Your Complete Guide to Causes of Constipation and Finding Relief – Part 1: Low Stomach Acid (Hydrochloric Acid)

Constipation can be uncomfortable or downright painful if left untreated. You may experience few bowel movements, the sensation that everything isn’t coming out, small and hard stools, a swollen belly, pain or throwing up.

But you’re not alone – an estimated 42 million Americans suffer from constipation, making it the most common gastrointestinal problem in the United States.

When you experience constipation, it may seem like a good idea to reach for fast relief like a stool softener or other common constipation remedies such as prune juice – but these are usually just a quick fix that doesn’t solve the underlying cause.

If you want long-term constipation relief it’s a good idea to get to the root of what’s causing your chronic constipation.

There are a number of causes of constipation, which we are going to address in throughout this six-part article series. First, we are going to take a closer look at low hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach – an often-overlooked cause of constipation.

What Causes Constipation – Part 1: Low Hydrochloric Acid

Your stomach acid is made up of three parts: hydrochloric acid (HCl), potassium chloride (KCl), and sodium chloride (NaCl). Hydrochloric acid is the primary acid in your stomach and it plays important roles in keeping the digestive tract running smoothly. Often, stomach acid and hydrochloric acid are used interchangeably.

When your body isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid, it can cause serious and chronic constipation. Also called achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria, low stomach acid can disrupt several important bodily processes.

The Importance of Stomach Acid

Why is stomach acid so important? Stomach acid frequently gets a bad rap because an overabundance can cause heartburn or ulcers, but it’s just as problematic to have low stomach acid. Your stomach acid is involved in many critical roles, including:

  • Completely digesting food
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Encouraging the pancreas and intestines to produce necessary enzymes and bile
  • Ensuring good absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Activating pepsinogen – a protein-digesting enzyme
  • Helping to kill unwanted bacteria, viruses, and parasites

When your stomach isn’t making enough hydrochloric acid, you can experience an array of unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms, such as:

If your stomach has low hydrochloric acid levels, you might experience constipation but also nutritional deficiencies, even if you’re eating a healthy diet. This can make identifying your health issues difficult. In fact, low hydrochloric acid is a condition that is often misdiagnosed or overlooked.

Causes of Low Hydrochloric Acid

Low levels of hydrochloric acid can make you constipated and uncomfortable but it can also be responsible for a cascade of health consequences, which is why it’s important to address constipation with techniques that treat the root cause and not just the symptom.

Understanding some of the causes of low hydrochloric acid can give you clues to help you determine if low HCl is causing your constipation. Some causes of low stomach acid include:

  • Medications – Some prescriptions and over the counter drugs suppress HCl production.
  • Chronic stress – This is when HCl secretion is inhibited by chronic low-grade worry (acute stress may cause overproduction of HCl, which is associated with ulcers).
  • Older age – Your body tends to decrease HCl production levels as you get older.
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency – In particular, low zinc and thiamine levels can contribute to insufficient hydrochloric acid levels.
  • pylori infection – When there’s an overgrowth in the stomach, H. pylori can cause low HCl levels.
  • Processed foods and refined sugars – These foods are mineral deficient and cause inflammation of the stomach, which alters your gut microbiome and can reduce stomach acid production.
  • Chronic illness – Some chronic illnesses have an increased risk of low HCl production.
  • Antacids – Antacids interfere with your acid levels and can be the cause of low HCl production.

If you are experiencing constipation – other related symptoms – and also have any of the above contributors to low hydrochloric acid, you should test yourself for low stomach acid. There are three simple ways you can test your HCl levels at home before you make a trip to the doctor.

How to Test Your Stomach Acid (HCl) at Home

These three easy ways to test for low hydrochloric acid production in your stomach are much cheaper than a conventional HCl test administered by many doctors. Keep in mind a negative test result for these techniques is not an absolute diagnosis. These methods are simply for seeing if your constipation is caused by your stomach’s inability to produce enough stomach acid.

Self-Exam for Low Stomach Acid

A quick method for checking low hydrochloric acid levels is an old homeopathic trick. Take both your hands and find your xiphoid process – the bottom of the sternum where it meets the ribs – marked in red in the image below.

Then, with both hands slide along the rib cage in both directions while pushing in and under your ribs – on your left and right side of your body.

