10.3.17: Welcome and Introduction
What is a mini blog? Inspired by the book Mini Habits, by Stephen Guise, the vision of this blog is to give readers an "aha" moment every day, with the potential to transform lives and empower readers to regain control of their health via daily bite-sized (50-100 word) entries. I can commit to writing 50 words per day, and think that even busy people can commit to reading up to 100 words. Blessings and gratitude for joining me on this journey! (Disclaimer: all content is for informational purposes only, it is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure disease. Please consult with a health professional before trying any treatments suggested here. I have no financial interest in anything recommended here).
Dr. Korianne Haas
10.4.17: DIY "Burp test" and stomach acid part 1
A health transformation can start right when you wake up. There are 2 simple and inexpensive tests you can do before you get out of bed that can shed light into your unique physiology. First, the burp test for stomach acid production: mix ¼ tsp baking soda in 4 oz water and place on your nightstand when you retire. Drink this immediately upon waking and set a stopwatch. Normal: you burp within < 3 min, impaired: you burp in 3-5 min, severely impaired: you burp after >5 min or not at all.
10.5.17: Stomach acid part 2
Optimal stomach pH (1.5-3.5), as indicated by a normal burp test, is very acidic. This is important for both digestive and protective functions. When stomach acid production is impaired, the breakdown, absorption and assimilation of nutrients from foods, especially proteins, is hindered and you can become deficient in amino acids (the building blocks of muscles, enzymes, neurotransmitters and more). Also, harmful micro-organisms, can flourish, leading to gut dysbiosis and gastrointestinal illness.
10.6.17: Stomach acid part 3
If your stomach acid production is impaired, you likely have mineral imbalances such as low sodium and/or zinc. Consuming more unrefined sea salt and ionic trace minerals will likely help. This is true even for most people who get heartburn with/after meals but not in between meals and not with those with ulcers. We can’t know for sure without knowing your tissue mineral levels and ratios, which can be done through hair tissue mineral analysis testing.
Further reading - chapter 4: Digestive Dilemmas: Poor Protein Digestion, Sodium Deficiency and Cell Membrane Dysfunction. The Calcium Lie 2, by Robert Thompson MD.
10.7.16: Stomach acid part 4 (tips for low acid producers)
Incomplete digestion of proteins can cause bloating, gas and/or constipation, especially after high protein meals. Whether or not these symptoms are present, functional amino acid deficiencies can develop, no matter how much protein you eat. There are specialized tests that detect specific amino acid deficiencies. Consequences include depression, anxiety, migraine headaches and insomnia. Taking a balanced crystalline amino acid supplement like this 30 minutes prior to meals while supporting digestion and working to correct stomach acid production can drastically reduce the severity of and eventually reverse such conditions.
10.8.16: Second DIY morning test: basal body temperature
I often have my patients monitor their basal body temperature (BBT) as an indicator of how well their cells are responding to thyroid hormone. Here’s how: 1. Get a reliable digital or mercury-free oral thermometer and place it by your bedside with paper and pen. 2. Check your temperature immediately upon waking after at least 3 hours of sleep and prior to doing anything (including taking a sip of water). 3. Write it down. 4. Do this for 7-10 consecutive days and take the average. For ladies who are cycling, start on the 1st day of your cycle.
10.9.17 Why check basal body temperature (BBT)? Part 1
BBT is arguably the most accurate widely available test to monitor basal metabolic rate (how much energy your body produces at rest). Metabolism is primarily determined by a) how well your thyroid is functioning, b) how well your body is converting inactive thyroid hormones into active T3, and c) how well your cells are able to respond to T3. Obviously this is a complex process, and the "big picture" is often missed by relying on standard laboratory tests such as TSH. Dr. Frank Shallenberger’s Bio-Energy Test, which directly measures O2 consumption and CO2 production and calculates an amazing array of metabolic information, is probably the gold standard metabolic test, but it's not widely available.
10.10.17 Why check basal body temperature? Part 2
Wait, can’t you just estimate your metabolic rate (energy production) by looking at your caloric intake, exercise program and weight? Don’t all skinny non-exercisers have high metabolisms and all obese dieters have slow ones? Not necessarily (though the second example is more often true). I frequently see thin patients with very low energy production. This can happen when they don’t digest, absorb and/or assimilate the nutrients from their food well, due to factors like inadequate stomach acid production. Another cause is inflammation, when nutrients are burned without creating fuel for one's cells (ATP). A dramatic example of this is cachexia, or wasting syndrome.
