Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Microbiome | Part 2 | Dr. Marisol

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Last week in my blog post,  Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Microbiome | Part 1, we learned about the theories of Pasteur and Bernard, germ theory vs. terrain theory. And, contrary to popular belief in western medicine, it seems that the terrain is the most important aspect when managing the bug.

Probiotic Supplements – Do they Make Sense?

Let me put it in two clear examples for you. You’re told to take probiotics. One pill a day that has 50 billion bacteria. Does it really make sense that this is going to compensate for the 100 trillion bacteria that you have in your intestine? One pill. Wow, must be some kind of magical mystical pill.

What happens when you stop taking it or change your diet or lifestyle? You’re going to have to take way more probiotics if your lifestyle and environment becomes sicker, or way less if your lifestyle and environment becomes healthier. Capiche? Do you see why addressing the body as a whole makes way more sense?

Fecal Transplants – Do they Make Sense?

What about the big buzz word these days, fecal transplants. They are probably more of a buzz because of their inherent shock factor.

They make sense for the moment if you’re willing to be a candidate to put someone else’s poo into your body. In lab studies, transplanting an IBS patient’s stools into healthy mice actually gave the mice unhealthy metabolic profiles, different from the healthy stools1.

However, I caution… Again, you can transplant the stools, but if your lifestyle and environment, your millieu changes, due to stress or the other factors, what happens is your microbiome will change too. Back to the beginning, no further ahead, only a little bit more full of shit (LOL!).

It’s so simple it hurts my head. I hope it’s hurting yours (not because I want to inflict pain, but I want your eyes to open!)

IBS as a Functional Disorder

In addition to all of this, irritable bowel syndrome is a FUNCTIONAL disturbance of the digestive tract. Does it not then beg for treatment that is functional in form, hence a SYSTEMS biology approach, and not one that reduces it down simply to the microbiome2?

The point of this whole blog is this….

IT’S ABOUT LOOKING AT THE BIG AND THE SMALL, SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Because this is the natural logic in our living system. Some systems are grand and complex, like our hormonal regulatory system, and other are less complex and small, like a bacterium. But the reality is that because they all exist together, they must all work together.

The issue for Bernard was that his workings appreciated that we lived as a whole of our systems, and that physiological phenomena always seemed to find balance with highly defined set points. So now I’m encouraging you to think of the whole and not the parts in isolation when you’re considering what to do about your irritable bowel.

What would a systems/whole approach entail?

1. Get the Junk Out – Don’t Let It Pile Up

Terrain is, in effect, how we keep our bodies clean from the waste that perturbs its natural function. Think of it like this. If you kept the garbage piling up in your house, instead of packaging it and taking it to the curb, eventually you wouldn’t be able to get into your house to do the things that you need to. The body is no different. Whether the garbage comes from the byproducts of the microbiome, your own metabolism or the food that you eat, at the end of the day it’s all garbage.

Another analogy that I just love is thinking of the fish tank. A fish, in essence, swims in its own filth unless you clean out the tank. Think of the fish like one of your cells. It spits out, pisses and poops out what it doesn’t need into the water. If your body, or the fish tank, is never cleaned, you get scum build up. The scum that makes the glass cloudy and eventually makes it difficult for the fish, a.k.a. the cell, to survive. This is a good way to understand “le millieu liquide as Bernard understood it.

The focus has shifted from keeping up on housekeeping rather than having a war on the virus. The premise is a strong system that is free of debris. Its “vital force” is intact and it is able to keep the balance between the good and the bad3.

2. Nurture It Like you Would a Garden

I look at it as if our body is a garden. We must feed it, give it water and light, sing to it, make it joyous, reduce the stress, try to avoid natural disasters and natural prey.

As any farmer will tell you, and I have had this conversation with many of my patients that are farmers… “You reap what you sow. If you put in good, you get out good, and more importantly, good takes time.”

We are not looking at dropping a nuke and killing off all the bugs, rather we are willing to put in the time day to day, to get good results. Farmers very much resonate with natural medicine and systems biology because they live it on a daily basis in their work, so it’s so very easy to extend it into their lives.

Our #1 Product to Help with Understanding what our Body is Saying

To help you figure out what the problem is, you fortunately have something very close at your disposable, a totally free assessment. Your stools are one of the best ways to understand what is going on inside your body.

