Posts made in November, 2017

It’s All In Your Gut!

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Blog, Dr. Dana Marshall, Dr. Susan Joyce, General Health, Healthy Eating | Comments Off on It’s All In Your Gut!

It’s all in your gut! There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to your gut. And that’s for good reason. While we’re still learning a lot about how the interaction between the digestive system and the rest of the body works, we do know that the delicate balance of intestinal flora in your digestive system can affect the body’s ability to perform the critical functions that affect our overall health, such as: Absorbing and producing vitamins and minerals, Regulating hormones, Digesting effectively, Responding to the immune system, and Eliminating toxins For those of us who already suffer from gastrointestinal or bowel disorders such as IBS, Celiac disease, or leaky gut syndrome, the link between gut and mental health become more pronounced.  And, our gastrointestinal (GI) health may be the root cause of many symptoms throughout the body – including your mental health! Given how extensive the influence of the gut is on these essential bodily functions, it’s clear that gut health is one of the most important ways we can look after our overall health. While there are MANY ways to take care of your gut, there are two factors that influence gut flora directly: prebiotics and probiotics. How does the connection between gut and body work? Well, in between the layers of your digestive tract is something called the enteric nervous system (ENS), which is made of two thin layers of over 100 million nerve cells lining your GI tract literally from top to bottom. The ENS sends messages between the gut and the brain. That’s why the gut is often called the “second brain.” And as you’ll see from the symptoms listed below, the messages that the second brain sends can be very persuasive! How can you tell if your gut is imbalanced? The ideal balance of gut bacteria is about 85% good bacteria to 15% bad bacteria. And that’s out of about 100 trillion bacteria that naturally live in our gut all the time! But this balance can be upset in the course of daily life, by caffeine, processed foods, stress, long-term use medications and antibiotics. In fact, one course of antibiotics can leave your gut bacteria weaker for years! And as we age, the natural decrease in our stomach acid – which plays an important role in the growth of good bacteria – enables bad bacteria to get stronger. The main culprit of a bacteria imbalance, though, is over-consumption of sugars. To make a real and immediate positive impact on your gut health, it’s essential to limit simple carbohydrates like sugars found in sodas, desserts, and processed foods like breads and flour products. There are all kinds of indicators of an imbalanced gastrointestinal system – we just have to pay attention to them. Symptoms like: Bloated, gassy and distended abdomen Extreme bowel movement patterns like diarrhea or constipation (or a fluctuation of both) Skin conditions including acne, irritations, and eczema flare-ups Constant fatigue despite getting an adequate amount of sleep ‘Down’ or sad emotions, irritability, anxiety Candida or yeast overgrowth Weight loss due to lack of an appetite or gain weight due to cravings for food lacking nutrients How can we help our gut communicate best? By providing it with what it needs to keep the balance of necessary good and bad bacteria we can help the gut take care of its biggest job – regulating digestion. That way, the gut’s messages to the body and mind are clear, efficient, and healthy. But how? There are MANY things we can do to aid in gut health and healing, but some simple things it...

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The Trouble with Stress

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Blog, Dr. Dana Marshall, Dr. Susan Joyce, General Health, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Trouble with Stress

We often underestimate the power of stress. We like to see stress as natural, and even helpful, in being productive in our day-to-day lives. But the positive effects of stress, like goal orientation, motivation, and even intensified memory or cognitive responses are most beneficial in small doses. Many of us have built up tolerances to living with constant, heightened stress levels, and the temptation to see this as a positive or heroic trait has reduced our natural desire to respond to it. Instead of recognizing and reacting to the core ‘fight or flight’ survival response that stress provides, many of us function with heightened stress for long periods of time without realizing that living under continued high stress can have dire health consequences. How stress works: You’ve probably heard this before, and you’ve certainly felt it: the pounding heart, the rushing sounds in your ears, and an acute and intense desire for action when something has caught you completely off guard. When your brain perceives some kind of stress, be it your move in a basketball game, a heated argument, or stepping off a busy street, it starts producing an influx of epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol hormones. This flood of chemicals produces a variety of reactions to respond to the stress: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and an acute focus on taking whatever action is necessary to stay safe. Stress can be brought on by a variety of internal and external factors, and it can be a very healthy reaction and necessary to maintain our survival. It’s when you remain in a state of heightened stress for prolonged periods of time, that the effects of stress on your system can become a real medical problem. How much stress is too much stress? Life events, changes in lifestyle, work, family, or even shifting responsibilities such as child or parent care, relationships, and work can directly affect feelings of overwhelm. When the amount on our plate reaches a place of critical mass, we experience overwhelm. That experience can present itself in many ways that signify stress. Emotional stressors like these that remain for a period of weeks, months, or even years can become detrimental to your immune system, and your overall health. Being able to recognize our own stress signals is the first step to finding ways to cope with stress, and dissipate it, to return to a healthy state that will enable you to work through the demands placed on you. Recognizing Stress Responses: There are many ways that stress expresses itself. While some might be more familiar to you than others, a person can experience some or all of these at different times. But, multiplied sources of ongoing stress can lead to larger health issues. If chronic stress is not dealt with effectively, it can become debilitating, leading to an inability of what we want to do most: thrive at work, and in life with our family and friends. Being able to recognize the sensations of stress is the first step to being able to discuss them with your professional health team. Then, they can help you find ways to cope with stress effectively. Stress can feel like: Frenetic energy or restlessness Fatigue, or trouble sleeping or staying awake Digestive issues, changes in appetite, over or under eating Change in use of addictive substances like alcohol, tobacco, or drugs Inability to concentrate or complete tasks Increased frequency of colds or other illnesses like autoimmune disease flares Heightened anger or impatience Headaches, migraines, body aches Increased irritability, anger, or anxiety Lack of motivation, depression, sadness Inability to catch your...

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