Skip to main content

Blog

SHOULD YOU GET THE FLU SHOT TO HELP PREVENT A HEART ATTACK?

MILLION DOLLAR WOMAN 300x280

Many so called “experts” seem to think so.
But, wait a minute before you rush out and get this injection. Let’s spend a few minutes discussing how vaccinations really work and whether this is a good idea or not. With this information you can then decide what you want to do.

First, a little immune system primer. Let’s use a burglary in progress as an analogy. Your house, like your body, has many protective barriers; walls, doors, windows, and a roof, that protect your home from the elements. Of course, your bodies protective barriers are your skin, and the protective linings of your lungs, intestines, and brain. If the walls to your house are damaged and develop leaks you can imagine what might happen to the inside of your house. In a similar way, when the protective barrier’s of your body are broken down, instead of wind and rain getting in, other foreign invaders, called antigens penetrate into your body. Antigens include bacteria, parasites, environmental toxins, molds, undigested food particles, and viruses. We’ll think of these antigens as burglars. When these antigens break into your “house” your immune system gets fired up…the alarm goes off!

First, a macrophage, known as the TH1 response, will attack the foreign invader. Think of this response as the police force who come to stop the the burglar using as much force as necessary. The macrophage also releases a cytokine called interleukin-1, which stimulates T-helper cells to call for back-up (Natural Killer Cells and T Cells) to bring the burglar completely under control. Sometimes the burglar is too strong for the police and they need to call in the SWAT team. The SWAT team is made up of B-Cells, known as the TH2 response. The TH2 response is where antibodies are produced to help recognize the burglar in case he tries to break into the house in the future. Think of antibodies as a GPS ankle bracelet that criminals wear when they are released from jail. With this GPS unit the police can continually track the bad guy and be ready to neutrilize him if he tries to commit burglary again. The antibodies make the Natural Killer Cells and T Cells more efficient at recognizing the burglar. This whole process is known as an active TH1-TH2 response.

With that said, lets briefly discuss what the flu vaccine (or any other vaccine) must do to immunize a person against the disease. First, the vaccine must trigger a TH1 response, which leads to a TH2 response, which will produce antibodies against the flu (or whichever disease the vaccine is made for). Now the antibodies (GPS unit) should protect against future infection by marking that flu virus (burglar) so that if he should break into your house an immediate TH1 response (police force) will occur and destroy the flu virus before you get sick. In a nutshell, this is how immunity takes place. This is in a perfect world, of course.

Well, here are a few questions you must ask yourself. How much flu vaccine do you need to stimulate the TH1 AND TH2 response? Does an already sick person need the same amount of flu vaccine as a healthy person? Does an infant need the same amount as a 40 year old or an elderly person? What if the TH2 response is not triggered? Will you be immunized against that flu virus? How would you know if you’ve been truly immunized against that flu virus? What else is in the flu vaccine that might trigger your immune system attacking your own tissues (autoimmunity)? Are attenuated (reducing the strength) organisms going to be strong enough to elicit the same response as natural exposure to the virus and thus result in the production of specific antibodies?

If a TH2 response is not elicited, you simply cannot be immunized and the only way to truly know if immunization occurred is to have your antibodies measured a few weeks later.

So, should you get a flu shot to prevent a heart attack? If you read between the lines of the article, the underlying problem is inflammation which is already present in these heart attack sufferers prior to getting the flu. So, if you ask me, the wise thing to do, rather than getting a flu shot, is to work on preventing and/or treating the underlying cause of the inflammation. Without inflammation the heart attack is not going to happen.

Contact me at my office at 954 421-1839 to discuss better options for you.


GLUTEN CAN CAUSE DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, BRAIN FOG, AND OTHER BRAIN DISORDERS

Posted by Elaine Fawcett in Nutritional Deficiencies | Comments Off

GLUTEN DEPRESSION ANXIETY AND BRAIN FOG

Do you suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, brain fog, memory loss, or other brain-based issues? While conventional medicine turns to drug treatments, recent research points to poor gut health as the root of mental illness. This is because inflammation in the gut triggers inflammation throughout the body, including in the brain, bringing on depression, anxiety, brain fog, memory loss and other neurological symptoms. Although many factors affect gut health—and hence brain health—one of the more profound is a sensitivity to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other wheat-like grains. In fact, a gluten sensitivity has been found to affect brain and nerve tissue more than any other tissue in the body.

Gluten sensitivity once was thought to be limited to celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten that damages the digestive tract and is linked to depression. However, newer research has confirmed the validity of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, an immune response to gluten that causes many symptoms, including digestive problems, skin rashes, joint pain, and neurological and psychiatric diseases. Recent research shows gluten degenerates brain and nervous tissue in a significant portion of those with gluten sensitivity.

HOW DOES GLUTEN EFFECT MENTAL HEALTH?

Gluten can affect mental health in a variety of ways.

