4 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

It is vital that we look to for ways to improve indoor air quality.  A total of 10,000 liters of air enters your lungs every day, with the potential of breathing in harmful toxins being a very imminent threat to your health. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) found that exposure to air pollution and particulate material was ranked as one of the top 10 risk factors for disease globally (1).

We tend to deem that air pollution is prominent in our outdoor environment due to high levels of chemicals produced in the environment by external factors such as cars and factories. Although, these factors do indeed produce a copious amount of chemicals, the environment that poses the biggest risk to you is undeniably your personal indoor environment. Finding ways to improve indoor air quality can be one of the biggest things you do for your health.

Toxic Chemicals in Our Home

Toxic chemicals can be in abundance in your home, without you even being aware. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affirmed this by stating that indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air (2). Thus, discovering that indoor air is for the vast majority of people to be the unhealthiest air they breathe in during their day.

Chemicals are all around, surrounding you in the most inconspicuous of household items from your everyday laundry detergent to chemicals used on your furniture in the extensive manufacturing process. In recent years, a strong link between indoor air pollution and health related ailments has developed, therefore forming an undertaking to educate people on the impact indoor air pollution can have on your overall health.

Air Quality and Health

Indoor air quality has become a recent focus for many in the health profession, as research has shown a significant correlation to indoor air quality and certain health conditions such as respiratory, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Air pollutants have several factors that impact their severity on your health including their size, shape, and the amount of time you are exposed to the pollutant (3).

Particulate matter can be a mixture of particles that can unfavorably affect somebody’s health, with the size of the particulate matter being the biggest determinant of causing possible health-related problems. To control particulate matter in your home, utilizing an effective HVAC filter for chemical odors and VOC removal can also help to remove not only particles from your indoor air but also bacteria from the environment. Particulate removal can aid drastically in improving your indoor air quality and helping to improve your overall health.

Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollutants can impact your health and lead to negative health effects that can lead to severe symptoms and even disease. Air pollutants can affect certain areas of the body such as the respiratory system, immune system, skin and mucus membranes, cardiovascular system, liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal (4).

The potential impact that indoor air pollution can have is cause for concern for many people. Keeping an eye out on possible symptoms stemming from indoor air pollution can help you to have a better understanding of when indoor air pollution is effecting your health. The symptoms to look out for include:

Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Whatever is in your home’s air ends up in your body so finding ways to make it as clean as possible is the first step in shielding your health.  Contaminant and toxins can be in the most unsuspecting places in your home, according to German chemist Michael Braungart he found that nearly everything we use, from our furniture to our cleaners, releases small particles or gases that are harmful to be ingesting on a regular basis (5).

Carpets, upholstery, wood products, and cleaning products can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your environment. You may be wondering how you can protect not only yourself but your home from these potentially dangerous chemicals. The steps below are to help you in the pursuit of improving your indoor air quality in your home.

Using Non-Toxic Cleaning Ingredients in Your House

Cleaning products can be a big contributor to indoor air pollution in your personal environment. To think that you are actually trying to help minimize dirt and pollutants in your home by cleaning. And then unknowingly contributing more pollutants in your environment, making your mission counterproductive.

Recent studies have connected cleaning sprays with asthma development, making the concern of cleaning supplies in your environment a possible fear. Most cleaning products contain terpene, hydrocarbons, terpene alcohols, and other related unsaturated compounds.

Natural Cleaning Products

These chemicals, specifically terpenes, can react with ozone to form a variation of secondary pollutants including formaldehyde and ultrafine particles (6). The pollutants that are then released into your air can be compromising the quality of the air in your home.

For many of us we have our go-to products that we always use during our cleaning process, but looking at the ingredients listed on your products can help you make better decisions when purchasing cleaning supplies in the future. I recommend switching to non-toxic, natural cleaning products to help you drastically increase the quality of the air in your personal environment, and help to minimize the potential release of added pollutants in your home.

Substitute Your Air Freshener for Essential Oils

Another major air pollutant that pollutes your home’s air quality can be air fresheners. Air fresheners, like other cleaning sprays, contain similar chemicals and thus have the same chemical reactions, producing secondary pollutants in the air of your home. These pollutants can have potentially serious health impacts including sensory irritation, respiratory symptoms, dysfunction of the lungs, and cause damage to the central nervous system (7).

