Tag Archives: #liznewman

Stress Can Weaken Your Immune System

Did  you know that about 80% of our immune system is in our intestinal lining?  I said after the last post that I would follow up on the importance of insulin yet at this time we need to focus on our immune systems.

Stress can come in the form of excessive worry and things such as eating processed food. Both of these have a profound effect on our immune system through our gut/intestinal lining.

Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT)[is a component of the mucosa-associated (gut lining) lymphoid tissue (MALT) which works in the immune system to protect the body from invasion in the gut. 

So it really does matter what we eat because there are foods that heal the gut through the proliferation of good bacteria – and foods that can hurt the gut by feeding bad or pathogenic bacteria. Good bacteria feeds on good fibrous food (mainly vegetables and fruit aka prebiotics) and bad bacteria feeds on things such as sugar and processed carbohydrates to name two of many.  

To clarify some lingo: Probiotics are good bacteria you take in pill form. Fermented food and drinks are probiotics in food form. Prebiotics are the fiber we eat through a healthy diet.

“A huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract,” says Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.   (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research/advancements-in-research/fundamentals/in-depth/the-gut-where-bacteria-and-immune-system-meet ) 

This is a very general overview, yet worth researching further or stay tuned for future posts on this topic.

Here are a few resources to help you understand more fully the gut-immune system and the stress-gut connection:

https://chriskresser.com/how-stress-wreaks-havoc-on-your-gut (article)

https://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-9/  (podcast)


In future posts I will explore good gut food and bad gut food. Stay tuned.

Do I have Leaky Gut?

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

Thousands of years later, research has proven him correct, and one of the diseases we are most concerned about is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome (LGS) is a condition that happens as a consequence of intestinal hyperpermeability. In other words, the tight junctions between the cell walls of the gut malfunction and become weak, allowing things like toxins, microbes and undigested food particles to pass into the bloodstream.

This compromises the liver, the lymphatic system, and the immune system creating an auto-immune response in the body.

Research has shown that leaky gut is now the underlying cause to a number of “seemingly unrelated” health concerns and chronic diseases. So what’s causing the leaking gut to lead to these chronic diseases? Primarily, it’s the overprescribing of antibiotics. Secondly, it’s the overuse of NSAIDS, such as Advil. Both of these cause inflammation in the intestinal wall, creating the spaces between the cells. What also contributes to LGS is our current lifestyle of excessive alcohol intake, chronic stress, toxic overload, bacterial imbalances, daily/gluten allergies and poor diet choices.

Curious about what LGS might look like? Here are seven signs you might have it:

  1. Food sensitivities
  2. IBS
  3. Autoimmune Disease including Crohn’s
  4. Thyroid Problems
  5. Malabsorption
  6. Inflammatory Skin Conditions
  7. Anxiety, Mood Imbalance and Autism

Other chronic diseases that results from LGS are: asthma, allergies, sinusitis, migraines, fibromyalgia, inflammatory joint disorders, PMS, uterine and breast fibroids. LGS is also often the foundation of chronic fatigue syndrome and pediatric immune deficiencies.

There is one other important factor to consider if you think you have LGS. Not only do toxins get into the bloodstream, due to the weakness between the cell walls, but the absorptive surface area of the intestines gets damaged, so even the beneficial nutrients aren’t absorbed resulting in nutritional deficiencies.

LGS can sound daunting, but there’s hope. We can work towards repairing the gut lining. If you are experiencing any of the above signs and symptoms, acupuncture and diet therapy can help. Feel free to contact me for a consultation.

https://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/Leaky-Gut.cfm                                         https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind/spirit/gastrointestinal/what-is-leaky-gut/               https://draxe.com/7-signs-symptoms-you-have-leaky-gut

The Benefits of Collagen

Collagen is the most substantial protein in our body. It iscollagen found in bones, muscles, tendons, skin, blood vessels, and even the digestive system. It gives our skin strength and elasticity and replaces dead skin cells, and helps with wound healing. Both tendons and ligaments are made of it, so you can consider collagen the “glue” that helps hold the body together.

There are 16 types of collagen in our body. These include types 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10. Here is a quick overview of what they all consist of:

  • Type 1 – is most abundant and strongest, it helps form tendons, ligaments, organs, skin, bone and found in the GI tract
  • Type 2 – helps build cartilage, key to joint health
  • Type 3 – major component of the extracellular matrix that makes up our organs and skin, key to heart health
  • Type 4 – forms basal lamina, which is found in endothelial cells that help form the tissues that surround organs, muscles and fat
  • Type 5 – makes the surface of cells, hair strands and tissue found in women’s placentas
  • Type 10 – helps with new bone formation and forming articular cartilage

So how can collagen boost your health?

