Category Archives: Gut Health
As the largest organ in the body, conditions of the skin is a trusted indication of one’s overall health. If you are experiencing skin issues such as severe acne or dermatitis, or flare-ups in your eczema or psoriasis, maybe consider a detox this fall to help settle those symptoms.
This common skin condition prevents the skin’s ability to retain moisture, leaving it dry, itchy and easily irritated. Eczema is a distinctive type of hypersensitivity that is characterized by barrier defects in the skin and allergic hypersensitivity. Thought to be caused by a genetic defect in the filaggrin protein, which is crucial for skin cells to correctly mature into the outermost protective layer of the skin, eczema is typically present on the neck and on places where skin folds, referred to as flexor surfaces.
Affecting both children and adults, eczema can range from mild to severe depending on the size of skin area affected and the degree of itchiness. Though symptoms may flare and subside, the reoccurrence of eczema over the same patch of skin may lead to thickening and tough skin. Triggers of flare-ups may include weather conditions, certain foods, fragrances, and stress.
Though common, this auto-immune disease is an inflammatory skin disorder that results from excessive proliferation of keratinocytes. Essentially, the body is overly reproducing an epidermal cell that produces keratin, which is responsible for the tight functions formed between the nerves of the skin.
The initial sign appears as a sharply differentiated red plaque of skin covered in silvery-white scale. Once the scale is removed, pinpoint bleeding is shown. Psoriasis is typically present in extensor surfaces, the scalp, oily areas of the face, and sometimes flexor surfaces such as the genitals and intergluteal folds. Another common symptom is nail thickening, yellow discolouration of nails, and separation of the nail from the nail bed. Flare-ups can be triggered by dry skin, and picking at the patches.
In connection to celiac disease, this auto-immune blistering disease presents small and fragile vesicles typically found on extensor surfaces, such as elbows, knees, scalp, back, and buttocks. The blisters are extremely itchy and can be easily punctured during physical examination; however the diagnoses of dermatitis herpetiformis is accomplished through a skin biopsy and direct immunifluorescence of normal appearing skin adjacent to lesions. Triggered by the ingestion of gluten, those with dermatitis herpetiformis should watch their diet.
Between Bowel Health and Skin Issues
Many chemicals within perfumes, lotions, soaps, detergents, deodorants and other personal care products can wreak havoc on the endocrine system.
Liver: The liver is one of the main organs of elimination that cleanses the blood from the chemicals that we ingest from food, drugs and excess hormones. This two-part detoxification process begins at converting toxins into less toxic molecules, then changes into a water soluble compound making it easier to excrete by the intestines and kidneys. In order for this organ to function smoothly, the liver require nutrients such as antioxidants, amino acids and vitamin B, which can be found in Detox Pro by CanPrev.
Small and Large Intestines: When food leaves the stomach, it first arrives at the small intestines, where absorption occurs. Unfortunately, optimal digestion does not always occur for reasons like eating too fast, food quality and quantity, antibiotic or anti-acid medication, and many more. This leaves the intestines working too hard at jobs which they are not capable of and thus, inflammation is created. The gut loses its integrity and releases food and nutrients back into the bloodstream. To ensure that this does not happen, a good fibre supplement like CanPrev’s Fibre Flow, and supplement for improving bacterial cultures like Probiotik 15B, can help to support the bowels.
Kidneys: The kidney is responsible for removing waste products, drugs and excess fluid from the body. When blood enters the kidneys, the stream flows through nephrons to filter the blood and requires approximately a minimum of 500ml to 1000ml of waters per day to support these elimination processes. By using ElectroMag from CanPrev, an effervescent drink mix consisting of electrolytes and vitamin C, it can greatly aid kidney health for hydration and nutrients that they body and kidney need.
Lungs: Little do people know, the lungs help the liver by eliminating chemicals that have been metabolized in a gaseous form. An example of this would be alcohol ingestion and having the smell of alcohol on the breath, the next day.
