4 Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar On A Ketogenic Diet

4 Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Anyone who is interested in natural health knows about apple cider vinegar. This ancient tonic has significant health benefits that can be applied to any lifestyle. With the explosion of the ketogenic diet, people are always looking for ways to improve ketosis to magnify its benefits. In this article, you will discover 4 ways to use apple cider vinegar on a ketogenic diet.

I have covered apple cider vinegar extensively on my website for its versatile benefits. There are 4 particular uses that I have found extremely helpful for improving blood sugar stability and supporting ketone production in the body.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

There are many types of vinegar on the market, but in my opinion none of them compare to that derived from apple cider.

This tonic is actually fermented from the juice of apples and contains beneficial enzymes, acetic acid, and other beneficial organic acids that provide amazing health properties.

While other vinegars, such as white distilled or balsamic, may taste good in certain recipes, they simply do not provide the same healthful effects. I recommend buying the unpasteurized, unfiltered form of apple cider vinegar with the mother still intact.

Acetic Acid 

Although apple cider vinegar contains an array of beneficial compounds, acetic acid is one compound that provides many of the benefits.

Acetic acid is a product of the fermentation that converts the sugars in apple cider, first to alcohol, then into acetic acid.

There are several reasons why I think getting more of this organic acid in your life can benefit your ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar 

To be clear, almost anyone can benefit from adding apple cider vinegar into their diet. I have just found these benefits to compliment the ketogenic diet very well.

Improves Blood Sugar Balance 

One of the biggest benefits of a ketogenic diet is that it regulates blood sugar levels. This helps curb insulin resistance and drastically downgrade inflammation in the body.

If you have read many of my articles on the ketogenic diet, you know I am a strong proponent of occasionally cycling out of ketosis by consuming a higher carbohydrate meal (learn why here).

While cycling out of ketosis does have its benefits, consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal can be somewhat inflammatory in nature due to an increase in insulin and temporary burning of sugar for energy.

Apple cider vinegar has actually been shown to help balance this blood sugar response when strategically utilized around meal time. In fact, research has shown that in certain instances, apple cider vinegar was able to reduce the glycemic index of a carbohydrate-rich meal (white bread) from 100 to 64 (1)!

Swap the white bread for a low-glycemic carb source and you have done yourself a huge favor.

May Improve Fat Burning

Ketosis is literally the physiological state of burning (oxidizing) fat for energy within the body. So, by improving your body’s ability to oxidize fat, you will support a state of ketosis. Some research has suggested that apple cider vinegar may actually have a modest boosting effect on fat oxidation in the body. (2, 3)

You may have heard of people losing excess body fat simply by adding apple cider vinegar into their daily routine, in addition to improving blood sugar balance, maybe upregulating fat oxidation is the reason why.

Aids Digestion

A ketogenic diet is higher in fat than what most people are used to. People who are used to digesting primarily carbohydrates and proteins may need some additional support with breaking down their meals.

Apple cider vinegar can improve stomach acid and gallbladder function to help with the digestion of fats.  Additionally, many people are simply not producing enough stomach acid for effective digestion. Adding apple cider vinegar to foods or consuming before meals can help with this.

Curbs Carb Cravings

Many people swear by consuming apple cider vinegar or sour foods to ward off sugar cravings. This can be helpful when following a ketogenic diet, especially if you are in the beginning stages or experiencing keto flu symptoms.

One of the main reasons many people get sugar cravings is due to blood sugar imbalance. Because of its blood sugar stabilizing effects, apple cider vinegar may be helpful if you are experiencing sugar cravings on a ketogenic diet.

Typically, these cravings are much stronger at the beginning stages of ketogenic diet because your body is adapting to burning fat.  At this point some people have a temporary span where they ar not producing ketones while having low blood sugar at the same time, leading to sugar cravings.

This benefit can also be derived from citric acid derived from lemons and limes so utilize these three liquids to keep cravings at bay.

Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar 

Considering the benefits mentioned above, you may find it beneficial to add this powerful tonic to your ketogenic diet plan. I personally use it just about every day in one of these 4 ways.

Put On Food

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar on a ketogenic diet is to simply add it to your meals. 1-2 Tbsp goes a long way on meats, veggies, and especiialy on higher carb meals when cycling out of ketosis.

Sometimes when I cycle out of ketosis I like to have rice or quinoa. To cut down the glycemic index of these I will add a splash of apple cider vinegar directly to the cooking liquid. To take it a step further, I love to throw in some grass-fed butter, coconut oil, turmeric, and black pepper to turn this meal into a delicious anti-inflammatory delicacy.