  • It improves the health of your hair and skin (increases elasticity and reduces cellulite and stretch marks)
  • Reduces joint pain and degeneration
  • Helps heal GI disorders such as leaky gut, IBS, acid reflux, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
  • Boosts metabolism, muscle mass and energy output
  • Strengthens hair, teeth and nails
  • Improves liver health
  • Protects cardiovascular health

You can take a collagen supplement on its own, mainly found in capsules or powder form, which is great to put in smoothies. When looking for a collagen supplement, try to include all the types discussed above. Also, make sure to take it with vitamin C, so your body can convert the collagen into a usable protein. Another way to get more collagen in your diet is through a daily dose of bone broth, which is nutrient dense, easy to digest, and rich in flavor. If you prefer bone broth over a collagen supplement, just make sure it’s from grass fed, organic source.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or if you would like some guidance on choosing a good brand.


Meditate your Way to Health

meditationMeditation is relaxation. It’s calming to the mind.

Most of us walk through our days with thousands of thoughts going through our heads, driving us crazy. Some are beneficial and help us feel good. Some are unpleasant, put us in a bad mood, and don’t serve us in being the best version of ourselves.

This is where meditation comes in. Meditation releases dopamine, a major neurotransmitter that’s a key factor in motivation, productivity, and focus. It provides the zest for life and is in charge of our pleasure-reward system. With optimal levels of dopamine, we experience feelings of satisfaction, bliss, and even euphoria.

Meditation has also been shown to increase melatonin, serotonin, GABA, DHEA, Endorphins, Growth Hormone, and more. Additionally, the analysis of MRI scans have found increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, as well as in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.

Two ways to meditate:

1. Follow a guided meditation. Apps like Insight Timer and Headspace are great for this. Oprah & Deepak also have online 21 day guided meditations that are very well done.

2. Simply follow your breath. Feel your inhale, then your exhale. Breath deeply & slowly. You can listen to calming music in the background such as rain drops or the sea shore, or sit in silence wherever you are comfortable and won’t be disturbed.

There is no need to sit cross-legged on the floor. Pick your favorite chair and make yourself comfortable. Eliminate distractions. Then just sit.  

The key to meditation is consistency. It’s like a multi-vitamin for your brain. It’s good to take everyday. Thoughts will come. Allow them to pass like the clouds in the sky. Be gentle with yourself when it comes to this. It can take weeks, months or even years to calm our usual monkey minds.  Allow yourself whatever time you need. No judgment. 

Other great benefits of meditation include: 

  • A calm mind
  • Good concentration
  • Better clarity
  • Optimal blood pressure
  • Lower levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
  • Increases energy levels, while gaining an inner source of energy
  • Emotional stability improves
  • Increased Creativity

Your Gut Health, Part 4: Probiotics, Prebiotics & Synbiotics

Before moving on to Part 4 of Your Gut Health, please refer to my recent posts for a refresher…

Your Gut Health, Part 1: How the Bacteria in your Gut could be Used to Treat Mental Illness

Picture3Your Gut Health, Part 2: Healing & Optimizing Digestion

Your Gut Health, Part 3: Optimizing your Gut Flora

Talk about PREbiotics is on the rise but not many of us really understand what they are. Well, prebiotics beneficially nourish the probiotics that are already in your gut. They are specialized plant fibers that help your good bacteria grow and flourish.

Prebiotics include: (in order of prebiotic fiber content by weight)

Raw, Chicory Root 64.6%, Raw, Jerusalem Artichoke 31.5%, Raw, Dandelion Greens 24.3%, Raw, Garlic 17.5%, Raw, Leek 11.7%, Raw, Onion 8.6%, Raw Asparagus 5%, Raw Wheat bran 5%

Another good article about prebiotics: http://www.umassmed.edu/nutrition/ibd/ask-Nutritionist/prebiotics-what-where-and-how-to-get-them/

Many of us are familiar with PRObiotics (also called live cultures) and their importance. For those of you who could use a refresher, probiotics introduce good bacteria into the gut. They are essential for a functional digestive system, functional brain chemistry and good health in general.  Probiotics can be taken in capsule form or consumed in any or all of the foods mentioned in this article.

Note: probiotics in capsule form should have various genus’, species and strains of bacteria (Lactobacillus (genus) reuteri (species) ATCC55730 (strain) ) and at least 5-8 billion microorganisms.

A good article on how to choose a probiotic: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/choose-best-probiotic/

Synbiotics are a combination of prebiotics and probiotics. They are found in fermented foods such as pickles and pickled foods, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt and kefir. Eating a variety of these foods gives you a great variety of probiotics species and strains.

