Gut Health: Six Things to Do About Gut Health

Starting off the new year right can be tricky.

There are millions of messages in our everyday lives that tell us we have to look or act a certain way to be acceptable.

What we need are ways to be intentional about our health without becoming obsessed by unattainable weight loss goals.

One of the most important systems in our body is the gut microbiome that regulates the functionality of both our heart and brain.

To maintain optimal wellness (not just a focus on weight)

we must ensure the overall health of our gut.

Here are six things you can do to intentionally change your life by changing your gut:

  1. Think about your food. A diet based mostly on plants is optimal for your overall health. If at all possible, opt for food that is whole (with no added fat, sugar or sodium). Chew your food slowly and completely to aid in digestion. Consider fermented foods (probiotics) and fibrous foods (prebiotics).
  1. Listen to your body’s signals. Consider that food cravings are sometimes caused by an imbalance within your gut microbiome. Other signals like brain fog, stomach aches, fluctuations in weight, sleeplessness, a change in bathroom habits and acute inflammation can also be indicators of an imbalance.
  1. Consider your sleep schedule. Getting an adequate night’s sleep is an essential way for your gut microbiome to restore itself naturally. It is suggested that adults get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  1. Choose to drink more water. Water aids gut health naturally. It’s a simple and efficient way to repair your gut lining and the good bacteria in your intestines.
  1. Pay attention to your poop. Notice whether there are fluctuations in the way your body eliminates waste. Notice whether your stools are loose or hard. Track how often you eliminate and consider whether that is regular for your body or not.
  1. Get tested. As you become more aware of how your gut is interacting with other parts of your body, you might have questions. I can help you assess the health of your gut and how it might be impacting your life. Together we can look at food sensitivities, supplements and beneficial ways to nourish your gut microbiome. Schedule time with me here.

Whether you set goals or intentions for the new year, make it a priority to focus on the health of your gut microbiome. It could literally change your life.

If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation.

THIS SEASON: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR BRAIN FROM INJURY

Brain Injuries, Concussions, Collisions, Athletes, Concussion Symptoms, Anti-Inflammatory, Natural Solutions

In the midst of the transition from fall to winter:

We plan to watch our kids participate in athletic activities at school,

We plan to get on our road bikes before the snow flies,

We plan for that first ski run of the season.

We often talk about our plans for this transitional time…

BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED?

Statistics show that either you or someone you know has been involved in a collision that may have caused your brain to be injured in a significant way. (SOURCE)

And, although we know that helmets are helpful in protecting humans from head injuries, they are not 100% effective in preventing concussions.

Here’s why…

The CDC defines a concussion as “a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.” (SOURCE)

The tricky thing about brain injuries is that they do not present the same in any one person. Two people can have similar seeming injuries and have different symptoms and outcomes.

In fact, many high schools and colleges are gathering baseline brain data on their athletes so they can be more proactive in a situation where a concussion may occur.

After a head injury, you might notice certain signs of a concussion in others:

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.

Or the person receiving the head injury might report certain symptoms such as:

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

If, after a head injury, you show or feel symptoms that are common in concussion scenarios, in almost all cases the key to recovery is reducing oxidative damage that causes inflammation in the brain.

One of the most important ways to reduce oxidation and inflammation in the brain is through diet and nutrition.

A common anti-inflammatory nutritional regimen would be the Mediterranean Diet or something similar. Stick with fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, lean meats, dairy products, eggs, whole grains and healthy fats.

Also, antioxidants/ anti-inflammatory supplements such as a higher DHA version of omega 3 fatty acids, Zinc, Curcumin, Creatine, Glutathione, NAC and green tea have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote brain healing. (SOURCE)

Dr. Fisel can help you find natural solutions and relief if you are recovering from the symptoms of concussions, brain inflammation or brain injury.

If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation.

