only a very small percentage of people will progress to the third and final stage of Lyme disease, which can present itself two years after the initial tick bite. This chronic form of Lyme disease causes crippling arthritis and several neurological symptoms similar to those in patients with multiple sclerosis. It can also include facial paralysis, difficulty walking, meningitis, increased memory loss and difficulty concentrating. (Source)
In a word, yes. One of the symptoms of Lyme disease in its acute form is a loss of appetite, similar to what patients would experience if they had the flu. So exactly how does Lyme disease affect appetite?
Lyme disease can affect the sense of taste, making previously enjoyed foods taste odd. It causes patients to have to limit what they are eating, as only certain tastes and textures are tolerated. At first glance, this aversion to food can come across as an eating disorder, if Lyme disease hasn’t already been diagnosed. In children, it can seem as though they are simply being ‘picky eaters’ or going through a phase of not enjoying certain foods, when in fact it is a sign of Lyme disease.
To determine whether or not flu-like symptoms are a result of Lyme disease, especially if the patient notices the bull’s eye rash or has been recently bitten by a tick, doctors will perform a variety of tests using blood samples. It can be challenging to get confirmation of the presence of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria; however, this is not always easy or possible. The part of our immune system that creates the antibodies required to fight an infection is called the humoral immune system. Doctors can check this part of the immune system to determine whether or not the bacteria is present, based on whether the body is creating antibodies to fight it. They can also test at the cellular level to analyse the activity of the antibodies. Humoral immune system tests include the ELISA, CLIA, and immunoblots, while the cellular immune system tests are done through the ELISpot test. (Source)
The best way to treat any of the acute symptoms of Lyme disease is to get on a regime of antibiotics as soon as possible. If you suspect that you have been bitten by a tick, or you notice the bull’s eye rash, seek medical help immediately to begin testing for the disease. By treating the disease at its root, many people find relief of the acute symptoms, including the loss of appetite. While you are experiencing the loss of appetite due to Lyme disease, try experimenting with various foods to try to find options that are nutritious and appealing to your altered palate. Continue consuming fluids as much as you can, and include fluids such as smoothies that can add nutritional value while not requiring you to eat a lot.
Before I hit upon lack of appetite, I’d like to clear up a few points:
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a very real condition that affects millions of Americans and its symptoms include chronic widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, joint pain, problems with cognitive functioning, migraines, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), anxiety, depression, and environmental sensitivity – learn more about fibromyalgia symptoms here.
Unfortunately, FM is a condition rather than a specific illness and presents itself as an array of complex symptoms; believed to be caused by biological, psychological, and environmental factors and there is no specific universal treatment for the condition.
Sufferers of FM may be able to find some relief by following a healthy diet, which includes eliminating some foods while adding or increasing others. Kent Holtorf, M.D., Medical Director of the Holtorf Medical Group says,
“We’re at the point now where we know diet plays a role in this disease – it’s just the same diet for everybody. And not everybody is helped in the same way.”
However, there are a number of secondary health conditions such as gluten intolerance, gout (a form of arthritis), and restless leg syndrome that coexist with fibromyalgia causing an overlapping of symptoms or exacerbating the FM symptoms. Treating secondary conditions through dietary control may also bring some relief to the pain and fatigue brought on by fibromyalgia.
Due to the nature of fibromyalgia that it is non-specific condition, these dietary guidelines may not be right for all FM sufferers but appear to make a difference for a significant number of those suffering.
Aspartame is classified as an excitotoxin, which stimulates NMDA pain receptors, which are already overly active with fibromyalgia.
MSG is an additive or flavor enhancer and nitrates are preservatives. Both are found in many processed foods and are also classified as an excitotoxin. Nitrates and MSG can often difficult to tolerate in people without fibromyalgia and are extremely difficult to tolerate in those who do.
There is not clear evidence that cutting out simple carbohydrates will have an impact on fibromyalgia but it will reduce symptoms of chronic yeast infection, which may be a secondary condition contributing to the pain of fibromyalgia.
High fructose corn syrup, which is found in carbonated beverages, is prone to cause a metabolic reaction resulting in much more sugar pouring into the blood at a quicker rate. The quick rise is followed by a fast fall with can exacerbate the fatigue element of fibromyalgia.