In people experiencing low levels of stomach acid, it’s common for the left side to be more tender than the right side – this area is marked in blue in the image below. It can be so tender it may cause you to jump when you find the right area – if this occurs you likely have low hydrochloric acid levels.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Low Stomach Acid

Another test you can try at home is taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar when you experience temporary symptoms after eating, such as indigestion or upset stomach. If your symptoms are relieved after taking apple cider vinegar, that could be a sign of inadequate hydrochloric acid production.

Betaine HCl Test for Low Stomach Acid

The betaine HCl is another at-home test you can use to check for low stomach acid. Take a betaine HCl capsule during or right before your last bite of a meal containing protein and fat. If you experience indigestion or burning, then you have plenty of HCl and shouldn’t take any more of that supplement. But if you don’t experience any burning, your stomach isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid.

Home Remedies for Constipation Caused by Low Hydrochloric Acid

The best choice of remedy for any individual’s constipation always depends on the underlying cause. If you’ve determined the underlying cause of your constipation may be low stomach acid, here are a couple of changes you can make:

  • Add fermented vegetables to your diet
  • Reduce processed food consumption
  • Increase zinc intake
  • Reduce chronic stress in your life, especially at mealtime
  • Have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water before each meal
  • Add betaine HCl supplements to your diet

These are a couple of remedies that may give you constipation relief. But if you continue to struggle with constipation, you should see your doctor so you can have a comprehensive diagnosis made as early as possible.

When to See Your Doctor for Constipation

As with many conditions, using temporary fixes that relieve symptoms only prolongs the underlying issue. Waiting to treat your condition can cause complications and make it more difficult to treat. If you are experiencing constipation that lasts longer than a couple of weeks, or if one of the three at-home self-tests for low stomach acid appears positive, it’s a good idea to see your doctor.

There is a myriad of ways to treat low hydrochloric acid levels naturally. By working closely with a holistic physician, you can restore balance to your stomach and relieve uncomfortable and widespread symptoms.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to identify the root cause and relief your unsettled symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr Klimenko’s E-book.

 

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Healing GERD Naturally

You’ve just enjoyed a southwest burrito at your favorite restaurant. Now, you’re feeling as if someone has lit a fire in your upper abdomen and the flames are reaching up your throat. That’s acid reflux. It’s triggered when stomach acid backs up into your food pipe (the esophagus). Acid reflux (commonly called heartburn) is a painful and aggravating condition that affects about 60% of the adult population in a given year. A more persistent and serious condition, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) afflicts as many as seven million Americans.

A variety of symptoms accompany reflux – not everyone has them all. People with GERD typically experience symptoms from intense irritation to burning pain in the lower mid-chest or behind the breastbone. Other common symptoms are stomach ache, nighttime cough, and inflammation. Persistent reflux can erode tooth enamel, damage the lining of the esophagus, cause sore throat/laryngitis, interfere with swallowing, and increase risk for diseases of the esophagus.

You may be familiar with prescription and over-the-counter medications for reflux disease, such as proton-pump inhibitors and antacids. At best, these drugs only mask symptoms, providing short-term relief rather than getting to the root cause. From a holistic medicine perspective, possible underlying causes of GERD range from the food you eat to factors such as imbalances in stomach acid, food sensitivities, hiatal hernia, overuse of antibiotics and stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine.

To get to the root cause of GERD, a holistic physician may test for food sensitivities, evaluate your diet and lifestyle habits, and consider a number of other possible causes. Once the underlying cause has been determined, your doctor may recommend diet changes, herbal and homeopathic remedies, as well as nutritional supplements and physical therapies such as abdominal massage and stress management techniques. Your doctor will use therapies and help you make changes that will restore balance and health to your gut.

Below are a few of the supplements and lifestyle changes that can help you maintain a healthy gut and reduce your risk for heartburn and GERD.

Ginger: Treats various gastrointestinal ailments, including heartburn. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can reduce irritation in the esophagus.

Licorice Root: Helps increase mucus production and digestive activity, protecting the stomach and esophagus from acid. Licorice root has been known to increase blood pressure in people diagnosed with hypertension. Be sure to discuss use of this supplement with your health practitioner.

Probiotics: Helps maintain balance in the digestive system between good and harmful bacteria.

Adopt healthy habits: Exercise 30 minutes daily. Boost your diet with whole, fresh fruits and veggies, fermented foods, and organic meats. Drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water daily. Maintain a healthy body weight. Properly care for other medical conditions such as diabetes. Don’t smoke or overuse alcohol, as this can trigger and aggravate reflux.

