The Missing Link: Hypothyroid & Liver Impairment

Hypothyroid is a condition that effects 80% of American’s, mostly unknowingly. This condition is marked by both obvious and not so obvious symptoms including; poor blood circulation (chronically cold extremities), chronic fatigue (low energy), hair loss, weight gain or trouble burning fat, edema, dry skin, waking body temperature below 97.8 F, hormonal imbalances, low sex drive and others.

The reason this condition goes unnoticed is mostly due to poor testing methods and also, a widely accepted reality of lower than normal body temperature. As far as why this condition is such an epidemic, well, there are many…

The thyroid is a master gland in regulation healthy metabolic function. However, the digestive process in general precedes the functioning of the metabolism. Therefore, improper and erratic digestion and absorption of food plays a role in hypothyroidism. When digestion is poor, the liver can become sluggish; however, low thyroid function can also cause the liver to become sluggish, resulting in the poor release of glucose from the liver, causing blood sugar to drop.

This inadequate release of glucose in the liver caused by both poor digestion and sluggish thyroid are primary factors in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

This being said, proper holistic thyroid therapy would focus on improving digestion and absorption so that there a constant supply of nourishment in the blood – this way the liver senses to the need for glucose release after digestion is complete.

However, this is not the only thing that goes wrong during improper liver function.

Thyroid – Liver Connection

The liver has an important role in thyroid hormone metabolism and the level of thyroid hormones is also important to normal hepatic function and bilirubin metabolism. In addition to the obvious associations between thyroid and liver disease (the nature of autoimmune conditions), there is a very strong correlation between liver impairment and hypothyroidism.

In other words, thyroid diseases are frequently associated with liver impairments. This is for the simple fact that the liver is responsible for 60% of the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) into its active form triiodothyronine (T3).

It is the the liver that metabolizes most of the thyroid hormone and regulates their systemic endocrine effects. These conditions are interrelated, thyroid dysfunction may perturb liver function, and liver disease inhibits thyroid hormone metabolism. The best solution then is a holistic approach that intentionally nourishes both the thyroid and liver.

A Holistic Approach

  1. Don’t Avoid Meat & Eat Nose-to-Tail: There is a HUGE misconception that animal proteins “clog” the body and are damaging to the liver. However, this couldn’t be further from from the truth.  Your liver needs protein to complete Phase 1 liver detoxification. However, it needs the correct amino acid balance, particularly between methionine and glycine. I suspect one of the major reasons meat was demonized was because of the industrialization of meat consumption. Our quick, hastily and wasteful eating habits around meat have lead us to throw out some of the most important parts of the animals (the bones, organs, and other connective tissues). These parts of the animal contain high levels of precious amino acids that are not present in meat tissues, particularly glycine and proline. By only eating muscle meat, the ratio between methionine:glycine becomes imbalanced, leading your body toward inflammation and inhibiting proper liver function. So, don’t disregard meat, the complete amino acid profile of meat is some of the most traditional and recognizable of natural foods, just consume nose-to-tail by utilizing bones, organs and other animal parts.
  2. Eat Enough Carbs: There is a strong connection between chronic low-carb diets and hypothyroid. So, be sure to Include more nutrient rich sources of carbs or sugar. Keep in mind, all carbohydrates metabolize into sugar. So, if you fear sugar, understand that sugar has become demonized for basic misunderstandings in biology. The fact of hte matter is, most tissues and organs in the body cannot utilize free fatty acids for energy, they need glucose. The thing is, you want to be healthy enough to proeprly metabolize sugar. The fact of the matter is, carbs are not the enemy, most of what sugar has been blamed for is really the result of PUFA consumption. Learn more about dangerous anti-metabolic effects of PUFAs HERE.
  3. Eat Saturated Fats:  Saturated fats like coconut oil and butter are pro-thyroid foods that support metabolic function. Like carbs, do not fear fat, just be sure to eliminate the unnatural, unhealthy, unsaturated fats (PUFA), considering that they suppress thyroid function. Coconut oil is one of the best fats for the thyroid. Brain Octane and MCT oil is another great way to get in the pro-thyroid effects of coconut oil.

  4. Eat to Support Blood Sugar Balance: Irregular blood sugar is a biological stress that causes the adrenal glands to release stress hormones and makes the liver produce catabolic hormones that breakdown proteins and fats for energy. This process releases anti-metabolic amino acids that inhibit the thyroid. The process of muscle catabolism releases a large amount of the amino acids cysteine, and cysteine, methionine, and tryptophan suppress thyroid function. Eating foods rich in glycine, such as Gelatin and Collagen, is helpful for maintaining blood sugar balance.

  5. Simplify Your Diet: A good diet should be satisfying, delicious, and simple. Eliminate overly complex and indigestible foods; especially GMO corn, soy, wheat and dairy. Opt for natural, organic, homegrown (if you can) meat, eggs, dairy, fruits, veggies and herbs. Remember, digestive precedes metabolism, so if digestive function is poor, metabolic function will also be poor. Anything to improve your digestion will improve your thyroid and metabolism. Get all my best tips for optimizing your digestion HERE.
  6. Eliminate Lifestyle & Psychological Stressors: Getting rid of stress; for many, is easier said than done. Keep in mind, that stress is any situation where there is pressure; or more specifically, a force, counter-force (two opposing energies). This can manifest in many ways; physcoligcally speaking, mental stress is thinking thoughts you’d rather not think about, emotionally, it can be feeling something you’d rather not feel, physically speaking it could be needing to get enough sleep that you’re not getting. The basic anatomy of stress in any situation is “I want to, I don’t want to” or “I want it, I can’t have it” or something along these lines. Therefore, the best way to handle any stress is to dismantle one of the opposing sides. For example, if you are stressed because you need more sleep but can’t get it, then you can eliminate the mental stress by accepting that you’re not getting enough sleep. But, you can also dissolve the stress by simply doing what it takes to get more sleep! Its really quiet simple; however, simple does not imply easy. In general, anything that helps you relax will be good for reducing stress, so take time daily to do something you love, enjoy and that makes you feel relaxed. Drop the glorification of being busy, the lie of “no pain, no gain” – here’s a secret…you don’t need to suffer to succeed.
  7. Correct Digestion and SIBO: Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine can be caused by hypothyroidism, but also, poor metabolic function can weaken the immune system making the body more susceptible to bacterial infection. Again, digestion precedes metabolism, but also immunity. The metabolic byproducts by bacteria in the small intestine can damage the lining of the small intestine, causing the loss of lactase enzymes (inhibiting dairy digestion), but also stimulating a chronic immune response, slowing metabolic function, casing a vicious cycle. Correcting digestion should be a primary goal for anyone interested in optimal health, but especially for those with hypothyroid. Get all my best advice, information and tips for improving digestion HERE.


Hormones, Cellulite & Skin Aging

Hormones play a dominant role in the health and integrity of the skin matrix, and specifically the formation of cellulite. Estrogen may be the most important hormone responsible for the initiation and aggravation of cellulite. Additionally, other stress hormones, including insulin, cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline, parathyroid hormones, and prolactin, all participate in the development of cellulite.

In humans, it has been found that these stress hormones (which often are elevated in hypothyroid and over active adrenals) cause structural and functional changes that attribute to skin aging are more visibly evident in signs of cellulite.

Estrogens especially, have significant effects on skin physiology and the modulation of epidermal keratinocytes, dermal fibroblasts and melanocytes, as well as the hair follicle and the sebaceous gland.

This article will explain how stress hormones lead to cellulite and skin aging along with what to  do in order to significantly delay these processes, namely by the reduction of estrogen, prolactin, and other stress hormones.


Estrogen: One of the basic postulates as to why men do not get cellulite (as commonly) as women has to do with estrogen. Women have significantly higher levels of estrogens than most men; however, men can also experience the revenges of estrogen dominance.

Cellulite is induced by the hormone estrogen in a few ways. First, understand that a major function of estrogen is to breakdown the collagen in the cervix at the time of delivery to allow the passage of the baby. So, estrogen has the primary purpose of deteriorating collagen, and collagen degeneration just so happens to be a a root cause of cellulite.

Here is a step-by-step play of how estrogen leads to cellulite:

  1. Estrogen stimulates skin fibroblasts to make collagenase, which is an antagonist to collagen causing it to break down – this starts the cycle of cellulite formation.
  2. There is a deficiency of collagen in presence of cellulite – without sufficient collagen fibers, the fat cells “escape” the tightly formed skin matrix and appears on the skin surface.
  3. Overtime, the fat cells hypotrophy (grow) and stimulate preadipocytes to develop to form new adipocytes or fat cells.
  4. Estrogen then stimulates the preadipocytes to form new adipocytes and the more fat you have, the more the ovaries are stimulated to produce estrogen – creating a vicious cycle between excessive estrogen and fat accumulation.

Estrogen also increases the response of fat cells to anti-lipolytic alpha receptors (preventing fat breakdown and loss) and stimulates an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which leads to fat growth – this occurs mostly in the thighs and butt.

Prolactin: Prolactin is referred to as the “nursing hormone”, as it is necessary for the production of milk and lactation. However, this hormone in excess can be detrimental to the health of the skin and is the true culprit behind hair loss. In essence, prolactin is very inflammatory, which leads to AGEs and the breakdown of collagen.

Excess estrogens and prolactin usually go hand in hand. So while estrogens start the cellulite process, prolactin worsens it. Specifically, it makes cellulite more visible because it increases water retention in the fatty tissue, which leads to the visible growth of the cell, resulting in a more ‘lumpy’ appearance. Also, prolactin slows the metabolism, specifically the ability to metabolize fat, which can result in an increase of free fatty acids, causing a metabolic stress in the body that increases stress hormone and inflammation – all which attribute to the degeneration of the skin.

Also, elevated levels of prolactin reduce testosterone and progesterone, both which are important fat burning hormones. So, as these hormones decrease, fat accumulates more easily, making cellulite even more visible.

Insulin: Celulite is basically a symptom of poor metabolic function. Each of the hormones associated with cellulite, are really associated with hypothyroid and metabolic stress. One of the key stress hormones associated with these condition is insulin. Women who are insulin resistant are usually also estrogen dominant, and hypothyroid. Insulin is usually high when a person has a poor ability to oxidize glucose (they don’t metabolize sugar well). This increases insulin and also hormones such as adrenaline, parathyroid, and cortisol.


The cure to cellulite is a systematic one, which would ultimately involve the restoration of metabolic function, balancing the hormones (especially estrogen dominance) and optimizing thyroid function.

The hormones associated with cellulite as key players in the “sickness field” – so whether a person is dealing with obesity, diabetes, cancer, early aging, fertility issues or any other “sickness” there are usually a few key, biological players involved. Therefore, the remedy – to be overly simple – would be very simply, to be healthy. In other words, there is disease and there is wellness; most health problems are just a symptom of disease, and there is a specific biological make up one wants to be in to be well.

That being said, here are a few things to do to not only improve or cure cellulite, but to improve your metabolic function and overall health:

Optimize Liver Function: Estrogens and most other hormones are metabolized by the liver. In fact, the LIVER is the most important in the body, hence its name…So in the case of any hormonal imbalance, there is often and underlying liver impairment. The Chinese and Ancient Greeks were wise in this way; they traced all health issues back to the liver. While many of us enjoy complexity, the fact of the matter is, truth is always in the direction of simplicity. I could send you down a rabbit hole and wild goose hunt remedying your symptoms, or I could advise you refine your approach and simply take care of the health of your liver. If the liver is healthy, the Liver (you), will be healthy.

Some simple things you can do to improve the health of the liver would be to first and foremost stop abusing it. Our Western culture covertly promotes the abuse and junking of the body by selling us a million quick-fixes for our bad habits. Not only is this not efficient for achieving health, it is expensive. So, before you go and spend a lot of money on the latest Liver Detox kit, just commit to discontinuing any abuse to your Liver. This includes the obvious toxic agents and behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, junk food, overeating, chronic emotional suffering, toxic relationships, staying up too late, constant partying and sleep neglect.

