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Posts Tagged ‘digestion’

Question

Why did pregnancy trigger my hypothyroidism?

Answer

Natural immune shifts during pregnancy, together with a genetic tendency and other predisposing factors, can trigger hypothyroidism in some women.

Hypothyroidism is an immune disease for most

For 90 percent of Americans, hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland.

The immune system has two major arms of function, one that reacts immediately to an invader, and one that reacts later to produce antibodies. When one of these arms of becomes overly dominant it can trigger an autoimmune disease.

Going into pregnancy predisposed

Pregnancy and the postpartum periods naturally polarize the immune system. In the third trimester the delayed immune response is dominant. Postpartum the immediate immune reaction is stronger.

If a genetically predisposed woman goes into pregnancy with an existing immune imbalance, these natural immune shifts could be the tipping point for Hashimoto’s.

When pregnancy is one stressor too many

Pregnancy can also cause hypothyroid symptoms secondary to chronic stress. Stressors such as gut infections, food intolerances, blood sugar imbalances, and hormonal imbalances can depress the pituitary gland, which controls hormone function in the body. As a result the pituitary fails to signal thyroid activity.

For many women this manifests not only as low thyroid function, but also postpartum depression. Because so many women enter pregnancy dealing with multiple chronic stressors, the increased demands of pregnancy overwhelm the pituitary gland and depress thyroid function.

Balancing health pre-conception lowers risk for mother and baby

A woman should address health and immune imbalances before conceiving to reduce her risk of developing hypothyroidism.

Doing so also may lower the risk of her infant developing eczema, asthma, food allergies, and even autism, which has been found to be caused by an autoimmune disease in many. When the mother’s immune system is healthy and balanced, there’s a stronger possibility her baby’s will be too.

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Question

I learned I have intolerances and allergies to certain foods, and that I need to avoid those foods if I want to lose weight. Isn’t it just a matter of eating fewer calories?

Answer

Some people find they can’t lose weight through calorie restriction alone. When that happens several issues need to be investigated. One of the most important is food intolerances. Eating foods to which you are allergic or intolerant will prevent weight loss.

Food intolerances cause inflammation

Food intolerances and allergies create inflammation, and inflammation prevents weight loss. Every time you eat gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, or some other food that may be a problem for you, you create inflammation in your body.

Leaky gut is a primary culprit

For many people today, a variety of foods trigger inflammation. This is due largely to intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” which allows undigested food particles to slip into the bloodstream through damaged and inflamed intestinal walls. Leaky gut is very common today due to poor diets, excessive sweets, chronic stress, and other maladies of modern life. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are also common and cause leaky gut.

As these food particles circulate throughout the body the immune system responds by attacking and destroying them for removal, just as it would respond to a viral or bacterial infection. Unfortunately, if the food is eaten regularly, this keeps the immune system constantly at work, hence creating chronic inflammation. Symptoms can be obvious in the way of joint pain, skin issues, abdominal pain, or even brain fog, memory loss, or moodiness. Sometimes the inflammation is not obvious, yet a person finds she or he can’t lose weight.

Inflammation halts weight loss

Studies show the immune compounds that cause inflammation also make insulin receptors less sensitive, creating insulin resistance. As a result glucose can’t get into cells and blood sugar becomes too high. The body lowers blood sugar by converting it to fat for storage. Insulin resistance also hinders fat burning.

Inflammation also has been shown to cause leptin resistance, which stimulates hunger and promotes fat storage. Furthermore, excess body fat secretes immune messenger cells that trigger inflammation, promoting a vicious cycle that prevents weight loss.

Although moderating caloric intake and exercising are recommended for weight loss, effective and lasting weight loss depends in part on tackling chronic inflammation and food sensitivities.

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Question

I went to see my natural medicine practitioner for depression and she wants to work on my digestive health. I don’t get the connection.

Answer

Many people would be surprised to learn how greatly gut health affects brain health. A poor diet, inflamed gut, and intestinal permeability definitely can promote depression.

Depression a not-so-obvious symptom of poor digestion

Sometimes digestion issues are obvious; they cause gas, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain. For others the main symptom is not so obvious—depression. An unhealthy diet and compromised gut health can promote depression in several ways.