Poop is classically known in our language as #2, but I firmly believe that it was mislabeled and should be called #1, as it is the most important product we produce. It gives us real-time knowledge about what is going on in our bodies. As long as we learn to poop, peek and then assess, we’ve got it all covered.

Start the journey to learn about your poo here

Our stools are the window into our digestion, absorption, and elimination. They show vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal, immune, and nervous system problems. They suggest inflammation, food sensitivities, excess mucus in the body. They are basically the owner’s manual to your health… If you know how to read them. 

Dr. Marisol - Digestive Detective

Poo comes in all shapes and forms and sizes, and that is exactly how we like it because that’s how it is used as a guide to your body’s health. Whether it’s a cow plop or an Oktoberfest sausage… whether it sinks or floats… whether or not it smells like rotten eggs… They’re all key indications to the state of our health.

Download my free guide now and learn how to read your body

Environments Have Timing, so Does your Poo

Another majorly important factor is timing. All systems have timing. With your stools, it’s incredibly important for them to work well and for you to track how often and when you go. The ideal is a 24-hour cycle. A longer stool timing is linked to increased allergy and food sensitivity4, as one example, but there is much more it is linked to.

Timing is everything. Even your microbiome is doing different things depending on the clues in your environment5, following the day and night cycle, or circadian rhythm. So it makes sense that when you’re working on your systems, or your terrain, to start with the most important cycle to optimize.

Change your Terrain – Fix your Irritable Bowel

So now, what are you thinking? Do you still want to target the microbiome? I doubt it! I think now you understand that you must fix the environment and the rest will follow (there are a few exceptions to this rule, so always make sure that you check with your health care provider for what is right for you).

Night Practice for Irritable Bowel Terrain Treatment

My most important medicines for the terrain are the oldest therapies of them all. Likely because they had their roots long ago when people were in tune with these vitalistic principles.

Nightly Restorative Sleep Practice

Sleep is the most important part of our day. So like I do with all of my patients, we start here. We do the majority of our house-work while we’re sleeping, unbeknownst to you… As long as you get a deep and regenerative sleep. Even the microbiome potentially follows the natural day and night cycles6!

If you were like me, when I was in the stormy season of my irritable bowel, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me. Because of this, I was a mess emotionally and my WHOLE life felt like a mess, a hot mess. One of the top complaints made by irritable bowel syndrome sufferers is fatigue. And this is no surprise because if your body is confused with its hormones, nutrient deficiencies and microbiome mayhem, how can you get a good night sleep?

These are the most important tips:

  • Cool your room 
  • Complete darkness
  • Your bed is for sex and sleep only – try having sex before sleep that’ll help you doze off into never, never land
  • Don’t eat for at least 2 hours before bed 
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages past 3 pm (coffee, tea, green tea, pop, energy drinks) 
  • Alcohol – don’t over do it, it’ll wake you 
  • Create a routine every night, the same thing 
  • Journal for one page, write down what you need to do tomorrow and 3 things that you are grateful for
  • Wear an eye mask – this helps to naturally promote melatonin7 which does wonders for your sleep. Get your Beauty Sleep Kit Here
  • Use your castor oil pack, see below:

Castor Oil Packs – A Legendary Terrain Treatment

Castor oil packs deserve special mention. So many of us go to bed stressed out and worried about the next day. So we tumble, toss and turn, and do nothing but hyper worry about the day we just had and what’s to come.

When you place a castor oil pack on your body it immediately switches your system into the relaxed state. Ah, zen time for me. So you can sleep and heal and reap the benefits.

On top of it, there are so many wonderful actions of the pack that help your body to do the clean up during the night. They help to:

  1. Reduce inflammation and improve the alkalinity of your body8 9
  2. Enhance antioxidants like glutathione that help your body to cleanse10
  3. Move the bowels – typically the next morning you’re happy to let go of a load!11 12 
  4. Breakdown biofilm – a barrier created by the bad bugs of the microbiome. Getting rid of this gunk allows you to heal your gut 13 14
  5. Don’t forget they help you to relax15 16 so you can sleep!

Your sleep will be regenerative, healthy, fulfilling, and satisfying. You’ll be ready to take on your day. Most importantly, you will have done the important step of helping to reset your terrain while you sleep.

NEXT STEPS

My hope is that you start by looking at what your poo is saying about you and that you begin to address the ever-important sleep function of your body. I love the saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness”, and starting these practices are the very first steps to getting your body in a better, healthier, and cleaner state. 

