Holistic Health Viroqua
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Viroqua, WI 54665

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Health Care News & Updates          

January 16, 2014

Medications that cause leaky gut

Although diet obviously plays a role in leaky gut, so do other factors, such as high blood sugar, chronic stress, and hormonal imbalances. However, it’s important not to overlook the impact of seemingly innocuous over-the-counter (OTC) medications, as well as some prescription ones. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is a condition in which the walls of the small intestine become inflamed, damaged, and porous, allowing undigested foods, bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens into the bloodstream. Once these pathogens escape the confines of the intestines and hit the bloodstream, they trigger inflammation in the body and brain. Leaky gut is associated with chronic disease, autoimmunity, depression, and more. Common symptoms include joint pain, skin conditions, gut problems, fatigue, and depression and other brain-based disorders. In addition to following a leaky gut diet, you can repair your gut and lower inflammation by eating a diet that stabilizes your blood sugar, taking measures to reduce physical and mental stress, and being aware of which medications could be making your leaky gut worse. Medications that can cause leaky gut Corticosteroids: Steroid drugs such as prednisone suppress the immune system and dampen inflammation. While they may be life saving or necessary, they also can contribute to leaky gut. This is because they raise cortisol, which in high doses breaks down the gut lining. This is why chronic stress, which also raises cortisol, contributes to leaky gut as well. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and aspirin have been shown to increase intestinal permeability within 24 hours of use and long-term use can contribute to a leaky gut condition. Antibiotics: Antibiotics wipe out the beneficial gut flora, which can lead to leaky gut. It’s important to always follow up antibiotic use with probiotics to reinoculate the gut. Chemotherapy drugs: Chemotherapy drugs can lead to leaky gut by degrading the intestinal barrier. All of these drugs have their purpose and you should not put yourself or a child in danger by avoiding a lifesaving drug in order to prevent leaky gut. However, if they’re necessary, you may want to consider following their use with a leaky gut protocol to restore the intestinal lining and prevent a worsening of your health. Ask my office for more information on how to repair leaky gut. - See more at: http://www.susancnt.com/medications-that-cause-leaky-gut/#sthash.6MT8h9LB.dpuf

November 2, 2011

Should You Stop Taking Your Vitamins?

A new study out last month has a lot of people wondering just that. With headlines screaming accusations such as “people who take vitamins die sooner!”, no wonder people are concerned. Well as it turns out, these claims are unfounded. The study in question did nothing close to proving that vitamin supplements are deleterious to health or lifespan. However there have been a number of well-run studies that have proven http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifvitamins actually help us to be healthier.
Dr Mark Hyman does a very good job of explaining just what’s wrong with the Iowa study in question. See his article here.

posted by:
Susan Barendregt, MNT BCHN

August 19, 2011

Thinking about the hCG diet? Think again!

I've had some folks ask me what I think about the hCG diet. Here's my answer in a largish sort of nutshell.

The hCG diet seems to be all the rage now. HCG, or Human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that is produced mainly during pregnancy. During the hCG diet a person takes hCG hormone (typically extracted from the urine of pregnant women) while adhering to an extremely low calorie diet. The hCG is supposed to convince the body use fat for fuel during the calorie restriction, while helping the dieter to not feel hungry or deprived.

As you might expect from anyone eating a mere 500 calories per day, folks on the hCG diet do lose weight. And it is quite possible, although unproven, that the hCG does help them to do it through the mechanisms mentioned above. Unfortunately, the negative aspects of this type of weight loss are rarely considered. Somehow folks have a hard time looking at anything past "will it make me lose weight". But wait a minute, isn't this exactly how we've been yo-yo dieting our way through the past 30 years while getting more and more obese? We do extreme diets, we lose weight, we finish the diet, we gain the weight back plus a little extra, then we lose it again and gain it back plus a little extra. See a pattern there?

I've got a few more issues with the hCG diet:

1. HCG is nothing new, but it's being touted as the new big secret to weight loss through really big promotional schemes (red flag!). HCG has been used since the 50's for weight loss. If it were really a miracle drug, don’t you think we'd have figured that out before now?

2. HCG is a HORMONE! Playing with one hormone disrupts the balance of all of your hormones. Our hormones all work together in concert, playing off each other, responding to one another, ideally keeping a delicate balance. And when I talk about hormones I don't just mean the sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, but insulin, cortisol, thyroid hormone and several other 'less famous' hormones as well. How much sense does it make to add in a daily dose of a hormone (and one that only pregnant women need) and potentially set off the balance of all your other hormones?

3. Whether or not the hCG is effective for weight loss, we can be pretty darn sure that the severe calorie restriction is responsible for most of the weight lost on this diet. A 500-calorie-a-day diet is just plain not smart. It's merely a way to get temporary weight loss at the expense of long-term health.