Air fresheners over the past years has been deemed a source of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in indoor environments which can be the leading source of these health impacts produced by air freshening products. So, how can you get rid of the odors that are stuck in your home without the use of air fresheners?

An ideal substitute in lieu of toxic air fresheners can be using essential oils in your home. Essential oils are natural organic compounds that are extracted from plants and contain a vast amount of healing properties. Using essential oils to freshen your personal environment rather than air fresheners will help you to avoid polluting your home’s air with harmful chemicals and airborne irritants.

Home Hygiene

Maintaining proper hygiene helps in the mitigation of bacteria and germs that collect on surfaces of your personal environment. Home hygiene isn’t necessarily the act of cleaning but more so a practice that should be implemented in your everyday routine. Without home hygiene, bacteria and viruses can begin to populate your indoor air and lead to the development of infectious diseases.

Recent studies have suggested that a promotion of improved hygiene in the home could have a significant impact in reducing infectious diseases (8). Wiping down surfaces can help in the effort to minimize bacteria and viruses in your home, as well as making sure you yourself are taking proper hygiene steps such as washing your hands frequently. By practicing good environmental hygiene practices and working towards eliminating bacteria and viruses at home you can help improve the overall air quality and your health long-term.

For a great natural all-purpose cleaner, try combining the following: 1/2 Cup vinegar, 5 cups of water, 5 drops each of wild orange, clove, lemon, tea tree, and rosemary. This can be used to naturally clean non-porous surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen.

Home Air Purifier

Air pollutants can be released from an abundance of surfaces and items in your home. In today’s homes, ventilation is very limited to help with lower cost utilities but with little ventilation leads to a trapping of pollutants in your home. These pollutants can significantly impact your health and cause health related illnesses such as allergies, asthma, and respiratory diseases. Several allergists advocate air purifiers to their patients to help reduce health symptoms and increase the quality of air in the personal environment.

Dr. Daryl R. Altman, an allergist at the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in Queens, said purifiers are part of the mission against allergens like dust and pollen that affect your indoor air quality (9). Other doctors, also recommend air purifiers to help with the elimination of airborne allergens and pollutants, such as Dr. Nicolas Busaba, an ear, nose, and throat doctor at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (10). Dr. Busaba recommends an air purifier with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to capture particles in the air.

EnviroKlenz Air Filtration System

The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System utilizes not only a HEPA grade filter but also uses a two-stage filtration with their patented earth mineral technology. Effectively removing not only particulate matter in your indoor air environment but also toxins, chemicals, and strange odors in the air to improve the quality of the air you are breathing.

Toxins and chemicals in your indoor environment have the potential to be quite hazardous to your health. Implementing these methods to improve your personal environments indoor air quality can help you in the pursuit to aid in the betterment of your overall health.

Sources for This Article Include:

1. Vijayan, V., Paramesh, H., Salvi, S., & Dalal, A. K. (2015). Enhancing indoor air quality –The air filter advantage. Lung India, 32(5), 473. PMID: 26628762
2. EHPnet: Instructions for Breathing Easier. (1999). Environmental Health Perspectives, 107(7), A347. PMCID: PMC1566676
3. Schulze, F., Gao, X., Virzonis, D., Damiati, S., Schneider, M. R., & Kodzius, R. (2017). Air quality effects on human health and approaches for its assessment through microfluidic chips. Genes. PMID: 28953246
4. Tham, K. W. (2016). Indoor air quality and its effects on humans—A review of challenges and developments in the last 30 years. Energy and Buildings, 130. DOI: 10.1016
5. The Ecologist: How to Improve Indoor Air Quality (Link)
6. Singer, B. C., Destaillats, H., Hodgson, A. T., & Nazaroff, W. W. (2006). Cleaning products and air fresheners: Emissions and resulting concentrations of glycol ethers and terpenoids. Indoor Air, 16(3), 179–191. PMID: 16683937
7. Kim, S., Hong, S.-H., Bong, C.-K., & Cho, M.-H. (2015). Characterization of air freshener emission: the potential health effects. The Journal of Toxicological Sciences, 40(5), 535–550. PMID: 26354370
8. Zhang, G., Spickett, J., Lee, A. H., Rumchev, K., & Stick, S. (2005). Household hygiene practices in relation to dampness at home and current wheezing and rhino-conjunctivitis among school age children. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 16(7), 587–592. PMID: 16238584
9. NYTimes: Eat My Dust, An Allergy Sufferer Tests Six Air Purifiers (Link)
10. Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School): Do You Need a Portable Air Purifier? (Link)

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7 Ways To Reduce Food Sensitivities

If you feel like you have all of a sudden developed an allergy to certain types of foods, or even just feel a little less like yourself after your meals, you may have a food sensitivity. A food sensitivity is a low-grade reaction to certain types of foods that causes an inflammatory reaction within your body.