Keep in mind, the word de-tox literally means “to come off poisons”.

Other things that are helpful to the liver is deep sleep, bitter foods, green foods, gelatin, healthy digestive function, quality proteins, fresh citrus, and laughter.

Avoid PUFAs: Polyunsaturated fats increase estrogen in the body. These two ubiquitous carcinogenic factors closely interact with each other, and there are many ways in which they can be modulated. PUFA increase the activity and available of free estrogens from the serum proteins in tissue cells. To learn more about PUFA and what you can do, read this earlier blog.

Eat Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compounds such as glucosinolates, indole-3-carbinol, and sulforaphane, which help with the proper metabolization and elimination of estrogens in the body. My favorite way to consume these are in ferments, which increases their digestibility, improves digestive function and the bioavailability of the medicinal compounds. Nettle is also great for improving estrogen metabolism

Supplement with Progesterone: Unlike estrogen, progesterone is very beneficial to the skin, topical progesterones have been shown to influence skin thickness by stimulating collagen synthesis, maturation and turnover in study. Estrogen administration increases hyaluronic acid synthesis by 70%, leading to increased dermal water content, which means smoother more hydrated skin. Progesterone also promotes reduces wound size and stimulates matrix deposition in both human and murine skin. Further more, it provides some protection against photo aging and increases skin elasticity and collagen synthesis, which restores the youthful appearance of the skin. This is a good progesterone product.

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Cancer DOESN’T Feed Off Sugar

For the last year or so, there has been emerging research suggestion sugar is the culprit for everything from wrinkles to cancer. However, despite good intentioned information, the truth is that sugar does not feed cancer cells.


There are distinct changes in metabolism where cancer cells are present. Cellular proliferation, a common feature of all cancers, requires fatty acids for synthesis of membranes and signaling molecules.

In other words, cancer cells do not use sugar for energy, they utilize free fatty acids, which is why cancer is so common amongst diabetics, whom poorly metabolize glucose and have an excess of free fatty acids.

When you give cancer cells sugar, they burn the sugar and convert it into free fatty acids and burn the fat. They do it inefficiently and also convert it into lactic acid, which is what diabetic cells do also. Diabetics and cancer patients have bodies that breakdown proteins to convert it to sugar, but not to use the sugar, to further break down the sugar into fat.

Therefore, a more viable approach to treating cancer is to inhibit lipid peroxidation and lipolysis while promoting metabolic efficiency and the proper metabolization of glucose into carbon dioxide. 1


Avoiding sugar consumption isn’t going to cure cancer, as it doesn’t address the underlying factor, which is poor metabolic function and specifically, the inability to properly oxidize glucose. Interestingly enough, years ago, sugar was used to actually treat diabetics. The reason it worked was simple; if the body cannot handle something, you give it more, not less. In the case of diabetics, if sugar isn’t being properly metabolized, increasing the demand will more or less increase the body adaptability and enforce the body into metabolizing it.

So, it may actually be counter productive to entirely remove sugar from the diet if you are trying to heal from cancer or other severe metabolic diseases. However, there are some foods you are going to want to avoid if you are trying heal from cancer, mainly polyunsaturated fats. You can learn more about the dangers of PUFAs in this earlier blog post.

Getting into some tips for a systemic approach to healing cancer or simply preventing it, here are some things that can help:

Eliminate PUFAs: The two most carcinogenic factors in cancer are the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and estrogen. However, these closely interact with each other, where PUFAs usually raise estrogen levels. This is because PUFAs are toxic to the liver and suppress the thyroid. If the liver is impaired, it poorly metabolizes and eliminates estrogen, causing the build up of aromatase in the tissues. This causes the thyroid to further down regulate, decreases body, which further increases the formation of not just estrogen, but also lactic acid, serotonin, nitric oxide, prolactin, and prostaglandins, all which are inflammatory, suppress oxidative metabolism and involved in the pathology of several types of cancer.

Eliminating polyunsaturated fats from the diet is essential for optimal thyroid and metabolic function, which are impaired in the pathogenesis of cancer. Some of those effects are direct, others are the result of blocking the toxic effects of the PUFA. Keeping the stored unsaturated fats from circulating in the blood is helpful, since it takes years to eliminate them from the tissues after the diet has changed. Niacinamide inhibits lipolysis. Avoiding over-production of lipolytic adrenaline requires adequate thyroid hormone, and the adjustment of the diet to minimize fluctuations of blood sugar.

Saturated Fats: Saturated fats have a variety of antiinflammatory and anticancer actions, mainly by promoting the health of the thyroid, improving metabolic rate, detoxification and circulation. The best sources of saturated fats include coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, raw butter, raw grass-fed milk, pastured animal meats, pastured egg yolks and liver

Vitamin A, D & K2: All of these have pro-thyroid and pro-metabolic effects, which lower the inflammation-promoting parathyroid hormone (PTH). These fat-soluble vitamins are also key players in healthy thyroid function and in the most basic sense, poor thyroid will result in poor metabolic function and potentially down the line, cancer. Due to potential allergenic and digestive disrupting effects of supplements, along with the general complexity of vitamin synthesis, it is best to get these fat soluble vitamins from food. Also, plant-based carotenoids for example, are poorly absorbed in the body and must be converted into retinol to be assimilated. Animal sources contain the retinol form of vitamin A and usually have accompanying fat-soluble D and K2 – the best include grass-fed ghee, milk, butter, eggs, and liver

Caffeine: Caffeine has numerous and profound health promoting effects on the body, just to name a few:

  • Coffee drinkers has lower incidence of thyroid disease, including cancer, thannon-drinkers.
  • Caffeine protects the liver from alcohol and acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other toxins, and coffee drinkers are less likely than people who don’t use coffee to have elevated serum enzymes and other indications of liver damage.
  • Caffeine protects against cancer caused by radiation, chemical carcinogens, viruses, and estrogens.
  • Caffeine synergizes with progesterone, and increases its concentration in blood and tissues.
  • Cystic breast disease is not caused by caffeine, in fact caffeine’s effects are likely to be protective; a variety of studies show that coffee, tea, and caffeine are protective against breast cancer.
  • Coffee provides very significant quantities of magnesium, as well as other nutrients including vitamin B1.
  • Caffeine “improves efficiency of fuel use” and performance.
  • Coffee drinkers have a low incidence of suicide.
  • Caffeine supports serotonin uptake in nerves, and inhibits blood platelet aggregation.
  • Coffee drinkers have been found to have lower cadmium in tissues; coffee making removes heavy metals from water.
  • Coffee inhibits iron absorption if taken with meals, helping to prevent iron overload.
  • Caffeine, like niacin, inhibits apoptosis, protecting against stress-induced cell death, without interfering with normal cell turnover.
  • Caffeine can prevent nerve cell death.
  • Coffee (or caffeine) prevents Parkinson’s Disease
  • Caffeine stops production of free radicals by inhibiting xanthine oxidase, an important factor in tissue stress.
  • Caffeine lowers serum potassium following exercise; stabilizes platelets, reducing thromboxane production.

You can supplement with caffeine pills; however, I would recommend good quality coffee because well, its delicious.

Aspirin: Because aspirin has been abused by pharmaceutical companies that have competing products to sell, as well as by the original efforts to promote aspirin itself, people can easily find reasons why they shouldn’t take it. So while a controversial supplement, the fact of the matter is, aspirin has many protective qualities on the liver and can block many of the carcinogenic effects of the PUFA. Just be sure to get adequate vitamin K2 into the diet if you choose to supplement aspirin, because it depletes this vitamin. Also, to avoid potential stomach upset, you can dissolve the aspirin in water and take with food. 2

Niacinamide: Supplementation of niacinamide has been shown to greatly sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy and  stimulates apoptosis (cancer cell death). 3


Why this research emerged in the first place is anyone’s guess; however, I suspect it was in spite of the ASA (American Sugar Association). Perhaps some anti-capitalistic researchers with the knowingness that refined sugar conglomerates are a key player in the denaturing and processing of industrial packaged foods had an intention to hinder the success of the industrial food system.

To close, I am personally not an advocate for capitalism nor the industrialization and denaturing of food; however, sugar is not unnatural and it seems the more research I do, the more I find that sugar is not the devil it is claimed to be.

Lastly, remember that a healthy metabolism starts with healthy digestion (digestion is senior to metabolism). So, the first step to improving metabolic efficiency, is to improve digestive ability, the most important physiological action there is. For a complete and thorough guide to optimizing your digestive health, be sure to check out my online course Perfect Digestion.

The Most Powerful Flavonoid Ever: Reverse Aging, Diabetes & Cancer

If there is a single natural compound with the most impressive health promoting abilities (especially in regards to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects), it is apigenin.

Apigenin is a naturally occurring plant flavone, which is abundant in everyday fruits, vegetables and herbs. It is recognized as a bioactive flavonoid with impressive and well-documented anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties, amongst other abilities.

Various epidemiologic studies provide strong evidence that a diet rich in this particular flavonoid is associated with increased health and lower rates of various diseases and cancers.  With a powerful ability to neutralize oxidative stress – a primary culprit for aging and disease – apigenin is a protective substance against cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and biological aging.


Apigenin is gaining popularity and interest thanks to the work of Ray Peat, amongst other studies that demonstrate its remarkable effects in treating cancer.  Additionally, apigenin has shown to have no negative effects on the  metabolic system, making it both a safe and effective tool in promoting health.

When consumed as a regular part of the diet is has been reported to lead to a decrease in markers of oxidative stress and lymphocyte DNA damage, both which are commonly associated with increased risk for disease and early aging.

Below are a few scientifically-backed examples of how apigenin promotes health while inhibiting various, common diseases:

  • Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory: Apigenin significantly reduces the amount of inflammatory cells in the body. It works by inhibiting NF-κB pathways and suppressing pro inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, apigenin decreases total oxidative stress in organ tissues. 1
  • Liver Protectant: Alcohol is one of the many substances that is toxic to the liver. Apigenin has been shown in study to protect the liver, not just with its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, but specifically by reducing the expression of hepatic cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) and nuclear factor kappa B proteins as well as contents of hepatic malondialdehyde and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, while simultaneously increasing the levels of hepatic reduced glutathione, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione S-transferase (master antioxidants). In simpler terms, these findings provide evidence that apigenin has a protective effect on alcohol-induced liver injury. 2
  • Anti-Diabetic: Apigenin is capable of lowering plasma levels of pro-inflammatory mediators and fasting blood glucose, having a strong anti-hyperglycemic effect, improving insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia and hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes activities. 3
  • Decrease Estrogen: Increased levels of estrogen (estrogen dominance) contributes to a wide array of diseases and disorders including, hypothyroidism, hair loss (pattern baldness), infertility, PCOS, obesity, and various metabolic disorders. Apigenin is an aromatase inhibitor, meaning it inhibits the enzymatic conversion of androgen hormones like testosterone into estrogen. 4
  • Anti-Cancerous: Many of the beneficial biological effects of apigenin are due to its antioxidant effects and ability to neutralize free radicals. However, it is also a powerful anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and detoxifier. Apigenin inhibits excessive cell growth, neutralizes oxidative stress, improves the effectiveness of detoxification enzymes, which includes apoptosis (cell death) and also improves immune function. These properties categorize apigenin in a special class of beneficial compounds, which possess health-promoting and cancer-preventing effects. In study, apigenin showed promising effects on treating breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, hematological cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and adrenal cortical cancer


I wouldn’t recommend supplementing with apigenin as most supplements are allergenic. However, there are plenty foods and herbs that contain appropriate levels of apigenin without allergenic effects. The best food-sources of apigenin include:

  • Guava
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Herbs: rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil and coriander
  • Chamomile
  • Cloves
  • Lemon Balm
  • Licorice root
  • Artichokes
  • Spinach
  • Peppermint
  • Red wine

For more information like this, be sure to checkout my online wellness academy.