Caffeine does create a boost in energy; however, it is followed by a longer and deeper sedative effect. People with fibromyalgia already suffer from fatigue therefore amplifying the downside.
Yeast and gluten are frequently found together, particularly in baked goods. Cutting both out can have equal benefit. Cutting yeast out of a diet may yield yeast fungus overgrowth, which may cause or exacerbate joint and muscle pain. Cutting gluten can improve digestive problems, stomach ailments, and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia.
Dairy has been known to aggravate symptoms in some fibromyalgia sufferers but not all. If avoiding diary does not seem to relieve symptoms, then drinking skim milk provides calcium to build bones and protein to build muscle.
Common nightshade plants include tomatoes, chili, bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant. However, there are over 2,000 other varieties of “nightshades.” Edible nightshades can trigger flares on various types of arthritis and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. If by eliminating nightshades there is no noticeable relief from symptoms of FM, then bring them back into your diet because these are some of the most nutritious vegetables.
Nutritionist, Samantha Heller, MS, RD, says, “When you body is healthier overall, you may be better able to cope with any disease, and better able to respond to even small changes you make.” A vegetarian diet consisting mostly of raw whole foods has shown to reduce symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. It also produces improvement of mitochondria dysfunction, which according to Holtorf, “This is the area of the cell where energy is made. Consequently, it’s necessary to have high levels of nutrients to get the mitochondria to work and for energy to by produced.”
Included in a healthy diet should be a high-quality vitamin supplement as well as supplements containing omega 3 fatty acids – we recommend HoltraCeuticals’ Ultra Omega – and eating “good fat” foods such as foods rich in fish oil, flax seed, walnuts, some fortified cereals and eggs. All of which have been show to have an impact on inflammation.
At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to uncover and address the underlying cause of fibromyalgia. Additionally, our Health and Nutrition Coach can work with you and your Holtorf physician to create a diet specifically for you! If you are experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, but aren’t getting the treatment you need, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!
1. Kent Holtorf, MD. “A Confounding Condition.” https://www.holtorfmed.com/download/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia/A_Confounding_Condition.pdf
2. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia; Now Treatable Diseases.”https://www.holtorfmed.com/download/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia/Chronic_Fatigue_syndrome_and_Fibromyalgia_now_treatable_diseases.pdf
3. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Fibromyalgia: The Diet Connection.” https://www.holtorfmed.com/download/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia/Fibromyalgia__The_Diet_Connection.pdf
By Kerry Heckman
My numbers won’t budge. Every month I go in for a blood test and every month I get an email from my doctor stating that my inflammatory markers are the same. The numbers are not so high to cause a panic, but they’re not low enough to signal any real improvement either. I’ve tried everything from meditation to medication, but nothing seems to work. Each month I pray the numbers will drop and I’m devastated when month after month they stay the same.
I’ve put in all the work; there’s been no stinting. I’ve been in treatment for three years. I’ve changed my lifestyle, my diet, and most difficult of all, my mindset. But I keep coming up short. There’s no doubt I’m better. My bedridden days are mostly in the past, and the pain that keeps me up at night (painsomnia, I call it) happens once or twice week instead of every day. Another marker of my improvement is after treatment my herxheimer reactions are greatly diminished. These are positive trends, but still I am not where I want to be. I want clinical proof that my recovery is real. I want to know unequivocally that I’m heading toward remission. I’ve been at this dreaded plateau for months waiting to break free. I anxiously await the day when my inflammatory markers take a dramatic drop.
Your plateau may be different than mine. Maybe you, too, made big improvements in the beginning and now it’s tapering off, or maybe you’re stuck waiting for any minuscule improvement at all. Either way the lack of progress may be the hardest thing to bear.
All this was weighing heavily on me. Then one day I started thinking about actual plateaus in nature. Consider for a moment you are climbing up a mountain and reach a plateau. You’ve done the grueling work of going up the mountain and now you are walking on level ground. You are still moving forward, that hasn’t changed, but you’re not increasing your elevation. Maybe that’s what plateaus are in treatment—a leveling off that doesn’t feel like progress, because you aren’t climbing anymore. But you have achieved an incremental improvement in your recovery.
