The first time you hear about coffee enemas can leave you feeling confused and a little weirded out. But the truth is, coffee enemas have been associated with the following benefits:
Improved mental clarity
Reduce die-off symptoms during detoxes
Helping eliminate parasites
Helping improve digestion
Helping improve liver and gallbladder function
Helping stimulate the vagus nerve and brain function
These qualities can make regular coffee enemas a boost to managing autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Enemas have been used therapeutically since 1500 BC. Coffee enemas, however, have been used in medical settings since around the 1920s. They were once so accepted that the Merck Manual of medicine listed them as a treatment until 1977 — they were removed simply due to lack of room in the manual.
How Coffee Enemas May Help When You Have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
Modern life is stressful and toxic and hard on our bodies. Toxins are now in our air, water, food, and everyday products we use.
The liver is a primary detoxification organ and it is overwhelmed in many people today, which contributes to inflammation and autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
The liver metabolizes many toxins and eliminates them in bile first through the gallbladder and then the colon. Bile is recycled by the liver up to 10 times. With today’s toxic burdens, this system can become over burdened.
Coffee Enemas Can Support Detoxification in People with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
Coffee enemas have long been known as a tool for detoxification:
Liver Detox: Many people these days have sluggish liver and gallbladder function and thick bile. Caffeine from a coffee enema dilates the liver’s bile ducts, helping eliminate toxins from the liver.
Blood and Colon Detox: The lower large intestine absorbs liquids from waste in the colon. It is here where coffee is absorbed and goes to work. Coffee contains palmitic acids that travel from the large intestine to the liver through the portal vein system. These palmitic acids are believed to boost the production of glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant. Your body’s blood supply passes through the liver every three minutes. Because a typical coffee enema last about 15 minutes, this antioxidant boost helps eliminate toxins, cleanse the blood, and prevent the recycling of toxic bile.
Improves Tone of the Colon and Motility: It is believed a compound in coffee called theophylline dilates blood vessels in the large intestine, thus boosting blood flow and improving muscle tone and motility. This can help people with constipation and sluggish digestive function.
Improves Vagus Nerve and Brain Health. Believe it or not, coffee enemas can boost your digestive health by improving your brain health. The act of holding the enema stimulates the vagus nerve, a large nerve that runs between the organs and the brain. This in turn not only helps improve brain health, but also improves overall digestive health and function through improved gut-brain communication. The coffee also stimulates cholinergenic receptors, which support contraction of the gallbladder and intestinal muscles.
Does a Coffee Enema Cause a Coffee Buzz?
While the palmitic acid and other helpful nutrients from coffee travel to the liver, the coffee stays in the lower colon until it is eliminated and typically does not generate a coffee buzz. Most people who get too jittery from drinking coffee feel fine after a coffee enema, if not more relaxed and calmer (probably because of the vagus nerve stimulation). However, people who are fragile and have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism should start with a very diluted coffee solution and perform the enema in the morning in case it overstimulates their system.
How do you perform a coffee enema?
Ask my office for directions on how to perform a coffee enema. We can guide you in how to get started to help make the experience successful. If you’re like most people, you’ll come to enjoy the benefits of coffee enemas as part of your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism protocol.
If you have been researching how to improve your health, you may have heard of leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability. If that conjures an unpleasant image of your gut contents leaking into the rest of your body — that’s not too far off the mark.
Leaky gut happens when contents from the small intestine spill into the sterile bloodstream through a damaged and “leaky” gut wall. This contamination of the bloodstream by not only partially digested foods but also bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens begins to create a foundation for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune health disorders.
Symptoms and disorders linked to leaky gut include fatigue, depression, brain fog, skin problems, joint pain, chronic pain, autoimmune disease, puffiness, anxiety, poor memory, asthma, food allergies and sensitivities, seasonal allergies, fungal infections, migraines, arthritis, PMS, and many more. Basically, your genetic predispositions will determine how leaky gut manifests for you.
Leaky gut is referred to as intestinal permeability in the scientific research. It means inflammation has caused the inner lining of the small intestine to become damaged and overly porous. This allows overly large compounds into the small intestine. The immune system recognizes these compounds as hostile invaders that don’t belong in the bloodstream and launches an ongoing attack against them, raising inflammation throughout the body. Also, some of these compounds are very toxic (endotoxins) and take up residence throughout the body, triggering inflammation wherever they go.