DISCLAIMER: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors, and not Queen of the Thrones™. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. Furthermore, Queen of the Thrones™neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of any opinion, advice, or statement made on any of the sites. This communication does not create a doctor and patient relationship.  Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner.  Before proceeding with any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed please consult your health care practitioner.

1 De Palma G1, Lynch MD2, Lu J1, Dang VT3, Deng Y1, Jury J1, Umeh G1, Miranda PM1, Pigrau Pastor M1, Sidani S1, Pinto-Sanchez MI1, Philip V1, McLean PG4, Hagelsieb MG5, Surette MG1, Bergonzelli GE4, Verdu EF1, Britz-McKibbin P3, Neufeld JD2, Collins SM1, Bercik P6. Transplantation of fecal microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome alters gut function and behavior in recipient mice. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Mar 1;9(379). pii: eaaf6397. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6397.

2 Şimşek I1. Irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Aug;45 Suppl:S86-8. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31821fbd6f.

3 Normandin S1. Claude Bernard and an introduction to the study of experimental medicine: “physical vitalism,” dialectic, and epistemology.  J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2007 Oct;62(4):495-528. Epub 2007 Jun 18.

4 Pali-Schöll I1,2, Untersmayr E3, Klems M4, Jensen-Jarolim E5,6. The Effect of Digestion and Digestibility on Allergenicity of Food. Nutrients. 2018 Aug 21;10(9). pii: E1129. doi: 10.3390/nu10091129.

5 Nobs SP1, Tuganbaev T1, Elinav E2,3. Microbiome diurnal rhythmicity and its impact on host physiology and disease risk.EMBO Rep. 2019 Mar 15. pii: e47129. doi: 10.15252/embr.201847129. [Epub ahead of print]

6 Liang X1, FitzGerald GA2. Timing the Microbes: The Circadian Rhythm of the Gut Microbiome. J Biol Rhythms. 2017 Dec;32(6):505-515. doi: 10.1177/0748730417729066. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

7 Hu RF1, Jiang XY, Chen J, Zeng Z, Chen XY, Li Y, Huining X, Evans DJ. Non-pharmacological interventions for sleep promotion in the intensive care unit. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Oct 6;(10):CD008808. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008808.pub2.

8 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8.

9  Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9

10  Holm T1, Brøgger-Jensen MR, Johnson L, Kessel L. Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

11  Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.

12  Sorin Tunaru,a Till F. Althoff,a Rolf M. Nüsing,b Martin Diener,c and Stefan Offermannsa,d,1 Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptorsProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5; 109(23): 9179–9184.Published online 2012 May 21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109PMID: 22615395

13  Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1. Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.

14  Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334.

15  Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

16  Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17. ( Dopamine release, Limbic System of brain- Fatty Meal Satisfaction) 

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Best Lab Tests to Help Treat Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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So you’ve been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Now what?? As someone who has IBS, I’ve experienced first hand how debilitating it can be, and how confusing the diagnostic process is. I want to share with you some things that I wish I would have known back when I got my diagnosis, that would have saved me years of excruciating pain and suffering. I have now seen thousands of patients who also have this diagnosis live a legendary life.

In this article I will mention a U.S. lab that I use and trust, click here to learn more.

Why is Irritable Bowel Syndrome a Functional Bowel Movement Disorder?

Irritable bowel syndrome is classified as a chronic functional bowel movement disorder because it is diagnosed by the symptoms that you are experiencing. These are typically abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and changes in bowel movements, often diarrhea or constipation1. Other digestive diseases that can be seen by colonoscopy or confirmed by lab tests are often excluded before IBS is diagnosed.

Why Can’t Labs Tell Me That I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The labs that most conventional doctors use at this moment in time don’t give a definitive diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. This is because it is a complex interplay of all the processes in our body. It is most often a reaction to stress in the body, whether emotional or physical, that creates an imbalance in the immune, nervous and hormonal systems. This compounds and affects the natural digestive processes of the gut, causing inflammation, irritation, dysbiosis and lack of digestive factors that all contribute to and aggravate our symptoms2.

The big point here is that it is NOT just one thing causing IBS, and to treat it you need to have a MULTIFACTORIAL approach or it just won’t work.