The Dangers of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats)

Autoimmunity and immunodeficiency (weak immunity) are at an all time high. At the very root of the health of the body is the immune system, and therefore, most disease can be traced back to a damaged immune system. If you wish to be healthy, it doesn’t matter what disease you are fighting, your primary goal is to improve the strength of the immune system.

Of the many things that damage the immune system (radiation, hormone imbalance, cancer, aging, viral infections, and other various stressors) one of the most overlooked factors today attributing to a weak the immune system’s function is polyunsaturated fat consumption.

Interestingly enough, the media has no problem with discussing the immunpsuppressing effects of drugs and STDs, but wouldn’t dare discuss revenges of highly unstable, oxidized and volatile vegetable oils that saturate the industrial foods American’s eat daily.


Polyunsaturated fats are unsaturation lipids, which are marked molecularly by the removal of hydrogen atoms. A saturated fat molecule has all of its hydrogen atoms. This absence of hydrogen leaves the molecular structure vulnerable to attack by free radicals.

Free radicals are reactive molecular fragments that occur even in all cells, with a potential to damage the cell. When unsaturated lipids are exposed to free radicals they create chain reactions of oxidative stress that spread and damage and age the cell.

For this reason, polyunsaturated fats very toxic and hazardous to the health of the body on a cellular level. While these oils are often referred to as “essential fatty acids” they are anything but essential, they are anti-metabolic and inflammatory to the body due to their highly reactive nature.

For a matter of fact, in the late 1940s, polyunsaturated fats were intentionally used to suppress the thyroid function of pigs in order to fatten them up with consuming less food. In other words, it has been known for some time that PUFAs are highly anti-metabolic due to their anti-thyroid effects on the body.

Examples of PUFAs include:

  • soybean oil
  • canola oil
  • corn oil
  • safflower oil
  • sesame oil
  • sunflower seed oil,
  • almond oil (mostly used topically)


Due to their poor molecular structure, PUFAs are very unstable and highly reactive to oxygen, light and heat. This causes them to oxidize very quickly exposed to these elements (oxygen, light and heat.) Additionally, because most polyunsaturated fats are liquid and bought and sold commercially; they often sit for long periods of time in bottles where they can oxidize easily. They are already delicate enough structurally, but by the time they are consumed, they enter the body already rancid, which starts the process of inflammation and cell aging.

As we discussed briefly, the major reason PUFAs are so dangerous, that being their reactivity with free radicals and attribution to cellular aging. And while the FDA and medical literature promote the consumption of essential fatty acids they fail to explain the following specific health consequences:

  • Oxidative and Aging – PUFAs become rancid when exposed to oxygen; this is called oxidation. Free radicals are produced during oxidation, which react with various parts of cells (DNA and protein) and cause disorder of structure and function and cell damage.
  • Hormone disrupting – Unsaturated fats cause many hormonal fluctuations, mostly by their suppressant effect on the thyroid gland. In short, PUFAs inhibit thyroid hormone secretion as well as the movement of thyroid hormone throughout the circulatory system and receptor sites of thyroid hormone in tissues. When the thyroid hormone is deficient, the body becomes stressed as it is increasingly more vulnerable to increased levels of estrogen and prolactin. Additionally, we need thyroid hormone to produce “protective hormones” like testosterone, progesterone and pregnenolone. So not only do they cause the increase of stress hormones, they also lower the secretion of protective hormones.  Also, the thyroid hormone is required for using and eliminating cholesterol (both jobs managed by the liver). So, cholesterol levels are highest amongst those with low thyroid. There is also an interesting relationship between PUFAS and estrogen. Specifically, puberty occurs at an earlier age when estrogen is high, which is common amongst females today. Early puberty though is not necessarily a good thing, as growth relation is off. This is probably a factor in the development of cancer (where cell growth is abnormal), as well as other hormonal health related issues like hair loss, acne, and  infertility.
  • Immunosuppressive – Vegetable oil is actually a recognized drug for suppressing the immune system. In fact, emulsions of unsaturated oils were used to treat cancer patients until they discovered that they were suppressing their immune systems further. Today, these emulsions are used to intentionally suppressing immunity in people who have had organ transplants. Eating these oils will in fact suppress immune function.
  • Antithyroid – The enzymes which break down proteins for digestion are also used to produce thyroid hormone. PUFAS block the secretion of these enzymes and thereby inhibit both digestion, metabolism and thyroid function.  This can lead to issues like clotting, low immunity, aging, obesity, and cancer are increased.

Other negative health effects of PUFAs include:

  • Lipid peroxidative effects
  • Antimitochondrial effects
  • Inhibition of glucose oxidation
  • Cancerous (metastatic cancer)
  • Toxic to the liver

Ultimately, all bodily systems are harmed by an excess intake of these oils. There are two core reasons for this…

One is due to the plants built-in protective qualities. The same means in which a plant protects itself chemically, also happen to inhibit digestive enzymes. Digestion is the most important basic physiological function in the body. If we cannot digest, we will not metabolize, assimilate and detoxify either.  As a result of their anti-digestive properties, all of these systems are damaged by the excessive intake of PUFAs.

Secondly, because the seeds that PUFAs are derived from (canola, soy, etc.) are designed to germinate in early spring, their energy is only available in cooler temperatures, as they naturally and normally do not need to be viable through the hotter months. Unlike saturated oils, unsaturated oils remain in liquid form, even when they are cold. Because of this, these oils easily become rancid when they are heated even slightly or exposed to light and oxygen.

When we consume these oils, they are stored in our tissues where they are both warm and directly exposed to oxygen. This greatly increases their likelihood to oxidize and create oxidative stress, which then inhibits normal physiological processes.

In addition to their own natural toxicity and “built-in pesticides”, PUFAs seeds are commonly genetically modified and sprayed with industrial pesticides, which can concentrate in the seed oils, making the oil that much more toxic.

To conclude on the dangers of PUFAs, all systems of the body are harmed by an excess consumption these oils. They attack the body in three primary ways; by creating hormonal imbalances, suppressing the immune system, and producing oxidative stress.


I am not an advocate for orthorexia, the fear of food or dogma of any sorts; I am an advocate for facts and science. Based on the science, there is an undeniable amount of evidence that these foods are no good for the body. From common sense alone, these oils are highly unnatural. Therefore, the simplest thing you could do is just not consume them. However, until this becomes second nature and non-stressful, you shouldnt worry too much.

Something to know is that it isn’t the quantity of these polyunsaturated oils which determines the harm they do – it is the ratio between unsaturaates and the saturated fats that does. All of their negative effects (obesity, aging, inflammation, immune suppression, hormonal balance, energy production etc.) are all responsive to the ratio of unsaturated fats to saturated fats. Generally, the higher this ratio is (PUFAs:SATURATED) the greater the harm.

This is perhaps proof of how chronic behavior leads to problems. It is also evidence that the phrase “everything in moderation” may very well be the sanest and simplest health advise there is.

So, a small amount of these oils won’t kill you. It is the proportion of them in your diet that matters. If your entire diet consists of industrial, processed, junk food then it’s likely your every meal will contain PUFAa – that is the problem. But the occasional canola oil in your dinner while out to eat will not kill you.

In this respect though, it isn’t helpful to just tell you to never consume these oils again and not give you a replacement. Rather than trying to never consume a PUFA again, simply upgrade your fat and oil selection.

The safest, healthiest oils include:

Most PUFAs are vegetable based, but both coconut and olive oil (stone ground and organic) are safe; however, animal sources are going to be the safest, given that the animals were not poisoned with antibiotics, hormones and GMO grain-feed diets.

Personality Traits & Emotional Patterns in Digestive Disease (IBS)

Expanding on a previous post, which covered the psychosomatic factors in digestive disease, today we will cover an interesting topic; the personality traits, mental and emotional patterns in those with digestive disease.

If the psyche rules the digestive system, it only makes sense that specific, chronic and dominant  personalities such as (neuroticism, introversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, etc.) along with mental constructs and chronic emotional patterns have a dominant role in the pathogenesis of digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflamed bowel disease (IBD), chronic constipation, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis and any other variety of GI disorders.

It is well known that dominant personality traits and chronic emotional patterns strongly effect the autonomic nervous system, thereby effecting immune, inflammatory, endocrine functions and most importantly, digestive function. In fact, the digestive system is ruled by subbranches of the autonomic nervous system, named the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

This post will seek to explore the correlations between specific personalities, mental constructs and emotional expressions and their symptomatic burden on the disease physiopathology in digestive diseases.

This biopsychosocial model of illness includes the interaction between biological, psychological, environmental, and social factors in relation to physical disease. In other words, this is a holistic approach to the treatment and healing of digestive disorders and should take into account the heterogeneous nature of life and our health. Given the fact that we are more than just bodies, predominantly spiritual beings, with minds, occupying a complex, diverse and dynamic biological body, a successful treatment would include and be capable of differentiating between these worlds, but also understanding their interconnectedness.

Considering the noticeable, individual differences and uniqueness of each person, that includes their taste, view of life, personality traits and emotional patterns, it is only logical that true healing dwells far beyond medications, dietary interventions, and even lifestyle changes.

In this sense, and as I stress so strongly in my online course Perfect Digestion, the treatment of digestive disorders of all types should address not only the physiological factors but also include psychological treatments that address the personality traits and emotional features that are constitutive of, and integral to the triggering of digestive diseases. By addressing the psychological (mental, emotional and spiritual), we will leave the realm of physics into the world of metaphysics, and there have a greater chance of providing the optimal conditions necessary for an improved quality of life, in mind, body and spirit, that those suffering from digestive disease so often lack.


The mind – body connection is not mysticism, but perhaps it is to the person who believes they are just their body, with disregard to their mind and soul. However, the simple fact of the matter is we have bodies. In fact, most of us innately know that we are not bodies, but they are something we have. We say “these are my hands, my hair, my eyes, etc.” indicating that they are possessions (havingness) not an identity (beingness). The fact is, we are spiritual beings that have a mind (a communication network) that animates our body.

For centuries mystics and eastern philosophies like Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have attempted to help us understand these concepts. Finally, in the last two decades, the field of psychoneuroimmunology has witnessed the mechanisms through which stressful, thoughts and emotions alter white blood cell function. It has been discovered that pyschological stress diminishes white blood cell response to viral infected cells and to cancer cells. Moreover, vaccination is less effective in those who are stressed and wounds heal less readily in those who are stressed. Showing that psychological stress is senior to even the most advanced modern medicines.

Stress is also the major trigger behind most types of autoimmune disease, which involve particular subsets of white blood cells. Some studies have found that talk-therapy interventions was capable of altering immune system parameters and enhancing the body’s ability to combat disease, proving that our thoughts are senior to mechanics.

Taking a step further out, perhaps the best way to understand the mind – body connection is through the workings of the digestive system. The digestive system is operated by the CNS (central nervous system). When we are in a state of stress (physically or psychologically), the nervous system stimulates the endocrine glands to secrete stress hormones, which help the body regain homeostasis. While in this sympathetic state, the digestive system shuts off to preserve precious biological energy.

Specifically speaking, looking at the digestive disease known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), this a great example of the heterogeneous nature of disease. IBS is triggered by a number of complex stressors including dietary intolerance, low grade inflammation, altered gut immune activation, intestinal permeability, alteration of microbiota, abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system, as well as psychological stress.

The relationship between the central nervous system (CNS), autonomic nervous system (ANS), and enteric nervous system (ENS) is a bi-directional communication network between the neural and immunological networks in the gut. This is referred to as the brain-gut axis; a more refined relationship between mind and body. Since understanding the strong connection between the mind and gut, there has been dramatic improvements in the understanding of IBS pathogenesis and cure. We now know that when the mind is either hyperactive or the connection between mind and body is entirely abberated, then the neural, immune and endocrine pathways that are affected, resulting in the poor functioning of the gut. Predominant causes of a broken brain – gut axis involve of course environmental, chemical, biological and psychosocial stressors.