This bit of visualization changed the way I thought about my lack of headway, though there were still some questions I needed to ask myself— questions you may need to ask yourself as well:
A: With Lyme disease the improvement can be slow . . . very slow. As they say, any progress is good progress. If you feel comfortable with your treatment protocol, you may need to practice patience and remember you are getting better. However, sometimes the progress is too slow and even if there is incremental improvement you may want talk to your doctor about exploring ways to speed up your treatment plan.
A: If this has happened before, what was it that made the difference? Maybe it’s a new supplement or an increased dose of medication. Maybe your thyroid or adrenals are out of balance and need attention. Try to remember back to what helped you before and try it again. It may help to keep a journal about what you think is and isn’t working for you.
A: As I said, with Lyme getting better takes time. Ask yourself if you think your current treatment plan is sufficient to to get you better. This is a good place to use your intuition. If you feel skeptical every time you meet with your doctor that might be your body telling you something.
A: Give yourself a timeline—six months, nine months—for when you want to reevaluate. Verbalize your timeline to your doctor, so she or he knows what you’re thinking. Ask if there is a test that can be run at that time to compare where you were before to where you are now.
A: If you’re like me and your numbers aren’t budging, maybe it’s time to put more space between tests. This depends naturally on what is medically advisable. But I I did realize that the constant testing was causing me frequent disappointments, which weren’t good for my healing. I have since decided to go from once a month to once every other month for my bloodwork and focus on other things in the meantime.
A: A plateau is the perfect time to reevaluate your habits. Perhaps it’s time to add more nutrients to your diet or increase detox. Have you always wanted to try a complementary therapy? Now may be the time. Or are there other options?
A: Have no doubts, recovery from Lyme treatment is a full-time job. It seems like there’s always something else you can try, but is that the best thing for your body? This could be an indication that it’s time to take a break from all the intensity and let your body rest at the top of the mountain.
Take some time and ask yourself these questions. Get quiet and let your intuition speak. There are few doctors, medications, or therapies that can give us as much insight as our own common sense. Remember the image of the mountain and keep walking forward on the level ground of the plateau—the uphill slope may be only a few steps ahead.
Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.
Kerry J. Heckman is a licensed therapist and author of the healing and wellness blog Words Heal. She was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016.
Great article to begin meaningful dialogue.
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But downing a cup of Chobani alone isn’t going to solve the issue. There are specific ways to balance your gut health with probiotics and prebiotics, and multiple ways to get them from what you consume.
Here’s an easy way to keep probiotics and prebiotics straight when it comes to their function in the body: “Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that are introduced to the gut to grow and thrive,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian and author of the “2-Day Diabetes Diet.” “Prebiotics are essentially ‘food’ for these good bacteria.” This means they help stimulate and fuel the growth of probiotic bacteria already present in the body, acting like a fertilizer.
“It is essential to have both prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health,” Palinksi-Wade added.
Probiotics help keep gut bacteria balanced by limiting the growth of bad bacteria, explained Alan Schwartzstein, a family physician practicing in Oregon, Wisconsin.
“Probiotics compete with these ‘bad’ bacteria for prebiotic food and do not allow them to multiply and cause harm to us.”
This bacteria balance is also beneficial to your overall health, Palinski-Wade said. A good amount of probiotics in the body helps with vaginal health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as good heart and brain health. What’s more, research published in Medicina has linked healthy bacteria in the gut with healthy body weight, lowering inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
There’s a pretty simple sign that indicates if your gut has enough prebiotics and probiotics.
“Those who have a gut imbalance will have symptoms like increased gut sensitivity or changes in bowel habits,” Farhadi said. This means issues like diarrhea, constipation and excess gas.
You don’t have to wait for these unpleasant symptoms to pop up to start taking a probiotic. Whether you do it through diet or supplement, prebiotics and probiotics can be used by anyone to proactively maintain gut health, Farhadi said.
For example, in his own practice Farhadi recommends a patient eat a tablespoon of Greek yogurt (which has probiotics) sprinkled with Metamucil (which contains prebiotics) on top to restore balance in the gut.
Schwartzstein added that most people can get enough probiotics through their daily diet without a supplement. This includes eating foods like yogurt (make sure the label says “live active cultures” or the full name of the bacteria), soy drinks, soft cheeses like Gouda, and miso. There’s one main exception where heavier amounts of the bacteria might be needed.