RESOURCES:

Brain Injury Association of America

CDC: Heads Up Program

Traumatic Brain Injury: Impact, Assessment & Management of Concussion & MTBI

Traumatic Brain Injury: Definitions related to TBI

THYROID DISEASE: YOU ARE NOT JUST YOUR TSH LEVELS


thyroid disease, metabolism, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, TSH levels, naturopathic medicine

YOUR THYROID IS OFTEN BLAMED FOR EVERYTHING FROM…


Fatigue
Weight Gain or Weight Loss
Dry Skin
Sensitivity to Cold or Heat
Constipation or Diarrhea
Muscle Aches
Brain Fog


It’s highly possible that you’ve experienced at least one if not multiple symptoms related to thyroid disease – maybe long before you thought to get it checked out.

That little butterfly shaped gland at the base of your throat regulates your hormones and sets the pace for your metabolism. When your thyroid is dysregulated, it can cause greater problems throughout your body.

To determine whether something is wrong with your thyroid, blood work is used to analyze the levels of TSH in your system. You may be diagnosed with HYPERTHYROIDISM, an overactive thyroid gland, or HYPOTHYROIDISM, an underactive thyroid gland

.


DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE BEEN REDUCED TO A NUMBER?

The most important thing to remember is…

YOU ARE NOT JUST YOUR TSH LEVELS.


While traditional medications targeting your T4 and T3 hormones can help to regulate the thyroid, you may test in a normal range and still feel off.

In other words, you look good on paper but as you listen to your body you know traditional therapies are not getting to the root of why you continue to feel unwell.

It happens all the time. We address overt symptoms with medication but neglect the underlying issues which can be just as important to wellness.


I am here to help if you are thinking, “My doctor says my TSH levels are within a healthy range but I still don’t feel well…” The thyroid doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and is often upregulating or downregulating in response to other metabolic factors, so we don’t want to get caught up in micromanaging the numbers!

Let’s look at three ways you can optimize your health, by making lifestyle changes, to alleviate some of the symptoms you might be experiencing as a result of thyroid disease – regardless of your TSH numbers.


NUTRITION: Thyroid disease can be caused by an autoimmune response and might be exacerbated by inflammation in the body. One of the best ways to eliminate inflammation – which is key – is by focusing on your nutrition.

TRY: Fruits, vegetables, proteins (especially fish), healthy fats, WATER, nutritional supplements as recommended by your naturopathic doctor

AVOID: Added sugar, alcohol, dairy, excess gluten


STRESS MANAGEMENT: Depression is both a contributor and a result of thyroid disease. Therefore, it is important to go beyond your TSH level numbers and also address your mental health needs.

TRY: journaling, exercise, sleep hygiene, seeking professional support

AVOID: alcohol, excessive sleep, isolation


PHYSICAL MEDICINE: Naturopathic medicine addresses your mind, body and spirit in compliment to conventional medical approaches.

TRY: Hot/ Cold therapy (SOURCE), adjustments to the spine, acupuncture

AVOID: Settling for a one size fits all diagnosis


When you get your thyroid checked, you might feel reduced to a TSH level number…but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There are empowering choices you can make to your lifestyle that will leave you feeling as healthy as your numbers say you are.

Dr. Fisel can help you find relief if you are battling with thyroid disease. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your consultation.


RESOURCES:
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: The Impact of Nutrition

HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE


histamine intolerance, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, IBS, naturopathic doctor, Guilford

Last night you let the babysitter order pizza for the kids.

For some crazy reason there’s one slice of pepperoni left in the box on the counter.

Thinking back to those college days…


Why does leftover pizza seem like a good idea first thing in the morning?


As tempting as it sounds, food left out on the counter overnight can wreak havoc on your body.

It’s called…


HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE.


Most people are born with an amazing defense mechanism to protect their body from the outside world. One of the built-in ways the body fights off invaders is to utilize histamines (found in food) that carry away allergens and other irritants from our eyes, noses and skin for instance.


Histamines found in foods can be:

  • NATURAL – Histamines are naturally found in fermented foods, meat, shellfish, alcohol, tomatoes, avocado, spinach, and nuts among others.
  • LIBERATED – Some foods interact with the body to liberate histamines, such as: chocolate, alcohol, bananas, strawberries, nuts, and citrus.
  • DEVELOPED –Histamines multiply in food that is “left over” and not properly disposed of or frozen after preparation. This is your warning to avoid that last piece of pizza and leftovers in general!