Over time these foods can damage your gut and dysregulate your immune system, opening the doors to many health problems. Food sensitivities are one of the first factors I address with my patients, so in this article I am going to break down 7 ways to reduce food sensitivities in your own body.

The Damaging Impact of Food Sensitivities

You may be familiar to the idea of a food allergy. This is when someone has an outright and obvious negative reaction to a certain food. We all know someone who has an allergy to peanuts or dairy for example.

A food sensitivity however is an inflammatory reaction that can occur on a systemic level over time without you knowing it. Left unaddressed, it can eventually develop into an outright allergy due to leaky gut and possibly even auto-immunity.

Common Symptoms Of Food Sensitivities

A food sensitivity is a low-grade inflammatory reaction to a food. Typically, the longer you have been consuming a food you are sensitive to, the more you begin to experience symptoms. Common symptoms of food sensitivities include:

Moodiness

Brain Fog

Food Cravings

Headaches

Fatigue

Heart Burn

Joint Pain

Gas/Bloating

Acne or Eczema

Autoimmunity

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, you will likely want to take steps to remove common reactive foods and strengthen your body’s resilience against sensitivities.

Allergy Vs Sensitivity

There are currently three main explanations for the negative reactions that occur in the body from specific foods. These reactions are classified as IgE, non-IgE, or IgG-mediated. The “Ig” in these abbreviations stand for “Immunoglobulin”. Immunoglobulins are important regulatory proteins in the immune system that regulate inflammatory reactions to strategically focus the immune system on specific targets such as viruses and foreign bacteria.

In a classic allergic reaction where consuming a certain food, such as peanuts, can lead to a life-threatening reaction, you are looking at an IgE-mediated process. Non-IgE-mediated reactions are typically isolated to the gut and result in damage to the GI tract, gas/bloating, and potentially diarrhea. Non-IgE mediated reactions are thought to be largely influenced by the makeup of your gut bacteria (1).

Finally, there are IgG-mediated reactions which are thought to be the primary culprit in food sensitivity development. Continued exposure to foods that elicit an IgG-mediated reaction can are now thought to cause systemic problems in the body over time and oftentimes develop into full-blown allergies if not addressed.

The steps in this article are meant to help prevent this progression and strengthen your body’s defenses against these unwanted reactions to foods.

Get Rid of Inflammatory Foods

The first step you want to take is to remove common inflammatory foods from the diet. How reactive you are to certain foods is heavily determined by the health of your gut. By removing common reactive foods for a period of time, you lessen the burden on your gut and allow it time to heal.

Some of the most common food sensitivities include:

  • Wheat (and most other grains)
  • Soy (and most other beans/legumes)
  • Eggs & Dairy
  • Fish (especially shellfish)
  • Peanuts
  • Conventionally Raised Meats
  • Corn

You will definitely want to make sure you at least remove the foods listed above from your diet. If you want to take it a step further, I recommend following an elimination diet program.

Follow An Elimination Diet

An elimination diet follows the initial principle outlined above by removing common reactive foods from the diet for a period of time. The next step, however, is to reintroduce these foods one at a time to identify which ones you are specifically reactive to.

If you have a sensitivity to a food, your body will produce a stress response to it when you consume it. This will activate your sympathetic nervous system and drive your heart rate up. By reintroducing foods back into your diet and performing a pulse test, you can identify your unique food sensitivities for free!

Check out my video below on how to perform a pulse test on yourself.

Strengthen Stomach Acid Production

If you want to strengthen your resilience against food sensitivities, you need to support your stomach acid. One of the big reasons you can get a reaction to a food is that you have a damaged, leaky gut. When you have leaky gut, undigested food particles get into your system. Once there, the immune system treats them as foreign invaders.

Those larger molecules become stored in your immune system’s memory and every time you eat that food in the future you have an inflammatory response and this is oftentimes how someone can develop new food allergies (2).