Within this biopsychosocial framework, digestive disease pathophysiology can be viewed as resulting from multiple interactions between biological mechanisms and psychosocial factors including most dominantly; environmental stressors, early life stress, social stress, and psychological stress, which disrupt the regulation and activity of the endocrine system, therefore contributing to the dtysfunctioning of the digestive system.

In conclusion, psychological stress is at much of a cause of the stress and disease as other stressors including chemical stress, biological stress, environmental stress, etc. All of these inhibit the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, immune system and digestive system via stress-hormone.

Next, we will discuss the roles of biological effects of personality and chronic negative emotions such as apathy, depression, anxiety, fear, grief, and anger.


The term personality refers to patterns and consistencies in behavior, taste and perceptions that form experience. These include pattern of thoughts, emotions, feelings, and perceptions.

Determining exactly how personality is developed might be a daunting task; given our immortal nature as spiritual beings, free will and unique view point of life, perspective is ultimately self-created and thereby difficult to say there is a general pattern for development. The most important thing to understand in regards to personality is that individual differences in personality are the result of life experiences and the self determination of how one decides to perceive those events.

However, amongst the infinite ways a person choses to perceive and thereby express themselves mentally and emotionally, there are some stylistic features of personalities. While ultimately different and unequal, every personality has its similarities as well. Similarities in personalities and character refers to those aspects of personality consistent. But keep in mind, the distinction between personality traits is not cut and dry, considering that each personality trait is self-determined, capable of change and takes on many volumes or degrees.

Refining the subject, the most important thing to understand about personality that it is produced by a person’s view or perception of the world. And perception creates thought, which create emotion. Therefore, a person’s chronic thought pattern will determine a person’s chronic emotional pattern. For example, in any culture, we will find common personality traits, beliefs and life views, all which produce a collective or common emotional tone to that group.

The old-fashioned assumption which has dominated earliest psychosomatic research was that specific personality profiles were associated with specific somatic illnesses; however, in order to understand this, we must understand something about what personality is.

There is actually a large of amount of research in the field of psychosomatic illness, which basically points out the relationships between personality traits and health. But what is personality?

Breaking down the word we have person-al-ity. The roots al and ity, and their reduced form alty, are word-forming elements. Examples include, reality, fidelity, and personality.

You could say that personality is the quality of a person, more so, it is a personal view point.

Taking it deeper, considering that you are a spirit (the awareness of awareness), what gives you “personality”  is your ability to create thoughts and perceive. Why we all have unique personalities, is because we all are capable of a unique view point of space. So you could say, personality that describes your own personal reality, how you see things.

This is the fundamental hypothesis in psychosomatics, that your own personal view of life, how you perceive things, can result in different health outcomes.

According to research, there are three main mechanisms that have been identified in this realm:

  1. Pathogenesis, in which traits may result in various physiological reactions both to external and internal stimuli, leading to susceptibility to illness, health behaviors, and poor coping with sickness.
  2. Personality traits may also influence health via social cognitions and associative processes, whereby environments become associated with symptoms and illness behaviors, acting as triggers to illness presentation. In other words, how one perceives their environment may trigger the onset of symptoms.
  3. Consistent individual differences in stress reactivity and adaptability (how one responds to events based on perception) makes changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, increasing cortisol levels, and in the ANS system, by altering cardiovascular activity.

To summarize, we often hear the term “stressed” used as if it is causative. However, stress is force, counter-force. In order for stress to exist, there must be opposition, that opposition mainly being a person. Life and existence themselves are not stressful, they just are. There can be unideal conditions, environments, etc that life poses; however, it is our own resistance and counter-force that creates the phenomenon we know as stress. Therefore,  our personal viewpoint, taste, preference, etc is the prime dominator in what may be called personality-related stress generation, which contributes to the decline of physical health.

Moving forward  let us have a look at some specific character patterns and their relation to digestive disease. According to research, these are some of the personality traits that have received attention in psychosomatic literature, they are:

Neuroticism: Neuroticism refers to a tendency toward negative emotions (anxiety, hostility, depression) with high reactivity to physiological changes, emotional instability, vulnerability to stress, and an inclination toward impulsive behaviors.

neuroticism has been also associated with reduced cellular immune activity, increased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, and lower cortisol stress reactivity; a negative constellation of personality traits involving higher neuroticism, lower agreeableness and openness was associated with diminished stress reactions both of the cardiovascular system and the HPA axis. The association between neuroticism and blunted physiological stress responses has not been extensively replicated, since a number of studies reported no association between neuroticism and cortisol changes during exposure to stressors.

Alexithymia: Inability to identify, describe and discern between emotions and feelings, poor imaginative thought and introspection, and a fixed cognitive style that is predominantly externally focused. Generally suppressed and inhibited emotional expression.

Alexithymic trait resulted associated with increased mortality, worse physical health outcomes, increased risk taking, internet addiction, and negative health and sexual behaviors. High prevalence of alexithymia was found in major diseases, such as cancer, type 1 diabetes, and systemic lupus erythematous. Additionally, these personality types seem to confer a specific vulnerability to chronic stress, and it has been associated with increased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, higher risk of morbidity, mortality, low subjective and physician-assessed health ratings, lesser health behaviors, and worse illness perceptions in cancer survivors.

Confront: Confront, literally means to face. So here we are talking about a person who can confront, face a wide range of realizes and experiences. They have tendencies toward imagination, fantasy, aesthetics, creativity, ideas and values, and are flexible in thought and views.

Agreeableness: Agreeableness you could say is more so the willingness to agree. This doesn’t mean to lack integrity but to willing see someone else point of view. You might use the word “understandable” instead. This trait involves a being understanding toward society, trust, straightforwardness, and not inhibiting or enforcing views, communications, realities.

Conscientiousness: By conscientiousness we mean competent, orderly, organized, self-discipline, and motivated.

A high degree of Confront, Openness and Conscientiousness, is associated with a slow disease progression; where, low conscientiousness was associated with higher cumulative illness burden in later life, and high conscientiousness was a reliable predictor of longevity.

Extraversion: Extraversion refers to the attitude to experience positive emotions, warmth, excitement seeking, and activity.

Extraversion was related to reduced cytokine levels, increased cortisol levels, and, along with Moving towards other personality constructs, it has been proposed that alexithymia could affect health through a number of pathways, directly influencing autonomic, immune and endocrine activities leading to tissue damage and to the increased vulnerability to illnesses, or indirectly, by somatosensory amplification that causes low tolerance to painful stimuli.

Overall, findings from health research highlight the potential role of personality, conceived as built up from broad and stable traits, as a unifying structure embracing heterogeneous psychosocial factors which tend to cluster together, and contribute to raise the risk for illness onset, course, and outcome.


There are many findings on the psychological and psychiatric comorbidity in IBS patients that indicate psychosocial symptoms may be specific and basic to the syndrome. In scientific literature, it is still questionable. However, keep in mind that Western science is mostly concerned with the physical (matter, energy, space and time) and thereby grants causation to the body, which it is not. The body is the effect, you, the spiritual being operating the body is at cause. Our view is obviously more of a metaphysical view then, where metaphysics (transcending physics), is senior to the physical.

However, even western science has found strong correlations between neuroticism and patients with IBS. In my personal experience with clients over the past 12 years, I have made similar observations, where patients with digestive stress of any type had chronic negative emotional patterns, suppressed emotion, or at the least, psychological stress of magnitude.

According to the research, neuroticism, which refers to a marked vulnerability to negative emotions, is one of the main features of patients with functional digestive disorders and IBS. Furthermore, a community study showed association between neuroticism and a past history of sexual, physical, and emotional/verbal abuse in IBS patients, suggesting that neuroticism could be a predisposition for early childhood abuse.

The link between neuroticism and abuse has been further supported by a more recent, longitudinal study by the same research group showing, abuse during childhood was significantly associated with elevated levels of neuroticism, which was strongly related with baseline prevalence of depression and anxiety, and with moderately elevated scores on interference with life and activities.

Based on their findings, they suggested a conceptual model for IBS characterized by a “vicious cycle” between mood disorders and bowel symptoms in adults, with initial input from early life factors.


First off, not all emotions are bad, not even “negative” emotions. Emotions are adaptive mechanisms, they animate the body and make life interesting. When clear and rational, even negative, low tone emotions can be helpful. For example, grief is a natural response to loss, fear is a natural response to life threatening situations. It is when emotions become chronic, reactive that one experiences mis-emotion and negative consequences.

A chronic emotional tone is a habitual emotional response, it is not rational, but entirely reactive. Another term for this is an emotional patterns, which refers to the chromatic pattern of emotional reactivity, processing and regulation. More specifically, they involve automatic or reactive, “unconscious” emotions occurring during stimulating experiences.

There are two broad dimensions of emotional patterns; in the simplest terms, they are positive or negative emotions. Somewhere in the scale of emotions, the frequency of emotions becomes painful and unpleasant. Because all emotions can be helpful, rather than labeling them positive or negative, terms which have taken on an ideology, let us categorize emotions into the realms of pain and pleasure. Positive emotions are pleasurable and pleasant, where negative emotions are painful and unpleasant.

Something else to understand is that emotions do not have “opposites”. The word opposite means, to oppose. There are only a wide range of human emotions that word in a scale-like or gradient fashion. When a person experiences pleasurable emotions, they are in full communication and awareness with the environment.

 The basic pleasurable emotions are serenity, action, enthusiasm, cheerfulness, strong interest, and contentment. These emotions result in good feeling, high energy levels, mental alertness and high resilience toward stress. They are referred to as “positive” because they are high energy frequencies.

The basic painful emotions are boredom, hostility, pain, anger, hate, resentment, covert hostility, fear, grief, victim, hopeless and apathy. These emotions are negative because they have a vey dense, low energetic frequency and result in a state of fatigue, bad feelings, limited awareness, poor biological energy and low tolerance to stress.

It has been postulated that negative emotions are worse than positive ones; however, negative emotions are adaptations, which served the purpose of aiding surviving in life-threatening situations. In the right circumstance, anger and fear, inspire the “fight or flight” response, the urges to attack, resist, defense or to escape, mobilizing optimal physiological support for the action called forth, and requiring substantial physical energy also through heightened cardiovascular reactivity that redistributes blood flow to relevant motor districts, and through specific neuroendocrine pathways that sustain the stress reactions. Whereas positive emotions evoke nonspecific action tendencies, with a no autonomic activity.

It is also suggested that negative emotions diminish an individuals’ thought-action repertoires, where many positive emotions broaden individuals’ behavioral repertoires. This is indeed true; due to the fact that during a fight-or-flight response, a persons reactive (automatic/subconscious) mind is in charge, and the analytical or “conscious” mind is not. In other words, positive emotions lead to cognitive flexibility by keeping the analytical mind alert and aware, thereby making better judgement possible.

This will conclude the basic concepts around emotions. Now let us explore the relationship between positive and negative emotions and health.


It would be foolish to say that the emotions do not effect health. Thoughts are energy and emotions are thought energy in motion. The reason it has been so difficult for scientists to understand hormones, is because they are the chemical expressions of our consciousness – they are the chemical symbols of our emotions. For example, the hormone cortisol is a hormone secreted when a person is in fear or angry. However, anyone who has experienced strong emotions knows that emotions cause a biological effect on the body.

According to TCM, there is strong evidence that specific emotions can damage different organ systems. In short, the liver is effected by chronic anger, the kidneys by chronic fear, the lungs/colon by chronic grief, the spleen/stomach by chronic anxiety and the heart by excessive worry.