At the same time, excess intestinal mucous and inflammation from the damage prevents much smaller nutrients from getting into the bloodstream, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and poor cellular function.
Leaky gut is increasingly being recognized as a common underlying factor in most inflammatory symptoms and disorders.
Conventional medicine has long ridiculed leaky gut information and protocols as quack science and alternative medicine folklore, but newer research now establishes it as a legitimate mechanism. In fact, pharmaceutical companies are even working on drugs to address leaky gut.
Research has established links between leaky gut and many chronic disorders. It’s good this long-known information is finally being validated in the dominant medical paradigm as the gut is the largest immune organ, powerfully influencing the rest of the body, as well as the brain.
Current studies link intestinal permeability with inflammatory bowel disorders, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, depression, psoriasis, and other chronic and autoimmune conditions. Given what we know about the connection between gut health and immunity, it’s vital to include a gut repair protocol in overall treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
How to mend leaky gut
Sometimes, repairing leaky gut can be as simple as removing inflammatory foods from your diet. Other times it’s more complicated. Most importantly, you need to know why you have leaky gut. Either way, however, your diet is foundational.
Many cases of leaky gut stem from a standard US diet of processed foods and excess sugars. Food intolerances also contribute significantly, especially a gluten intolerance. A leaky gut diet, also known as an autoimmune diet, has helped many people repair intestinal permeability. Keeping blood sugar balanced is also vital. If blood sugar that gets too low or too high, this promotes leaky gut. Stabilizing blood sugar requires eating regularly enough to avoid energy crashes. You also need to prevent high blood sugar by avoiding too many sugars and carbohydrates. Regular exercise is also vital to stabilizing blood sugar and promoting a healthy gut.
Also, failure to eat enough fiber and produce leads to leaky gut by creating a very unhealthy gut microbiome, or gut bacteria. Our intestines (and entire body) depend on a healthy and diverse gut microbiome for proper function. A healthy gut microbiome comes from eating at least 25 grams of fiber a day and a wide and rotating variety of plant foods.
Other common things that lead to leaky gut include antibiotics, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, excess alcohol, hypothyroidism, and autoimmunity.
A leaky gut protocol can help you improve your health, relieve symptoms, boost energy, make you happier, and clear your brain fog. Ask my office for advice on improving your well being through a leaky gut diet and protocol.
People tend not to think about their gallbladder unless gallstones become a painful and debilitating problem requiring surgery. However, your gallbladder could be causing gut problems or chronic inflammatory issues, even if you have no overt gallbladder symptoms.
In fact, gallbladder issues are one of the most common reasons people have chronic gastrointestinal symptoms that are difficult to treat. This is because people rarely consider gallbladder health.
The gallbladder is reservoir for bile, which it secretes to emulsify fats in the diet.
The issue with many cases of poor gallbladder health isn’t gallbladder stones but instead biliary stasis. This is a condition in which the bile becomes overly thick and doesn’t secrete well to help digest fats.
Gallstones are obvious and easy to diagnose. Symptoms of gallstones include:
Severe and sudden pain in the upper right abdomen and possibly extending to the upper back.
Fever and shivering.
Severe nausea and vomiting.
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
Clay colored stools or dark urine.
Typically, gallstones include a trip to the emergency room and gallbladder removal surgery, one of the most commonly performed surgeries today.
However, by paying attention to your gallbladder health, you can not only avoid an unnecessary surgery that raises the risks of developing other health problems, but also you can improve your gut function and lower inflammation.
Sometimes in cases of biliary stasis, an ultrasound can show gallstones that have formed but not yet obstructed the gallbladder. However, for many people, overly thick bile is the problem. This can be identified via symptoms.
Symptoms of biliary stasis include:
Bloating after meals
Burping after meals
Fish oil burps from fish oil capsules
Fatty foods make you feel worse
These are symptoms that a conventional doctor may dismiss altogether, and that can also be caused by other imbalances.
Biliary stasis is especially common in overweight women over 40 who have had children due to the effects of hormonal shifts on the gallbladder.
