Five Steps to Healthy Gut Flora

Back in the old days (and that was only ten or at most twenty years ago) life was sim­ple: germs were bad.

Now we know how ben­e­fi­cial gut bac­te­ria can be – they help you digest your food, pro­tect your body from toxic chem­i­cals, boost your immune sys­tem, and reg­u­late the hor­mones that con­trol your appetite, metab­o­lism, and mood.

Healthy colonies of intesti­nal flora play a role in weight loss, bloat­ing, irri­ta­ble bowel, ulcers, depres­sion, fibromyal­gia, aller­gies, and more.

Here are the five most impor­tant strate­gies you can use to ensure the health of the neigh­bors in your diges­tive tract.

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Food Stabilizers, Emulsifiers, and Flow Agents — Are They Safe?

Mag­ne­sium stearate
Guar gum
Xan­than gum
Gum ara­bic

I’ve always been a lit­tle ner­vous when I see these listed on a food label.

These ingre­di­ents are often added to foods to mod­ify their tex­ture – sta­bi­lize them, thicken them, make them smooth, or allow them to flow.   They all sound nat­ural enough, but is there dan­ger lurk­ing? Are they safe?
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Three Groups of People Who Can Benefit from Non-Surgical Lumbar Decompression

About ten years ago I learned about a new treat­ment method for peo­ple with low back prob­lems – lum­bar decom­pres­sion with the DRX-9000.

The DRX-9000 is a big fancy machine that was devel­oped to give peo­ple an alter­na­tive to surgery for her­ni­ated lum­bar discs.  Now I have many grate­ful patients who are thank­ful for the technique.

But there are many dif­fer­ent vari­eties of low back pain.  Not every­one has a clear cut sit­u­a­tion involv­ing her­ni­a­tion of a lum­bar disc.  In my expe­ri­ence, there are two other groups of patients for whom lum­bar decom­pres­sion is help­ful.
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Why Calorie Counts on Food Labels Have It All Wrong

The calo­rie counts on food labels are all wrong.

The way we mea­sure the calo­ries in food goes back to the nine­teenth cen­tury.  Here’s the basic method that’s been used (with only minor mod­i­fi­ca­tion) since then: you burn the food to a crisp and see how much chem­i­cal energy is released.

The prob­lems with this over­sim­pli­fied method were described in the Sep­tem­ber, 2013 issue of Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can.  Based on the author’s analy­sis, the offi­cial calo­rie count of foods varies wildly from the num­ber of calo­ries actu­ally absorbed into your body.

Grow­ing, prepar­ing, and eat­ing food each involve many steps and each step intro­duces vari­ables. Here are some of the rea­sons that calo­rie counts can vary:

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Chiropractic and the Future of Healthcare

I have been prac­tic­ing chi­ro­prac­tic for more than 33 years.

In addi­tion to my exten­sive clin­i­cal expe­ri­ence, I’ve deep­ened my knowl­edge by keep­ing up with the sci­en­tific lit­er­a­ture as best as a sin­gle per­son can.

Here is what I’ve come to understand:

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Sleep Your Way to Better Health

A full com­ple­ment of restora­tive sleep is an essen­tial health ingredient.

With­out ade­quate sleep your mood gets nasty, you’re less pro­duc­tive at work, and you might even snap at your best friend.  To make mat­ters worse, you gain weight, stress your immune sys­tem, and increase your pain levels.

Poor sleep is just ter­ri­ble in every way.  That’s why I’ve incor­po­rated the devel­op­ment of rest­ful sleep as part of Step 7 of Dr. Lavine’s Ten Step Pro­gram to Con­quer Chronic Ill­ness.

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Warning: Consult a Physician Before Beginning Any Program of Physical Inactivity

Con­sult a physi­cian before begin­ning any pro­gram of phys­i­cal inactivity.

I stole this ironically-worded phrase from an arti­cle I just read “Seden­tary Liv­ing is A Dan­ger­ous State of Being” by Martha Peter­son in Pain Relief Through Move­ment. 

The arti­cle does a refresh­ing job of express­ing some of the themes I repeat­edly stress with my patients, such as the need for a high level of phys­i­cal activ­ity and the sheer bio­log­i­cal absur­dity of the seden­tary life.

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More on Eccentric Workouts Versus Concentric Muscle Loading

I’ve long rec­om­mended work­ing out your mus­cles eccen­tri­cally (doing neg­a­tive work) in rehab­bing from a mus­cle or ten­don injury.  Briefly, eccen­tric con­trac­tion means focus­ing on low­er­ing the weight slowly instead of on lift­ing it. (Check out this arti­cle if you need a review.)

But eccen­tric load­ing of a mus­cle does cre­ate more stress on the ten­don.  Some experts worry that, if done inju­di­ciously, eccen­tric exer­cise can lead to injury.

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Cognitive Training Continues to Boost Your Brain Power Year After Year

Once again, research proves that invest­ing in your brain pays big (and long-lasting) dividends.

As reported in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Geri­atric Soci­ety,  indi­vid­u­als who received a brief course of cog­ni­tive train­ing con­tin­ued to enjoy the ben­e­fits ten years later.

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Are You Over-Stressed or Under-Recuperated?

Deal­ing with stress is a uni­ver­sal fact of mod­ern life. It comes at you from every direc­tion – at work, when com­mut­ing, and from fam­ily and social rela­tion­ships. Even when you try to sleep you’re bat­tling the stress of noise and light pollution.

Han­dle stress effec­tively and life is enjoy­able and excit­ing. Plus your health gets a big boost.

In con­trast, an inef­fec­tive stress response leads to low mood, loss of zest for life, a sup­pressed immune sys­tem, and a host of other health woes.

Many experts believe that unre­lent­ing stress is the major cause of today’s epi­demic of chronic dis­eases – every­thing from heart dis­ease to can­cer to depres­sion. That’s why health gurus from A to Z rec­om­mend “stress reduc­tion” and “stress man­age­ment” meth­ods to dial down the stress volume.

Most of these meth­ods are effec­tive if you fol­low through with them. But not nec­es­sar­ily as effec­tive as they could be. That’s because they’re not always based on under­stand­ing the fun­da­men­tal phys­i­ol­ogy of the stress response.
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