Remember, supplements alone do not address underlying lifestyle habits and health conditions that cause GERD. It’s important to work closely with a holistic physician to understand the root cause and your best individualized treatment.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to identify the root cause and relief your unsettled symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr Klimenko’s E-book.

 

References:

Mayo Clinic Online. GERD. Accessed October 10, 2016: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/basics/definition/con-20025201

University of Maryland Complementary and Alternative Medicine Database. GERD. Accessed October 10 2016: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease

Ginger. (2012, April). Retrieved October 10, 2016 from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginger

Kandil T. S., Mousa, A. A., et al., “The potential therapeutic effect of melatonin in gastro-esophageal reflux disease [Abstract].” BMC Gastroenterology (2010 January 18): 10(7). Retrieved October 7, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20082715

Lukic, M., Segec, A., et a.l., “The impact of vitamins A, C, and E in the prevention of gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma [Abstract].” Collegium Anthropologicum, (2012) 36(3), 867-872. Retrieved October 7, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23213946

Patrick, L., “Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): A review of conventional and alternative treatments.” Alternative Medicine Review, 16(2), 116-133. (2011). Retrieved from http://altmedrev.com/publications/16/2/116.pdf

Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Gettyimage

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L-Glutamine for Gut Strength

L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (protein building block) in the body; as such, it has a wide range of functions. Critical for removing excess ammonia (a common waste product in the body), glutamine supports the immune system, muscle and organ growth and repair, as well as brain and digestive functions. It’s also been shown to protect against the breakdown of the mucous lining in the gut. Most glutamine is stored in muscles, followed by the lungs, where much of this protein is made.

On a typical day, our body makes enough glutamine to meet ordinary needs. However, when we’re under stress (emotional or physical – from heavy exercise to mental illness, injury or surgery), we may not produce enough glutamine to address the stress hormones flooding our body. That is when taking a supplement comes into play. Additionally, a glutamine supplement is often helpful for individuals with medical conditions such as GERD, inflammatory bowel disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, where their glutamine levels may be consistently low.

L-Glutamine supplements are usually in pill form, but you can also find a powder version which should be mixed with a cool liquid. It’s critical to remember: always use cool, never hot foods or liquids. Heat destroys glutamine. Unless otherwise recommended and supervised by your health practitioner, a glutamine supplement is not recommended for children under age 10 or for people with kidney or liver disease, or a history of seizures. Proper dose is crucial to how well L-glutamine works and it should be taken on empty stomach. Always consult with your holistic practitioner before adding a supplement such as glutamine to your diet.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her holistic health practice, she uses lifestyle modification, herbal and food based supplements to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and holistic health and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr Klimenko’s E-book.

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Eliminate Indigestion with Ginger

Ginger is an Asian spice well-known for its sweet and zesty zing. It has been shown that ginger reduces pain and inflammation and support metabolism and digestion. As a digestive aid, this root has been used in traditional herbal medicine to nourish and warm the digestive organs including the mouth, stomach, pancreas, and liver. Ginger stimulates the production of enzymes in all digestive pathways. It also provides support in the breakdown of starches and fatty foods. Herbalists have long used ginger as a tool to heal upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and morning sickness.

Modern naturopathic and functional medicine doctors often prescribe ginger to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, cancer treatment, motion sickness, after surgery and for indigestion. Current research indicates that compounds in ginger bind to receptors in the digestive tract to help minimize sensations that create nausea and indigestion. It also facilitate digestion, reducing the time food sits in the stomach.

There are many preparations for ginger including ginger chews and lozenges, fresh or dried tea infusions, capsules, and extracts. Here is a great recipe for healthy homemade Ginger Ale, prepared with a freshly grated ginger.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification, holistic healing methods, herbal and food based supplements to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr Klimenko’s E-book.  

References:

Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (2015) p.186. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.

Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. (2012) p.140; 158-160. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.

WorldsHealthiestFoods.com “Ginger” Accessed October 4, 2016. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

Borrelli F, Capasso R, Aviello G, Pittler MH, Izzo AA. Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Obstet Gynecol. (2005) Apr;105(4):849-56. PMID:15802416.