It can easily be forgotten that anything we put onto our skin or come into contact with, is literally absorbed into our bodies. Our bodies are then responsible for processing all these toxins. One of the first things you can do by taking care of your entire body is to keep your skin healthy:
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water,
- Use a humidifier during dry/cold temperatures,
- Switch to natural lotions with less chemical ingredients,
- Dry brush the skin to help get rid of excess skin,
- Provide the skin with antioxidants to support and protect healthy skin, such as vitamin E, selenium and zinc, which can be found in CanPrev’s Antioxidant Network
Try some of these common detox protocols to keep your skin and ultimately your body healthy!
- Gluten-free diet
- Dairy-free products
What will you be doing to keep your skin healthy?
The number of dietary supplements and food items, like bone broth, containing collagen are on the rise – and for good reason.
Increasing your dietary intake of collagen has been linked to positive effects on health, including improved skin appearance, reduced joint pain, and better digestion and gut health. It may also help strengthen nails, hair, and bones.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein found in the bones and connective tissue of humans and animals. It provides support and structure to the body, particularly the skin, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skeletal system.
Collagen is made primarily from the amino acids Glycine, Proline, and Hydroxyproline. The body produces its own collagen from free amino acids, but this process slows as we age.
It’s thought that this natural decrease in collagen production plays a role in the development of many common age-related concerns, like wrinkling of the skin, and joint pain and bone loss associated with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, respectively.
Health Benefits of Collagen
Supplementing with collagen is not essential, but it does offer some pretty amazing health benefits that can help counteract these undesirable symptoms associated with age-related collagen decline.
Here are some of the most notable benefits of adding collagen into your regular dietary – and natural beauty regimen.
MORE SUPPLE SKIN & ANTI-AGING
Skin signs of aging include wrinkles, loss of firmness, dryness, and sagging. These signs may occur due to less collagen being made as we age and breakdown of existing collagen. Sun exposure also plays a role in aging the skin.
Research has found collagen supplementation results in significant improvement in the texture of skin, including fewer wrinkles, increased elasticity, and increased hydration. These findings suggest collagen supplements can be beneficial in slowing or even reversing signs of aging skin.
Most of the supplements used in these studies also contained other ingredients thought to benefit skin health and prevent the breakdown of existing collagen, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Choosing a collagen supplement that combines several nutrients for skin health may be important.
It should be noted collagen in topical form is not effective at treating skin signs of aging. Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed into the deep layers of skin.
Other lifestyle factors like diet quality, smoking, and stress can also play a role in skin aging and should be addressed in addition to collagen supplementation for best results.
EASING JOINT PAIN & STIFFNESS
Another symptom that goes along with aging is joint deterioration that results in pain, stiffness, inflammation, and limited range of movement.
Several scientific studies concluded that hydrolyzed collagen supplements resulted in increased collagen in surrounding joint tissues and a decrease in symptoms of joint degenerative disease, like osteoarthritis.
One study found taking collagen over 24 weeks helped reduce joint pain among athletes – an at-risk population for joint disease due to overuse.
People who experience improved joint health may also be more inclined to increase their physical activity levels, which further improves overall health.
Taking a collagen supplement specifically formulated for joint health, like CanPrev’s Joint Pro Concentrate, can help keep joints flexible and cushioned, easing pain, stiffness, and inflammation associated with arthritis.
GUT HEALTH BENEFITS TOO?
Some health practitioners believe collagen has additional anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat digestive disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut.
The thinking behind the mechanism is that collagen can help rebuild the lining of the intestine, which is usually damaged and inflamed in most digestive disorders.
Science is emerging to support the theory that amino acids, like those found in collagen, can prevent and treat inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders. However, additional research is needed to determine the impact of collagen supplements on gut health.