10.11.17 Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism part 1
If your average basal body temperature is less than 97.8 and you have 5 or more of the following symptoms of hypothyroidism, you would likely feel a lot better with some natural thyroid support. A good functional medical or naturopathic doctor will also find and treat the root cause. There are several types of hypothyroidism, which I will discuss in a future post, and many of them can be reversed over time. Symptoms of hypothyroidism that usually improve when you optimize thyroid hormone levels and ratios include: general weakness, fatigue, cold intolerance, mid-afternoon energy loss, dehydration, cont…
10.12.17 Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism part 2
...hair loss, headaches, memory loss, brain fog, loss of appetite, decreased libido, depression, mood swings, unintentional weight gain (or loss), low (or high) blood pressure, elevated LDL, snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, decreased resistance to infections (especially candida and skin/nail fungus), acne, dry skin, dry patches on elbows, calluses, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, brittle/splitting hair, brittle/ridged nails, allergies, swollen puffy eyes, dry eyes, ringing in the ears, hoarse voice, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, constipation, Sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis, gout, carpal tunnel, irregular menses, PMS, painful or irregular menses and infertility.
10.13.17 Leaky gut syndrome - What is it?
Leaky gut syndrome is a disorder of intestinal permeability. A healthy gut lining consists of a huge surface area of specialised epithelial cells arranged in finger-like projections, called villi, covered with a glycocalyx matrix. This layer of cells only allows specific nutrients, such as ionic minerals, vitamins, simple sugars and amino acids, to be absorbed into the bloodstream (via spaces between the cells, called tight junctions, and through the cells themselves). Leaky gut occurs when junctions become not-so-tight, and/or epithelial cell integrity is lost. Then larger food particles enter the bloodstream, where they stimulate an immune response.
Stay tuned for leaky gut symptoms, diagnosis, pathogenesis and solutions.
10.14.17 Signs and symptoms of intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut syndrome) part 1
Sufferers of intestinal hyperpermeability may or may not have gastrointestinal (GI) complaints such as bloating, pain, diarrhea, etc. Basically, if you have noticeable GI problems and/or known food sensitivities, it’s a good idea to test for it. Another common “symptom” is the presence of ANY autoimmune disease. This makes sense because leakage of toxins, microbes and large food particles into the bloodstream puts the immune system into overdrive - a state in which frenzied immune cells are less able to distinguish “us” vs. “them.” Likewise, inflammatory skin disorders psoriasis, acne and noninfectious rashes often indicate a leaky gut.
10.15.17 Signs and symptoms of intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut syndrome) Part 2
Autism spectrum disorders are often associated with intestinal hyperpermeability, and so are cognitive and mood disorders including depression, anxiety and brain fog. Leaky gut syndrome should also be suspected when specialized lab tests show certain nutritional deficiencies which can be due to improper absorption in the gut, dysbiosis, and/or food sensitivity panels which show many seemingly unrelated, often healthy and frequently ingested foods such as avocados, sweet potatoes, rice and salmon.
10.16.17 Diet as a risk factors for intestinal hyperpermeability, part 1: Roundup
Diet, stress and endurance exercise are all risk factors for leaky gut syndrome. Let’s start with diet. Glyphosate, a component of the herbicide Roundup is known to damage gut microvilli, kill good bacteria, overload our detoxification pathways and cause GI tract inflammation. A wide variety of non-organic crops contain glyphosate. Foods with the highest levels include meats, eggs and dairy products (except 100% grassfed pastured-raised AND organic); organic and non-organic wheat; and Roundup Ready GMO crops: soy, corn, canola, alfalfa (allowed in non-organic 100% grassfed beef), cotton and SORGHUM (a grain found in many gluten-free baked goods and gluten-reduced beers).
10.17.17: Mini-blog turns 2 (weeks)! Housekeeping and mini blog search tips
I’ve long dreamed of creating a grand blog and publishing my first book. With my busy practice and toddler, I have not been able to put aside time to write anything substantial. Committing to writing a little each day enables me to share infinitely more information than waiting until I can write comprehensive blogs about the health topics I am passionate about. I will jump from topic to topic when I feel the need to get something out right away. Eventually these entries will be consolidated into larger, coherent posts in a searchable blog with comments enabled. For now, use control+F (PC) or command+F (Apple) to search.
Blessings and gratitude for reading and for sharing your questions and feedback on Facebook.
