Archive for the ‘Gut Health’ Category

Chelation Therapy Talk – Dr. Waters

Aging – Let’s Slow it Down

The talk will review factors leading up to accelerated aging:
  1. A high, refined carbohydrate diet
  2. Calcium intake and imbalance
  3. A progressive overload of iron as we age
  4. Magnesium deficiency
  5. An historically unprecedented burden of toxic metals in our environment and bodies. These include lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, antimony, tin, nickel, aluminum and others.
What can we do about it? One answer is Chelation Therapy using Magnesium Disodium EDTA.

We must lower the burden of toxic metals that have accumulated in the body over a lifetime. Remove the excess iron that likewise has contributed to free radical damage. Also, most importantly, remove calcium deposits from the soft tissues of the body.

For a nutritional talk Dr. Waters gave our support group:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/04/18/dr-waters-presentation/

For notes on other topics of his talks: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/08/17/free-health-talks-dr-waters/

 

 

5 Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body & 10 Tips to Reduce Stress

https://www.holtorfmed.com/5-effects-of-stress-on-mind-body/?

5 Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body + 10 Tips to Reduce Stress

5 Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body + 10 Tips to Reduce Stress
We all hear about stress these days and how bad it is for our health. Many people consider stress a part of modern life and learn to live with it, but stress is not normal and it can be overcome! You just need to learn how.

Originally Posted November 2016
Updated October 2019

Knowing the far-reaching effects of stress, not only on our psychological well-being, but also on our entire bodies, can help us remember to prioritize stress management and other self-care practices.

Stress, Cortisol, and Adrenals

You may have heard these terms used together, but are not sure how they are connected. Stress is any kind of outside factor that our body perceives as a threat to our safety or well-being. Many people think this only refers to emotional stress or trauma, but it also includes physiological stress on the body, such as infection, traumatic injury, or a poor diet. Stress can also include environmental factors like exposure to chemicals and other toxins.

Cortisol is one of the hormones that our body releases in response to stress. It is probably the one most commonly associated with stress, even though there are others involved.

The adrenals are two small glands located just above the kidneys that produce and release cortisol and other hormones into the bloodstream – learn everything you need to know about adrenals here. One of the bodily processes that occurs during acute stress is often referred to as “fight or flight.” It is the defense mechanism that kicks in when we are in danger – or think we are. In addition to the adrenals pumping out more hormones, bodily functions that are unnecessary in the moment (such as digestion), are put on hold to preserve energy for the “fight or flight.”

While this can be a very useful and sometimes life-saving response to a threat, problems can begin to occur if stress becomes frequent or chronic. As the adrenal glands become over-worked, they eventually can’t keep up with the body’s demands for the various hormones they’re responsible for.

How Stress Affects the Body

Here are a few of the major ways the mind and body are affected by chronic stress.

Mood

The adrenal glands produce more than just cortisol. They also produce neurotransmitters such as adrenaline (epinephrine), norepinephrine, and dopamine. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that help regulate things like mood, performance, weight, pain perception, and sleep. Depending on the degree to which the adrenals have been affected, the neurotransmitters become unbalanced in various ways.

Let’s take dopamine, for example. If dopamine is too high, someone may experience anxiety, hyperactivity, or paranoia. If someone has low dopamine, it can lead to addiction, cravings, or depression.

Hormones

In addition to neurotransmitters and cortisol, the adrenals also produce small amounts of the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone (and their precursors). Along with balancing out hormones based on a person’s gender, sex hormones also help keep the negative effects of too much cortisol in check, acting as an antioxidant. But once the adrenals become chronically over-worked, more and more of the precursor materials (used to make sex hormones) get diverted to make cortisol, resulting in a decrease in sex hormones.

This results in lowered libido and other symptoms related to hormonal imbalances, such as premenstrual syndrome in women or erectile dysfunction in men.

Blood Sugar Regulation

When cortisol is released, the hormone glucagon is signaled and insulin is suppressed. Glucagon controls glucose storage in the liver so that glucose can be released into the blood. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the amount of glucose being taken from the bloodstream into the cells.

