The most common conditions treated in our office includes irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), ulcerative colitis(UC), crohn’s, reflux disease(GERD), constipation, diarrhea, eosinophilic esophagitis/colitis, and acute or chronic parasitic infections.
At the root of the majority of gastrointestinal disease is the presence of living infectious agents. The first is very well known and accepted as a possibility amongst all type of practitioners, and is known as parasites. We use the clinic and diagnostic expertise of Dr. Amin of the parasite testing center in Scottsdale Az. With his assistance we have been able to find and successfully treat uncommon infectious parasites from all over the world. Most are contracted within the US, even without extensive travel abroad.
The second infection type arises from the fungi family, namely candida. Candida, a yeast, is an organism part of an even larger family called Fungi. Fungi have been around for thousands of years and are probably some of the most, if not the most, resilient organisms to exist on this planet. They have adapted to many types of harsh and barren landscapes. They have even developed the ability to live without oxygen or very little oxygen for a time. All of this means they are hard to destroy or eradicate.
The fungus form known as yeast resides in many places, but it enjoys dark, moist, and carbohydrate rich environments, which also includes the gastrointestinal(GI) tract. The question is how does yeast affect the GI tract? Candida is a form of yeast that appears to be the predominant form with activity arising in the GI tract. Although it is not completely clear, it seems these issues with yeast arose with the advent and excessive use of antibiotics. Antibiotics can be miraculous due to their ability to destroy disease causing bacteria in the body, but when taken orally, they disrupt the flora balance of the entire GI tract.
Flora is the combination of many types of friendly and even unfriendly bacteria that produce enzymes that digest food, that act as a protective barrier to the intestinal walls, and they enliven or strengthen the immune system. Antibiotics change this fragile balance and create a situation where normal yeast forms, perhaps residing in low dose within the GI tract, begin to flourish and grow or replicate in abundance without any friendly bacteria to control yeast growth. In essence, antibiotic use changes the microflora environment from a protective role, to a war zone taken over by another host in the form of candida or yeast.
These yeast are toxic and begin to cause significant inflammation in the GI tract with a subsequent increase in histamine, eosinophils, mucous, and result in a significant distraction or irritant to the immune system. In addition these yeast can begin to break down the gut barrier leading to and causing “leaky gut syndrome,” UC, Crohn’s, IBS, and all other inflammatory bowel disorders.
Imagine your immune system to be an army of 1 million white blood cells. They have the job to protect the borders and restore every cell back to normal functioning from the days normal “wear and tear.” Consider now that up to 80% of the bodies immune defense surrounds or resides surrounding the GI tract. The presence of yeast in the GI tract in essence, distracts up to 80% of your normal immune defense from its normal task.
It does not take long before the immune system becomes completely distracted and even exhausted, while it wages a war against yeast which have an endless potential to replicate. Why do I say this? Well, all yeast needs to survive and thrive is sugar. This is of course supplied in abundance in the average diet.
The first and most important step in recovering from Yeast and Candida is to reduce yeast expression in the GI tract. We do this by first altering the diet to reduce yeast exposure, eliminating sugar to reduce its food supply, and take natural yeast killers and possibly medications to reduce the presence and symptoms associated with yeast. We have created protocols for achieving this goal in the most effective and safest possible way, with improvement in symptoms in just a few weeks. If you are curious about yeasts presence, we can test and validate this theory very quickly through our mesa/gilbert office with labs often covered by insurance.
The third leading infectious agent is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO is a newcomer in medicine, although it has been treated for years in the natural world. SIBO is the overgrowth of bacteria due to overuse of antibiotics, without the consecutive use of probiotics, to replenish friendly and necessary bacteria. Every drug, food, or bacteria that presents itself in the GI tract can change the balance of normal or abnormal bacteria. The resultant changes have been associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) both the typical loose stools and constipation type. Treatments for SIBO have reduced IBS in greater than 80% of patients with a history of IBS. The natural treatment of SIBO coincides very well with the treatment and eradication of yeast and food allergies, leading to improvement in symptoms.