Hoffmann, D. Medicinal Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Healing Art Press 2003. Ginger root supplement reduced colon inflammation markers, University of Michigan Health System, 11 October 2011. http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/ginger-cancer-1011

 

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Seeds for Good Digestion


Seeds for Good Digestion

Cumin is a seed-derived spice with a nutty-peppery flavor that packs a punch from the moment its aroma seeps into your senses. It immediately activates the salivary glands which kicks-off the digestive process. Cumin, also known as jeera in Ayurvedic medicine, is native to the eastern Mediterranean area and used in cuisine from many parts of the world, including Tex-Mex, Eastern, and Indian. Cumin seeds have been used in folk medicine since antiquity to promote digestion and treat flatulence, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating and gas.

Medicinally, cumin is recognized as a carminative, which means that it soothes digestive irritation, such as gas, and thereby improves digestion. It is widely used by many natural medicine doctors as a tool to help patients holistically heal from their symptoms. Due to its essential oils, magnesium and sodium content, cumin can also provide relief for stomach ache and irritable bowels. Current research shows that cumin’s beneficial effects may be due to the spice’s ability to stimulate secretion of pancreatic enzymes, which are necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from food. Adding to its nutritional potency,cumin also contains flavonoids and antioxidants, which are beneficial to overall health.

It’s best to cook with whole cumin seeds that you grind with a mortar and pestle. Packaged cumin powder is more convenient but it loses its flavor faster than whole seeds. Whole seeds will stay fresh for a year, when stored in a cool and dark place, while powder should be used within six months. For enhanced flavor, roast cumin seeds before using them.

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition and gastrointestinal health. In her practice, she uses herbal and food based supplements such as cumin to help patients address the root cause of their medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

If you want more information about Functional Medicine, contact us to receive a FREE copy of Dr Klimenko’s E-book.

References:

“Curcumin v. Cumin: Not the Same” Accessed on October 4, 2016: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/curcumin-vs-cumin-10292.html

WorldsHealthiestFoods.com: Cumin. Accessed on October 4, 2016: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91

Agah, Shahram et al. “Cumin Extract for Symptom Control in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Case Series.” Middle East Journal of Digestive Diseases 5.4 (2013): 217-222.

Posted in Diets, Health News | 2 Comments

Is Your Home Making You Sick?

Is Your Home Making You Sick?

3 Tips for Staying Healthy at Home

By Charlotte Meier

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While you may not like to consider the possibility that your home could make you and your family sick, there is a very good chance that it is, especially if your family members have eye, nose, and throat irritation, congestion, or a rash that dissipates an hour or two after leaving home. While older homes typically have more materials that cause illness, newer homes also may be responsible for making you sick. Below, we share a few tips for helping you and your family stay healthy at home.

1. Get a home inspection

One of the first steps you should take to ensure that you reside in a healthy home is to schedule a home inspection with a certified inspector. Professional home inspectors examine both the exterior and interior of the home and check the electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems, the home’s structure, and the paint and other finish elements. Inspectors also look for evidence of pests and rodents. If the inspector finds a major issue, he will suggest inspections by specialists who can give a more detailed report on the problems.

The home inspection will guide you toward repairs that you can make to solve any problems the inspector uncovers. For example, the inspector may have discovered that there is lead-based paint in your home. If the paint is in good condition and the surface of the paint hasn’t been broken, your family’s health is not in serious danger. But, if the lead paint is deteriorating, flaking, or leaving lead dust, your family is at increased risk of lead poisoning.

If you do have lead paint, immediately clean up paint chips, clean your child’s play areas, and dust on a regular basis. Do not wear shoes in your home, and contact a certified lead abatement contractor immediately, because painting over lead paint does not eliminate the problem. These certified contractors will either remove the paint, seal it, or enclose it safely. If you need assistance in finding a certified lead professional, contact the National Lead

Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.

2. Test for radon

As many as 20,000 people die each year from lung cancer caused by radon; in fact, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Testing is the only way to determine the radon levels in your home, and you can purchase a radon test kit online or at a home improvement store. Be sure to follow the instructions in the kit carefully and to test in the lowest lived-in level of your home. Keep in mind that for the test to be most effective, you need to maintain closed-house conditions for 12 hours before the test and during the duration of the test.

If you discover that your home has radon levels over 4 pCi/L, the EPA’s recommended action level for radon exposure, you should take steps to reduce it to acceptable levels as soon as possible. DIY repairs to reduce radon levels include sealing gas entry points, using natural ventilation, burning a candle, and turning on ceiling fans. For higher levels of radon, use a fan with a positive ion generator.