Some other benefits of collagen:
- Reduces hair loss
- Improves liver health
- Diminishes the look of cellulite
- Improves wound healing
Natural Food Sources of Collagen
Most people aren’t too familiar with collagen in the form of food. The best dietary sources of collagen are from inedible parts of animals, like bones and cartilage. The majority of Western diets aren’t rich in collagen since these animal parts tend to be discarded in food preparation and cooking.
Since animal food sources of collagen are less used and accepted by most people, supplementation is an easy and accessible option to boost your intake. The collagen found in most supplements is hydrolyzed, or separated, into amino acids making it more bioavailable.
Studies have found that collagen in food has less bioavailability, meaning its ability to be absorbed through the intestine and utilized in the body, compared to hydrolyzed collagen.
According to one study, hydrolyzed collagen is absorbed better than collagen from food – because it’s already broken down into amino acids that are ready to absorb.
Consuming hydrolyzed collagen also boosts your own collagen production by providing the “pieces” (amino acids) needed for its formation.
As a side note, studies show that collagen synthesis is stimulated by vitamin C, so it would be beneficial to take both collagen and Vitamin C together or increase your intake of vitamin C-rich foods.
Animal VS Marine Sources of Collagen
It must be noted that not all collagen is created equal! The two main types that you’ll find in supplemental form are animal (generally bovine/cow) and marine (fish) collagen.
|Made of skin, bones, muscles||Made from fish bones & scales|
|Rich in type 1 & type 3 collagen||Rich in type 1 collagen|
|Rich source of amino acids Proline & Glycine||Rich source of amino acids Glycine, Proline & Hydroxyproline|
|Excellent for maintaining bone, joint and gut health, reducing fatigue and repairing sun-damaged skin||Easier to digest due to smaller collagen peptides, so there is increased bioavailability and absorption|
Choosing one over the other is really up to you as both types have similar benefits.
Since it can be a little difficult to get a steady intake of collagen through dietary sources (who wants to constantly have a pot of bone broth on the go?), collagen supplements are a safe way to promote skin and joint health with little-known risk or side effects.
Hydrolyzed collagen supplements that are specially formulated with other complementary ingredients (like Vitamin C!) for skin and joint health are proven quite effective.
The development of allergies is becoming more and more common. The same goes for sensitivities to foods, chemicals and environmental factors.
Our immune system and cellular tissue can become compromised due to inflammatory responses from the mechanisms of each reaction – especially through responses from sensitivities.
Here’s a little more information on the what and why of allergy and sensitivity testing – from an ND’s perspective.
A type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is an immediate release of histamine by IgE antibodies when exposed to an allergen. This type of allergy shows up quickly and sometimes with life-threatening symptoms such as swelling of lips or face, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock. The cause of the reaction is usually quite clear such as peanuts and shellfish.
Immune complex disease
A type 3 hypersensitivity is mediated by IgG antibodies. This type of process antibodies bind to antigens and there is a gradual formation of antibody-mediated complexes (immune complexes) that can deposit in tissues and joints. Over time, this can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to an array of varying delayed onset of symptoms, like headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, joint pain, eczema, fatigue and many other health concerns.
type 1 hypersensitivity
Skin prick testing determines type 1 hypersensitivity, usually done through your medical doctor, where a purified allergen is injected just below the skin to produce a controlled reaction. This process usually tests for allergies like pollen, dander, dust mites, pet dander or certain foods.
If there is a known IgE reaction, foods that are causing an anaphylactic reaction must be avoided indefinitely.
type 3 hypersensitivity
Food Sensitivity testing exists to determine type 3 hypersensitivity reactions. It is a blood test done in a lab and usually requisitioned by a naturopathic doctor. This type of test can detect sensitivity for over 200 specific foods as well as yeast overgrowth (Candida albicans). It measures the food-specific IgG antibodies found in the blood.
The test may also reveal high levels of IgG antibodies to food that you never or rarely eat, but the same proteins can exist in multiple foods and this is explained by the test results. ‘Treating the root cause’ is one of the foundational naturopathic principles. From an ND’s perspective, testing is beneficial in knowing what the culprit is that is causing the IgG reaction.