Science today is still trying to make sense of these ancient claims; however, take the liver for example. The liver is referred to as the seat of the soul in TCM – it also happens to produces most of the hormones in the body, which give life to emotions. Without a central nervous system and hormones, we could not physically feel our emotions. So in the most basic sense, the chronic experience of these negative emotions can put a biological stress on the associated organs.

Additionally, it has been shown in longitudinal studies that one’s chronic emotion in childhood is usually maintained into adulthood; thus, emotional functioning in childhood may provide an early indicator of adult health risk. As we learned earlier, chronic stress in childhood is associated with a range of adult physical health outcomes such as number of physical illnesses, inflammatory diseases, digestive disorders, and obesity. Whereas, positive emotions are generally associated with good physical, mental health, and longevity.

In general, there is plenty of research that shows strong proof of the harmful impact of chronic negative emotions on overall health. Studies have showed a correlation between chronic negative emotions and cardiovascular reactivity, heart disease, cancer and chronic illnesses, such as arthritis and diabetes.

Furthermore, it has been observed that certain negative emotional states influence health-related behaviors, such as perceptions of risks, decisions to improve their diet/lifestyle, to seek help, aversion to exercise, higher frequency of stressful events, and anti-social behavior. On the other hand, people who experience emotional wellness are associated with healthy habits and lifestyles, leisure activity, stress-freeness, and good social relationships.

A more intriguing hypothesis suggests that emotions have the potential to directly influence health through psychobiological processes, resulting in changes in multiple systems including, cardiac functioning, blood pressure, inflammation and immune responses, and neuroendocrine pathways, thus leading to increased vulnerability to illness and weekend immunity. It is acknowledged that negative emotions confer increased risk for disorders with an inflammatory and immune etiology. Also, chronic depression, anxiety, and anger have been linked with higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin IL-6 and other inflammation mediators, including C-reactive protein, and cellular adhesion molecules.


There is research that observes the negative emotional patterns in relation to the pathophysiological and symptoms of IBS – mostly, anger, anxiety, and depression. These emotions have been consistently associated to visceral and pain hypersensitivity. In the presence of negative emotions, visceral sensations tend to be more noticeable and painful. People with GI disorders and IBS have a higher tendency to scan the body for symptoms and pain.

Additionally, according to research on the brain-gut axis, children with IBS have more somatic complaints and complaints of anxiety, depression, social isolation, and impairment in school functioning. There is a significant correlation between emotional instability and visceral hypersensitivity; impulsiveness and impatience, all features associated with less effective ability to manage stressful life events.

In adults, depression and anxiety were positively related with abdominal pain and pain duration. Anxiety, depression, and the recall of painful memories were associated with a greater perception of visceral pain. Also, depression levels are higher in those patients who reported lowered rectal pain threshold. This validates the strong effect the mind can have on the body, whereby simply recalling a pastime painful experience can effect the body in present time.

Other studies provided evidence that chronic anger significantly increased colon motility in IBS patients, whereas anger suppression was associated with prolonged gastric emptying and delayed gut transit (constipation). So quite literally, holding onto anger resulted in holding onto shit.

Also, negative emotions are associated with low-grade inflammation and decreased immune activity. It has been found that patients with IBS and chronic depression and anxiety have elevated peripheral levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukine (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor α, and decreased levels of IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Finally, it has been discovered hat chronic negative emotional arousal can lead individuals to attribute IBS symptoms to the stressful situation, creating a restimulatory or triggering environments that may vey well tigger symptoms by autosuggestion, again demonstrating the power of the mind.

Given the interrelatedness of the brain and gut, on one hand, the biological stress of IBS symptoms can lead to anxiety but also, the decreased ability to cope with stress increases the physical symptoms. Again, because the body is the effect (not cause), ultimately, the body is responding to us and our thoughts and emotions, therefore, treatment of the physical symptoms alone would be incomplete.

Overall, the findings from studies on negative emotions and IBS presents us with important information. It is a fact that emotions affect the body, and have at least the potential to effect the health of the body. Given the fact that emotions occur frequently (50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day with the likelihood to produce emotion), it would be more realistic to approach to the healing of IBS and digestive disorders by including the pathophysiology.


The biopsychosocial model applied to IBS acknowledges and highlights the interaction between biological, psychological, environmental, and social factors in relation to pain and functional disability. From this viewpoint, and also considering the bidirectional communications within the brain-gut axis, a holistic approach that involved lifestyle changes, dietary interventions, psychological treatments, and educational and behavioral mastery would provide the optimal chance of addressing symptoms, unideal conditions, and improve the quality of life of those suffering from digestive disorders.

Psychological and psychosocial treatments that helped to clear painful trauma from their past, improve their understanding of how the mind and emotions work, and thereby improve their ability to direct them would be an effective treatment for repairing communication between body and mind. In fact, in my personal experience and from study, psychological interventions are significantly effective in the first assessment and make for the best long-term solution, given the dynamic, changing nature of life.

Various models of psychotherapy would include; cognitive therapy, gut-directed hypnotherapy, mindlessness (getting out of ones head and being more aware), body awareness, mind awareness (observing ones owns thoughts), honest communication, intentional relaxation, chilling the fuck out, are effective and proven to helpful to gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life in those with GI disorders.

As reviewed in the previous sections, personality traits and emotional patterns play key roles in affecting autonomic, immune, inflammatory, and endocrine functions, thus contributing not only to IBS clinical expression and symptomatic burden, but also to disease physiopathology. In this sense, psychological treatments should address those personality and emotional features that are constitutive of and integral to IBS.


In addition to my own observation and 12 years of working with clients, there is actually a large amount of modern day research which has provided evidence that personality traits and emotional patterns influence health, disease, and quality of life through a range of biological and behavioral pathways, including physiological reactions to stimuli, reactivity to stressors, health behaviors, and coping with illness. This evidence also extends to the functioning of the digestive system. In fact, it is most obvious in the digestive system, which is known to be inhibited by psychological stress.

If you enjoyed this information and are interested in learning more, along with practical tips to improve your digestive function and heal once and for all, be sure to enroll in my online video course Perfect Digestion.

Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics

Probiotics are being used with increasing frequency as new discoveries find that everything from bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections, digestive problems, mental and mood imbalances and even tooth decay can be attributed to some form of imbalance in the gut-microbiome. With this new emerging research, probiotic supplementation has become the stable datum for many, and a solution to all that ails them.

While it may or may not be true that all disease has its roots in the gut, one thing is for sure, probiotics can especially help in treating and recovering from a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.

In this post, we will discuss the mechanisms and actions of different microorganisms and their effects on improving some of the most common digestive issues. We will also cover the history of probiotic use as well as the most effective delivery systems to ensuring maximum benefits.

Historical Perspectives of Probiotics

Probiotics have been used therapeutically for thousands of years throughout different cultures. Most people, including ancient Indians, Chinese, Bulgarians, Turkish and more, have known the longevity and digestive benefits of probiotics. The only difference though, is they didn’t get their probiotics from a pill.

Today, a probiotic is defined as “a live organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Looking at the word literally, is means “for life”, pro means for, and bio means life.

With the definition and meaning in combination, a probiotic is a beneficial microorganism that offers health promoting or life giving benefits.

Within the world of probiotic bacteria, there are several categories that are in use today, the most popular being lactic-acid bacteria, as well as yeast species including most prominently Saccharomyces boulardii, and others.

In actuality, there are trillions of different types of microorganisms that live within and on the body; equating to about 39 trillion some bacteria that make up the human body.

In addition to probiotics, prebiotics such as lactulose, inulin, psyllium, and other long-chain sugars known as oligosaccharides (present in vegetables form the lily family including onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, artichoke, and other plants like bananas, tomatoes, wheat, oats, and more). are popularly used knowing or unknowingly to improve gut health.

Unlike probiotic supplements, consuming both prebiotic foods will stimulate the growth or activity of present beneficial bacteria in the GI tract.

Today, synbiotics are commonly consumed, which are a combination of a prebiotic fibers and probiotic bacteria, which not only help more efficient delivery of the probiotics, but ensure their survival in supplement form.

Just to be clear, antibiotics are not in the same class as probiotics, probiotics or synbiotics. Antibiotics, literally meaning against life, are compounds that kill or inhibit the growth of both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria.

One of the first people of the world of Western medicine to document the topic of probiotics, was the Russian Nobel Prize winner Ilya Metchnikoff. His research was inspired by the impressive health and longevity of the people in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia), who lived largely on raw milk fermented.

He discovered that proteolytic microbes in the colon produced toxic substances, which caused accelerated aging. He also discovered that consuming raw fermented milk helped to created a beneficial biofilm in the colon and lowered the pH of the colon, which protected it from toxins and killed off pathogenic proteolytic bacteria.

Metchnikoff therefore recommend that people interested in longevity and graceful aging to consume raw milk fermented that contained the ‘Bulgarian Bacillus’ culture.

Additional researchers that came after Metchnikoff have made further discoveries about the specific beneficial actions of probiotics. In the last decade, there have been over 5000 articles published in regards to the health benefits of probiotics.

Mechanisms and Actions of Probiotics

The digestive tract serves two primary functions; to assimilate nutrients for immunity and energy and as a protective barrier from the outside world. When healthy, it is home to the majority of the microbes that make up the body (roughly 10 trillion different species,  amounting to 2-4 lbs. in weight.)

There are two reasons the micro-biome remains so elusive; one is that only a small minority (300–500) of these species can be cultured in vitro and “studied”. Two, the bacteria in the gut respond to our thoughts and emotions, which make them very “alive”, and therefore elusive in nature.

Some of the most fascinating discoveries science is coming to terms with is that they respond to hormones and neurotransmitters, which means they literally read our thoughts and emotions and act accordingly.

Additionally, probiotic bacteria are responsible for:

  • The modulation of the immune system – by altering inflammatory cytokine profiles and downregulating proinflammatory cascades.
  • Alteration of the colon pH. by nutrient fermentation.
  • The enhancement of epithelial barrier function.
  • The induction of µ-opioid and cannabinoid receptors in intestinal epithelial cells.
  • The reduction of visceral hypersensitivity, spinal afferent traffic
  • The stress response.

The Best Probiotic Formulas and Delivery Systems

Probiotics are available in a wide variety of formulations ranging from capsules, beverages, and powders to lacto-fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt (don’t waste your money on gimmicky probiotic infused juices and other products, stick with the real stuff). While most physicians tend to recommend tablets and powders; there are much more effective and even traditional formulations.

To qualify as a probiotic, certain criteria need to be met: a bacterial strain must be fully identified, be safe for ingestion, adhere to the luminal mucosa, colonize the gut, and possess documented health benefits.

In order to meet those standards, choose a probiotic that:

  • Is delivered in a formulation that is stable when stored.
  • Has a colony number of bacteria and viability reliable so they can survive the acid and bilious environment in the upper GI tract before they reach the small intestine and colon.

The problem is 99.99% of all commercial probiotics do not meet these criteria and are therefore totally useless and a waste of money. There are only two probiotics on th market that I know of which meet these criteria, and they’re expensive for it.

Otherwise, for a probiotic that actually works, your answer is FERMENTED FOODS.

True, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt and kombucha, have thriving, alive and robust bacteria that will not only be alive when you consume them, but will have the necessary co-factors and nutrients they need in order to bypass your upper GI system, and thrive in your lower GI tract.

What’s more, is that they are food, so they’re delicious and very affordable, it’s a no brainer. Therefore, I could not recommend enough that you learn how to make your own ferments.

Digestive Disorders Improved by Probiotics

Considering that the gut is home to nearly 4 pounds of bacteria, it seems logical that the proper use of probiotics would improve the functioning of the digestive system. The ingestion of specific probiotics can alter the bowel flora, playing a role in the pathogenesis of many digestive disorders. According to research, probiotic therapy has proved effective for the following common digestive problems:

  1. Ulcerative colitis (UC). This inflammatory disease of the colon can be regulated by probiotic use. Studies have found that through probiotic supplementation there were various improvements in the diseases activity, specifically cytokine levels, the precursors to inflammation. Furthermore, patients who took probiotics had longer periods between flare ups. These studies suggest that probiotics may be as effective for the remission of UC.