Functional Disorders Involve the ENTIRE Environment of the Body 

As a Naturopathic Doctor, we look at the body as a complete environment, an ecosystem. I have expertise in digestive disorders, specifically irritable bowel syndrome. I am also extremely well versed in hormonal problems such as hypothyroid, estrogen dominance, nervous system conditions like anxiety and depression, and immune system problems like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease, cancer, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and I have treated all successfully.

If I only knew about the gut and digestive system, I wouldn’t be able to treat a FUNCTIONAL digestive system disorder because functional means that the whole entire body is involved. The ecosystem needs rebalancing.

Are There Functional Tests for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Yes, there are things that can be tested, but again, it is a whole body approach. So as a Naturopathic Doctor I can see that there are imbalances in the whole body.

What Is the Point of Testing in Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

First off, it’s important to do tests to rule out other conditions. When the diagnosis is clear, I test irritable bowel patients in order to track improvements and direct and guide treatment.

For my health as well, I have noticed that it is vital to have this tracking system over time in order to gain a good understanding of what is going on inside your system, year to year.

Since irritable bowel is a chronic, long term disease, being proactive in this way helps to stay on top of things and avoid the frustration and suffering of living with uncomfortable symptoms.

Stress Hormone Testing Cortisol and ACTH 

Research demonstrates that people with irritable bowel syndrome, mainly women, with onset at a younger age3, will have it for the greater part of their lives. They typically also have an imbalance in their nervous system and stress response.

Stress markers of cortisol in the blood can be tested and show a difference between men and women as well as between healthy and unhealthy subjects4. However, this is a costly test and is not common protocol for irritable bowel syndrome.

Salivary or urine cortisol markers can also be used to measure this, and they are my markers of choice. Research demonstrates that there is a significant difference in cortisol (stress hormone) markers in the morning and evening, and in general there was a higher spike in the a.m. and lower in the evening. The pattern of circadian rhythm night and day curve was still maintained5.

These tests can be purchased on YourLabWork.com.

Sleep is often something that is a complaint for women with IBS and there seems to be a difference between the type, whether it be IBS-D (diarrhea predominant) or IBS-C (constipation predominant)6. Sleep is something that normally balances our regulatory systems as it helps to reset the immune, nervous and hormonal systems.

I recommend wearing an eye mask to bed at night to help support natural melatonin production, without having to take a supplement. I’ve created a Beauty Sleep Kit that uses castor oil applied around the eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows, covered by a sleep mask. This has a relaxing effect on the system and improves natural melatonin levels, helping you to get a good night’s sleep. You will note over time, visible differences in sleep quality with using a mask7.

GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP KIT HERE!

Inflammation Testing in IBS 

Inflammation is a key component in IBS. Inflammation may be sourced from food sensitivities, allergies and intolerances, or choices of food, such as fermented foods that have high levels of histamine and act as an irritant to the gut. Inflammation is a root cause of all diseases and when there is imbalance in any system there is always inflammation.

Ferritin, the storage molecule for iron can also be a key indicator of acute inflammation. It is important to test in combination with a complete blood count (CBC) as well as an iron panel to make sure you rule out any other reasons for an elevated level of Ferritin.

In my practice there are certain key markers that I have noted are indicative inflammation. Firstly, high sensitivity C reactive protein (HS-CRP). This marker is not often tested, however, levels have been noted to be higher in those with irritable bowel syndrome as compared to the healthy population8.

Cholesterol has also been one of the markers of inflammation that I use to track progress in patients. It is linked to inflammatory processes in the body and I have seen clear indications post therapeutic cleansing interventions with my patients, where even if cholesterol is only moderately higher, it always decreases from the pre-testing phase9. I always test these levels in my IBS patients because I want to see how they are adapting to their protocols and where they are at the present state in time.

A complete blood count (CBC) is always important to do as well, because it demonstrates a variety of markers. With regards to inflammation, eosinophils are a marker of allergy and when they are elevated it’s an indicator that there is elevated histamines in the body10. It’s most commonly correlated to parasite infection, which is something to be considered in irritable bowel syndrome, since the onset of IBS can be due to a gastrointestinal infection11.

In my opinion, food sensitivity testing is in a class of its own. It can demonstrate inflammatory processes in the gut as well as immune reactivity. When aiming to fix an irritable bowel, it’s important to understand that there are so many things that can be irritating it.