The fourth most common cause of digestive complaints is IgG food intolerances. Although not infectious, IgG food intolerances create stronger immune defects than some infectious agents. This idea throws many people off since most patients have never noticed any allergic reactions to food. This is because food allergies also produce other antibodies such as IgG, IgM, and even IgA that are different in their immune response compared to IgE, which causes obvious and generally immediate allergic reactions when eaten. The antibodies produced, which are linked to many illnesses including GI, are the IgG class, which are actually also known as delayed or slow onset allergic reactions. In other words, the reaction occurs hours and even days following the exposure. These become extremely difficult to determine when using symptoms as the only diagnostic test. With an IgG food allergy test a patient is able to view upwards of a hundred foods ranging from grains, animal proteins, fruits, vegetable, legumes, and even yeast and candida. These tests can be invaluable to help determine a potent underlying cause of GI diseases.
In previous articles we have stated, that yeast has a major side effect leading to localized inflammation and irritation in the gastrointestinal(GI) tract. Many studies in the last few years have also shed light on the additional contribution from proteins that were once deemed healthy. For example, gluten, contained in wheat, barley, and rye, produces a protein called Zonulin that causes severe irritation of GI cells and leads to leaky gut. This leaky gut in turn causes the GI tract and immune system to react to any and all proteins that are introduced in the GI tract from the diet. In time we become reactive to everything that we eat. Just like yeast, normal or even healthy foods, become major immune distractors.
With the immune system being overwhelmed by these food proteins, healing from normal “wear and tear” is reduced. The cure is in discovering the food allergies through testing and removing those foods to allow the GI tract to heal. In time with proper dietary protocols and with additional support of an anti-yeast diet symptoms improve. Food allergies along with yeast are the most oft overlooked causes of gastrointestinal complaints. Testing is key and success is sure as we begin to heal the gut. (A negative celiac panel is insufficient to rule out gluten IgG reactivity.) Consider that the leading food allergy is also the leading health food, wheat. A blessing to some and a curse for so many others. IgG food sensitivity testing is the only way to know for sure.
Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS)
IBS is most often the result of a body’s attempt to rid itself and an allergic or immune stimulating response. The most common offenders include wheat/gluten, dairy, and candida. Food IgG testing is able to detect all offending foods with a single blood draw. Best results usually occur when a yeast detox diet is also included with avoidance of food intolerances.
Ulcerative colitis(UC) & Crohn’s
UC and Crohn’s have many of the similar underlying causes as IBS. In addition, the immune response is significantly much more intense. One reason this is so often the case is due to a genetic polymorphism called MTHFR. MTHFR increases the risk for autoimmune disease, which can affect the body anywhere, but in this case, it’s the GI tract. Food intolerance testing is indicated, with treatment of other immune risks and genetic factors to help the tissue repair and heal. Parasites and other infectious or over abundant negative flora can also increase the incidence. Generally stress seems to aggravate the immune systems ability to manage or maintain a current state on non irritation. Natural medicine is able to restore normal tissue to its original stable and disease free state.
GERD is so often a result of food allergies acting on histamine, and HCL in the stomach. Patients who consume food they are or have become allergic too, can cause the stomach to produce mast cells(white blood cells) that increase the secretion of histamine. Histamine appears to stimulate the production and secretion of HCL. More acid seems to mean more GERD. Most patients are benefited by testing and then avoiding food intolerances.
Constipation or Diarrhea
Constipation and diarrhea are also the result of chronic allergies, parasites, or imbalance in normal flora. Of course the thyroid impacts gut motility and needs to be assessed and treated as an underlying cause.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE)/colitis
EE is diagnosed in children as young as 5 years old. It is sad to see such young children of so much medication. At the root of these conditions is food intolerances both of an IgE and IgG class. Testing can help discover the dominant allergic responses. Natural therapies are very often able to minimize symptoms and reduce medication dependence.
Acute or chronic parasitic infections are difficult to discover without involving a specialist as Dr. Amin of the parasite testing center in Scottsdale Az. A combination of natural prescriptions or anti-parasitic medications are utilized to rid the body of these GI infections.