  2. Inflamed Bowel Disease (IBD). Studies show a consistent decrease in incidence and relapse of inflammation for patients with IBD. 2

  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This multisymptom GI disorder is perhaps the most elusive, triggered by a variety of psychosomatic stressors and prevalences of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). The bloating and gas in IBS have been attributed to possible alterations in the intestinal microflora, which are been effectively treated by probiotics. Additionally, IBS is thought to begin after a bout of acute gastroenteritis suggesting that altered microflora, inflammatory and immune state in the bowel can lead to lead IBS. Probiotics can help modulate the increased lymphocytes and pro-inflammatory cytokines levels present in IBS. 3

  4. Infectious diarrhea. Studies have found that diarrhea can be treated effectively in both adults and children by the use of probiotics. The duration of symptoms is decreased by about 30 hours as suggested by a systematic review of trials in active infectious diarrhea. In this Cochrane review, 23 studies including almost 2000 participants, it was concluded that probiotics reduced the risk of persistent diarrhea. The majority of the probiotics used in these studies were S. boulardii. 4 5

The effect of probiotics on other GI disorders have also been studied, including lactose intolerance, Helicobacter pylori infection, microscopic colitis, prevention and treatment of diverticulitis, and even colon cancer prevention. The studies are currently inconclusive, but when considering the anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics and the correlation between pro-flammatory cytokines and most digestive diseases, probiotics may show promise for these conditions as well.

Choosing the Right Probiotic

Before you start randomly supplementing with probiotics, it is important to understand that not all probiotics are created equally. Depending on the strain will determine a lot about the optimal dose, method of delivery, effectiveness, and viability of the probiotic.

Here are a few things to consider:

For starters, different probiotic species and genuses may have different immunological and physiological effects in different disease states.

The composition of colonic bacterial microflora appears to change with age. However, it is unknown whether elderly people should be treated with different probiotics than younger people.

Combination probiotics may interact and have an impact on host intestinal flora differently than single probiotic preparations.

Different species, as well as its form will determined how long a given probiotic will take to colonize, alter the microflora, and have an impact on immune function and most of this is uncertain.

What does this mean? Well, probiotics are living organisms, meaning they are dynamic and will respond to a variety of different environmental and internal factors.

Perhaps the safest way to and smartest way to supplement probiotics is with live, probiotic-rich foods and beverages. This will ensure a few things:

  1. It’s Live. It is still living, where most supplements may not have a very long shelf life.
  2. Strain Specific. Food-based probiotics are more likely to have an optimal microbial diversity. Also, given they are derived from the environment, they are most likely to be native to the human gut, giving them a better chance of colonizing.
  3. Colonization. Being based in food, they will more likely bypass the harsh environment of the stomach and populate in the intestines.  

In Conclusion

The human body is a piece of the Earth, it is a bacterial entity. Therefore, probiotics are as natural as they come; given they are derived from Nature. Their use therapeutically are effective for variety of GI disorders and more. There is good evidence that they decrease the duration of symptoms of most digestive issues, improve skin health, and can even improve physiological imbalances like anxiety and depression.

Additionally, probiotics have been shown to be safe. To ensure effectiveness, choose probiotics that are native to the human gut, preferably from naturally fermented foods and beverages, or strain specific probiotic supplements that are proven to be effective. As always, be your own judge, no-one knows your body as good as you. Experiment, communicate with your body, see what works and watch for the effects. If you feel better from probiotics, they’re working, so keep going.

For more detailed tips for optimizing digestive function, be sure to check out my comprehensive online course Perfect Digestion.

Gluten & Sourdough: Does Sourdough Contain Gluten?

A lot people have been writing me with questions on the relationship between gluten and sourdough. Specifically, people want to know if sourdough contains gluten. In essence, what people want to know is if sourdough is digestible.

In this blog post we are going to cover this relationship between sourdough and gluten, what makes sourdough superior to “normal” bread and exactly why you can most likely enjoy sourdough bread without the symptoms of gluten intolerance.

What is Gluten?

As always, let us start out with defining a few terms.

At basic, gluten is a protein and therefore to fully understand what gluten is, we need to understand what a protein is and in order to understand what protein is, we must know what amino acids are.

Proteins are nitrogenous, complex organic compounds that consist of one or more long chains of amino acids.

Amino acids are the smallest unit of a protein.

Together, these two have an interesting, divine and magical relationship, it is as if the mysteries of the universe exist within the human metabolism. You see, proteins are made up of amino acids, which are then broken down by the metabolic system back into amino acids, which are used for cellular function. That’s right, amino acids form proteins, which are intentionally broken down into amino acids, to form tissues, hair, skin, cells, etc.

Seems unnecessary right? Why not just stay amino acids if thats their destiny? The simplified answer is that a form of alchemy takes place in which two amino acids come together and create a new whole that is greater than the sum of their parts, which is later broken down into amino acids that are even more useful.

Through the bonding of amino acids, different molecules are formed, each which the sum is greater than the source parts.

For example, when two 2 amino acids bond together, they form what’s called a dipeptide.

When three amino acids bond you get a Tripeptides.

When four amino acids bond you get a oligopeptide.

Finally, when you get a complex, long-chain of bonded amino acids, you have a protein, which is essential for all living organisms. Proteins make up the tissues, hair, skin, organs, and most of the physical structure of the body, without them, the body would be a ‘puddle’ of bacteria.

Getting back to bread, through the process of fermentation, the amino acids and proteins in grains go through a very interesting transformation.

In all grains, there are two categories of gluten proteins: glutelins and the prolamins.

In wheat specifically, the glutelin and prolamin proteins are what as known as glutenin and gliadin. And interestingly enough, it is gliadin, not gluten that causes the negative symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Glutenin and Gliadin

Together, it is glutenin and gliadin that are responsible for the desirable characteristics of bread dough, like its sticky texture that makes a soft, moist, melt-in-your-mouth bread. For bakers, it is this protein combination that makes dough easy to knead, shape and form, which is essential for a good rising bread, bubbly bread.

Through the process of fermentation, the glutenin in wheat grain is broken down into digestible amino acids. Then, through the process of kneading a fermented wheat dough, the glutenin proteins form into long chains.

Gliadin proteins are dense and with a low surface area-to-volume ratio, which allows glutenin chains to pass freely into the protein network.

Both glutenin and gliadin proteins have high concentrations of the amino acids proline and glutamine.

The exact proportions of glutenin and gliadin differs between types of wheat grain (einkorn, teff, spelt, kamut, etc.), which gives the bread different texture. In generally, ancient grains seem to have less gluten protein.

Gluten & Gliadin Digestion

Being that glutenin and gliadin are proteins, they digested in the stomach and small intestine by HCL and enzymes.

The proper digestion of gluten goes through a few phases: HCL and enzymes break the long-chains into oligopeptides, then into tripeptides, dipeptides, and then finally free amino acids. These free amino acids are what the body assimilates and utilizes for fuel.

Gliadin; on the other hand, often breakdowns much differently. In individuals with weak stomach acid and enzyme production, gliadin is broken down into oligopeptides but no further. This is also a result of the density and unique amino acid sequences in gliadin, which inhibits enzymatic activity.

Because gliadin is rich in proline, its cyclic structure makes gliadin a very difficult to breakdown protein. The enzyme transglutaminase (tTG) also plays a role in the tough structure of gliadin. It creates bonds between gliadin proteins and other amino acids, making it even more difficult to digest.

The enzyme transglutaminase also converts glutamine into glutamic acid via a process called deamination. Glutamic acid is known to cause immune reactions in some people,  where the body views the protein as a pathogen and evokes an inflammatory response.

Sourdough & Gluten Relationship

We have learned all about the troublesome proteins present in wheat grains that inspire inflammation. However, the question is, does sourdough have gluten? Does the alchemical process of fermentation solve the  it actually solve issues that gluten and gliadin can cause in the body? 

Before we answer that specifically, let’s talk about lactic acid bacteria (LAB), the bacteria responsible for sourdough fermentation. In short, LAB convert the sugars in wheat to lactic acid, which causes the acidity to increase. This ignites the hydrolysis of gluten and gliadin proteins by penetrating and loosening their protein structure. It also stimulates the production of enzymes, which are otherwise locked away in the phytic acid of the grain. T

It is known that specific strains of lactic bacteria are capable of hydrolyzing wheat proteins (including gliadin) by more than 50% within a 24-hour period of fermentation. That means a proper fermented sourdough (with a strong culture and proof time of 24-48 hours), can result in a sourdough that contains 50-100% less gluten and gliadin than non-fermented bread.

In other words, lactic bacteria and the associated enzymes secreted through the process of sourdough fermentation can effectively “pre-digest” the gluten and gliadin proteins, resulting in a bread that is incredibly delicious and highly more digestible. Not to mention, the process of fermentation dramatically increases the bio-availability of B vitamins, fatty acids and other nutrients in the bread, making it more nutritious.

Why Some People Digest Bread Better Than Others

In a healthy gut, there are simnifically greater numbers of lactic acid bacteria and other probiotic “gluten digesting” bacteria that aid in the digestion of both gluten and gliadin. All the more reason to get your gut micro-biome into optimal shape. To achieve this, you’l want to take a three step approach, which I go into great detail about in my online course Perfect Digestion.

The good news is that you can heal from gluten intolerance and all food intolerances, simply by improving the diversity and health of your gut micro0biome. While the goal is simple, the path there involves discilipine. While you may need to eliminate bread and gluten temporarily, once your gut is healed, you can enjoy bread regularly if you properly ferment it!


Final Considerations

If you have done significant work to heal your gut and still have trouble digesting sourdough bread, you can try bread from ancient grains such as einkorn, spelt or teff. These ancient grains are non-hybridized and were some of the first to be cultivated and therefore, are more recognizable by the immune system.

In conclusion, grains contain hard to digest proteins, sourdough does contain gluten, but through the process of lactic bacteria fermentation and having a healthy gut, you can digest bread and enjoy it! 

To learn how to make a proper sourdough (like the ones you see me make on my Instagram), be sure to grab a copy of my latest book Succulent Cuisine. I go into detail about sourdough, its benefits, (some of the data I used to write this blog comes from it), and provide a step-by-step recipe for making the perfect sourdough.

Stress & Digestion: Psychosomatic Factors in Digestive Disorders

If you’re one of my students for my online course Perfect Digestion, then the topic of psychosomatic illness is nothing new. In fact, it is a large focus in the course, considering that the number one cause of all digestive and gastrointestinal upset is stress – specifically, mental and emotional stress.

For those who are not familiar with the subject of psychosomatic illness, let’s first break a few things down…

In order to understand anything, we must first understand the words being used in a subject. Therefore, in order to really understand the stress-digestion or psychosomatic factors in digestive upset, it will be incredibly helpful to know what these words mean.

What is Psychosomatic Illness?

Psychosomatic illness refers to the phenomena whereby a physical illness or other physical condition caused or stimulated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress.

Refining this term even further, let us dissect word “psychosomatic”. The root pyscho stems from the word psyche, which means “spirit or mind”. That is why we often hear people who have gone “mental”, referred to as pyscho; their minds control them, they don’t control their minds.

Next, the root word somatic is derived from the Greek word, somatikos, which means “the body”.

So we find that the word psychosomatic, quite literally means, “mind-body”, and is a term used to reference the powerful connection between the mind and body – and as you will learn throughout this article, just how much influence the mind has on creating and animating the body.

What is Stress?

At basic, stress means to press. You will see the reoccurring root word ress, in many forms of stress, including press, impress, repress, depress, express, oppress and many others – all viable forms of stress. So you could say that stress, on the most anatomical level, is force, counter-force (two opposing forces, pressing together).