Unfortunately, the relationship between stomach acid and food sensitivities is actually a downward spiral. This is because inflammatory foods inhibit stomach acid production over time and low stomach acid inhibits your ability to fully break down those same foods. The result is continued damage, inhibited digestive processes, and continued release of undigested food particles into the blood stream.

In addition to following the steps already mentioned, you may find it advantageous to use a stomach acid support supplement. This will help you fully digest your food while relieving stress from the digestive tract, assisting it in rebuilding.

Meanwhile, you will want to support your own intrinsic formation of stomach acid by following the steps illustrated below.

Consider Digestive Enzymes

If you haven’t noticed so far, a lot of healing the gut has to do with removing as many stressors as possible. Removing reactive foods and taking steps to support proper digestion are critical here. On top of supporting stomach acid production, supplementing with a high quality digestive enzyme complex can be especially helpful in breaking down a variety of foods.

Consequently, one of the common symptoms of low enzyme production is an increase in food sensitivities. Additionally, your immune, detoxification, as well as many other systems in the body rely on enzymes to carry out normal functions. Getting a broad range of enzymes into your body on a daily basis will help aid in rebalancing these processes.

SuperDZyme is my personally developed enzymatic complex that I use for this purpose. For gut support, I would recommend consuming 2-4 capsules with each solid-food meal. Enzymes are also great for ongoing digestive support for everyday wellness and they are something I even use on a daily basis for the benefits outlined below.

Improve Immune Tolerance

The damage that occurs in the gut over time due to inflammatory foods eventually leads to leaky gut. As I mentioned earlier, this allows large food molecules into the bloodstream that distract the immune system from real pathogenic threats.

This means a lot of the inflammation caused by food sensitivities is actually due to unwarranted immune reactions. With this in mind, one of the best ways to increase your resilience against food sensitivities is to take steps to strengthen and coordinate your immune system.

The top nutrients I have found for this purpose include: Quercetin, Curcumin, Zinc Glycinate, L-Glutamine, Ginger, and Pea Protein.

Gut Healing Support Supplements

You can purchase these ingredients individually; however, I have formulated a gut healing protein blend containing all of these nutrients that is specifically designed for restoring gut health and improving detoxification systems in the body that also serves as a powerful source of nutrition.

As an additional strategy, colostrum is powerful immune support for the gut. Colostrum is a compound found in high concentrations in mother’s milk of most mammals. It contains important immunoglobulins that act to balance gut flora, reduce GI inflammation, and aid in healing the gut lining. For a concentrated source of gut healing immunoglobulins, I recommend Gut Defense.

Take Gentle Anti-Microbials

If you have unbalanced gut flora or have harmful pathogens in your gut, it is going to be difficult to reduce food sensitivities. When pathogens are present in the gut, you will have continued inflammation and distraction of the immune system.

My recommended strategy for this is to utilize gentle anti-microbial compounds on a daily basis to rebalance and maintain the microbiome of your GI tract. This includes things like: garlic, onions, fermented foods, Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary), lemon & lime juices, and apple cider vinegar. Essential oils such as oregano can also be very powerful for this.

Alternatively, you could supplement with an anti-microbial supplement such as GI Regulator on a regular basis. This formula is a gentle and simple way to help rebalance your gut flora on a daily basis.

Take Specific Probiotics

There has been some interesting research showing that the microbiome of your gut can either potentiate or protect you from experiencing food sensitivities (3, 4). This makes sense as the microbes in your gut interact with every bite of food that you eat.

Things like antibiotic use, exposure to damaging chemicals, processed foods, spending too much time in a sterilized environment, and even being formula fed as a child can all alter the microbiome in a way that increases your likelihood of suffering from food allergies.

The presence of specific strains of bacteria in the gut such as: Lactobacilli, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus coagulans, and L. acidophilus have all shown to play some role in reducing food sensitivities and restoring a healthy microbial environment in the gut (5, 6). At the same time, probiotics have been shown to help restore the integrity of the gut lining which is also an important step for reducing sensitivity (7).

Our SBO probiotic is a great source of these sensitivity-reducing probiotic strains. For those intolerant to probiotics or are having severe digestive issues, I would recommend beginning with our Prescript-Assist. Prescript-Assist is a great low-dose soil-based probiotic that does a great job of laying a foundation for a healthy gut microbiome. For many of my patients I will recommend beginning with Prescript-Assist for 1-3 months before introducing SBO and this gets great results.