It’s important to address gallbladder function and biliary stasis as sufficient bile flow is necessary to digest fats. When fats aren’t digested, the undigested fats cause imbalances elsewhere in the body.
Undigested fats can lead to poor sphincter function in the digestive tract, which facilitates the transport of bacteria from the large intestine into the small intestine, causing a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO causes myriad symptoms, including chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, or both. Bloating is also common with SIBO.
Biliary stasis also backs up the liver’s detoxification pathways. As a result, the liver cannot effectively detoxify hormones, toxins, and other metabolites. This increases the toxic burden on your system, which in turn increases inflammation.
Many people with poor gallbladder function and biliary stasis naturally start avoiding fats, even healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil. They also may avoid fish or fish oils because they get “fishy burps.” This increases health risks, particularly for the brain and the hormones, because we need ample healthy fats for optimal function. It also leads to deficiencies in the vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
If you are taking all the right GI supplements and doing the right gut health diets but still not improving, your gallbladder health is one thing you may want to consider.
How to improve your gallbladder health
Fortunately, various nutritional compounds support gallbladder health, fat digestion, and liver detoxification, including dandelion root, milk thistle seed extract, ginger root, phosphatidylcholine, and taurine.
These compounds can also help if your gallbladder has been removed, along with ox bile.
In order to improve and maintain your gallbladder health, also include these practices:
In the world of functional medicine, it has long been known that gut health is paramount to the health of the rest of the body. For decades we didn’t fully understand why, although we knew the gut was the seat of the immune system and chronic inflammation. Now with the gut microbiome renaissance underway, we also understand how integral gut bacteria is to health.
As such, addressing gut health has always been one and continues to be one of the first steps in managing a chronic inflammatory or autoimmune condition. However, people tend to fall into the trap of thinking everyone needs to follow the same gut healing protocol, wondering why it works for some and not others.
As it turns out, repairing gut health is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There is not just one diet, one type of probiotic, or one gut healing powder that works for everyone. Although there are some basic foundations to gut healing — remove immune reactive foods, keep blood sugar stable, and create a healthy gut microbiome — the truth is you still need to know why your gut health deteriorated in order to address the root cause.
For example, a number of patients can come in with a complaint of constipation. While laxatives may help the patient, it is nevertheless important to understand why they are constipated in the first place. This goes for any digestive complaint and not just constipation.
Here are some different reasons why a person can develop a digestive complaint such as constipation:
A past brain injury has dampened activity of the vagus nerve, which carries communication back and forth between the gut and the brain. This slows down motility of the intestines and causes constipation.
The gut’s nervous system, called the enteric nervous system, has degenerated significantly due to chronic gut inflammation from immune reactive foods, too many sugars and junk foods, chronic stress, gut infections, or brain degeneration. Intestinal motility depends on a healthy enteric nervous system, and constipation develops.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) releases gases that shut down motility.
Medications impact intestinal motility and cause constipation.
Dysautonomia, a dysregulation of the central nervous system, prevents the body from getting into the “rest and digest” state that allows for healthy bowel function.
A one-size-fits-all gut protocol can completely heal one person, create improvement in another, do nothing at all for a third, and perhaps make another even worse.
It’s also important to screen for more serious conditions. These can include gastric ulcers from an h. pylori infection, intestinal permeability — or leaky gut — from damage to the microvilli of the small intestine, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease. Knowing whether these conditions are an issue also impacts how you manage gut health.
Also vital is knowing whether gut autoimmunity is the root cause of your gut issues. You can test for this through Cryex Labs. If so, this changes your expectations of your outcomes and how you evaluate your progress. Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system erroneously attacks and destroys tissue in the body. Eventually this leads to symptoms and breakdown of function.
Although autoimmune disease cannot be cured, it often can be dampened or driven into remission for long periods of time. However, unpredictable flare ups also happen, and the person with gut autoimmunity must have realistic expectations in order not to feel demoralized if their symptoms flare and recede. Also, there is still much we don’t know about autoimmunity. For some people it’s easy to manage and for others it’s a constant battle. In these cases, the goal can be as simple as “more good days.”
This is an overview of why common gut-healing protocols work gangbusters for some people and little to not at all for others. Our digestive system is one of the most fascinating, complex, and influential systems in the body. The more scientists learn about it, the more apparent it becomes that gut health largely determines the health of the rest of the body, including the brain.