Sometimes we over consume, or our bodies over produce, histamines. We develop an intolerance to histamines when we cannot break them down efficiently. Histamines can become too much for our system to handle and we start to notice certain symptoms that are different from seasonal allergies; persistent. Over the long term, they are indicative of histamine intolerance, and are systemic which can lead to larger problems.


Histamine intolerance might initially look like:

  • Itchy skin and/ or hives
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, red or itching eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches


An abundance of histamines might cause more systemic damage like:

  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory intestinal disorders
  • Periodontal disease
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)


If you have been experiencing chronic immune responses that cannot be easily explained, Dr. Fisel can help you look into the root of your discomfort to alleviate your obvious symptoms and hopefully your overall histamine intolerance.


Initially, Dr. Fisel can analyze your unique situation using several assessment tools:

  1. Nutritional – We help tailor your nutritional habits to limit excess histamines
  2. Environmental – We can assess your environment and help you eliminate histamine stressors
  3. Lifestyle – Sleep and movement play a big part in your overall health – we can take a look at your patterns.
  4. Medications – We will help you assess what you are currently taking and advise you about interactions; we can recommend complimentary protocols to your existing regimen.


Dr. Fisel can help you find relief if you are battling with histamine intolerance. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your consultation.


RESOURCES:

Histamine Intolerance: A Common Cause of Chronic Complaints

Mast Cell Activation: Skin is Just Scratching the Surface

Beyond An Auto-immune Diagnosis: Ten Things To Look For

Autoimmune diseases, autoimmune diagnosis, autoimmune symptom relief, Dr. Matt Fisel, naturopathic doctor, gut health, stress management, hormonal imbalance


Have you ever felt off, but you just kept pushing through the pain?

You might have experienced symptoms like:

Brain fog, muscle aches, or fatigue.

As time moved on, your symptoms didn’t.

After a battery of tests, you were given a general autoimmune disease diagnosis.

NOW WHAT?

Western medicine tends to give a catchall diagnosis for something that looks and feels like an autoimmune disease. You hear things like mold toxicity or chronic fatigue.

The truth is the immune system is so complex that a diagnosis might feel like a dead end; hopeless. It’s hard for doctors to diagnose…how do they expect you to understand what’s going on in your body?

From a Naturopathic standpoint…I see it as a starting point. Your autoimmune disease is not a life sentence. Working together, it’s a place we can begin to detect and identify where your symptoms are coming from and help you find relief and hopefully some natural solutions.

Here are TEN THINGS WE LOOK AT BEYOND AN AUTOIMMUNE DIAGNOSIS from a naturopathic standpoint:


1. STRESS MANAGEMENT – Ongoing stressors in your lifestyle can cause both mental and physical discomfort. Overwhelm and anxiety can cause inflammation in the brain and then systemically throughout the body. Dr. Fisel looks at root causes of stress in your life and work to alleviate and/ or eliminate them.


2. FOOD SENSITIVITIES – You may be sensitive to certain types of foods and not even be aware of the fact. Dr. Fisel can recommend certain testing or targeted diets to identify and eliminate those foods that don’t agree with your immune system.

3. GUT HEALTH – There is a very important connection between your gut and your brain. What goes on between the two can affect your entire body and how it functions. Often times leaky gut (when your intestinal walls are easily permeated) is a major culprit of autoimmune symptoms. Dr. Fisel can tell you if your gut is adversely affecting your overall wellness.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS – You might be living in an older home, or over a land fill, and did not know or realize that pollutants were permeating your environment. Dr. Fisel considers your proximity to heavy metals, mold, pesticides (especially glyphosate), PCBs, cosmetics, and water pollution.

 5. MOVEMENT – Studies show an active lifestyle decreases inflammation in your body. You might not feel like running a marathon, but simple movements can increase your circulation and boost your immune system. Dr. Fisel can suggest ways to add movement into your life.

6. NUTRITION – Paying attention to your food intake is important to a healthy immune system. Avoid processed foods that are chemical laden in favor of anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables like blueberries, broccoli and avocados. Dr. Fisel also looks at nutritional deficiencies and works to enhance the missing nutrients.