I personally love the way it tastes on a nice grass-fed steak or mixed in with quinoa on a higher carb day. In fact, using apple cider vinegar as a base for marinade is a great way to make your meat very easy to digest, tender, and tasty!

Drink Before Meals

Some people do not like the way apple cider vinegar tastes in their foods or even at all. For these people to still get the benefits, I will recommend mixing 1 Tbsp in 2-4oz of water so it can be downed quickly. Drinking this about 15 minutes before a meal helps promote stomach acidity to improve digestion.

This method will also help stabilize blood sugar if consumed before a higher carbohydrate meal.

Mix With Soups & Stews 

In addition to putting apple cider vinegar on your foods, it is actually great for soups and stews as well. Adding in a splash to a beef stew or chicken soup can tang up the flavor a little while also helping pre-metabolize the meal.

The enzymes and acetic acid in there will help to start breaking down the proteins and vegetable fibers to help with digestion and extraction of nutrients.

Morning Primer 

Finally, one of my favorite ways to use apple cider vinegar is as a morning energy tonic. 1-2 Tbsp in an 8oz glass of water or warm cup of bone broth first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day. This is a great way to help prime the kidneys, control microbial balance in the gut, balance the body’s pH, and provide a gentle energy lift.

Most people I work with report feeling a great boost in overall wellbeing when they do this on a regular basis. Try this out daily for two weeks and see how you feel. You can also use apple cider vinegar in this fashion any time you need a pick-me-up.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Liljeberg, H., & Björck, I. (1998). Delayed gastric emptying rate may explain improved glycaemia in healthy subjects to a starchy meal with added vinegar. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 52(5), 368–371. PMID: 9630389
2. Li, X., Chen, H., Guan, Y., Li, X., Lei, L., Liu, J., … Wang, Z. (2013). Acetic Acid Activates the AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling Pathway to Regulate Lipid Metabolism in Bovine Hepatocytes. PLoS ONE, 8(7). PMID: 23690240
3. Pan, J. H., Kim, J. H., Kim, H. M., Lee, E. S., Shin, D.-H., Kim, S., … Kim, Y. J. (2015). Acetic acid enhances endurance capacity of exercise-trained mice by increasing skeletal muscle oxidative properties. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 79(9), 1535–41. PMID: 26000971 
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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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The Top 10 Best Food Sources of Glutamine

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Top 10 Best Food Sources of Glutamine

Amino acids are critical players in nearly every metabolic function within the body.  One of the most critical amino acids is L-glutamine which is by far the most abundant free amino acid in the body.  It accounts for over 60% of the free amino acids in blood, brain, organs, and muscle tissue (1).  This article goes over the benefits of L-glutamine and the top 10 best food sources of glutamine.

This critical amino acid is necessary for a number of different functions in our body and boosting our circulating levels of L-glutamine can help a number of different health conditions and improve our overall quality of life.

Glutamine plays a very important role in cardiovascular function by supplying a key energy source for endothelial cells that line blood vessels. Additionally, glutamine regulates nitric oxide synthesis by these endothelial cells (2, 3, 4).  This is critical for maintaining blood vessel tone and reducing inflammation in the blood vessel walls.

Glutamine Improves Neurological Function:

Glutamine is also a very important player in healthy neurological function and has been shown to improve mood, concentration, & memory (5, 6, 7) .  Glutamine easily crosses over the blood-brain barrier where it is converted into L-glutamic acid.  Glutamic acid is essential for cerebral function.  Glutamic acid is unique in that it can be converted into an energy source for neuronal cells when blood sugar is low. This characteristic is thought to be responsible for glutamine’s ability to damper sugar and alcohol cravings.

Glutamine is also a critical part of our digestive system.  It is the primary nutrient for the cells of the intestinal lining where it helps regulate cellular reproduction.  Through this mechanism, glutamine helps prevent and rebuild a leaky gut, which is common in people with inflammatory and auto-immune conditions (8, 9, 10) .   For this reason glutamine supplementation has been shown to be very effective in individuals with ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, & irritable bowel syndrome (11, 12).
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Glutamine Improves the Small Intestine:

Glutamine also helps regulate cells absorb water across the junction between the small intestine and blood stream.  This is a very important part of keeping the body from losing fluid and becoming dehydrated.  When water is not absorbed back into the body diarrhea is the result.  Diarrhea can be disastrous because we lose both water and other vital nutrients.  Glutamine has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of diarrhea (13, 14)

Finally, glutamine plays a very important role in both cellular and systematic detoxification processes.  The lymphatic system maintains fluid and protein balance in the body, carries immune cells, and filters out toxins that are stored in tissues .