Most people hear the word stress and unconsciously reference it to mental or emotional stress. Mental or emotional stress would be a mental or emotional conflict (opposing ideas, thoughts, emotions etc). However, the basic meaning of stress (to press) does not pertain just to the psyche, but all of the laws of physics.

Stress or pressure, can occur where in the physical universe, and in fact, doesn’t actually have to apply to the metaphysical universe, it just seems we as individuals engage in it though unnecessary for being alive.

The Stress-Digest Connection

To understand the relationship between stress and digestion, is to understand the workings of the digestive system at the foundation. In short, the entire digestive process is ruled by the nervous system and is thereby interrupted by a stress response. Everything from the ingestion of food, propulsive peristalsis, inhibition of reflux, secretion, digestion (the breaking down of food), metabolism and elimination are controlled by a complex autonomous neurohumoral system, which is influenced by higher cortical impulses.

To put this n lamens terms, every aspect of digestion is ruled by the nervous system, specifically the enteric nervous system.

There are two basic branches of the autonomic nervous system; the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. I explain this in great detail in my online course. But essentially, when we are stressed the sympathetic nervous system is activated. The word sympathy means suffering, so when we are suffering (or in the illusion of suffering), stress hormones are secreted and digestion shuts off.

Therefore, the many variety of stressors in life can modulate the automatic impulses of digestion and cause unfavorable gastrointestinal reactions. These are referred to as psychophysiological reactions and involve accentuations, inhibition or distortion of the natural functioning of digestive organs.

An example of this phenomenon is fluctuation in bowel movements (irritable bowel syndrome) following a stressful event or thought. Stomach ulcers are another very old manifestation of psychosomatic digestive issues, where gastric acid is greatly increased by emotional stress.

While this knowledge is nothing knew and in fact traces back to ancient Greece, emerging research has confirmed that these psychosomatic reactions lead to actual morphological changes in digestive organs, which activate peptic ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and even ulcerative colitis. 1 2

What’s more is that these psychophysiological reactions are the early symptoms of more chronic digestive diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, IBD, Crohn’s, and others, which are really nothing more than the result of a chronic, habitual mental and emotional state of stress or suffering (sympathetic).

Bacteria Respond to Your Hormones

So far we have covered how stress can cause ulcers and fluctuating bowel movements; however, the effects of stress on digestion do not stop there. The delicate lining of the gastrointestinal tract (were you absorb nutrients from food) can also be effected by stress.  Similar to how the stomach lining can become inflamed from hyperactivity caused by stress, the thin intestinal tissues can easily become irritated and inflamed, causing the phenomenon known as “leaky gut”.

Leaky gut is basically exactly that, a gut that is leaky. How it occurs is actually quite simple, but also fascinating. Basically, when we are in a chronic state of stress, the bacteria in our guts respond.

The thing to understand though is that hormones and neurotransmitters are chemical expressions of consciousness. In other words, the body uses them as a type of language to communicate throughout the body and perform tasks. The cells, organs, glands and bacteria in our bodies are capable of decoding these chemical messages.

Now, in the case that we are firing off chemicals with the message of “stress and suffering”, pathogenic bacteria (pathos means to suffer), will wake and perform the task in demand, which might not be what we necessarily want.

You see, pathogens are in the body for a reason, they are the garbage men, they take out the trash. In nature, they are the decomposers, they turn death into new life, they are critical for life. They also happen to be the bacteria that essential cause our physical decay and decompose the body. So, when we are in a state of suffering, we are (willingly or unwillingly) asking the pathogens in our bodies to decay the body. They are only doing their jobs by responding to our chronic stress and suffering so don’t be mad at them!

The thing to understand is that the bacteria in our bodies have evolved as the human body has evolved. In fact, our bodies are mostly bacteria. So, as our lifestyles, diets, environments have changed, they have too, so they are incredibly intelligent and quick to respond. And during a stress response, we are sending a cascade of stress hormones, telling the disease-causing bugs in the body to grow.

In other words, stress inverts the ration of probiotic bacteria to pathogens in the gut within moments. Yes that’s right, while you are concerned about what probiotic to take, what supplement and what food to eat to encourage your probiotic growth, they are quietly responding to your every thought. So, it sort of becomes futile to spend so much time, money and energy on probiotics, diet, etc. if we have not addressed the root causes of disease; our thoughts and emotions.

Therefore, the best thing we can do to improve our overall health, especially digestive function would be to properly manage our thoughts and considerations, which are creating the hormones in our body that either ensure health or cause disease.

Tips to Eliminate Stress

1. Cultivate MIND-LESS-NESS.

The number one way to minimize the fight-or-flight response in the body is to get rid of stress. Read that again, get rid of it. I didn’t say among stress. Manage means to handle and we don’t want to handle stress. Why handle stress? I understand handling your relationships, your work, your hobbies but why handle stress when you can just drop it?

In Taoism, the state of “no-mind” is to a high orderly state, it is to be without wild emotion and to be ruled by the mind. In TCM, the heart refers to the psyche or mind, it is the seat of emotion. When a person is in a state of no-heart, no-mind, they are in what is called Mushin. This is an enlightened state where you are not ruled by your mind or emotions, but the creator of them.

So the thing to understand here is that stress is perceived, it is not actual. As the Buddha said, “all suffering is the denial of existence”. In other words, if you take a real good look at the physical world, you’ll find most likely that you’re okay, you’re not dying, but your mind as tricked you.

Considering that chronic stress shuts down digestive function, the immune system, makes the gut leaky, and causes gut dysbiosis, it is highly important you begin to master your perception of life and instead of seeing it through the lens of your reactive, mis-emotional view point, that you can begin to see life as-is, without the sob story.

This obviously takes a lot of work, it is a discipline, so I suggest you begin. I offer coaching in this realm, so if you are interested, send me a message.

2. Never Eat When Stressed.

Plain and simple, only eat in a relaxing environment in a relaxed mental state. Actually, making an effort to improve your overall environment for serene meal time can have a major positive impact on your digestion. I suggest eating outside, amongst nature.

3. Take Digestive Enzymes.

If you;ve truly masters your mind, everything beyond tip 1 is not very important. However, while you are in process, these things might be very helpful (they were for me).

I highly suggest the use of enzymes to improve the digestive fire and ensure maximum breaking down of food and assimilation. They will also help you avoid heartburn, constipation, and bloating. The use of quality enzymes will ensure full digestion in the stomach and small intestine, which will help give your adrenals the nutrients they need to help you resist stress to begin with.

Out of all the supplements I’ve researched and worked with over the past 15 years, my favorites are by Body Ecology. You can get those here. 

4. Consume Probiotic Foods & Drinks

If you’re going to eat, you might as well eat smart. Of the many delicious, healing and traditional foods, fermented foods are some of the best. Most traditional cultures use some form of fermented food, so most body types enjoy them. By simply eating fermented foods every day, you’re not only eating a traditional food that your body will recognize, you’re also going to support the immune system, enhance digestion (they are rich in enzymes too), and heal a leaky gut.

If you’re interested in taking probiotic foods daily, I suggest learning how to make them, which is the most cost effective, sustainable and fun! You can take an online fermentation course here.

5. Heal the Adrenals 

Your nerves system rules the digestive system, so you want to ensure a strong HPA-axis and endocrine glands. Now again, keep in mind that it is kind of foolish to be chronically stressed and not getting a handle on your stress, but also trying to support the adrenals. It’s like pouring gasoline and water on a fire at the same time, not sure how well that will work out.

However, in the case that you have greatly eliminated most of your stress, then I suggest feeding those adrenals the things they need like amino acids and bio-available B vitamins (found in grass-fed red meat and fermented spirulina, and also fulvic acid. I would suggest doing this regardless, that way at least on a biological level your body is more equipped to handle stressful situations.

6. Try Adaptogen Herbs 

At the very least, if you do nothing else (which i do not recommend) you can start supplementing with adaptogen herbs. Adaptogens basically hep your endocrine glands biologically adapt to stress more efficiency. Some of the best adaptogens include Gyostemma, Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, He Shou Wu, and Reishi.

Healing Psychosomatic Illness

In my 12 years of coaching, psychosomatic factors (mental and emotional stress) is hands down thee cause of most digestive problems. Moving beyond these emotional triggers requires a great deal of work on the psyche and cannot be resolved by diet, supplements or physical therapy, considering the cause is not in the physical domain, but the metaphysical (mind and emotions).

There is not quick-fix to healing psychosomatic illness, as it requires clearing the subconscious of pain, trigger experiences, the general increasing of a personal chronic emotional state as well as their views and considerations about life. This requires a greater depth of work but can be achieved.

Simple places you can start would be to observe what people, environments and situations trigger emotional and mental stress that leads to a digestive flare up. I will give you a clue…more often than not, people are more likely to become sick or stressed in the presence of a suppressive person (a person who invalidates you, makes small barbs, and generally invalidates you), so become aware of these types of “toxic” people and remove them from your life or confront them. To learn more about “detoxifying your relationships” read this article I wrote.

Otherwise, in general, be more aware and journal about your daily interactions (and thoughts if you can). See if you can notice what you were doing just before you noticed a negative shift in your digestive function.

In the simplest of words, anything you can do to relax is going to majorly improve your digestive health. However, I have personally found that helping people relax, in a world that glorifies busy-ness, is quite the difficult task. But, if you can manage it just by me advising it, great!

Ideally, I would recommend coaching or at the least, enrolling in my online course, Perfect Digestion, to being to master your mind and emotions, and ultimately, your digestive function. I dive very deeply into the topic of psychosomatic illness in relation to digestive disease and provide a lot of exercises, knowledge and help.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you experience and notice a strong correlation between stress and digestive upset or do you find something else to be the major trigger of digestive issues?

The Reproductive Chronology of the Modern Western Woman

Once upon a time, womb-men treated their reproductive center with grace and honor for the divine abilities it possessed. Today, on the other hand, many Western women reject their reproductive abilities, seek to eliminate the menses and consequently (consciously or unconsciously), destroy their fertility health.

The frequent use of contraceptives, poor dietary habits, and a lifestyle of general unawareness all contribute to the weakening of the immune system and reproductive health of women today.

What many women fail to understand today is that their fertility health is in direct proportion to their overall health. To be fertile requires perfect hormonal homeostasis, a robust immune system, a body free of impurities, heavy metals and other toxins and a clear and conscious mind.

Perhaps many fail to see this connection because of the simple fact that not many women today value fertility health, motherhood and family. Radical feminism and libertarianism has planted the seed of “freedom from” in the minds of men and women. Both libertarian men and women seek freedom and liberty from family, from mother and fatherhood, and generally from responsibility. Not to get too far off topic, but there is actually great freedom and power in responsibility. One of the greatest freedoms comes from family, in which individuals can be self-reliant, grow a culture and provide for themselves and their community.

For the women and men who know the freedom in responsibility, who see the value in family, and understand the divinity in pregnancy, there is still much to know.

From the time a woman reaches puberty to the time she conceives her first child, every choice she has ever made will effect her health and ultimately, the health of her future child. Functional Medicine or Holistic Health views the body as a whole, ever system, organ, gland and cell of the body is intimately connected to the other, resulting in the whole. Therefore, everything a woman thinks, feels, does, eats and everything she experiences will effect the health of her body and ultimately her offspring.

As you will see in greater detail, not many women (or men for that matter), grew up with this sort of knowledge. For the most part, Western people have vague notion that they only live once, their actions do not effect anyone or themselves, and spending ones adolescent years junking and abusing their bodies will never comeback to haunt them.

However, that is not how this universe works; it is all connected through the Natural Law of Cause and Effect (aka – KARMA). What you put out, comes back to you and unfortunately, many are not going to like what they get.

In a brief moment I want to share with you a fictional, but not unrealistic story to illustrate how the lifestyle choices of the common Western woman can lead to inevitable suffering. As you will learn, much of the socially accepted “norms” are the exact causative factors in the rapid decline in fertility and reproductive health in women today.