During chronic stress, the cells start to become resistant to insulin, leaving blood glucose levels elevated. This is why insulin resistance is the precursor to type II diabetes.

A few symptoms of insulin resistance include inability to lose weight, high cholesterol and triglycerides, cognitive dysfunction, and elevated blood glucose or insulin levels.

Learn more about insulin resistance here.

Thyroid

The adrenal glands are part of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid-axis (HPAT), sometimes just referred to as the HPA-axis. Here’s where the thyroid comes into play.

The adrenals are regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. When cortisol is released under stress, the hypothalamus and pituitary, which work in a feedback loop with cortisol, slow down their production of hormones. Unfortunately, this also slows down thyroid function since the hypothalamus and pituitary regulate thyroid hormones as well.

Stress can also negatively affect the enzyme that converts inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3). There are a few other mechanisms involved in the stress/thyroid dysfunction connection as well. Hypothyroid symptoms such as cold extremities, dry skin, depression, and constipation often indicate sub-optimal adrenal function. Most likely, thyroid treatment will be less effective if the adrenals are not addressed as well.

Learn more about the adrenal-thyroid connection here.

Immunity

Stress triggers inflammation. Our body knows that chronic inflammation is damaging, so it compensates by slowing down the immune system in order to keep the inflammation in check. The immune system is also directly suppressed during stress since it is one of those “unnecessary” functions when we’re in “fight or flight” mode. This also affects thyroid health since a suppressed immune system can activate viruses capable of attacking and damaging the thyroid.

As you can see, so many functions in the body are interconnected and related back to adrenal function and the stress response.

10 Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Your Health

This is only a brief overview of the effects of stress on the body. Chronic stress has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. It is estimated that as much of 80% of the population has weakened adrenal function.

Since there are different stages of adrenal dysfunction that require different treatments, it is a good idea to seek out a knowledgeable health care provider who can test your adrenal function and related hormones. Since many doctors only recognize adrenal disorders such as Cushing’s and Addison’s disease, you may need to search someone out who takes a more in-depth look at adrenal function using functional tests such as a salivary cortisol test.

There are some things you can do to help reduce stress which include:

Take Control of Your Thoughts

Many people have tons of negative thoughts in their head on a daily basis, without even being aware of it. This creates a stressful state and anxiety that keeps fueling your hormonal imbalances. A technique known as “thought‐stopping” can help you halt negative, obsessive thoughts.

The first step is to literally call a halt to this train of thought (like saying the word “Stop!” out loud or to yourself). Next, choose a positive thought on which you’ll focus instead. This way you’re swapping a negative, stress‐inducing thought for a positive one. To increase emotional comfort, it’s imperative to practice reassuring and realistic self‐talk (saying something along the lines of, “I am feeling anxious / irritable now, but I have the power to calm myself down.”).

Apply Self-Soothing Techniques

There are many physiological changes that are triggered, when we are faced with a stressful situation. Our breathing quickens, adrenaline is secreted, and our heart begins to race. This is called the fight or flight response – a natural survival mechanism intended to help us escape danger. However, when the threat is imagined, the fight/flight response is unnecessary and damaging to your health. Many people with chronic stress remain blocked in this state of alert, without being able to snap out of it.

Luckily, there are techniques you can learn to reduce your response to stress, like deep breathing techniques, muscle relaxation exercises and meditation. Deep breathing can help with a rapid heart beat. The most commonly utilized strategy is breathing by contracting the diaphragm, a horizontal muscle in the chest located just above the stomach cavity.

Using muscle relaxation exercises you can induce a relaxed state and physical comfort, by tightening and releasing muscles, beginning with the largest muscle group. Meditation is also a powerful way to bring back a peaceful state to your body and clearing up your mind from erratic and negative thoughts.

