Bio Hacking Basics/Restoring Digestive Balance
By Sandra Miller
Restoring digestive balance is our next step in the process. In part one we discussed that when building your bio hacking foundation you must first REMOVE anything that could be irritating to the body from the inside and outside. There is so much that we can do to keep the inside of our homes, the air we breathe, things we touch and that penetrate our skin less toxic. It’s about keeping chemicals out while at the same time getting the toxic things that are already in our bodies to exit safely. Very few of these 90,000+ chemicals have ever been evaluated by the FDA for safety in humans or animals. Are we just an experiment of the double blind-randomized control variety for a study to occur at a later date? I hope you have joined the movement and checked out the first video in my program ” Living Clean, Green and Lean in 2016. It about creating a less toxic kitchen and you can find it here.
The next step in our health transformation has to do with restoring digestive balance by assuring that all elements are in place for adequate breakdown of our nutrients for optimal assimilation and further restoration of digestive wellness.
Check out this new way of testing YOUR microbiome and get guidance on fixing your gut!
Restoring Digestive Balance
As we begin removal of toxins in food and environment, we want to restore or replace what the digestive system needs to optimally process the food we eat and extract the nutrients from that food. Our digestion starts in the mouth so having a healthy microbiome in the mouth is as important as having that same health in the gut. Our digestive system is one extremely long tube and start at the mouth and ends, well, you know where it ends. I will show you how to optimize your digestive system step by step. I want to point out two things you need to have a healthy mouth and healthy oral flora.
- get rid of your toothpaste
- get rid of your mouthwash
I know, I sound a bit crazy right? When it comes to keeping a healthy mouth, it is best to use natural toothpaste and mouthwashes. Alcohol-free is best. It is preferable that you make them yourself but, there are a few out there made commercially that are pretty good. Your toothpaste should be fluoride and SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) FREE.
Personal Care Poisons
Sodium fluoride is extremely poisonous. It has been linked to Parkinson’s and thyroid problems among other things. Fluoride is one of a few compounds that looks very similar to our own thyroid hormone. It often confuses the body because it fits into the thyroid hormone receptor. Problem is, it does not ACT like our thyroid hormone. By blocking the receptor, our own thyroid hormone cannot fit in and do the job it is supposed to. In a nutshell, fluoride wreaks havoc on your thyroid.
SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate is found in many body products as it helps products “foam up” and usually in your toothpaste. Why should you worry about SLS? This is one of those chemicals that causes men to have “man boobs” or “moobs” as I have heard them called. PMS? SLS might be a culprit. It is an estrogen mimicker. Any estrogen mimicker has the potential to cause cancer as well. Many cancers are estrogen dependent. This is a chemical we want to avoid and I will bet that it is in your toothpaste and your shampoo right now.
For a quick guide to finding clean products check out “The Good Guide” app Mobile Apps | GoodGuide which rates products based on several factors such as use of toxic chemicals and even sustainable practices. Learn more about what products to avoid and which to uses highlighted in my videos and material in the members section. And if you don’t believe that fluoride is pure poison, here is the link about the damage done by fluoride just for a head start.
Parkinson’s and Fluoride is a good resource, and I encourage you to determine for yourself if this is substantiating enough for you to ditch the commercial toothpaste or filter your fluoridated water. So for a health mouth, if you are not going to make your own toothpaste yet, try a fluoride free and SLS free toothpast like “Botanically Bright” by Toms of Maine. There are others on the market that are pretty good as well.
“Repeated exposure to fluoride could cause general deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs.”
For me, it could not be any clearer. Check here:
I have had numerous dentists blow off my concerns about fluoride and mercury. If someone is not an advocate for my health, then I have to be. Play it safe and use a biological dentist or a dentist who practices safe dentistry. Here is a great resource that explains how to have a more natural dental experience and what to avoid at the dental office on Dr. Lawrence Wilson’s page. You will note that I refer to this page for so many things so you may want to bookmark his page. It is a wealth of information.
I have a link on my resources page to help you find a holistic dentist in your area if that is what you chose. They respect the body as a system. There is so much clear research linking root canals to breast cancer that it is nothing short of shocking! Just search it out for yourself. For a healthy mouth microbiome, cavity protection with zero toxicity, check my healthy home section or my other go to resources like Katie the Wellness Mama so you can feel good about what is going into your family’s mouth and body. Best Healthy, Natural Toothpaste Options – Wellness Mama has a good recipe.
Now for the mouthwash let down.
Mouthwash not only kills some bad bacteria in your mouth but also kills the good bacteria that needs to be there for a healthy mouth. Mouthwashes with alcohol create a change the microflora balance of the mouth and gut. If you read my book on probiotics, you will completely understand the connection as well as the importance of the word “MICROBIOME”. It is THE hottest topic in health right now and estoring digestive balance is quite fashionable! Here is a technique that many are finding is the best solution of all.