10.18.17: Tips for dealing with Herxheimer reactions part 1
I learn so much from my patients with known or suspected Lyme disease. A big part of this illness constellation is an imbalance between the sheer number of toxins the body has to deal with (endotoxins, mycotoxins, toxins from EMFs...) and its ability to eliminate them (via liver, lymph, kidney, GI tract, sweat, etc.). Strong therapies (like HOT) can tip those scales and result in Herxheimer or “die-off” reactions, which feel lousy for up to 36 hours. If this follows a HOT, patients almost always note significant and cumulative clinical improvement after it passes. Nonetheless, I strive to prevent "Herx's" and/or empower patients to manage them well.
10.19.17: Tips for dealing with Herxheimer reactions part 2
My patients tell me that the most effective and fast-acting remedies for Herx symptoms include 1. Alka Seltzer Gold (tip: keep this on hand because it’s hard to find when you need it, only take as directed), 2. Detox baths (tips: add 2 c. Epson and/or sea salts + ½ c. baking soda to a hot bath for 25-35 mins to pull out toxins, drink lots of fluids and get up slowly/carefully) and best of all 3. Coffee enemas. Tips for coffee enemas: these stimulate the release of bile toxins into the GI tract and cause your liver to make glutathione, the body's #1 antioxidant. To maximize the detox, take 1 capsule of a trusted brand of activated charcoal (!!please read: Charcoal Warnings first!!) with 8+ oz water 30 mins before your enema (to aid bile toxin elimination) and take an Epson or mustard bath after.
10.20.17: Tips for dealing with Her reactions part 3: coffee enema tips
ALWAYS choose organic, toxin-free, whole bean coffee. Seeking Health purE, recommended by a pro, is my favorite (I’ve only personally used purE and Longevity. The latter consistently left me jittery). Brew coffee or coffee concentrate in a dedicated stainless steel pot with a spout and clear lid (time-saving recipe to follow). Use a bucket you can see through at first (invest in glass or start with plastic and upgrade to stainless steel once you’re comfortable with the process). Prepare your nest of pillows and towels in a tub or on tiled floor, near a toilet. Have a 15 min timer, baby wipes and natural lubricant (coconut oil) within reach.
10.21.17: Tips for dealing with Herxheimer reactions: Coffee enema tips part 3
Get your Ohm on (phone off, warm socks, snuggly blanket, soothing music, soft lighting...). Place bucket on a flat, stable surface 10-14 inches high. Lubricate, prime tubing, lie on your right side, insert, unclamp and relax. Once the bucket is empty, hold for 15 minutes. That’s it! It’s easier to hold after a bowel movement, or you can do a water enema first (same instructions). If this still seems intimidating and you’re in the San Diego area, text my office and request the contact # for “Cozy Cleaning." You can call or text them to schedule a visit from an amazing Gershon-literate cancer survivor who brings all the supplies you need including your first batch of coffee to your home, explains the process in more detail and answers all of your questions. She got me started and I can't recommend her service more highly!
10.22.17: Why I’m detoxifying
This morning I realized this series should be titled “tips for Herx AND DETOX: coffee enemas.” I’m currently detoxifying: heavy metals (primarily mercury from amalgams I had for over 20 years which were unsafely removed), dead bone (cavitations) from wisdom tooth extractions at age 16, scars (from tonsillectomy, cesarean birth and several traumas) and deeply embedded toxins from vaccines, countless rounds of antibiotics (my MD mom used to keep a large jar on her bathroom counter!), years of asthma and allergy medications, birth control pills, OTC painkillers, eating toxic food, drinking toxic water, living a toxic lifestyle and thinking toxic thoughts. How grateful I am to have minimize new exposures to such things! It takes significant investments of time, money and energy to get that stuff out safely, but my health is worth it to me!
10.23.17: Coffee enema concentrate recipe and disclaimer
This recipe will produce three 1-quart (4 cup) enemas: bring 5 cups filtered or spring water to a boil in your dedicated pot. Meanwhile, grind coffee beans. Add 12 Tbsp ( ¾ c.) medium to finely ground coffee to boiling water, stir with wooden spoon, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 mins. Strain through fine stainless mesh strainer into 2 quart measuring cup, then pour into dishwasher-sterilized jar(s), chill immediately, and store tightly sealed in refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reconstitute, combine 1/3rd of concentrate with an equal amount of hot water and top off with room temp water. Test the temp just prior to use.
Disclaimer: as with EVERYTHING you read here, this does not constitute medical advice. Always check with your healthcare provider to determine if coffee enemas are safe and beneficial for you.
Korianne Haas, MD