Bonus Strategies

Reduce FODMAP Sensitivities

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo, Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols. While this sounds complicated, these are just compounds that occur in specific types of foods. If you are someone with an imbalance in your gut bacteria, especially in the small intestine, you will likely react negatively to FODMAP foods.

If you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), I would recommend eliminating FODMAP foods for a short amount of time to help restore balance in the small intestine. Take a look at the chart below. If you notice that after consuming any of the following foods that you consistently get diarrhea and flatulence, it may be advantageous for you to remove FODMAPs from your diet.

During this time, it would be a good idea consume anti-microbials, probiotics such as Prescript-Assist, and nourishing foods like bone broth.

Reduce Histamine Sensitivities

Allergies can often be potentiated or caused by elevated histamine in the body. Histamine is an important inflammatory molecule that plays a role in regulating immunity. In some individuals however, elevated histamine or improper histamine metabolism can lead to exaggerated reactions to different environmental factors, such as food compounds.

These people will usually know whether or not they are histamine intolerant. They are often very reactive to things like fermented foods and some even report being allergic to the sun!

In this case, it is very important to reduce your exposure to histamine-raising foods while also taking steps to improve your metabolism of histamines. Many of the steps outlined in this article will help improve your histamine response. You can read more about histamine intolerance here.

Complete Digestive Health Analysis

While following an food elimination diet along with strategies in this article is a great way to reduce your food sensitivities. The most efficient and targeted strategy is to use functional lab testing to quickly identify your sensitivities and current health of your gut.

We use the Food Sensitivity IgG test to look at specific food sensitivities, an Organic Acid test to look for nutrient deficiencies and microbial biomarkers and a stool test to look at the makeup of the microbiome.  We combine all 3 of these labs in our Digestive Health Analysis, which is one of the best ways to quickly identify the health of your microbiome, signs of a damaged gut, and pinpoint your specific food sensitivities.

With this information, we can develop a personal plan specifically aimed at the results we see on your lab work. If you are feeling severely inhibited by your digestive health, this would be a great package to get in order to find the root cause of your problems and get a well-designed plan to get well.

You are likely hosting one or more parasites–which can enter your body through food, drink, contact with infected persons–and can live within you for years!

At The Parasite Summit, our experts will help you determine if parasites are silently impacting your health–they’re FAR MORE COMMON than you think!

WHY ATTEND?

Parasites aren’t just found in third-world countries, millions are already infected in industrialized countries–they’re far more common than you realize and could be silently hampering your health.

Fortunately, with awareness and appropriate care, parasites can be prevented and treated, once detected.

The Parasite Summit is online and free from September 11-18, 2017!

Do You Have Any of the Following?

Gastrointestinal: pain/cramps, excess gas, bloating, constipation/diarrhea

Infertility and hormone disorders

Skin issues: acne, itching, rashes

Mental health: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Challenges with autoimmune disease recovery

If you are dealing with any of these issues than you MUST ATTEND this free online event!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Jyonouchi, H. (2012). Non-IgE mediated food allergy – update of recent progress in mucosal immunity. Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets, 11(5), 382–396. PMID: 22680623
2. Fasano, A. (2012). Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, 42(1), 71–78. PMID: 22109896
3. Stefka, A. T., Feehley, T., Tripathi, P., Qiu, J., McCoy, K., Mazmanian, S. K., … Nagler, C. R. (2014). Commensal bacteria protect against food allergen sensitization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111(36), 13145–50. PMID: 25157157
4. Cao, S., Feehley, T. J., & Nagler, C. R. (2014). The role of commensal bacteria in the regulation of sensitization to food allergens. FEBS Letters, 588(22), 4258–4266. PMID: 24791655
5. Fosca A, Polsinelli L, Aquilio E (2015) Effects of Probiotic Supplementation in Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Patients. J Hum Nutr Food Sci 3(5): 1073. (Link)
6. Pandey, K. R., Naik, S. R., & Vakil, B. V. (2015). Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics- a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. PMID: 26604335
7. Rao, R. K., & Samak, G. (2013). Protection and Restitution of Gut Barrier by Probiotics: Nutritional and Clinical Implications. Current Nutrition and Food Science, 9(2), 99–107. PMID: 24353483

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10 Ways To Improve The Gut Microbiome

10 Ways To Improve The Gut Microbiome

Not too long ago it was common practice to write off mood or neurological disorders as a poor mentality. Chronic headaches and inflammation were thought of as normal parts of life. There are more conditions like this that we just didn’t fully understand for a long time.. until we took a deeper dive into the complexity of the gut microbiome.