3. Avoid carpeting and engineered wood products

If you are building or remodeling, or if you are looking for materials to remove from your home to improve your family’s health, avoid carpeting and engineered wood products. Carpeting may be soft, but most wall-to-wall carpeting manufactured outside of the U.S. is synthetic; it’s materials put toxins that have been linked to cancer, nerve damage, respiratory issues, and immune system damage into your home.

Engineered wood products are manufactured with glue, and the adhesives and bonding agents emit pollutants such as formaldehyde into the air inside your home. Many cabinets, furniture, wall paneling, and kitchen counters are constructed with these wood products, so it is much better for your family’s health if you purchase natural, solid wood products that contain significantly fewer, if any, chemicals.

It is possible that your home is making you and your family sick. If you have even the slightest inkling that your home is not as healthy as you’d like, you should follow the tips we have suggested here. You may just find that your family stays healthy if you make corrections to your home.

Image via Cloudinary.com

 

Posted in Health News, Protocols | 3 Comments

Cold Prevention Protocol

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As we are entering festivity season our health is being taxed by endless parties, stress of the holidays, alcohol, sugar and sub-optimal nutrients. All of these will cheer us up temporarily, but will weaken our defenses. The next thing you know, cold and flu symptoms will start popping up. To better protect your body during this vulnerable season make sure you follow these simple recommendations and be prepared before symptoms start creeping up on you. Make sure you have mentioned products to support your body to stand strong and resilient against the cold and flu season.

 

This is what I do and recommend to my patients and family.

 

Follow this protocol on the daily basis to protect yourself against cold and flu:

  • Argentyl 23 (silver hydrosol solution) available in the spray or gel form. This silver solution is a safe and powerful antimicrobial substance. Unlike antibiotics that kill only bacteria, silver solution kills viruses, bacteria and fungi. Use Silver water once per day for prevention, and more frequently if you are sick (4-5x/day). Continue for few days after complete recovery. You can also use it as a hand sanitizer without harmful additives. The gel preparation is great to use on any skin wounds instead of antibiotic ointments.
  • Take Echinasia Premium by MediHerb (this is a pharmaceutical quality product and guarantees the best quality with a reasonable price) – 2 tabs per day
  • Vitamin D3 – 2,000 to 5,000un per day. Studies show that adequate supplementation of this essential nutrient is crucial for stronger immune system. Also, next time you have your blood test ask to check the level of 25-OH Vit D. If you are not a good daily supplement taker take 50,000un of Vit D3 on 10th, 20th and 30thday of the month. Set your alarm!
  • Probiotics – 20-25 Bln wide spectrum professional grade probiotics taken with food 3-4 times per week. Always keep probiotics in the house! These are your immune system’s best friends!
  • Eat plenty of fresh and  fermented foods on the daily basis (sauerkrauts,  pickles, etc. ) – those are the great sources of phytonutrients that wholesomely protect you on many levels.

 

If you are sick:

  • Immediately take Oscillococcinum ® – a powerful homeopathic medicine proven to shorten the duration of cold/flu symptoms IF TAKEN EARLY!! Ideally should be taken at the first sign of sickness and within the first 24 hours. I also recommend to take one dose after exposure to someone who is sick with upper respiratory infection symptoms, like someone at work or at home. This is also an excellent preventative method for kids if given weekly (on Sundays) during the cold season.
  • Vitamin D3 take 50,000 units once a day, for 3 days ONLY. This nutrient blocks multiplication of viruses and abrupt development of the cold/flu. http://www.virologyj.com/content/5/1/29
  • Zinc at 25-30mg twice per day until recover. Be sure to take with food, as Zinc may upset your stomach.  Currently I use Zinc Liver Chelate, which is a food source of the zinc and other factors that provide better bio availability of this vital nutrient into your blood.
  • Probiotics – double the dose (40-50 Bln colony forming units) if you are sick or getting sick until you are fully recovered, then go back to the standard dose
  • Andrographis (MediHerb) – 2 tab every 2-3 hours for the first day, followed by 2 tabs 3 times per day until full recovery. It is powerful antiviral herb that help you fast to recover from any viral infection.
  • Echinasia Premium (MediHerb) – 2 tabs 3 times per day until full recovery.
  • Immune triad: Cataplex C, Cataplex F and Calcium Lactate  2 tabs of each x 3 times per day for the time of being sick and a week after being symptoms free. Call the office to obtain the instructions how to order these products on line or to have it delivered to you.