“There are circumstances that can cause fewer probiotics in our digestive system; the most common is when we take antibiotics,” Schwartzstein said. “These antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in our gut that serve as probiotics at the same time they kill the harmful bacteria that is causing the infection.” (This is also why most doctors only prescribe antibiotics if they are positive a patient has an infection caused by bacteria as opposed to a virus, like a cold.)
In these instances, you may need to take a probiotic supplement until you finish taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor to make sure you take the correct strain and be aware that taking a probiotic supplement can come with side effects like gas and bloating, Schwartzstein said.
For prebiotics, Palinski-Wade said that a diet high in plant-based foods and fiber is a good way to make sure you’re consuming enough. Sources of prebiotics include garlic, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
If you don’t think you’re getting enough probiotics or prebiotics through your diet you may be leaning toward taking a supplement. In the case of prebiotics, any psyllium-based product (like Metamucil) can be used, as fiber acts as a prebiotic in the body.
Probiotics are a little trickier, as there are many different strains of probiotic bacteria that may be beneficial for certain conditions.
“Our research is so limited in this field,” Farhadi said. “Currently, the recommendation is based on individual experiences.”
Many times, Farhadi said a doctor may ask a patient to start a probiotic and see if it’s helpful. If not, they can switch between different brands and bacteria strains until they find the right fit. Talk with your physician before trying anything ― they’ll make sure you’re set up on the right path.
I would caution against using yogurt, kefir, and Metamucil unless they are without sugar. A good substitute for Metamucil is just plain psyllium husk fiber. https://fiberfacts.org/consumer_psyllium/ I found two opposing opinions on psyllium being a prebiotic, so discuss this with your practitioner. Both, however, are soluble sources of fiber. If you try this, go slowly so your body can acclimate to it.
If you detest the taste of plain yogurt products, you can always add fruit or liquid Stevia which comes in a myriad of flavors, but avoid processed sugar like the plague.
Some examples of food-sources of Prebiotics:
All of these contain inulin which is an oligosaccharide or type of sugar molecule that is hard to break down so it can travel into your colon. Once there it becomes food for bacteria (probiotics). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-prebiotics#section5
Some examples of food-sources for Probiotics:
Regarding pro and prebiotic supplements, there are many varieties and types. Get probiotics that are refrigerated as they have live cultures in them.
Also, look for probiotic supplements that are designed to carry the bacteria all the way to your large intestine for better effects, while others probably won’t survive stomach acid.
And, the Health line article cautions that some should not take a probiotic, or who may feel worse after taking them, such as people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or people sensitive to ingredients in the supplement. For these issues, work with a practitioner to find the right strains.
My LLMD has been utilizing both in his treatment for Lyme/MSIDS patients and he reports that he has far fewer patients suffering with gut issues now – even while using antibiotics.
Cindy Kennedy, FNP, is joined by Dr. Jill Carnahan, who discusses the importance of gut health in order to heal from chronic illnesses. She offers an insight into candida and its role in “Gut Dysbiosis.”Dr. Carnahan completed her residency at the University of Illinois Program in Family Medicine at Methodist Medical Center. In 2006 she was voted by faculty to receive the Resident Teacher of the Year award and elected to Central Illinois 40 Leaders Under 40. She received her medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago and her Bachelor of Science degree in Bio-Engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She is dually board-certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. In 2008, Dr. Carnahan’s vision for health and healing resulted in the creation of Methodist Center for Integrative Medicine in Peoria, Illinois, where she served as the Medical Director for two years. In 2010, she founded Flatiron Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, where she practices functional medicine with medical partner, Dr. Robert Rountree, author and expert speaker.
Dr. Carnahan is also 10-year survivor of breast cancer and Crohn’s disease and passionate about teaching patients how to “live well” and thrive in the midst of complex and chronic illness. She is also committed to teaching other physicians how to address underlying cause of illness rather than just treating symptoms through the principles of functional medicine. She is a prolific writer, speaker, and loves to infuse others with her passion for health & healing!
If you would like to read more about Dr. Carnahan, visit www.drcarnahan.com.