7. MEDICATION TOXICITY – You may not be able to avoid prescribed medications (especially antibiotics), but Dr. Fisel can counter-balance their effects with food or supplements that offer pro-biotics.

8. INFECTIONS – Something to consider is the effect of underlying infection on your body’s immune response. For example, Lyme Disease, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and Candida, among other infections, can trigger autoimmunity. Dr. Fisel can help you determine if you have an undetected infection.

9. HORMONAL IMBALANCE – Changes in the hormonal balance of your body, as seen in menopause, can trigger changes in immune function. Dr. Fisel can help restore balance in your body.

10. GENETICS – Hereditary factors may cause adverse immune responses in your body. Dr. Fisel can help you sift through your genetic history to determine what if anything may be creating problems.

There is hope beyond your autoimmune diagnosis. Dr. Fisel would love to dig deeper into underlying causes to help you discover ways to feel better while living with the reality of your symptoms.

Dr. Fisel is here to offer you hope beyond your auto-immune disease diagnosis and to help you feel relief from your symptoms. Please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment, today.

NEW PATIENT FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULATION: Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

Heartburn Drugs Typically Not Necessary

gerdProton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix, are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. They are typically given to patients who complain of heartburn or reflux (GERD), who are then kept on the medication indefinitely. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of the patients I see to think of being on this medication almost as an afterthought, because it’s so common in our culture. What they may not realize is that long-term use of these medications can lead to long-term complications, and may be doing more harm than good! When first approved by the FDA, the suggested use of PPIs was for 4-6 weeks, mainly for treating serious gastrointestinal issues, like ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.  [Read more…]

IBS? It May Be Something Else . . .

SIBOPeople often come to my office saying they’ve been diagnosed with IBS. They may complain of intestinal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or all of the above, yet all of their test results come back “normal”, so they are prescribed anti-spasmodic medications to manage their symptoms, and sent on their way. In my experience, IBS is merely a symptom of other underlying causes, rather than  a definitive diagnosis. Whether it’s food intolerances, poor eating habits, or restoring optimal production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer when it comes to identifying and treating the underlying cause of IBS. [Read more…]

Does Arthritis Originate in the Gut?

I see quite a few patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune arthropathies, and what is the first thing I do?  Give them anti-inflammatory medications? Give them immune-modulaters? No! Chances are, their rheumatologists have already done this. The first thing I will always do with patients in this category is address their digestive health. What does digestion have to do with systemic inflammation? Everything! [Read more…]

Acid-Blocking Medications Aren’t Meant For Long-Term Use!

stomach acid, acid-blocking, medications, PPI, digestion, natural supplementsWhile I may have written about this more than once in the past, I feel like it’s a topic that continues to need revisiting.  A recent New York Times article highlights the many reasons why proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s), such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, can cause more harm than good when used beyond the recommended window of 8 to 12 weeks.  While it seems to come as a surprise to the doctors who are handing out these medications like candy, our stomachs are supposed to make hydrochloric acid! This is essential for initiating the digestive cascade that leads to the proper assimilation of nutrients. As the article points out, blocking stomach acid production for an extended period of time can lead to a host of nutritional deficiencies, including iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium.  A decrease in stomach acid also takes away the protective barrier meant to protect us from harmful bacteria, setting up an environment that’s more prone to infection with Clostridium and other pathogenic bacteria. [Read more…]

Patients With Type II Diabetes Benefit From Naturopathic Care

diabetes, type II diabetes, naturopathic care blood-sugar, diet, glucose monitoring Diabetes is a complex, multi-factorial condition that takes many variables into account, including diet, exercise, and family history. Typically, if certain markers are detected early enough (elevated blood glucose, increased hemoglobin A1C), lifestyle and/or pharmaceutical treatments can be implemented to slow or reverse the progression of type II diabetes before long-term complications arise. Since the essence of naturopathic medicine is addressing core diet and lifestyle issues that may be contributing to disease, it’s essential for anyone who’s dealing with type II diabetes, or even “pre-diabetes”, to incorporate a naturopathic treatment protocol as part of their long-term strategy. [Read more…]