Poor nutrition

When one eats a junk food diet laden with processed foods, trans fats, sugars, and artificial chemicals, the brain suffers. The brain needs healthy fats, high-quality protein, abundant vitamins and minerals, and a diet low in starchy foods and sugars.

Gluten

Gluten is directly linked to depression in some. It causes gut inflammation, which can lead to inflammation in areas of the brain that regulate mood. Some people digest gluten into gluteomorphin, an opioid similar to heroin or morphine that can cause depression (not to mention constipation). Gluten can also cause autoimmune attacks in the brain with symptoms of depression.

Dairy or other foods may also cause depression, depending on sensitivity.

Leaky gut

Leaky gut happens when the lining of the intestines becomes overly permeable. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, creating inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the brain may cause depression.

Inflammation in the gut also inhibits absorption of nutrients necessary for good brain function. An example of such a nutrient is tryptophan, an amino acid found in proteins. The brain synthesizes tryptophan into serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes feelings of well-being and joy.

Always consider gut health

Depression is a complex, multi-faceted condition that can have its roots in various causes. However the role of diet and digestive health should always be included in a functional approach to depression.

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Question

It seems ever since I took antibiotics I haven’t been the same. I’m sick more frequently, my digestion is messed up, and I have chronic yeast infections. Why?

Answer

Antibiotics are one of modern medicine’s life-saving miracles. However if preventive care isn’t taken, their use, and especially their abuse, can lead to chronic health problems.

Good bacteria serve us

The digestive tract contains an estimated 2–4 pounds of beneficial bacteria that are an integral part of our immune system. They resist bad bacteria, and they aid in the digestion of food, the absorption of nutrients, and the synthesis of B vitamins and vitamin K.

These beneficial bacteria coat the lining of the intestines, providing a protective barrier against toxins. They also nourish the gut lining and ensure appropriate production of immune cells, helping to maintain balance in the immune system and prevent autoimmune disease.

Antibiotics wipe out good bacteria

While antibiotics eradicate disease-causing bacteria, unfortunately they wipe out the good bacteria too. This leaves the digestive tract defenseless, and it compromises both nutrient status and immune balance.

Antibiotic use makes it easy for bad bacteria, yeast, and fungi to over multiply, wreaking havoc on digestive and immune health. The overgrowth of yeast, or Candida, is especially common. This can produce a wide range of troubling symptoms, including yeast infections, sugar cravings, skin rashes, brain fog, and more.

Overgrowth of bad bacteria produces toxins and antibiotic-resistant strains

Also, pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi produce toxic substances that make their way into the bloodstream and the rest of the body. These toxins have been linked to allergies, and health ailments in the digestive, respiratory, immune, and nervous systems.

Research also shows that antibiotic use develops long-lasting strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Restoring beneficial bacteria vital

This explains why antibiotics can contribute to myriad health problems, even though they may have successfully treated a condition. Unnecessary antibiotic use should be avoided. If they are necessary, one should work with a practitioner to learn the best way to restore the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

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Question

I’m tired frequently and I have some chronic health issues I can’t seem to resolve.

Answer

Although multiple factors can cause both tiredness and chronic health issues, anemia should always be investigated. Unresolved anemia will thwart your journey to better health.

Anemia prevents normal function

Blood delivers oxygen to cells in the body and brain so they can function normally. Anemia starves the blood of oxygen. As a consequence function, maintenance, regeneration, and healing in the body is impaired.

Iron-deficiency anemia

More than 400 types of anemia exist, however the most common form is iron-deficient anemia. This often is due to inadequate diet or poor absorption of nutrients caused by compromised intestinal health (leaky gut)—often seen in those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Other causes are uterine fibroids, internal bleeding, chronic disease, liver disease, or genetic disorders.

B-12 anemia

Another common form of anemia is B-12 anemia due to inadequate diet or compromised intestinal health causing poor absorption of B-12.

Pernicious anemia

Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks intrinsic factor in the stomach, a substance necessary for the absorption of B-12. Pernicious anemia is often found in those with other autoimmune diseases, particularly the autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto’s.

Symptoms of anemia

Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, pale skin, a fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, cognitive problems, cold hands and feet, and headaches. Symptoms of B-12 anemia can include a pins-and-needles sensation in the hands or feet, a loss of sense of touch, clumsiness, and a wobbly gait. Some people with iron-deficiency anemia also develop pica, a craving for ice, dirt, paper, chalk, or other non-foods.

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