Studies have shown that prebiotics and good gut bacteria, together, play a significant role in mental health, digestive health and overall health. Many individuals who consume prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics on a daily basis have fewer issues with anxiety, depression, stress, digestive disorders and have a stronger immune system.

*See part 5 – next week – to learn more about the genus, species and strains of probiotics helpful for optimal health.

*Feel free to contact me for any guidance or recommendations when choosing a probiotic or prebiotic.


Your Gut Health, Part 3: Optimizing your Gut Flora

Last post we talked about some general things to remember in aiding optimal digestion. Some of these things included chewing well, eating smaller portions, choosing local & organic, and exercising to reduce stress. This week I’d like to touch on how to optimize your gut flora or gut microbiome:Unknown

1. Cut back on refined foods and especially sugar. Fruits are ok in small quantities.

2. Eat fermented foods, e.g. kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles (salt-cured only), coconut yogurt, miso, kimchi. The process of fermentation
creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

3. Reduce inflammation by avoiding excess Omega-6 and getting plenty of Omega-3s.

4. Take acid resistant probiotics – at least 10 billion per day if you have a healthy digestive system. And it is recommended that one switches brands regularly – or alternates between brands to get a good variety.

5. Get plenty of rest. Studies have shown that sleep disturbances such as sleep deprivation have been shown to increase inflammatory cytokines (proteins secreted by certain cells of the immune system & affect the behavior of other cells).

6. Adjust your fiber intake to a level that works for you. Some people do better with more, some people do better with less.

7. Eating plenty of gut-healing bone broth. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen (heals gut lining), glutamine, glycine and proline.

8. Are you gluten sensitive? Try excluding gluten from your diet for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce it to see if you have a reaction.

Next week, we’ll we’ll go into more detail about probiotics and fermented foods…Keep tuned in!

Here are some good sources of additional information:




Your Gut Health, Part 2: Healing & Optimizing Digestion

Two weeks ago we started talking about our gut health and how it can be the root of so many diseases, including mental illness. This week we’re going to touch on healing ygood&bad gut floraour gut and optimizing your digestive system for improved physical and emotional well-being.

There is so much to say about gut health. I will simply touch on some of the most important aspects in this week’s post. If you would like to come in for a one-on-one consult, please contact me. I LOVE helping people heal their gut!

There are some general things to remember in aiding optimal digestion. You’ve heard it all before, yet are you actually doing it??:

  1. Digestion begins in your mouth. Chew your food well and slowly to begin the process of digestion so that your gut doesn’t have to work so hard.
  2. Do not eat too much at one time. Your digestive system will be sluggish and will not work optimally for you. It is better for digestion (and energy) to eat smaller portions more frequently.
  3. Drink small amounts of room temp or warm drinks. Do not drink icy cold drinks while eating. Cold slows things down and warm moves.
  4. Sugar and refined/processed food is detrimental to your health and digestive system. If you must indulge, then eat small amounts of refined treats a few times a week. Just enough to be happy and stay healthy.
  5. Eat predominantly whole foods. Foods that come out of the ground or off a tree, for example.
  6. Eat a little raw food with your cooked food. Cooked food digests more easily and raw adds some good enzymes to aid in digestion. Just remember to chew it well!
  7. Eat locally grown organic food if that is possible for you.
  8. MOVE your body every day even if it is jumping in place or swinging your arms and legs. Circulation is a key to healthy digestion.
  9. Improve the state of your gut flora*…
  10. Remove as much stress from your life as you possibly can by simplifying and doing what is truly important. Let go of energy wasting people and events. Stress is detrimental to the health of every single cell in our bodies.
  11. POOP!! Good digestive health ends with letting go of what is not needed. There is a strong emotional component to this as well. You are not only letting go physically, yet emotionally letting go of anything that is not serving you.

*Tune in next week for the next part in the series that will go further into how to improve the state of your gut flora…

Acupuncture and the Placebo Effect

placebo effectAs holistic medicine is on the rise, such as Acupuncture, Herbalism or Ayurvedic Medicine, it’s natural that skepticism will rise with it. Many (but not all) western medicine sites or blogs, not understanding how our medicine works, claim that acupuncture is nothing more than a placebo effect.