This is why we are seeing so many chronic health conditions in modernized societies that subsist largely on industrialized agriculture and food processing. The commercialization of cheap, processed, chemically laden, and highly sweetened “foods” largely void of produce has inflamed and damaged the digestive tract, decimated the gut microbiome (some researchers call it an extinction event), and ravaged the brain in today’s modern populations.
Fortunately, functional medicine excels when it comes to repairing and maintaining gut health. Ask our office how we can help you.
If you struggle with heartburn or acid reflux, you just pop some pills for that, right? Turns out regular use of drugs to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers can lead to an earlier death. These disorders are some of the easier to manage using functional medicine protocols, so it’s unnecessary to risk shortening your lifespan through chronic disease when you can enjoy improved health instead.
A recent study found that chronic use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is linked to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and upper gastrointestinal cancer. The degree of risk increases with duration of use, even if you take low doses. Other studies have linked PPIs to dementia, bone fractures, and pneumonia.
Common brands of PPIs include Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium and Protonix.
The study looked through the medical records of more than 200,000 people over 10 years. They found those who took PPIs had an almost 20 percent increased rate of death over people who took other types of acid-suppressing drugs (unfortunately, they did not compare death rates to people who took no acid-suppressing drugs). This applied to both prescription and over-the-counter PPIs.
What’s even more alarming is that researchers found more than half the people taking PP!s had no medical need for the drugs and PPI-related deaths were more common in this group.
Why you should address the root cause of your acid reflux or heartburn instead of taking acid-suppressing drugs
It’s assumed overly high stomach acid causes heartburn and acid reflux, but in most cases it’s due to low stomach acid. Stomach acid is vital to the health of the body in its role of digesting foods, in particular meats. When stomach acid is too low your stomach is unable to properly digest foods. Your small intestine does not want to accept improperly undigested food — this will damage its lining and contribute to intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. The low pH of the stomach acid prevents the valve to the small intestine from opening and, as a result, the contents of the stomach shoot back up into the esophagus.
Although the food is not acidic enough to gain entry into the small intestine in a timely manner, it is too acidic for the delicate tissue of the esophagus, which it burns as it shoots back up toward your throat. The extra time the food spends in your stomach also causes it to putrefy, causing that acid stomach sensation, or the feeling of having a brick in your stomach. Some people quit eating meat not because they want to be vegetarians, but because eating meat makes them feel sick.
Low stomach acid contributes to digestive issues throughout the rest of the digestive tract. As undigested food travels into the intestines, it causes inflammation and damages the lining of the intestines. This leads to intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes inflamed and leaky. Leaky gut allows undigested foods into the bloodstream, yet prevents micronutrients from passing through because of the inflammation. Undigested foods in the bloodstream trigger inflammation throughout the body.
Stomach acid serves another useful purpose in that it kills bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens that may be in your food, preventing them from getting into the digestive tract and the bloodstream. When stomach acid is low, you lose this additional layer of protection.
Sufficient stomach acid also prevents food sensitivities. Undigested food particles trigger the gut’s immune system to become over burdened and over reactive. This causes the immune system to start reacting to more of the foods you eat, creating immune reactions that become food sensitivities. This is called losing oral tolerance, and it can be a primary cause of food sensitivities and other health issues.
Symptoms of low stomach acid
Stomach ulcers (low stomach acid raises the risk of an pylori infection, which causes stomach ulcers)
Belching after meals
Hiccups after eating
Undigested food in stools
What to do for low stomach acid
You can help support your stomach acid by taking betaine hydrochloric acid (HCl) capsules. Take HCL after you begin eating a meal with meat or protein. How much do you take? Keep increasing your dose until you feel warmth in your stomach, then cut back down to the previous dose. You may need quite a bit in the beginning but then find you need to gradually lower your dose over time.
If you feel intense gastric burning with even one capsule, it means you may have ulcers and an H. pylori infection that can be treated with nutritional compounds.
Have you ever wanted to know everything there is to know about your thyroid? This 7-part video series will cover thyroid lab testing, nutrition and infections that affect the thyroid, toxins, thyroid hormone conversion, lifestyle, and adrenal interplay.