This method not only kills bad and pathogenic bacteria but has much documentation in the area of re-mineralizing teeth, and even preventing cavities. So, in essence, we need to RESTORE the digestive system so that it works as intended by replacing some things that may be missing or not functioning well. So how do we optimize the digestive system further down the chain?
Restoring Digestive Function with Enzymes
I have some statistics that I want to share with you so bear with me for a minute as what I have to tell you may come as a surprise to some. First, the statistics on heartburn and GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease).
Figures Courtesy of
“Heartburn and GERD Frequency and Statistics”
- “Over 60 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn at least once a month.
- It is estimated that over 30% of adult Americans experience acid reflux every day.
- GERD can affect people of all ages, including infants and children, but the risk increases dramatically for people over the age of 40.
- One-third of GERD patients develop erosive esophagitis.
- 10-15% of GERD patients develop Barrett’s esophagus.
- and of course, belching, gas and bloating.
Sounds like an acid problem right?
The purpose of sharing these statistics is that the majority of people with heartburn, reflux and acid issues and symptoms described above DO NOT HAVE EXCESS STOMACH ACID but rather have LOW stomach acid. Counter-intuitive perhaps,but quite true. Most folks are straight-up misdiagnosed. So, are you surprised yet? Just wait. There is more.
Achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria is the medical terms used for little or low stomach acid. Now remember, although this may sound like I am bashing the allopathic system, I am only stating facts. The system does injustice to itself. Remember that most docs are symptom presented-drug solution based. If the solution were as simple as I am going to outline, nobody would make any money.
Symptoms That Deceive
Most symptoms that feel like over acid stomach, are because so many of us have LOW stomach acid. Stomach acid or HCL (hydrochloric acid) has some very critical functions. It breaks proteins into essential amino acids and nutrients that are needed by the body. HCL has a stimulating effect on the pancreas to produce the bile and enzymes necessary for further breakdown of proteins, fats, and some carbs. Some carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth. It’s the complicated stuff like protein and fat that are tougher to break down.
Opportunistic bacteria and yeasts that may be present in our foods cannot grab a foothold in a properly acidified environment and are destroyed. Unfortunately as we age our stomach acid begins to decrease and the SAD diet (standard American diet) is a major contributor. Once stomach acid decreases, other diseases including the autoimmune type can also begin to take over. So, how do we fix that? Digestive enzymes are a fabulous start. These different enzymes digest protein (proteolytic enzymes). Some of these would be protease, bromelain and papain. There are other enzymes with specific jobs as well. Some are responsible for breaking down fats (lipases) and even some for carbohydrates and fiber
You can even find enzymes that break down gluten but, if you ask me personally, avoidance is the best strategy if you have any health issues at all. Especially if you think you may have a gluten issue, autoimmune condition, or diabetes. The evidence is so strong surrounding gluten and its effects on the human gut, why take the chance? I am an advocate of being proactive not doing damage control.
The Stomach Acid Conundrum
When there is insufficient acid in the stomach, we have an inability to begin to digest proteins and fats. Undigested proteins cause over-acidity in the blood. The over- acidity of the blood causes the body to seek out minerals stored elsewhere in the body. It is our bodies own innate acid buffering system and it has strict instructions. Blood getting acid, body says “SEEK MINERALS.”
Since minerals are alkaline in nature, the body can seek and free these minerals to alkalize the blood (called buffering). One of the minerals it seeks as a buffer is calcium. Where do you think that the calcium comes from? If you guessed from our bones or teeth, you would be right. Not agood thing right? Be patient, I really do have a “ta da” moment coming!
Acidic blood is one big shiny nail in your coffin. Cancer adores blood acidity, and thrives in that environment. This release of minerals further lowers stomach acid and a cycle begins. When you try to digest food, there is not enough acid in the stomach and the symptoms of low acid rear their ugly heads. What are those symptoms? You guessed it! Reflux and heartburn. What do most of us do then? We take and antacid! Talk about adding insult to injury. Now our stomach acid is in mostly depleted. There is also then a domino effect on critical hormone production. And on blood glucose. One set of issues sets off another. Remember, the body is COMPLEX.
Things do not happen in a vacuum.
Remember this science theory? “Every action has and equal and positive reaction?” Now this freed up calcium must go somewhere. The calcium that has been freed up to neutralize the acid from our diets (after buffering the acid) will set up shop in the walls of your blood vessels. This could lead to heart attack or stroke. The saddest situation of all is that if the person needs digestive enzymes to fix the problem but rather takes an antacid, even more destruction sets in.
Everything effects everything. It’s that simple.
So now let’s compare some of the symptoms of LOW stomach acid.
- food allergy or intolerance symptoms
- indigestion, diarrhea or constipation
- dry skin
- Reflux or GERD
- Pylori infection
- bloating, burping and gas
- candida symptoms (fatigue, brain fog)
- periodontal disease
Looking familiar to anyone out there now? Heartburn and reflux/GERD are symptomatically similar for two polar opposite conditions of acid status.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Because of the symptom-drug method that most docs use; when the symptom is acid-like, the treatment is an anti- acid remedy. Proton Pump inhibitors know as (PPI) are those that are prescribed or can be found over the counter. Many of you are taking, or have taken these I am sure.