As more evidence comes out and our understanding of what goes on in the gut gets deeper, it has become very apparent that the health of our gut, to a pretty huge extent, determines many other aspects of overall health. What I’m saying is, looking for ways to improve the gut microbiome may just change your life.

The Role of the Microbiome

The digestive tract isn’t just where food is digested and passed through the body. In addition to this role, the digestive system actually plays a vital role in mental health, immunity, and metabolism. The way that our gut can have such an impact on so many areas of our health comes down to the gut microbiome. The gut is filled with a diverse community of different types of bacteria that some say outnumbers the cells in your body by a 10-to-1 ratio!

When it comes to taking control of your microbiome for better health, the key is diversity and proper balance. The tips outlined in this article are geared toward improving these aspects of the microbiome based on what we currently know scientifically.

Avoid Microbiome Destroyers

While there are many things you can do to actively improve your microbiome, the first thing you need to do is take care of anything that is damaging it. These include things like antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, sugar, non-organic produce, GMOs, and overly sterilized environments.

It is now widely understood how antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria in the gut which can lead to dysbiosis or opportunistic infections. Perhaps what is less commonly known is how sugar and artificial sweeteners (Splenda, nutrasweet, etc.) tend to support an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria that can lead to sugar cravings, brain fog, increased risk of obesity, and more.

Non-organic and GMO foods are damaging for having notoriously high levels of glyphosate. Glyphosate is an extremely problematic pesticide with a long list of adverse reactions in the body. In terms of the microbiome, glyphosate has been found to damage the gut lining, loosening the gap junctions between cells (leading to leaky gut), and contribute to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria (1).

Another commonly overlooked source of microbiome destroying chemicals is your municipal water supply. Tap water often contains many problematic chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, and aluminum. I would recommend buying a home water filtration system that removes these things like the Big Berkey or Aquasana.

Finally, it is important not to overly sterilize everything around you. You pick up a lot of microbial diversity from the world around you and this helps your body regulate itself within its environment. I will cover this again later in this article.

Cut The Sugar

Although I already mentioned sugar, it is probably worth mentioning again. It is very difficult to achieve a healthy microbiome while consuming large amounts of sugar or sugary foods (like fruit) on a regular basis.

Fast digesting sugars when consumed actually starve your beneficial bacteria while feeding things like candida. Candida is typically present in small amounts but an overgrowth can lead to sugar cravings and brain fog.

The best thing to do here is really focus on lowering your consumption of sugar from all sources, including grains and fruits. Opt instead for foods in the next section.

Increase Fiber Intake

Instead of eating lots of sugar-rich foods, opt instead for foods that are high in fiber.  Fiber is a prebiotic because your beneficial gut bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria actually feed on fibrous foods. Supporting the growth of your beneficial bacteria will also help control the growth of harmful bacteria.

A healthy fiber intake will also help keep your digestive tract healthy by improving the passage of waste in a timelier manner. Food that sits in the digestive tract too long can begin to putrefy, create harmful toxins, and feed unwanted bacteria in your gut.

Some of my favorite high-fiber foods include avocados, berries, coconut meat, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, chia seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Many fruits are also high in fiber but tend to contain lots of sugar. My favorite high fiber fruits that are less likely to feed unwanted bacteria in the gut are green apples and berries.

There has been some recent research showing that diets low in fiber can not only starve healthy bacteria in the gut, but also contribute to a degrading of the mucosal barrier along the gut lining. This is problematic because this is the kind of change that often precedes leaky gut and more severe imbalances in intestinal bacteria (2).

Fermented Foods & Probiotics

After you have addressed the basics like removing microbiome destroyers and getting lots of healthy fiber to actually feed your good bacteria, it may be helpful to begin introducing fermented vegetables or a high-quality probiotic supplement into your diet.

