Tag Archives: Joan Waters

April is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Awareness Month

Put-Your-Gut-on-a-Healthy-Diet-722x406.jpgIrritable bowel syndrome or IBS is one of the most common health conditions in the US affecting at least 10% of the US population.  It is often classified as a chronic condition because it often recurs after it is treated, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

The symptoms of IBS include one or more of the following: abdominal pain, cramping, flatulence, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation.

It is often possible to minimize the symptoms of IBS by cutting out high FODMAP foods.  While this is helpful in enabling the person to carry on a normal life, it is not a good long-term solution.  High fiber foods are food for the good bacteria in our large intestines. Limiting high fiber foods, such as while on a low FODMAP diet, for an extended period of time, decreases the total quantity of bacteria in the gut. A decrease in good gut bacteria leaves room for pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria to colonize, should we happen to ingest some of them. This puts us at increased risk of an infection.

The Food Co-op carries peppermint oil and peppermint tea, both of which can be helpful for the cramping pain that may occur before and during treatment of IBS.

In one study of people with IBS symptoms, 80% of them tested positive for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).  This is a condition in which there is a greater than normal amount of non-pathogenic (non-disease-causing) bacteria in the small intestine.  It is associated with the same symptoms as those associated with IBS.  While there has not been a cause and effect relationship established between IBS and SIBO, the IBS symptoms usually resolve when the SIBO is treated.  Natural medicine involves treating the cause of IBS so that it won’t recur.

For more information, contact Dr Joan Waters at Practical Health Solutions, LLC at 970-482-2010.

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

fiber-foodsMost of us know to eat plenty of fiber to keep our guts healthy and to maintain gut motility. Staying well hydrated is also important, especially in dry climates.  You should be having at least one bowel movement each day. Eat real food.  Many packaged foods contain non-food ingredients that we don’t know enough about to know how they will react within the body.

There was a study done on rats in which one group was fed a grain meal containing only 30% GMO grains and 70% organic grains.  The control group was fed only organic grains.  The rats that ate the GMO food had significantly greater risk of intestinal tumors than the control group.  There isn’t much research on humans regarding the effect of GMOs on the body, but
it makes sense to me that we would be our healthiest if we only ate real food.

The Fort Collins food coop carries a wide variety of organic and local foods, as well as nutritional supplements. Consider getting yourself tested for the MTHFR gene SNP.  Sixty percent of the population has at least one ‘defective’ copy.  This mutation makes it difficult for the body to activate B12 and folate, and correlates with a significant increase in the risk of colon cancer in those who have two ‘defective’ copies of the MTHFR gene.  The good news is that with proper diet and supplementation, you can significantly decrease your health risk.  You may ask your doctor to test you for MTHFR or do a saliva test through www.23andme.com ($199).  You may obtain a plan to minimize your risk from a doctor who is trained in nutrigenomics.  This plan will likely include dietary suggestions, lifestyle modifications and sometimes nutrient supplementation.

By Joan D Waters, ND Practical Health Solutions, LLC Fort Collins
www.practicalhealthsolutions.com

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Staying Healthy over the Holidays

During the holidays, we are more susceptible to infections due to increased stress and the fact that most of us attend more social functions at this time of year, increasing our contact with viruses and bacteria.

Naturopathically, we speak of optimizing our ‘terrain’, or our inner environment, so that we can be around pathogens and not get sick.  Since 70 to 80% of our probiotic foods resides in our gut, maintaining healthy gut flora is the key to maintaining our health. We do this by eating a mostly whole-food diet, eating probiotic foods or taking a probiotic supplement and by managing our stress effectively.

We can further support our immune system by finding out what we are allergic or sensitive to and by avoiding those substances. This frees up our immune system to fight infection.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are inflammatory, and are taxing to the immune system. In one study, it was shown that the immune system was suppressed by up to 50% for 7 hours after subjects ingested 2 sugary soft drinks. Cutting down on ‘artificial food’ is always the best, but if you choose to indulge and you are around sick people, consider using a neti-pot before you go to bed to cut down on the immune system’s workload.   Also, get plenty of sleep most nights, so you don’t stress your body excessively when you stay up late for a holiday party.

If relational stresses come up, consider performing ‘bilateral cross-crawl’ activities such as walking while swinging your arms, while focusing your thoughts on the distressing situation. Using bilateral cross-crawl movements connects the right and left sides of your brain, making it easier to process through difficult emotions. After dealing with the difficult situation, focus on what you are grateful for.

By Joan Waters, ND   www.practicalhealthsolutions.com

For more article’s like these visit Joan’s website and blog.