 

Home Remedies:

Purchase a good quality honey (ideally raw and locally made) and the bright golden colored spice curcumin, found in any spice counter. Make a 1:1 ratio mixture of the curcumin and honey (one tablespoon of curcumin and one tablespoon of honey). You should end up with a mayonnaise-like consistency. Take ½ teaspoon of the thick mixture and suck on it for sore throats or to simply tune up your immune system. Do this 2-3 times per day if you are sick, or once a day as an excellent preventative measure. If you prefer to drink it mix it with a glass of hot water steeped with pieces of  ginger. It makes a great winter drink because it is very warming and invigorating.

Drink one cup of green tea (or plain warm boiled water) every hour, it will help your body to detoxify from dying bacteria and viruses.

I find that my compliance with daily supplement has improved since I started using the pill tray( call the office for a free tray). If I feel too lazy to swallow them I just put them into the blender on the morning and drink it with my morning protein shake. Have you tried my Best Breakfast Complete or Advanced Detox or Whey-To-GO shake? Make sure you try it the next time you are in the office.

Also remember, if you need to get back on your feet faster we offer intravenous drips (IV drips) for cold and flu treatments with mega doses of Vitamin C, Zinc and other nutrients to support your immune system and speed up recovery. Call our office to schedule IV drip session.

Stop by at our office to stock up on all the cold and flu prevention and treatment supply.

 

Stay Healthy Wealthy & Wise,

Elena Klimenko, MD

Posted in Health News, Protocols | 547 Comments

Eggplant: The Good and Bad

unnamed-2A favorite in vegan and omnivore cuisine, eggplant, can be baked, roasted, grilled, and used as a pizza topping or in stir-fry recipes. It has a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture that may vary depending on the color/variety of eggplant selected. Dress your cooked eggplant with herbs, sauces, and condiments and you’ll be sure to please even the pickiest guest at your dinner table.

 

Like everything else in life, eggplant comes with the good and the bad.

It is a member of the nightshade family of vegetables along with tomatoes, potatoes, and all types of peppers and even some fruit.

 

GOOD. Eggplant contains a phytonutrient (plant chemical with nutritional benefits) and antioxidants, protecting from cells damage, supporting brain and heart health and a great source of fiber, copper, potassium and B vitamins.

 

BAD. Eggplant contains cholinesterase that blocks anti-inflammatory substances in the body and therefore promotes INFLAMMATION.

The amount of these substances may vary but usually small and good often negate the bad, however some patient may be very sensitive to those substances.

 

Especially people with high pre-existing level of inflammation will respond with more symptoms, usually pain, after eating eggplant and other nightshades (potato, peppers, etc). That is why we ask our patients to avoid those vegetables for 4-6 weeks during the elimination food plan. Upon reintroduction of these foods, some people will report increase in symptoms, usually inflammatory joint pain (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) and some gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, etc.).

 

The bottom line, if the level of inflammation in the body is low, one can enjoy eggplant and nightshades in moderation. But if you suffer from any chronic inflammatory conditions you might consider limiting your consumption of eggplant until the causes of inflammation resolved.

 

In our functional medicine practice, Dr.Klimenko and entire team of Healthy Wealthy & Wise Medical, P.C. will help you to understand which foods are best for you and why. Call our office 212-696-HEAL if you want to receive a medical consultation and guidance on how to improve your health.

 

For those who can and love to eat eggplant, enjoy this recipe.

 

Eggplant Caponata

 

Satisfying and versatile, eggplant can handle a variety of flavorful accompaniments, several of which give a kick to this Sicilian favorite. The tomato base is spiked with anchovies, garlic, and capers, creating a mouth-watering aroma and a burst of flavor in every bite. Serve as an appetizer, a main dish or as a side with your favorite fish.

Makes 4-6 Servings

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large Italian eggplants, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 anchovies, in oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup capers, in brine

 

Preparation:

  1. Peel and dice the eggplants, peel and slice the onion, peel and slice the garlic, slice the celery.

 

  1. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with the salt. Transfer the eggplant to a colander to drain for 2 hours. In order to facilitate the draining, top the eggplant with a heavy weight, such as a dinner plate topped with full cans.

 

  1. Heat 3 Tbs of the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes more, or until the garlic softens but does not brown. Add the anchovies and cook for 1 minute.