Check Your Diet

What does stress have to do with eating? A whole lot! What we eat and drink largely impacts our emotional state. Stimulating foods and drinks like coffee, sodas, chocolate, and alcohol can cause anxiety, trigger panic attacks, and increase feelings of nervousness and irritability, as well as trembling and shaking. Deciding to go “cold turkey” by abruptly eliminating caffeine is not always recommended since it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. You might experience headaches, restlessness, and irritability. So it’s better to decrease caffeine consumption gradually by replacing it with tea for example.

Regular alcohol consumption can also generate a lot of biochemical imbalances in your body, like blood sugar dysregulation, liver problems and dehydration, which add to the stress burden your body needs to handle.

Get Moving

By choosing your appropriate exercise routine you can reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. Be careful not to over exercise, which can actually contribute to your stress level.

It’s a known fact that during exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins and norepinephrine, which interact with receptors in the brain. These chemicals determine euphoric feelings, reduction in physical pain and the ability to deal with stress more efficiently.

Get More Sleep

Losing just a few hours of sleep increases feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and exhaustion. It’s a vicious cycle since because of stress you might not be able to fall and stay asleep, but lack of sleep is also generating stress.

So try to get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and don’t feel bad about also adding a nap in the afternoon on days when you’re feeling especially drained. Go to sleep before 10 – 11 PM and don’t use the computer or watch TV before it, since these can interfere with your melatonin production and make it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Listen to Music

By choosing a type of relaxing music which you prefer, you can help the body and mind dissipate stress. Research has shown that classical music may help you unwind and improve your mood. You can also experience therapeutic CDs of “binaural beats,” which are meant to calm the mind and body and where different frequencies call forth different moods.

Begin and End the Day Right

In the morning, in order to make intelligent use of your energy for the day, take some time to reflect, meditate, read or better yet take a nature walk, away from computer and TV. You could do the same in the evening, or just simply delight in the rare pleasure of doing nothing. These can ease the stress of too much computer or office time, counteract overstimulation and boost your mood.

Doing Something Fun

Doing something fun always gets postponed due to the avalanche of responsibilities we have during the day. But without a balance in your life, frustration and so stress might arise. It’s been found that creating artwork, crafts or making time for a hobby helps to relax, can be very stress-reducing and takes your focus away from your own thoughts and worries.

Get a Massage

Massage is a great way to loosen the muscles that are habitually affected by stress. Think about all the frowning and scrunching of your face muscles and how relaxing it is to work on these! Essential oils can calm, center, and energize you by reducing the effects of stress and mental fatigue. You can give yourself a massage, while taking small breaks from your work, or you could have a professional massage to benefit your whole body.

Include Adaptogens

A class of herbs called adaptogens help your body to cope more effectively with the demands and stress of everyday life. They provide a sustained sense of calm, and while they increase energy, with the exception of Chinese ginseng, they are non-stimulating. Some of the most used adaptogens are: ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, schisandra, shatavari, eleuthero.

Learn more about adaptogens here.

Lowering Stress and Improving Adrenal Function

Because of the great impact stress can have on overall health and well-being, it’s important to implement stress-reducing habits. Additionally, partnering with a knowledgeable physician to help address any underlying adrenal fatigue can prove very beneficial. Your mood, hormones, thyroid, blood sugar, and immune system (among other things) will be much healthier for it!

At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing innovative treatments to design a treatment protocol that is personalized to you. If you are experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, give us a call at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!

References

1. NIH. “5 Things You Should Know About Stress.” National Institute of Mental Health.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff “Chronic stress puts your health at risk.” Mayo Clinic.
3. APA Staff. “Stress effects on the body.” American Psychological Association.
4. Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science. “The Physiology of stress: Cortisol and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.”https://sites.dartmouth.edu/dujs/2011/02/03/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis/
5. Harvard Health. “Understanding the stress response.” Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School.
6. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior.” Mayo Clinic.
7. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS. “7 Adaptogenic Herbs or Adaptogens that Help Reduce Stress.” Dr. Axe.

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**Comment**

This article is one of the best articles I’ve read on how stress affects the body and what you can do about it.