After following the first few strategies here, introducing dietary or supplementary bacteria will accelerate healthy bacterial growth and promote a flourishing and diverse microbiome. Some of my favorite fermented foods include grass-fed milk kefir, coconut water kefir, sauerkraut, pickles (fermented not pickled), and kimchi. These foods actually have a very diverse set of bacteria that is far beyond what most probiotics can give you.

Challenges with Fermented Foods

Many people that I work with, however, have some pretty serious issues going on in their body that causes histamine intolerance and reactions to fermented foods. If you find you do not react well then it is probably best to avoid them momentarily.

In these cases I typically recommend a broad-spectrum probiotic like Prescript-Assist™. I have found that this probiotic works extremely well for people who are having a lot of intestinal issues. If you are considering introducing probiotics into your system, I would recommend starting with this one to lay a solid foundation of bacteria before trying a lactic-acid based probiotic (which is most of them) or fermented foods.

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting isn’t typically looked at as a method of improving the microbiome but I think it may be a powerful strategy. I have found that those people with bacterial imbalances in their gut often have gut inflammation and low immunity. This often also accompanies leaky gut.

During fasting you allow your digestive tract to heal any damage that has been done while boosting immunity. During this time, you can consume lots of water with lemon or apple cider vinegar to further improve gut health or consume some nutrient-rich bone broth.

Doing a bone broth fast can be one of the most powerful therapies for a damaged gut. Bone broth contains collagen-rich gelatin and the amino acid L-glutamine which have both been shown to heal and support the gut lining. As was mentioned earlier, a healthy gut lining is key to a healthy microbiome.

Get Rid Of The Bad Guys

When you have a bacterial imbalance in your gut your ability to fight off pathogens is lowered. This opens the doors for opportunistic bacteria, viruses, and parasites to move in. Once they are situated, they can damage the gut, release toxins, and crowd out healthy bacteria.

It is important to make sure any foreign pathogens have been addressed specifically or creating a healthy microbiome will be much more difficult.

Using the probiotic I mentioned (Prescript-Assist™), fasting, and using anti-microbial herbs will all help with this to an extent. My favorite antimicrobial herbs include rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, and uncooked garlic.

Some more stubborn pathogens may need a more targeted approach. In cases when unwanted pathogens are present, I use GI Regulator. It contains berberine, bayberry extract, grapefruit seed, and zinc. Together, these ingredients are powerful for helping get rid of most of the common problematic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that I encounter in my patients.

Fortify The Mucosal Barrier

Alluded to in some of the strategies already mentioned, supporting the health of your mucosal barrier is absolutely critical for a healthy microbiome. The mucosal barrier is actually where many of your gut bacteria live, so making sure it is intact will help ensure a proper environment for them to thrive (3).

In addition to housing your microbiome, the mucosal barrier also acts as a protective barrier from pathogens, toxins, and stomach acid.

To heal and fortify your mucosal barrier, there a number of strategies to follow. First of all, to limit damage, it is important to eat an anti-inflammatory diet that limits toxin exposure and that excludes common food sensitivities.

For additional support, sipping on bone broth throughout the day can be very beneficial. You can make your own, buy it at many grocery stores, or try a bone broth powder. Some other great nutrients for supporting a healthy gut lining are aloe vera, L-glutamine, and deglychrrhizinated licorice. I have a specially formulated gut healing formula that combines all of these things that has helped many of my patients with severe digestive issues.

Get Dirty

Getting out in nature is good for you for many reasons. Studies show that getting barefoot contact with the earth can actually improve mood, boost creativity, and help you get better sleep at night.

When it comes to your microbiome, your outdoor surroundings play a key role. Animals, plants, and dirt all harbor their own bacterial microbiome. By coming in contact with soil and animals, we actually acquire unique and diverse bacteria that improve the health of our microbiome.

Just getting skin contact with the earth can be beneficial. If you get fresh organic produce from local sources, simply rinse them in water before eating to leave behind some of the beneficial soil based organisms. Another great way to reconnect with the earth and your food is to start a garden. Contact with dirt isn’t as dirty as you think!

Finally, having a pet can greatly benefit your microbiome. Studies have even shown that kids who are raised with pets actually have lower rates of allergies and obesity (4, 5).

Boost Your Home’s Microbiome

Like I said before, we live in a world obsessed with keeping everything clean and sterilized. The standard household is cleaned using harsh chemicals that have their own health risks. What if I told you that your home has a microbiome too?