 

  1. Add the tomato paste and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the paste turns a deep red, almost brown, and starts to stick to the pan. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.

 

  1. In another large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the eggplant and carefully toss it in the oil, letting it sear before stirring. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is translucent and soft.

 

  1. Transfer the eggplant to the caponata mixture and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, until the flavors combine. Add the capers and their brine and stir to incorporate.

 

  1. Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied by toast points or crostini.

 

References

  • Worlds Healthiest Foods. “Eggplant” Accessed on 4 July 2016: http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=22
  • Whitaker, B.D., Stommel, J.R. “Distribution of hydroxycinnamic acid conjugates in fruit of commercial eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) cultivars.” J Agric Food Chem. (May 2003) 51(11): 3448-54. Accessed on 5 July 2016: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf026250b
  • Murray, Michael T., Pizzorno, J. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods (2005). Atria. Excerpt on eggplant available at: https://doctormurray.com/healing-facts-eggplant/
  • Das, S. et al., “Cardioprotective properties of raw and cooked eggplant (Solanum melongena L).” Food Funct. (2011) 2, p. 395-399. DOI: 10.1039/C1FO10048C. Accessed 5 July 2016: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2011/FO/c1fo10048c#!divAbstract
  • EatingWell.com. “10 Healthy Eggplant Recipes.” Accessed 5 July 2016. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_eggplant_recipes
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Food & You: The Body-Mind Connection

vegetable-heart“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” – Dorothy Day

 

There’s no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional wellbeing? Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to the body and mind.

 

When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body’s balance of nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body’s ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.

 

While some body-mind effects are due to naturally occurring nutrient content in food, much is due to hidden additives. Below, are four common culprits. If you’re experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, talk with your holistic health practitioner about the role these or other foods may play in your health.

 

Foods that Impact Body-Mind Wellbeing Caffeine: The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality, which affects energy, concentration, and memory. Caffeine can aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety.

 

Food Dye: Those brightly colored, processed and packaged foods come with a rainbow of health risks. Listed on ingredient labels as “Blue 2,” or “Citrus Red,” food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They’re also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies, but not in organic produce. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world.

 

Sugars: Increased sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much dietary sugar can result in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. Sugars that can act as poison include High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, artificial and “natural” sweeteners.

 

MSG: Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. Although the FDA considers MSG “generally safe,” some individuals experience a complex of physical and mental symptoms after eating MSG-containing foods. Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and overstimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity.

 

Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is an important first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Your integrative or functional medicine practitioner may ask you to keep a mind-body food journal to provide a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification, herbal and food based supplements to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

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Soothe Emotional Angst with Motherwort

unnamedA plant in the mint family, Motherwort gets its name from its ancient use: helping women who had a tendency to “over-mother” and thus experienced more stress, and less joy, in their maternal role. Today, throughout Europe and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s used as a medicinal herb to treat emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. It also helps ease symptoms of menstrual distress, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion.

 

Motherwort can be prepared as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form. Depending on the the type of preparation, it can have a rather bitter taste and an odor some may find unpleasant. However, for many users, it becomes an “acquired taste” and the benefits outweigh any bitterness.

 

Motherwort has the ability to calm without causing drowsiness, and it has medicinal effects on circulation and heart rate. Because it can thin the blood, this herb should be used carefully and under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or natural health practitioner.

 

In our practice we use Motherwort to address the symptoms of  hyperthyroidism, benign irregular heart beat (racing heart), emotional and mental tensions, anxiety and spasms. It is also effective in addressing the hot flashes and mental tension so commonly occurring in perimenopause.

 

Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you decide if motherwort is right for you. In her practice, she uses lifestyle modification and natural remedies to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).

References

  • Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (2015.) p.191-192. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
  • NatureGate.com “Motherwort.” Accessed on July 3, 2016: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/motherwort
  • NDHealthFacts.com “Leonurus cardiaca.” Accessed on July 3, 2016: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/motherwort
  • Hoffmann, D. Medicinal Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Healing Art Press 2003. http://www.pdfarchive.info/pdf/H/Ho/Hoffmann_David_-_Medical_herbalism.pdf pp. 501, 502, 509, 514-517.
  • Murray, M. “Hypertension” as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 174), 1475-1485.
  • Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. “Plants and the Heart” in National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2012. 100-101.

Mars, Bridgitte & Fiedler, Chrystle. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press. 2015.), 189.

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