Updated: Oct 26, 2018
Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago that “all disease begins in the gut.” Only recently have the medical and scientific communities begun to recognize the truth that lies in this statement. Our body is colonized by a large number of microbes (bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses and protozoa) which reside within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These microbes are predominantly bacterial and collectively form the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota has a symbiotic relationship with its human host, with both parties benefitting from the association. Interest in the gut microbiota has recently exploded, and we are beginning to uncover how crucial these microbes are to appropriate immune function and lifelong health, or conversely, susceptibility to inflammatory and infectious diseases.
Nutritional Evaluation for Mental and Overall Health
Are you tired all the time? Do you suffer from anxiety, depression or insomnia? Do your doctors says that everything is “normal?” These conditions among many others can be due to micronutrient deficiency. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline that is shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotion. The gut microbiota plays a vital role in our mental health and overall homoeostasis due to its control over our metabolic pathways, nutrient metabolism, and vitamin production. It has been found that the dietary intake patterns of the general population in America and many Asian countries often reflects deficiency in many nutrients. The most common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with mental disorders are of omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. These nutrients are vital cofactors for the optimum functioning of our bodies, including energy production, mood modulation, and detoxification.
Research has shown that gut microbes can affect our behavior. For example, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that when deficient has been linked to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. When ninety percent of serotonin is produced in the gut, it comes as no surprise that mood and behavior can be adversely affected when the gut microbiota is not performing its job properly. Recent studies show that food supplements such as zinc, magnesium, omega 3, and vitamins B and D3 can help improve people’s mood, relieve anxiety and depression and improve the mental capacity of people with Alzheimer’s.
At TCM Healing Center are pleased to offer nutritional evaluation testing to help patients accurately assess and effectively treat micronutrient deficiencies. Many of my patients swallow handfuls of vitamins not really knowing what they actually need. Based on your nutritional evaluation results you will receive a list of the nutrients you are lacking as well as the required repletion dosages. It takes away all the guessing! Testing is also available to evaluate heavy metal toxicity, oxidative stress levels as well as genomic markers including: MTHFR and COMT involved in methylation or detoxification, Apoliprotein E involved in cholesterol regulation, and Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha- a pro-inflammatory cytokine. Knowing your genetic makeup, can allow you to proactively take measures to prevent certain predisposed health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, or autoimmune disease.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis
Have you traveled to developing countries or gone swimming in lakes here in the U.S.? You may have picked up a parasite doing so. Do you think you may have H. Pylori or increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut)? Do you suffer from food allergies? Do these conditions all seem to be aggravated by stress? Do you crave sugar incessantly? There could be an overgrowth of yeast such as Candida Albicans. These are all possible factors at play, and making a proper diagnosis is paramount in creating an effective treatment plan.
Digestive concerns are on the rise and can be caused by a plethora of different reasons. Symptoms such as abdominal distention, flatulence, irregular bowel movements, epigastric and/or abdominal pain and inflammation can be due to an imbalance in the gut microbiota. The imbalance could be due to an overgrowth or insufficiency of one kind of bacteria, lack of bacterial diversity, or bacterial overgrowth in areas where it does not belong such as the small intestine (SIBO).
A comprehensive fecal biomarker panel (stool analysis) offers the advantage of assessing multiple functional areas that may be contributing to symptoms. For example, diarrhea could stem from multiple causes including pancreatic exocrine insufficiency, inflammation, food allergies, or the presence of a pathogenic organism. A positive result on one or more fecal biomarker tests can guide treatment, either by suggesting a treatable diagnosis or by eliminating a diagnosis from further consideration. Integrating the power of modern science and lab data with the ancient wisdom of Chinese Medicine, we are able to provide you with an individualized targeted treatment plan that will offer you the most comprehensive and effective care available.
Food Allergy and Sensitivity Testing
Most people are aware if they have an IgE mediated food allergy, as they experience an immediate and often life threatening response to the offending food. Think shrimp or peanut, for instance. However, food sensitivities, which are IgG mediated and delayed, are more commonplace and often difficult to determine.
An inflammatory response can manifest differently from person to person and can be associated with both acute and chronic conditions. The most common food sensitivity symptoms are digestive in nature such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), bloating, nausea, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Metabolic disorders such as obesity, type II diabetes, and inability to lose weight have also been linked to food sensitivities. Furthermore, inflammatory conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders, as well as headaches, brain fog, and cognitive impairment can all originate from food sensitivities.
Normally we think of the usual suspects such as dairy, gluten, or corn, but often a “healthy” food such as kale can also can elicit an inflammatory response in the body. Food sensitivities are also exposure related. In other words, if you eat one food all the time, you could be setting the stage for a food sensitivity. That is why food rotation and keeping a food journal are effective ways of identifying and preventing such a reaction. If you are like most people and do not have the time to keep a food journal, the food allergy and sensitivity test is an easy and effective tool that can help you identify foods that may be causing a problem for you. Delayed response to food sensitivities can take several days to manifest!
The food allergy and sensitivity tests offered at our clinic are blood tests that can measure foods, spices, molds, additives, preservatives, inhalants, antibiotics, and even herbs. If you are suffering from any of the associated symptoms, it’s worth taking a closer look at what you are putting in your body. What you might consider to be a healthy food, could actually be poisoning your body. As the father of medicine, Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The challenge remains in identifying which foods serve as medicine and which ones as poison for each individual.
Whether you want to take a proactive role in assessing your health or want to take a fresh angle at a chronic and stubborn ailment, schedule a consultation with one of our practitioners. They can help you determine which diagnostic test would be most appropriate for your health concerns and they will design a personalized nutritional treatment plan.