Environmental allergens, however, are not so easily avoided. Developing preventative lifestyle methods such as introducing a high-quality air purifier in the house, cleaning dust & pollen laden surfaces, and closing windows, especially during the night, when pollen release is at its highest, can be helpful.
However, when it comes to foods that are causing a type 3 hypersensitivity reaction, a more preventative approach can be taken. First, removing the offending food(s) for a lengthy period of time is a must. Using substances to heal the gut and support the body’s digestive system while promoting proper elimination is the next step (see list below).
An intensive healing protocol, known as the Four R’s (remove, replace, repair and reinoculate is often used if the intestinal wall has been compromised due to ongoing inflammation from sensitivities).
Depending on the severity of the sensitivity and the tissue damage it may have caused, integration of the original foods that were eliminated may be slowly reintroduced while monitoring symptoms.
Key therapies in practice
L-glutamine is an amino acid that repairs cells when damage has occurred from food sensitivities, like inflammation. This inflammation can create spaces between the cells in the gut which allow for bacteria, food and toxic by-products to enter the bloodstream and cause subsequent ailments.
Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine in high doses and helps strengthen the immune system by increasing white blood cells, improves the linings of mucous membranes to reduce pollen and other airborne allergens. Vitamin C can be easily be taken just before bowel tolerance (at the point it causes diarrhea) to make sure maximum absorption and benefit have occurred.
Probiotics like CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B, help strengthen the immune system by reducing inflammation and keep toxins moving through the system and out through the bowels efficiently.
Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, Selenium, and CoQ10 and N-Acetyl-cysteine are key at providing phase 1 and phase 2 in the liver with the nutrients it needs to process allergens efficiently so they can be eliminated through the colon.
Omega 3 fatty acids have an amazing anti-inflammatory effect, thus calming down the symptoms associated with allergies but also improving the immune system at the same time.
Detoxification is very important for chronic allergies, such as seasonal, asthma and hives, and is an area I usually begin with when developing a patient’s treatment plan that will properly address their allergies. This approach not only helps with treating the current symptoms but also addresses the root cause of improving the functioning of the elimination organs to reduce overall allergenic potential.
This, in turn, allows food and toxins to be processed properly, reducing toxic buildup from waste particles from inflammatory reactions.
Using supplements to support liver health, such as CanPrev’s Detox Pro, can ensure the liver has the nutrients it requires to neutralize toxins and get them out of the body. Along with eating a healthful anti-inflammatory diet, lots of water and fiber are all essential to enhance these detoxification systems, improve one’s immune response and decrease food sensitivities and allergy symptoms.
Visit Dr. Laura Anderson ND online: http://www.lauraandersonnd.com/
Find a naturopathic doctor by visiting this link: http://www.findanaturopath.com/
What are the symptoms of SIBO?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO, is just that – when bacteria (or other microorganisms, good or bad) grow out of control in the small bowel. Compared to the large colon, it should be quite low in bacterial count.
Colonization also ends up damaging the specialized cells lining the small intestine – a condition that has been coined leaky gut – or an increase in intestinal permeability, which further impairs the digestive process and can exacerbate nutrient malabsorption.
This can allow pathogens, toxins and undigested protein molecules to enter the bloodstream that, in turn, cause widespread inflammation, food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, and other undesirable immune reactions.
The most common symptoms of SIBO are:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Abdominal bloating or distention
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Excessive gas or burping
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Joint pain and other inflammatory reactions
- Skin issues like rashes, acne, eczema and rosacea
- Depression, and other mental health disorders
- Restless legs syndrome
- Histamine intolerance
- Fatigue or lethargy
One of the biggest concerns with SIBO is that it can actually lead to malnourishment, whereby essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fats aren’t properly absorbed. This can then cause a number of vitamin & mineral deficiencies like iron, vitamin B12, calcium as well as in the fat-soluble vitamins — vitamin A, D, E and K. 