Before you continue reading keep in mind that as the Buddha once said, “all suffering is born of ignorance”. As my mentor would say, “an ignorant person cannot make good choices, they simply lack sufficient knowledge to do so.” So while this story may be difficult for some to confront, know that the unwillingness to confront is what leads to ignorance in the first place.

To acquire knowledge, one must be willing to confront. So would you rather learn through awareness or through sufferable, yet avoidable mistakes born of ignorance?


“At fourteen, Taylor went out for her first date. She and her date Dusty met up with shared friends. To impress her pursuer, Taylor gives into peer pressure of class-mates and lights up her first cigarette. As the proprietary blend of formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, acetone, carbon monoxide and nicotine saturates her lungs (a central part of her Immune System), she forms an unconscious association to smoking with fun, oxytocin, and men, forming a part-time social habit.

By 16, her dates evolve from innocent fun and cigarettes into experiments with drugs, alcohol, sexual activity and staying up late. Taylor, like most other American women, has several sexual partners over the next two years. As a result of all this “fun”, Taylor starts experiencing frequent colds, flus and digestive upset. Passed off as a normal part of a teenager’s life, she is sent to the doctor for a routine round of antibiotics, which slow being to destroy her micro-biome.

Her immune system weakened and gut-micorbiome on the side of dysbiosis; Taylor finds that the only thing that satisfies her stomach is sugar-ladened Frappaucinnos and refined carbohydrate rich foods like pizza and other fast foods. Having given in to the chemical secretions from her overgrowth of pathogenic yeast and bacteria, her immune system is officially inverted and she contracts her very first UTI and vaginal yeast infection.

Informing her Mother, she suggests Taylor take some over-the-counter yeast medication, which further destroy the last remaining probiotic bacteria and yeast in her micro-biome. Officially without internal defense, Taylor has graduated High School and is off to College, where she will surely have sex with a dishonorable man that had no intentions courtship. However, her Mother and Father suspect something like this, so rather than having an honest and informative conversation, her parents pass off their communication responsibilities and she is sent to the doctor for some birth control.

Her new OBGYN recommends she get a copper IUD. A few months after of having got the IUD, Taylor notices increasing difficulties with her menstrual cycle; it is more painful and uncomfortable than normal. No worries, instead of educating herself on the matter, she calls her OBGYN who kindly recommends some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (pain pills).

Unbeknownst to Taylor, the NSAIDS are known to be associated with gastrointestinal side effects, including life-threatening bleeding or perforation of gastroduodenal ulcers. Given the fact that Taylor’s gut is already compromised, in a few months of taking them, she begins to have issues absorbing nutrients and her hair is falling out. What’s more, those pain killers are creating tissue damage that causes inflammation in other parts of her body. Meanwhile, her immune system is firing off rapidly, the NSAIDS are suppressing inflammatory responses, so she begins to show signs of autoimmunity. Needless to say, Taylor isn’t doing so well but she is uncertain why; she’s done everything the doctor has told her.

All the while, Taylor is totally unaware that her IUD is subtly prying her cervix open, breaking the last line defense between the external environment and her delicate eggs. Because her micro biome is outnumbered with pathogenic yeast and bacteria and the rest of her immune system is on overdrive, viruses effortlessly make their way into her uterus causing infection. Still consuming the pain killers, Taylor is unaware of the infection and it slowly proliferates, causing micro-ulcers that lead to fibrotic scar tissue in her womb, greatly compromising her ability to become pregnant later in life.

Completely overwhelmed by her declining health and the pressures to perform in school, Taylor’s stress threshold hits its peak. In desperate attempts to cope with her life, she attends fraternity parities to drink, “let loose” and “hook up” with some guys. Unfortunately, her immune system non-existent, Taylor contracts a case of chlamydia from her last sexual partner; a cousin of a frat member that she’ll never see again. Being an asymptomatic, she actually doesn’t realize she contracted it for months.

Six weeks later, Taylor misses a period; she’s pregnant. The question is, who is the father?

After a trip to her OBGYN, she is officially diagnosed with chlamydia. Given that she has no clue who the father is along with the fact that she has contracted an STD, she decides to get an abortion. Her trusty OBGYN suggests a DNC because it is all her college health care covers. Unfortunately, this procedure involves the scrapping of the uterus, which causes additional scarring to her already fibrotic uterus wall.

Traumatized by her experience, Taylor decides to “settle down”. She quits partying as frequently so she is less inclined to smoke and drink and she is more reserved when it comes to sex. Despite her efforts to improve, her period is getting increasingly worse. To cope with the pain, she uses over-the-counter NSAIDS (aspirin) and vaginal douches; a tip she got from her dorm mate.

Agreeing with blind faith, Taylor doesn’t realize that the vaginal douche is further stripping the micro-biome in her vagina, causing her to experience her first physical symptoms of chlamydia. As prescribed by her OBGYN, Taylor turns to a pack of antibiotics to sooth the symptoms.

Fed up and desperate for answer, Taylor is determined to do something about her chronic yeast infections, STD symptoms and debilitating menstrual cramps. Going to the only place she knows, her OBGYN schedules her for a laparoscopy to find out what’s going on. The results show that she has endometriosis and fibrosis on her uterus.

Doing as western medical doctors do, and as requested by Taylor, she is prescribed more drugs, birth control pills. Rather than confronting the causative factors (the lifestyle choices made by Taylor) and rather than advising any tips for improved wellness, Taylor freely continues her behavior.

Providing temporary relief, the birth controls silently make things worse by increasing the level of copper in her body, throwing off the delicate copper to zinc ratio necessary for optimal immune health. High copper to zinc ratios means Taylor is more susceptible to infections, tumors and to giving birth to a child birth defects.

Now that Taylor is 22 and finished with College, she finally meets a nice guy; they fall in love and get married. Edgar to live a more wholesome life, she expresses her desire to have children to husband. However, her husband and parents, in fear with the idea of providing for children/grandchildren, suggest that Taylor goes to grad school to earn more money for the family.

By the time Taylor finishes graduate school, she is 30 years old, her eggs have aged significantly due to time, and her past lifestyle choices did not help slow the aging process. However, Taylor was never informed much about fertility and reproductive health.

In attempt to get pregnant, she comes off birth control for the first time in 12 years and immediately tries to conceive without success. After several years of failed attempts, Taylor is finally confronted by her OBGYN that she is infertile – she is devastated.

5 years later, Taylor and her husband decide to go in-virto for the out-of-pocket price of $50,000. Out of savings and set back significantly, they downsize into a small apartment, unfit for a family of three. What’s worse, the IVF doesn’t even work, there is just too much scaring in Taylor’s uterus from abortions, birth control and a lifestyle of pro-flammatory behavior.

A year later Taylor goes to the dentist and discovers that she has gum disease. Her gums have been bleeding overtime she flosses. Her dentist prescribes her antibiotics before she has any work done on her mouth. He explains that the bacteria in her mouth could migrate to other areas of her body causing major issues like miscarriages, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease.

Stunned by her first explanation of the interconnectedness of the body, she asks her dentist if her gum disease could be causing her miscarriages. His response contained the information she has been in need of since age 14. For the first time in her life, she decides it is time to take her health into her own hands.

Now knowing that if she wishes to ever have a child, she needs to be healthy, not just mask symptoms of underlying disease. To get some help, she visits a naturopathic doctor who has a history in working with women. After Taylor giving a detailed history of her health, the doctor informs her that the chlamydia, candida, gum disease, abortions, endometriosis, fibroids and general unhealthy lifestyle choices are all primary causative factors in her having miscarriages.

In attempt to eliminate her endometriosis and eliminate fibrotic tissues, the naturopath writes up a comprehensive protocol that rebuilds her micro biome, bringing the candida back into a normal range, she helps alkalize her infernal fluids and glands, strengthen her uterus, and normalize her hormones.

Unfortunately, her naturopath is a vegan and recommends Taylor eliminate all dairy, meat, and eggs in order to cleanse her body. This works wonders at first; at least until she runs into a set of hormonal imbalances from all the legumes and carbs she has been eating along with deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins and cholesterol. These factors along with her high intake soy products, her thyroid shuts down, her copper levels rise and the chronic inflammation reignites her fibrosis.

Several years later Taylor is now 40 years old, with a biological age of 55. The financial stress, along with Taylor’s declining health and inability to get pregnant has led to divorce. One day while at a health convention she meets her future second husband. They too fall in love and Taylor’s dream to have a family rekindles. However, now at age 40 with a history of destructive lifestyle habits and poor health, her changes of getting pregnant are slim. In her favor, she is healthier now than she ever has been. Three years later and she gives birth to her first child, who ends up being autistic.

Still not fully aware of how her actions have lead up to this point, Taylor is of course devastated about the condition of her baby boy. Why her? What did she do to deserve this? She followed the rules, visited the doctor regularly, went to college, got a job, and married. She lived a normal American life just like she was told to do.”

Now, keep in mind that this is a fabricated story. However, also keep in mind that you probably know someone like this. This is not an unrealistic story; I happen to know women who have experienced very similar situations. Most of these horrifying events are actually quite normal here in the West. It is normal to junk the body in fact. It is socially acceptable to stay up late, starving the body of the only time of true regeneration and regrowth. It is socially acceptable to intoxicate the liver; the most precious organ in the body, with drugs, alcohol, and junk food. There are many forms of physical abuse that are openly accepted in today’s culture and most engage without thought, covering up the effects with a drug or medication. However, you can only sweep things under the rug for so long.

The craziest part is that many are conceiving a child under similar circumstances. The rates of autism are skyrocketing. In fact, the CDC reports that as of 2012 1 in 88 babies are born with autism, compared to 1980’s autism record, which was 1 in 10,000.

Many attribute the significant increase in birth defects like autism to vaccines, and while they are definitely a primary causative factor, keep in mind that most disease have roots in chronic inflammation. Autism is really nothing more than severe inflammation of the brain. Yet, there are many factors causing the significant increase in chronic inflammation including,

  • the laundry list of environmental toxins
  • high omega-6:3 ratios from industrial grain-based diets (wheat, corn, soy, and their byproducts)
  • food sensitivities
  • gut infections
  • probiotic deficiencies (not enough kids playing outside)
  • food additives/preservatives
  • heavy metals (in the food and water, etc)
  • high carb/sugar diet (industrial food system),
  • chronic infections
  • blood sugar imbalances
  • STDs
  • dental infections
  • EMF toxicity
  • thyroid disease
  • GMOs.

In conclusion, and why I made this post, is to point out that we have a choice. Every causative factor I just pointed out and every bad choice Taylor made, is something we can agree to or not. While the odds are increasingly against us, we can still choice to disengage. Some unhealthy, pro-flammatory activities are harder to get away from than others, like exposure to EMFs and air pollution. However, most of them are simple daily choices, like what you put into your mouth, on your body and into your consciousness.

With that being said, if you have read this post, you are now aware of something or many things you were not before. And with this knowledge, you have the choice to be responsible or not. You don’t have to be responsible, you can look away, give into habit and programming and just hope for the best. However, knowledge and responsibly are power. I cannot make you responsible, but I can share knowledge. Do with it what you know is right. Whether you have a child and start a family or not is up to you, but keep in mind that our greater, extended family, Human Nature, will be effected by your decisions.

And one last thing, the story of our fictional character Taylor still only paints so much of a very large picture. There are so many factors that are determining either wellness and illness, one of the most elusive being our own psyche (mind). With that being said, the point of the story is to demonstrate that chronic disease is the result of accumulated, repetitive unconsciousness. This is not the way things have to be and in fact, are a complete inverse of how things are supposed to be in the Natural World. If you are interested in learning more about preconception health, fertility and unwinding the damage done to your body through living the American Dream, then I highly recommend the book The Brighton Baby Method, along with generally living a more honest, wholesome, and natural life.