Glutamine is a key energy source for lymphatic cells allowing them to better remove toxic debris (15).   Additionally, glutamine acts as a transport molecule to carry ammonia out of major tissues including the brain where it is shipped to the liver for conversion into urea.

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Reduces Food Sensitivity Reactions:

A 2004 study found that L-glutamine benefits the body by regulating IgA immune response (16). IgA attacks bad bacteria and viruses to keep to prevent infections.  Secretory IgA (sIgA) is an anti-body that regulates the mucosal membranes of the intestines, respiratory, urinary and reproductive tracts.

Poorly regulated sIgA responses are associated with food sensitivities and allergies.  Glutamine plays an important role in regulating and modulating sIgA to keep the immune system strong and reduce food sensitivity reactions.

Another study published in the journal of Clinical Immunology found that glutamine normalizes the effects of both the Th1 and TH2 immune response that stimulates inflammatory cytokines (17).  This demonstrates the ability of L-glutamine to balance and modulate the immune system to reduce inflammatory activity and promote an anti-inflammatory environment.

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Best Food Sources of Glutamine:

L-glutamine is synthesized by the body from glutamic acid or glutamate. It is known as a conditionally essential amino acid, because it is used by the body in large amounts.  Here are the top food sources of glutamine.

1) Bone Broth and Bone Broth Protein

2) Grass-fed Whey Protein

3) Grass-fed Raw Dairy

4) Grass-fed beef/Bison

5) Spirulina

6) Cabbage

7) Asparagus

8) Broccoli

9) Venison

10)  Organic poultry  

It is ideal to consume at least 2 servings from this group daily.   Raw dairy products from grass-fed cows and goats are also very high in L-glutamine.  This includes grass-fed, non-denatured whey protein powder which is considered the most bioavailable form of L-glutamine from an animal source.  Using an ample amount of this form of whey protein in a shake with coconut milk, berries, & cinnamon everyday is a fantastic way to naturally boost L-glutamine levels.

Some individuals, especially those with leaky gut and auto-immunity have immune reactivity to whey protein.  This can include grass-fed, non-denatured whey.  If you notice that you have cramping, bloating, increased pain, brain fog, skin reactions, low-energy, sleeplessness, sinusitis or lowered immunity when consuming whey than discontinue immediately.

Red Cabbage is considered the most dense vegetable form of L-glutamine. An amazing way of bringing in the high quality nutrition from red cabbage is through juicing or shredding & fermenting it.  Red cabbage sauerkraut made with apple cider vinegar may be one of the most bioavailable ways to consume L-glutamine due to the deep fermentation processes that create an abundance of enzymes and good bacteria that allow amino acids and other nutrients to be better absorbed and utilized within the body.

I recommend for most of my clients to eat fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut & kimchii daily.  Even having a tablespoon of these each day can make a big difference.

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L-Glutamine Supplementation:

Most people tolerate L-glutamine supplementation very well (1). However, some individuals are unable to metabolize it effectively and can have an excess build-up of glutamate in the brain.  This can cause anxiety and irritablity.  These individuals are typically not methylating well and often deficient in zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, B6, folate and B12.  This reaction is rare but can happen if you are supplementing with heavy doses of L-glutamine while deficient in these B vitamins.

The best dosage for healing leaky gut is to start with about 3-5 grams daily and if you feel good (no increased anxiety or irritability) you can increase your dosage to 5-10+ grams.  I have seen great clinical results using 20+ grams daily for certain individuals.

You want to make sure you have a purified version of L-glutamine that has been clinically tested.  It is always adviseable to consult a trained functional nutritionist or functional medicine doctor before taking more than 5 grams daily.  For L-glutamine supplements you can read more here.  This is what I use with my clients here

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Additional Info on L-Glutamine:

L-glutamine is SO POWERFUL for healing the gut as well as the endothelial lining of the arteries, urinary tract, respiratory tract, etc and stabilizing a highly reactive immune system.  This is why it is one of my go to supplements with auto-immune cases and individuals suffering from damaged arteries, UTI’s, ulcers, leaky gut, painful urination, allergies and sinusitis, etc.