So that I don’t call anyone out by name, you may have heard of “the little purple pill”. Look on the pharmacy shelf all around the little purple pill and you will get my drift. I know that some of you are aware that PPI drugs and calcium carbonate tabs further lower stomach acid and now we are unable to absorb some of our B vitamins along with unable to digest our food. Why is that? B12 for instance, MUST have adequate stomach acid present to be utilized by the body.
If you are taking over the counter antacids and vitamins containing B12 you have been wasting money. But worse than that. You may be headed for a B12 deficiency and that is not a good thing. Your body cannot absorb and use the b12 if the stomach does not produce enough acid. B12 in the CORRECT FORM is critical to a process called methylation . We cannot afford for this process to be sabotaged by inadequate stomach acid. If we want to hack our health we must have adequate stomach acid.
The issue of stomach acid perhaps being low rarely if ever comes up when a patient presents with acid-like symptoms. There are tests that you can do to check your stomach acid ranging from pricey (about $350) to free. WE LIKE FREE!
So here is a free way to check and all it costs is about ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
Do this first thing in the morning before you eat or drink.
- Get a glass with about 6 oz. of cold water. Add ¼ tsp. of baking soda
- Drink contents of the glass.
- Time how long it takes you to belch. If you don’t belch within about 3 minutes, your stomach acid is low.
In theory, if your stomach is producing adequate amounts of stomach acid you’ll likely belch within two to three minutes. If you burp well right away and continue burp, then you have excessive stomach acid. If it takes 3 minutes or more, it indicates a low level of stomach acid. Not the most accurate but it will enlighten you one way or the other. Try not to take any antacid medications for several days prior to trying this so you don’t get a false reading. I cover natural ways to put the fire out in future articles so it will be covered for those who may need this help and want to take a natural approach.
Here is another test called the Betaine HCL test. You can check this link for the test.
You may also benefit from a digestive enzymes product with each meal. Digestive enzymes are made by our bodies but do decline with age and abuse caused by poor food choices. These products provide an assurance that you are breaking your food down into particles that are small enough to be easily emulsified. This process is critical in our ability to extract nutrients from our foods.
Bitters and Digestion
There are several different types of bitters that aid digestion. Some of the reasons bitters are helpful is that many people have
- Wild lettuce
Just to name a few. I love my dandelion tea and drink 4 or 5 times per week for its liver supporting benefits. Chamomile has some calming benefits as well as digestive benefits but those allergic to ragweed should avoid it. There are cautions with Grapefruit and must be kept to a minimum for those on statins.
OX Bile/Bile Salts
Many people who claim digestive dis-ease have had their gallbladder http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/advice-after-removal-of-gallbladder/
Others use ox bile. Ox bile must be used with caution with those who have thyroid dysfunction. Whichever route one chooses, making sure you are restoring what is lost is the main message here. I would like to be able to say that your doctor will help you make the best choice. Unfortunately most traditionally trained doctors don’t know much about the powers of plant intelligence.
Betaine HCL (trimethylglycine)
This is one supplement that this girl cannot live without and is a supplement I am passionate about. TMG or BETAINE HCL is made from sugar beets and helps the liver detoxification pathways, lowers Homocysteine and more. If you are not sure what Homocysteine is and why it is important to see low numbers, there will be an article on this as well. For now understand that it is a marker of inflammation. Homocysteine is a term I will be sure you become familiar with.
Since Dr. Lawrence Wilson wrote a great article on trimethylglycine, I will share it and save the keystrokes. It is this very article that convinced me to try this product and results for me have been life changing.
I use this one. It’s a pure powder that is sweet so it’s easily mixable in drinks! Bulk Supplement TMG
ACV (apple cider vinegar)
By taking 1 to 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar (raw, with the mother) in a glass of water about 15 minutes before your meal you can also encourage an increase in stomach acid. I use Bragg’s brand.
One last word
While you may think that we will be replacing probiotics at this stage, let me help you to understand exactly why we DO NOT use them just yet. This simple question explains it.
Would you plant flowers in a junkyard? Probably not. Now I am not saying that everyone who reads this eats extremely poorly. Many of you may also have taken or tried probiotics before. It just makes more sense to wait until the remove and restore process are mostly complete, or about 4 weeks after you restore digestive enzymes first. Your body will heal better if you follow this sequence and begin your probiotics when your digestive system has been humming for a few weeks or so. Don’t worry they come next. I do personally like and use (in rotation) these two products.
I rotate because there are important strains that each has. Biodiversity of strains is very important. If you have not already picked up a copy of my book
If you have any questions in the remove or the restore phases reach out to me on the Bio Hacking Wellness Facebook page
Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck with the first two very important steps.
Our next step is Re-inoculate and Repair