For instance, gluten sensitivity can lead to depression, anxiety, brain fog and other brain symptoms by irritating the lining of the small intestine, resulting in “leaky gut,” a condition in which the intestinal wall becomes overly porous. This allows undigested food, toxins and bacteria into the bloodstream where they trigger inflammation throughout the body and brain. Also, certain harmful bacteria that travel through a leaky gut into the bloodstream release toxic molecules (lipopolysaccharides) that are linked to depression and various psychiatric disorders.

Another way gluten can trigger depression is through gluten cross-reactivity. Because gluten is similar in structure to brain tissue, when the immune system attacks gluten in the blood, it can confuse brain tissue with gluten and accidentally attack brain and nerve tissue as well.

Gluten is also known to disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract. There is a relationship between gut bacteria and the brain, and an imbalance in gut bacteria has been linked with psychiatric disorders.

The gut damage caused by a gluten sensitivity can also prevent the absorption of nutrients essential for brain health, especially zinc, tryptophan, and B vitamins. These nutrients are critical for the synthesis of brain chemicals that prevent depression, anxiety and other brain-based disorders.

WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE?

If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, brain fog, memory loss, or other unresolved brain-based issues, testing for gluten sensitivity can be a valuable tool in knowing how best to manage it. Addressing leaky gut is also paramount.

Contact my office for more information on leaky gut and the connection between gluten and depression, anxiety, brain fog, memory loss, and other brain-based disorders. Call 954 421-1839 to schedule an appointment to discuss your health!


NORTH AND SOUTH THROUGH THE GUT; WHAT CAN GO WRONG?

Posted by Leo Minsky

DIGESTION NORTH TO SOUTH

digestion north to south

We live in a time of unprecedented abundance of food and medical advances yet we are sicker than ever. It is considered normal to suffer from insomnia, PMS, depression, chronic pain, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and so on. But in reality these are our bodies’ warning signs that something is wrong.

“All disease begins in the gut,” said Hippocrates. Understanding digestion helps you understand why you stay well or get sick.

FROM NORTH TO SOUTH

Digestion starts in the brain. When your brain gets the message you’re about to eat, it turns on the parasympathetic “rest and digest” part of the nervous system to prepare the organs for their jobs. When we eat while distracted, busy, or anxious our saliva won’t be as rich in digestive enzymes, our stomach won’t be sufficiently acidic, and our pancreas will not secrete enough digestive juices.

Age-old rituals around meal times serve a benefit by giving our bodies the chance to ease into the rest-and-digest state.

THE MOUTH AND STOMACH

The majority of our digestion takes place in the mouth, where, ideally, we chew each bite thoroughly, allowing the enzyme-rich saliva to begin breaking down our food, signaling the nervous system to rest and digest, and alerting the rest of the digestive tract that it’s time to work.

Next stop is the stomach, which uses its powerful muscles to further mash the food while liquefying it with hydrochloric acid (HCl). The proper acidity digests the food for optimal nutrient absorption; sterilizes it by killing bacteria and other pathogens; and alerts the small intestine to open the pyloric valve and allow it in. Once there, the pancreas secretes enzymes and the gallbladder secretes bile to further digest the food.

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 90 percent of Americans are deficient in stomach HCl due to stress, poor nutrition, bacterial overgrowth, poor thyroid function, and advancing age.

When the stomach environment is not acidic enough, the small intestine is not triggered to allow the food in, so it sits in the stomach, where it begins to ferment and putrefy. Eventually it may shoot back up into the esophagus, burning the tender tissue there and causing heartburn, or acid reflux.

THE SMALL INTESTINE

Eventually the small intestine must accept the fermenting food. Because it is not the right acidity, the pancreas and gallbladder are not sufficiently triggered to release enzymes and bile to further digest it.

This is problematic for several reasons: Improperly digested fat irritates the rest of the digestive tract; nutrient absorption is poor, and the gallbladder is more prone to forming gallstones due to insufficient activity. Because it is the avenue through which the liver excretes toxins, a congested gallbladder results in a congested, overburdened liver unable to detoxify the blood properly.

As this poorly digested mess makes its way through the small and large intestines, it causes inflammation and damage that leads to intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut.” Leaky gut allows undigested food proteins to escape into the bloodstream, where the immune system attacks them, causing inflammation. Because undigested foods are the target of attack, food intolerances develop.

THE COLON

Our colons host 3 to 4 pounds of friendly bacteria, or gut flora. These bacteria break down foods and produce nutrients. However, breakdowns further north foster an overgrowth of bad bacteria, causing an inflamed, poorly functioning colon.

A properly functioning gastrointestinal tract produces between one to three bowel movements a day that are large, continuous and well formed, neither too soft nor too hard. If you are experiencing constipation, diarrhea, incomplete evacuation, or other issues with your bowel movements, you know something in the process described above has broken down.

ALL DISEASE STARTS IN THE GUT

While various drugs offer quick fixes for digestive complaints, they allow us to ignore the red flags the gastrointestinal tract is waving to gain our attention. Poor digestion underlies just about every disease known to man. This is a topic to which functional medicine practitioners devote their careers. Ask my office how we can better support your digestion to support your health.

Contact my office at 954 421-1839 so we may discuss how YOUR gut is effecting YOUR health.

Connect With Us