Lyme/MSIDS patients are in a war of epic proportions where nearly every single thing in their bodies is haywire. We need to do all within out power to reduce that stress.

  • The most important step is effective treatment for the infection(s), which is simply in a word antimicrobials. An example:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/
  • The next step is precisely what this article recommends – partnering with an experienced practitioner who will help you uncover your specific imbalances.  This looks differently on everyone but typically involves the thyroid and other hormone and mineral imbalances. I know of one patient who felt nearly well just by addressing the thyroid. People often don’t understand that the thyroid is the body’s thermostat and that if you have hypothyroidism (low amounts of thyroid hormone) your body’s temperature will be low allowing infections to proliferate. Address the thyroid and you’ve effectively made it tougher for pathogens to survive.
  • Taking appropriate supplements. Patients often complain about their Lyme literate doctor requiring them to take copious amounts of supplements. Unfortunately, they are usually right because of damage & imbalances caused by the infection(s).  The goal; however, is to only take what is required. 
  • Diet is key.  This too is very individual, with some only improving by eliminating gluten, dairy, and all sugars.  https://draxe.com/nutrition/elimination-diet/ This step often turns patients around entirely. Remember – food is medicine.
  • All the ideas in the article are very helpful and include listening to calming music.The first thing I do in the morning is turn on a relaxing music channel on Pandora. An example would be the George Winston channel.  For more on binaural beats: https://www.binauralbeatsmeditation.com/the-science/
  •  Binaural Beat demonstration. You need ear phones to listen.
  • If you prefer music: 
  • Regarding essential oil diffusinghttps://thetruthaboutcancer.com/diffusing-essential-oils/  After I turn Pandora on, I set up my essential oil diffuser with whatever blend I’m in the mood for. For a relaxing bedtime blend called “Counting Sheep”:  9 drops lavender, 4 chamomile, 2 frankincense, 2 bergamot. This would be for a large room. Divide in half for a small bedroom.  For a grounding smell try “Peace & Harmony”: 4 drops patchouli, 4 vanilla, 3 orange. 
  • Doing something fun seems frivolous to many patients but is so important. Unfortunately with Lyme/MSIDS, we tend to revolve around our illness.  Doing something to break away from this is so important for our mental health. Whether you enroll in an art class or just buy Play dough to mess around with at home – do it. I’ve found plants relax me. My house has turned into a literal green house through the years.  I love dirt!  Another thing you could simply incorporate into your habits is coloringhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201803/are-adult-coloring-books-actually-helpful
  • Word of warning: It is often the case that when initially starting Lyme/MSIDS treatment patients are extremely sensitive to everything including light, sound, and smells. It’s always important you listen to YOUR body and although the suggestions in this article are good, they may not be good for you at the moment. If you are sensitive it’s a sure sign your body is seriously fighting a war and you need to assist it in anyway you can and often that means sunglasses even in the daytime, and eliminating ALL smells and sounds. The goal is to move past and heal from sensitivities so you can enjoy the suggestions listed here.
  • Final note and the best advice I was given: “Don’t be depressed about feeling depressed.”  I heard this from someone I contacted online who reached the other side of health who was willing to advise me in my desperation upon starting treatment and feeling so incredibly lousy. This advice helped me more than many things as there are some seriously dark days in treatment where you think dying would just be easier. Treating for this monster is unlike anything you’ve ever done before and will require serious dedication on your part. I encourage you to find a local support group for support and ideas on your journey.
Some of the best help through the years for me has come directly from patients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fibromyalgia Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid

https://www.holtorfmed.com/fibromyalgia-the-diet-connection/?

Fibromyalgia Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Fibromyalgia Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid
Fibromyalgia is a complex pain disorder characterized by muscle pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue. It affects over ten million Americans, (4% of the population), primarily women. Although there is no known treatment that works for everyone, following a healthy diet by eliminating processed foods, caffeine, aspartame (artificial sweetener), food additives and nightshades may reduce the symptoms.

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.

Foods to Avoid When You Have 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.