Unfortunately, we're a society that wants fast and easy results. One of these days though, and hopefully soon, we're going to realize that being at a healthy weight comes hand in hand with being a healthy person. This is not a goal achieved via drastic calorie restriction, eating nothing but grapefruits, or taking pills made from the latest exotic fruit from the Amazon jungle. It comes through good, healthy food, sleep and exercise.

If you just want to be skinnier for a period of time and you don't care about your long-term health or weight, then do the hCG diet. Otherwise, a more healthy, balanced approach is definitely in order.

Posted by: Susan Barendregt, MNT

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August 13, 2011

Community Health from an acupuncturist's view

I started Asari Acupuncture Interlude Program, a Community Acupuncture clinic, because of a long interest in the health of the whole community that I live in. For me that does go beyond the people that come for health care; it includes the land and all the parts of it that we rely on for daily life. It includes the elements of the world we live in that give us air, water, food, shelter. And more than that, that offer peace, beauty, inspiration. This is the real, the natural, the only world we have.

I believe that we must do more than think about our world around us, we must take care to be stewards instead of consumers; we must act with respect and thoughtfulness. This is something we don't do much of and don't do well; we talk of stopping pollution but don't stop driving our cars much and we talk of living sustainably but continue to buy processed, packaged foods that come from all over the world.

Now there is something we can do something about that will make a difference in the quality of life in our Driftless Region for decades to come. That is to become informed about and active in the issue of the huge powerline that American Transmission Company is considering putting directly through the middle of our bioregion.

What you do now is important. Don't live right where the line will go? What about having to pay for it, for a very long time in charges on your electric bill, even though no one in this area will ever get any electricity from the line? How about trying to calculate the trauma to our communities and families as the homes, land and farms are condemned and taken in a long straight line from LaCrosse to Reedsburg? Will it be a good thing to canoe down the Kickapoo and maybe have a unique experience with the static electricity generated by this size of powerline, while you sit on water in a metal canoe? The government recommends not touching any metal object while under these lines during conditions of high humidity. Hmmmm....sounds like a lot of our weather here!

Please get informed by going to the Town of Stark website:
and sign up to get their information and assistance in what is helpful to stop this very bad idea.

Remember, you won't get any power from this line, but you will get to pay for it!
Keep checking here and at the Stark Town listserve for information on how to help keep our land and community healthy and free of giant powerlines.


February 14, 2011

Labeling Change for Medications

A patient called me from the hospital, where she was for a few days due to an emergency. The pharmacist there had confiscated her Chinese Herbal Medicine prescription because he thought it was expired. I knew it wasn't! The date on the bottom was prefaced by "mfg" instead of "exp". Because the pharmacist is trained to look at the date, he missed the rest of the description. The date was the date of manufacture, not the date of expiration. Once explained, the medicinal in question was acceptable for the patient to use in the hospital.

Many of the Chinese Herbal Medicine prescriptions in capsule or pill form now have DATE OF MANUFACTURE stamped on them, rather than date of expiration. Instead of "ex (date)" it may say "mfg (date)" on the bottom of the bottle or on the label. This means your prescription will have a date on it that is past, not ahead on the calendar.

These products have a shelf life of at least 3-4 years and often up to 5-6 years. Companies that I do business with have examined and tested their products to verify the sustained quality and effectiveness of the contents. I have numerous times over 20 years kept and used Chinese Herbal Medicine prescriptions for myself that were at least 5 years old. The aroma, taste and effectiveness was undiminished.
Modern processing and packaging allows potency of the medicinals to be maintained long term.

You will still find products with "exp date" on them. Some companies have not made the label change yet and some companies are in between selling medicinals with expiration dates and with manufactured dates.

Being aware of this change prevents needless waste of medicine that is still quite safe and effective. Be sure to tell your health care practitioners of this if they have reason to look at your Chinese Herbal Medicine given to you by prescription, by your certified acupuncturist.

Be well, be happy, be safe and have fun!


January 10, 2011

Acupuncture Presentation

It's fun to have a chance to talk with people about acupuncture and so on Tuesday January 18th I'll be giving a FREE talk at WWTC on acupuncture; how it works, what it's good for, how it's used and I'll share some facts, myths, history and theory about this ancient way of healing. This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered about acupuncture!
Time: 6:30 pm Place: Room 220 at WWTC in Viroqua.
Why not stop in at one of our great restaurants in town for an early supper before coming over to WWTC for an evening of ideas and stories about acupuncture?
See you there!



Acupuncture on the Radio

January is Acupuncture month on WVRQ 102FM every Friday at about 6:45am with Karen Dahl on the Healthy Friday show.
In January, we talk about how acupuncture came to Europe and the United States a very long time ago. It's a great way to have some fun and learn something interesting first thing in the morning, so join us every Friday in January.

Then in February Susan Barendregt will be bringing you more cool information on nutrition and health!


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