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Ask the Doc: June is Men’s Health Month

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common concern for men that is not limited to the elderly. The Massachusetts Male Aging study revealed that 52% of men experience ED, including 40% of 40-year old men. ED is sometimes an early warning sign of diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension or hormonal imbalance. This article will focus on strategies you can take to prevent ED and possibly overcome it without the use of drugs.

Substances that may cause or contribute to ED include certain prescription drugs, excessive consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and BPA. Prolonged pressure on the perineum from long bike rides may contribute as well. Unresolved anger, anxiety, stress and depression can also contribute to ED. Stress management techniques and/or psychotherapy, with or without your partner, may help in these situations.

Dietary considerations for ED: Eat a diet of whole foods, avoiding all refined sugars, and refined foods in general. Consider a Mediterranean diet. Eat a small amount of protein with each meal and snack to minimize blood sugar peaks and troughs.

Use organic, non-GMO oils in a 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to 3 oils. For most of us, this means increasing our omega-3s and decreasing our omega-6 oils. Examples of healthy sources of omega-3 oils are flaxseed oil, walnut oil and fatty fish. Use only high smoke-point oils (grape seed, macadamia nut and sesame seed, etc) for stir-frying and other high-heat cooking. The Fort Collins Food Co-operative has a wide selection of these healthy oils.

Eating 100 grams of pistachio nuts per day for 3 weeks has been shown to improve ED ( Aldemir, etal. 2011). A great selection of bulk pistachios can also be found at the Food Co-operative as well.

The take-home message is that ED is often a symptom of a more serious condition, so a thorough work up is essential.

By Joan D Waters, ND   www.practicalhealthsolutions.com

Ask the Doc: Why is Grass-fed important?

Why is Grass-fed important?

By: Joan D Waters, Naturopathic Doctor

More and more people are eating and talking about grass-fed meat and poultry…is it just a fad?

Grass-fed meat and poultry and the eggs from pastured chickens provide a natural source of Vitamin K2. The intestinal flora in animals converts chlorophyll, the green pigment in forage, to Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2, not to be confused with Vitamin K1, which is needed for clotting, removes calcium from soft tissues and deposits it into bones and teeth by activating osteocalcin, a protein found in those tissues. When activated by Vitamin K2, Osteocalcin binds to calcium and draws that calcium into the bones and teeth. Vitamins A and D are needed to cause the osteoblasts, or bone-building cells, to secrete osteocalcin. Some people believe that the increased prevalence of atherosclerosis may be associated with the buildup of calcium in soft tissues brought about by the practice of feeding cattle grain, rather than grass. More research is needed to determine whether this is true.

Vitamin K2 can be obtained naturally by eating grass fed meats and poultry, the eggs from pastured chickens, and milk, butter and cheeses from cows that are grass fed. Natto, a fermented Asian food, is also a potent source of vitamin K2. Those who can’t consume dairy may make ghee from butter made from the milk of pastured cows. It is the presence of Vitamin K2 in fatty foods that gives them their deep yellow or orange color. The Vitamin K2 content of grass-fed but grain-finished beef is much lower than in grass fed beef. When buying ‘grass-fed’ meat in a store, you may have to ask whether they were grain-finished.

We need to support our local farmers and CSAs who fill this important niche in our ecosystem – by providing meat, poultry and eggs that contain adequate amounts of Vitamin K2. Conventionally raised and processed meats cost less to produce. The government subsidizes farmers who grow certain grains so this brings the cost of grain feed down. Farmers and ranchers can raise cattle up to butchering age much more quickly if they feed them grain rather than grass, so are able to minimize the labor costs of raising each individual head of cattle. Conventionally raised cattle are often given low doses of antibiotics, which can cause antibiotic resistant bacteria to grow in these cattle. Poultry are sometimes sprayed with chlorine to kill bacteria on them. We can usually avoid these perils in our food supply when we purchase local meat, poultry and eggs from our local farmer. More on these subjects in later posts.

If you choose to supplement with Vitamin K2, 45 mg of menaquinone-4 (MK-4) three times daily or 120 mcgs of menaquinone 7 (MK-7) once daily are the recommended doses. MK-7 has a longer half-life so needs to be taken only once per day. More is not necessarily better. Since calcium is utilized for clotting and for muscle contractility, including cardiac contractility, we need to release it from the soft tissues very gradually to avoid causing other health problems. For the body to utilize Vitamin K2, we also need Vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins are all fat-soluble so they will be absorbed better when taken with food, especially with oils.

For more information on this subject, you may want to read the book entitled Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Kate Rheaume-Bleue.

By Joan D Waters, naturopathic doctor Practical Health Solutions 1304 S College Ave #4 Ft Collins, CO 80524

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