1. Aspartame (NutraSweet)

Aspartame is classified as an excitotoxin, which stimulates NMDA pain receptors, which are already overly active with fibromyalgia.

2. Food additives including MSG (monosodium glutamine) and nitrates

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.

3. Sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates

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.

4. Caffeine – including coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate

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.

5. Yeast and gluten

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.

6. Dairy

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.

7. Nightshade Plants

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.

Important Dietary Changes for Fibromyalgia Patients

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!

Resources

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

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/08/wahls-protocol-impact-of-diet-nutrition-in-ms-other-neurological-diseases/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/15/whats-the-best-diet-for-lyme-disease-dr-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/15/overview-of-anti-inflammatory-diets/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/18/comparative-diets-to-address-chronic-inflammation/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/03/do-these-popular-diets-make-you-nutrient-deficient/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/03/the-invisible-universe-of-the-human-microbiome-msm/

 

What To Do When You Hit a Plateau In Treatment

https://globallymealliance.org/hit-plateau-treatment/?

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:

Q: Have I really plateaued or is my progress just going slowly?

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.

Q: Have you hit a plateau before? What helped jumpstart my healing?

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.

Q: Do I need to change my treatment or ride it out?

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.

Q: If I plan to stay the course when will I know it’s time to adjust?

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.

Q: Am I testing too often?

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.

Q: Is there something else I could do to move forward?

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?

Q: Is this a good time for a healing pause?

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.


kerry heckman

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.

 

 

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**Comment**

Great article to begin meaningful dialogue.

  1.  Not sure what tests she keeps having done but I’ve heard mixed opinions about the CD-57 test which some docs swear by and others like my own say it’s a general, very basic indicator of immunity and unless you have the number before you were sick and then taken at regular intervals throughout treatment, it’s just a number. https://www.tiredoflyme.com/cd57.html
  2. Inflammation is a definite bad-boy.  One thing I discovered to eventually help me was MSM; however, I didn’t notice the help taking it while in treatment, only after treatment did it seem to really crush pain and inflammation:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/.  This article also shows it’s good for the gut:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/03/the-invisible-universe-of-the-human-microbiome-msm/
  3. Another thing that helped this inflammation/pain for me was systemic enzymes: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/22/systemic-enzymes/  There are many brands out there.  You might have to try a few to find one that works. I’ve tried different variations of Wobenzym as well as a brand my doctor sells. (I’m not affiliated with any companies)
  4. LDN was also a game changer:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/18/ldn/ I use a compounded form with only olive oil as an additive.
  5. For many, Lyme/MSIDS causes imbalances and deficiencies in the body. Finding out what those are and supplementing can make all the difference.  For instance, most patients struggle with thyroid dysfunction (as well as other hormones) and magnesium deficiency (magnesium can help depression and 1,000 other things):  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/16/magnesium-an-invisible-deficiency/ (In the comment section I give the kind my LLMD sells in his office and it’s been particularly successful. Again – no monies are exchanging hands)  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/12/the-importance-of-vitamin-d-k-and-magnesium-for-lyme-msids-patients/ Most of us Northerners are deficient in vitamin D.
  6. I’ll never forget the ranger in the documentary, “Under Our Skin,” state that he never could have imagined that his greatest improvement would come AFTER three years of treatment.  This has been my experience and my husband’s as well.  I must add that after 4.5 years of treatment for us, and two relapses requiring 2-3 month stints of treatment, we got better EACH TIME we treated. This very well could be the “cycling” approached discussed by Dr. Burrascano here:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/12/28/the-history-of-lyme-disease-dr-burrascano/  In brief:  he found that cycling 3-4 times typically worked for most patients. Ironically, the 3rd cycle yielded the worst herx.  Pam Weintraub wrote about this in, “Cure Unknown:  Inside the Lyme Disease Epidemic,” way back in the 90’s, yet few doctors do this. Cycling just means that after you are symptom-free for 2-3 months you quit ALL treatment.  If and when symptoms return, you hit hard with antibiotics until symptoms leave again. You do this 3-4 times.  Burrascano states his symptoms never returned and many of his patients had the same experience.
  7. Sometimes diet has made all the difference for some patients – like cutting out gluten or dairy or both. For some, herbs or treatments for inflammation made all the difference or help with sleep.  I’ve also known patients who got better only after they treated for worms/parasites: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/03/removing-parasites-to-fix-lyme-chronic-illnesses-dr-jay-davidson/
  8. When I hit a plateau after years of treatment yet still had symptoms, I called another LLMD I knew and asked if he’d be willing to do a phone consultation with me, not as a treating physician, but as a second ear to hear what I’ve done to give me ideas for any omissions he saw. That phone call was worth every penny as he carefully listened to what I’d done and gave me ideas for things to try.  Very helpful. I then took that knowledge to my LLMD and he was smart enough to implement them at my request based on another experienced practitioner’s wisdom.
  9. Lastly, I’ve found surrounding myself with experienced patients and doctors to be extremely helpful. You learn a lot by sharing your experiences and always come away with something you haven’t tried before.  Don’t let this information bog you down. Only try 1 thing at a time so you can track any changes. Support Group is a great place to do this.  Always run things by your practitioner as there might be drug interactions or things you need to consider or can’t try at all based on your specific issues/drug interactions.
I’ve learned the most from patients who are on the same journey. Don’t isolate yourself.