Researchers especially hold strong to a bias against acupuncture and understandably so. There hasn’t been enough clinical trials in the United States and unfortunately, some of the best research in acupuncture hasn’t been translated from Chinese to English. With acupuncture, in any case, it’s nearly impossible to do the “gold standard double blind type studies” and this is because:

1) a holistic system does not match well to reductionist methods
2) sham acupuncture is a very poor control
3) many studies are designed and performed by people with no experience whatsoever with acupuncture or eastern medicine and in effect are almost guaranteed to produce a negative result

Although clinical experience doesn’t carry the same weight as research does in the world of Western medicine, I do believe it’s something worth sharing and taking into account. In my own personal clinical experience, the majority of my patients have not only seen some improvement, but great improvement, especially in their overall condition. The placebo effect is fairly specific and when my patients come in for back pain or general arthritis, they report experiencing other positive clinic results such as improvement in their sleep, stress management, depression or digestion.

One other point I’d like to mention about the placebo effect is that “it is widely accepted that animals are not susceptible to the placebo effect.” Many studies with rats or mice have demonstrated that acupuncture can induce very specific physiological effects that are nearly impossible to explain as the result of placebo. A review from the veterinary world concludes acupuncture is both safe and effect for pain and “should be strongly considered.”

So, it it placebo or not? And why does it matter? For researchers, it matters, but for you who are looking for healing, it doesn’t have to matter. What matters is the results your local acupuncturists are getting with their patients. The one and only true wealth you have is your health. I encourage you to invest in it wisely.


Your Gut Health, Part 1: How the Bacteria in your Gut could be Used to Treat Mental Illness

There’s a lot of speculation about the origins of so many diseases such as ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety, depression and multiple sclerosis. And why are we seeing it now more than ever? A lot of research is going into the study of the gut’s microbiome, its healthy and unhealthy gut flora, and the possible contribution of the unhealthy gut flora to the increase of these diseases. But how?

gut brain relationshipAccording to new research published recently in the journal eLife, scientists with New York City’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai propose that altering the gut bacteria has a direct impact on the myelin in the body. Myelin is an insulating layer, or sheath, that forms around nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord. It allows electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells. If myelin is damaged, neural communication is impaired and these impulses slow down. This type of damage results in diseases such as multiple sclerosis and mental illness.

In the study, facilitated by NYC’s Icahn School of Medicine, it showed that when the unhealthy gut flora taken from depressed mice was transferred into the healthy mice, there where changes to the myelin sheath of the healthy mice. These mice even began to “engage in social avoidance behaviors” that are similar to depression.

There are many studies found in PubMed that show similar results between the gut-brain axis and the illnesses mentioned above. I am a firm believer of the influential relationship between the gut and the brain and I look forward to studying the ongoing research on this topic. I also agree that our gut, widely referenced as our second brain, is a root of so many of these diseases.  


Acupuncture is of great support with any digestive discomforts you may be experiencing. We work closely with the Spleen, Stomach and Liver organs. By supporting these organs and/or moving any excess energy among them, we reach and support the root of many gastrointestinal diseases. A healthy gut is the first stage of overall health.



Fiber as an Essential Role in your Diet

Fiber plays an essential role in your heart, digestive and skin health. Many benefits include:

  • Blood Sugar Control – by slowing down digestion, the breakdown of carbohydeat yo' fiber!rates, and the absorption of sugar
  • Heart Health – by lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing your risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke
  • Healthy Weight Management – by increasing your feeling of fullness; eat less and feel satisfied longer
  • Healthy Skin – by removing yeast and fungus out of your body by means other than your skin (which usually results in acne and rashes)
  • Supports Digestion – by reducing your risk of hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, gall and kidney stones, and providing relief from IBS

So, what are our options when it comes to fiber? Well, whole grains have been known as the best source of fiber, but why are so many people going gluten-free?According to a growing number of experts, humans aren’t actually designed to eat grains and, by doing so, it might be damaging your gut. In fact, to improve uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas and abdominal pains, it is recommended to maintain a very low fiber diet for a while. We will explore this topic more in depth next week, but for now, let’s look at all the options available for those that have a healthy gut and are not drawn to going gluten-free.

Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve. Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both fibers. It’s just the amount of each type that varies in different foods.
Soluble fiber dissolves and forms a gel-like material in water which helps lower glucose and cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, psyllium, and chia seeds.
Insoluble water absorbs water while going through the digestive track, which increases stool bulk and promotes bowel regularity. It acts like a scrub brush in your colon, which helps with constipation and irregular stools. Good sources of insoluble fiber are whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, gluten-free whole grains, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans, potatoes and chia seeds, as well. 
I encourage you to be mindful when you are shopping for snacks such as healthy chips or crackers. Read the labels. Ideally, you don’t want to buy anything with less than 5 grams of fiber, 3 at the least. You need the fiber to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and absorption of sugar. Otherwise, it will only lead to a significant spike in blood sugar.
Along with the adequate fiber intake, make sure to drink plenty of water and get your daily exercise to support the movement in your digestive tract.