My favorite product to support the strength and healing of the mucousal membranes (gut lining, urinary tract lining, respiratory lining, reproductive lining) is Gut Repair.  This product features four specialized ingredients including L-glutamine (in lower dosage than the product above) for enhanced gastrointestinal support.  You can read about it here

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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. Ziegler TR, Benfell K, Smith RJ, Young LS, Brown E, Ferrari-Baliviera E, Lowe DK, Wilmore DW. Safety and metabolic effects of L-glutamine administration in humans.  JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1990 Jul-Aug;14(4 Suppl):137S-146S.  PMID:  2119459
2. Mansour A, Mohajeri-Tehrani MR, Qorbani M, Heshmat R, Larijani B, Hosseini S. Effect of glutamine supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.  2015 Jan;31(1):119-26. 2014 Jun 23.  PMID:  25466655
3. Bryk J, Ochoa JB, Correia MI, Munera-Seeley V, Popovic PJ. Effect of citrulline and glutamine on nitric oxide production in RAW 264.7 cells in an arginine-depleted environment.  JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2008 Jul-Aug;32(4):377-83.  PMID:  18596308
4. Arnal JF, Münzel T, Venema RC, James NL, Bai CL, Mitch WE, Harrison DG.Interactionsbetween arginine andglutamine change endothelial NO production. An effect independent of NO synthase substrate availability.  J Clin Invest. 1995 Jun;95(6):2565-72.  PMID:  7539455
5. Young LS, Bye R, Scheltinga M, Ziegler TR, Jacobs DO, Wilmore DW. Patients receiving glutamine-supplemented intravenous feedings report an improvement in mood.  JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1993 Sep-Oct;17(5):422-7.  PMID:  8289407
6. Albrecht J, Sidoryk-Węgrzynowicz M, Zielińska M, Aschner M. Roles of glutamine in neurotransmission.  Neuron Glia Biol. 2010 Nov;6(4):263-76.  PMID:  22018046
7. Albrecht J, Sonnewald U, Waagepetersen HS, Schousboe A. Glutamine in the central nervous system: function and dysfunction.  Front Biosci. 2007 Jan 1;12:332-43. PMID: 17127302
8. Dos Santos RG, Viana ML, Generoso SV, et al. Glutamine supplementation decreases intestinal permeability and preserves gut mucosa integrity in an experimental mouse model. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2010 JulAug;34(4):408-13. [PMID: 20631386]
9. Li N, Neu J. Glutamine deprivation alters intestinal tight junctions via a PI3-K/ Akt mediated pathway in Caco-2 cells. J Nutr. 2009 Apr;139(4):710-14. [PMID:19211824]
10. Tian J, Hao L, Chandra P, et al. Dietary glutamine and oral antibiotics each improve indexes of gut barrier function in rat short bowel syndrome. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009 Feb;296(2):G348-55. [PMID: 19095767]
11. Xu RY, Wan YP, Zhou YQ, Lu LP, Chen ZQ, Wu YJ, Cai W. Glutamine-supplemented parenteral nutrition and probiotics in four adult autoimmune enteropathy patients.  Gut Liver. 2014 May;8(3):324-8.   PMID: 24827631
12. Fujita T, Sakurai K. Efficacy of glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition in an experimental model of mucosal ulcerative colitis.  Br J Surg. 1995 Jun;82(6):749-51.  PMID: 7627502
13. Yalçin SS, Yurdakök K, Tezcan I, Oner L. Effect of glutamine supplementation on diarrhea, interleukin-8 and secretory immunoglobulin A in children with acute diarrhea.  J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004 May;38(5):494-501.  PMID:  15097437
14. Kucuktulu E, Guner A, Kahraman I, Topbas M, Kucuktulu U. The protective effects of glutamine on radiation-induced diarrhea.  Support Care Cancer. 2013 Apr;21(4):1071-5. PMID: 23064902
15. Newsholme P. Why is L-glutamine metabolism important to cells of the immune system in health, postinjury, surgery or infection?  J Nutr. 2001 Sep;131(9 Suppl):2515S-22S; discussion 2523S-4S. Review.  PMID: 11533304
16. Lai YN, Yeh SL, Lin MT, Shang HF, Yeh CL, Chen WJ. Glutamine supplementation enhances mucosal immunity in rats with Gut-Derived sepsis.  2004 Mar;20(3):286-91.  PMID: 14990270
17. Chang WK, Yang KD, Shaio MF. Effect of glutamine on Th1 and Th2 cytokine responses of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.  Clin Immunol. 1999 Dec;93(3):294-301.  PMID:  10600341

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