Wondering why the symptoms sound curiously similar to IBS?
One of the most common conditions associated with SIBO is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. 
While they have similar symptoms and are often overlapping conditions, the association between the two still has some unknowns, according to scientists. They remain distinctly different in how they can manifest, how they are diagnosed, as well as how they are treated.
On the other hand, some studies have found that SIBO is concurrent in more than 50% of all cases of IBS, and successful elimination of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine reportedly resolves symptoms of IBS as well.
But, what causes SIBO in the first place?
According to experts, the causes are not clearly defined but predisposing factors to acquiring SIBO can include:
- Diabetes type 2
- chronic pancreatitis
- Crohn’s disease
- injury to the bowel
- a structural defect in the small intestine called blind loop syndrome
- intestinal lymphoma
- immune system disorders like scleroderma
- recent abdominal surgery
- use of certain medications, including proton pump inhibitors (acid reflux medications) and immuno-suppressant medications
Celiac disease has also been found to increase the risk for developing SIBO, as it disturbs gut motility leading to poor functioning of the small intestine. 
Additionally, heavy metal toxicity, low stomach acid, inflammatory diets, and stress – are all thought to be contributors as well.
How can you treat it?
Generally, there are 3 mains goals when treating SIBO:
Most holistic health practitioners advise using some variation on the “SIBO diet” for at least 2 weeks – which may include any or all of the following:
- Herbal antibiotics like oregano oil
- Low FODMAP, GAPS and/or AIP diet – see explanations below
- Re-populating the gut with good bacteria using probiotics, and then “feed” them with prebiotics such as under-ripe bananas, asparagus and Jerusalum artichoke
- stress management – this is key in preventing and managing most, if not ALL health conditions
However, a prescription antibiotic may be needed, at least initially, in more severe cases to get the bacterial overgrowth under control.
By eliminating FODMAPS from your diet for at least 2 weeks, and then transitioning to the GAPS diet or AIP protocol, you can start healing the gut, and can begin to eradicate the microorganisms that are causing havoc in your small intestine.
What are FODMAPs?
These are Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols.
These are the foods that aren’t fully absorbed by the body and end up fermenting in the gut. This would include ones we would normally consider ‘healthy’ for us – like apples, pears, apricots, cauliflower, barley, garlic & onions.
What is GAPS?
The GAPS, or Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet, was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride, Neurologist & Neurosurgeon, in response to the dietary needs of her autistic son.
Foods eliminated by the GAPS diet:
Things like sugar, grains, starchy carbs & potatoes, conventional meat & dairy, and any processed foods including artificial chemicals and preservatives.
What is AIP?
The AIP or Autoimmune Protocol is considered a stricter version of the Paleo diet, which involves the elimination of foods that are considered gut irritants like grains, legumes, eggs, dairy, nightshades, nuts & seeds, and processed foods including industrial seed oils.
Additional eliminations are alcohol and NSAIDs like Ibuprofen. For natural, drug-free inflammation-fighting pain relief, try Curcumin-Pro with Bromelain.
The AIP can be very difficult for many people to follow, but sometimes it’s temporarily necessary to fully heal a very leaky gut, which goes hand-in-hand with the incidence of SIBO.
It may also be wise to supplement with the following when treating SIBO:
- Digestive Enzymes
- B Vitamins, especially B12 – sublingual, therapeutic dose
- Fat soluble vitamins – Vitamin D & K
- Minerals: Iron & zinc
Testing specifically for SIBO can be a bit tricky and it can be difficult to get a definitive diagnosis. So be sure to work with a Functional Medicine Practitioner or Naturopath to effectively test (often with a minimally invasive lactulose hydrogen breath test) and treat this condition, as well as address other underlying gut dysfunctions.
I think we can all agree that there are literally dozens of reasons why our gut health can become compromised. For even more tips on how to have a happier digestive system – READ THIS