Yes, it’s true, and you can create a healthy home microbiome that is healthier to live in without using harsh cleaners.

The air inside most homes gets circulated and becomes stale quickly. Try placing plants around the house to filter airborne toxins while providing some fresh oxygen (6). Next, make sure to periodically open your windows and allow fresh air to circulate.

Having animals in the home can change the microbiome of your home as well, which then improves your microbial diversity.

Finally, ditch the harsh chemicals and opt instead for some natural cleaning products like Mrs. Meyers or Seventh Generation.

Don’t Stress Over It

Take some time to mind your stress. If you find that you are chronically stressed then you are likely harming your microbiome. Research has shown that exposure to high levels of stress can actually alter the composition of your gut bacteria in a negative way (7). Take some time every day to meditate, pray, and express gratitude in some form. Also, it is important to embrace making healthy changes in your life.

In today’s society, it’s not very realistic that someone be able to avoid every little toxin we’re exposed to on a daily basis. There’s some really good news though. Some new research suggests that a healthy microbiome can help protect you from environmental toxins like pesticides (8)! I think that’s pretty cool. So do the best you can to avoid toxins while following the other strategies in this article and you’ll be more resilient than you think!

You are likely hosting one or more parasites–which can enter your body through food, drink, contact with infected persons–and can live within you for years!

At The Parasite Summit, our experts will help you determine if parasites are silently impacting your health–they’re FAR MORE COMMON than you think!

WHY ATTEND?

Parasites aren’t just found in third-world countries, millions are already infected in industrialized countries–they’re far more common than you realize and could be silently hampering your health.

Fortunately, with awareness and appropriate care, parasites can be prevented and treated, once detected.

The Parasite Summit is online and free from September 11-18, 2017!

Do You Have Any of the Following?

Gastrointestinal: pain/cramps, excess gas, bloating, constipation/diarrhea

Infertility and hormone disorders

Skin issues: acne, itching, rashes

Mental health: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Challenges with autoimmune disease recovery

If you are dealing with any of these issues than you MUST ATTEND this free online event!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Samsel, A., & Seneff, S. (2013). Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 6(4), 159–84. PMID: 24678255
2. Desai, M. S., Seekatz, A. M., Koropatkin, N. M., Kamada, N., Hickey, C. A., Wolter, M., … Martens, E. C. (2016). A Dietary Fiber-Deprived Gut Microbiota Degrades the Colonic Mucus Barrier and Enhances Pathogen Susceptibility. Cell, 167(5), 1339–1353.e21. PMID: 27863247
3. Vindigni, S. M., Zisman, T. L., Suskind, D. L., & Damman, C. J. (2016). The intestinal microbiome, barrier function, and immune system in inflammatory bowel disease: a tripartite pathophysiological circuit with implications for new therapeutic directions. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 9(4), 1–20. PMID: 27366227
4. Ph, D., Brodie, E. L., Havstad, S. L., Zoratti, E. M., Woodcroft, K. J., Bobbitt, K. R., … Lynch, S. V. (2011). Man’s best friend? The effect of pet ownership on house dust microbial communities, 126(2), 410–412. PMID: 20633927
5. Tun, H. M., Konya, T., Takaro, T. K., Brook, J. R., Chari, R., Field, C. J., … Kozyrskyj, A. L. (2017). Exposure to household furry pets influences the gut microbiota of infant at 3–4 months following various birth scenarios, 1–14. PMID: 28381231
6. Berg, G., Mahnert, A., & Moissl-Eichinger, C. (2014). Beneficial effects of plant-associated microbes on indoor microbiomes and human health? Frontiers in Microbiology, 5(JAN), 1–5. PMID: 24523719
7. Bailey, M. T., Dowd, S. E., Galley, J. D., Hufnagle, A. R., Rebecca, G., & Lyte, M. (2012). Exposure to a Social Stressor Alters the Structure of the Intestinal Microbiota: Implications for Stressor-Induced Immunomodulation, 25(3), 397–407. PMID: 21040780
8. Trinder, M., McDowell, T. W., Daisley, B. A., Ali, S. N., Leong, H. S., Sumarah, M. W., & Reid, G. (2016). Probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus reduces organophosphate pesticide absorption and toxicity to Drosophila melanogaster. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82(20), 6204–6213. PMID: 27520820

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