FREE Showing of ‘Secret Ingredients’ May 15-22

https://freeshowing.secretingredientsmovie.com/?  Go here to see Trailer and sign up

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The extraordinary FREE worldwide showing of Secret Ingredients — a powerful film by Jeffrey Smith and Amy Hart — shares remarkable stories of people who regain their health after discovering the “secret ingredients” in their food and making a bold commitment to avoid them.

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MAY 15TH-22ND

 

This is the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/difference-between-probiotic-prebiotic_

This Is The Difference Between Probiotics And Prebiotics

Plus, how to make sure you’re getting enough of each so you’re healthy.
There’s a good chance you’re familiar with probiotics (at least familiar enough where you make sure to stock up on Greek yogurt at the grocery store or pick up pills from your pharmacy).
But when it comes to your gut health, it’s actually the balance of two types of bacteria ― probiotics and prebiotics ― that helps keep everything operating as it should.
“There is a balance between [bacteria] in the gut called homeostasis,” said Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, California.
When this homeostasis becomes imbalanced, it’s important to restore it by providing the body with good bacteria that then help gut health, Farhadi said.
Enter probiotics and prebiotics, which you can get through diet and supplements.

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.

Differentiating between probiotics and prebiotics

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.”

When there is a balanced amount of probiotics and prebiotics in the body, your digestive health is able to hum along.

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.

How to know if your gut is OK ― and how to get it there if it isn’t

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.

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**Comment**

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:

  • bananas
  • cold potatoes
  • milk
  • dandelion greens
  • legumes (beans)
  • chickory root
  • artichokes
  • garlic
  • onions
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • barley
  • oats
  • apples
  • cocoa
  • burdock root
  • seaweed

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:

  • yogurt
  • kefir (daily & non-dairy)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha tea
  • Some types of pickles (non-pasteurized).
  • Other pickled vegetables (non-pasteurized).

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.

The Importance of Gut Health to Healing From Chronic Illnesses Podcast- Dr. Jill Carnahan

https://livingwithlyme.us/episode-63-the-importance-of-gut-health-to-healing-from-chronic-illnesses/

Episode 63: The Importance of Gut Health to Healing from Chronic Illnesses

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.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/24/herbs-habits-to-revive-your-gut/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/15/whats-the-best-diet-for-lyme-disease-dr-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/12/sibo-clinical-implications-natural-therapeutic-options/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/19/germs-in-your-gut-are-talking-to-your-brain-scientists-want-to-know-what-theyre-saying/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/03/29/cochrane-review-probiotics-reduce-c-diff-by-70-in-high-risk-patients-taking-antibiotics/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/09/15/prebiotics-probiotics-do-they-really-work-for-gut-health/