Food is the biggest irritator and since we eat food every day, it’s very important to address this to reduce inflammation.

Here is a link to an excellent lab where you can test your food sensitivities to help you on your way – Click here!

Can You Test for Dysbiosis and The Microbiome?

You absolutely can, and uric acid (a key indicator of gout) is an excellent marker to use for dysbiosis or an unhealthy microbiome12. Uric acid is a good indicator of microbiome health because it shows improper metabolism of protein, typically due to unhealthy gut bugs.

Another one of my favourite tests is the Organic Acids Test (OAT), which I find invaluable to manage and keep an eye on dysbiosis. It tracks overgrowth of yeasts as well as possible clostridium infections. It’s an excellent tool that I find very helpful for patients with IBS.

There are also recent novel tests that will actually classify the types of healthy v.s. pathogenic microbes in your microbiome. This research is in its infancy.

What Should You Test? My Dream List

Here is my dream list, which is basically a full workup of a patient to rule out other sources of pain in the intestine:

  • CBC
  • Serum Electrolytes
  • Liver Enzymes, ALT, AST, ALP GGT
  • Urobilinogen, direct and indirect
  • Blood Lipids/Cholesterol
  • Albumin
  • eGFR and Creatinine
  • HS-CRP
  • Uric acid and urea
  • Iron panel including Ferritin
  • TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Antibodies for Thyroid
  • Dutch Hormone Test
  • Food Sensitivity Testing
  • OAT TestVisit YourLabWork.com.

What to Do While You’re Waiting to Get Your Tests Done? 

Start working on a solution!

My two first protocols for all patients is to start a castor oil pack, which immediately begins to work on the stress component of their condition. It will reduce inflammation, help the body to cleanse, get the bowels moving and significantly reduce pain in the gut (I’ve used it more times than I can count for acute pain in my situation and it hasn’t failed). It will also help you get a great night’s sleep.

In addition, I get patients to wear an eye mask to bed. As mentioned before, this will help to increase the body’s natural melatonin production, improving quality of sleep.

Starting with these strategies is super safe. This is the basic prescription for all my patients from the get go, because if we can start to reduce the stress, address the inflammation, cleanse, poop and sleep (these are common problems that every single person who walks into my practice shares) I can actually start getting a clearer picture of what is going on.

Peek After You Poo

The other pièce de résistance is that I ask my patients to start peeking at their poo. I want a detailed account moving forward. Because let’s face it, lab tests start to get quite expensive. For the full panel above you could be looking at anywhere between $1500-$2500 per shot, so why not learn what your poo is saying about you? It is an easy daily at-home test, totally free!

Every visit, with every single patient, we have this discussion and you would be shocked at how much it guides treatment. So much so, that I’ve compiled my personal experience, clinical experience and research so that you have access to the same tools as my patients.

Download 50 Shades of Poo – the first steps to understanding what your poo says about you. Click here.

Buy Your Very Own Castor Oil Pack Here and Your Beauty Sleep Kit, Here

Start today! Don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you can do today. This is your health, your life, your body and it’s time for you to know and understand what is going on.

Don’t forget to share this with your friends on social media, through email and like us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to get the constant download of info!

DISCLAIMER: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors, and not Queen of the Thrones™. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. Furthermore, Queen of the Thrones™neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of any opinion, advice, or statement made on any of the sites. This communication does not create a doctor and patient relationship.  Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner.  Before proceeding with any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed please consult your health care practitioner.

References:

1 Bandar Mohammed Bardisi,1 Abdulaziz Kamal H. Halawani,1 Hassan Kamal H. Halawani,1 Aseel Hassan Alharbi,1 Nesma Saleh Turkostany,1 Taraji Saeed Alrehaili,1 Aisha Ahmad Radin,1 and Nasser Moqbil Alkhuzea1 Efficiency of diet change in irritable bowel syndrome. J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Sep-Oct; 7(5): 946–951.PMID: 30598938

2 Emanuele Sinagra, Gaetano Cristian Morreale, Ghazaleh Mohammadian, Giorgio Fusco, Valentina Guarnotta, Giovanni Tomasello, Francesco Cappello, Francesca Rossi, Georgios Amvrosiadis, and Dario Raimondo New therapeutic perspectives in irritable bowel syndrome: Targeting low-grade inflammation, immuno-neuroendocrine axis, motility, secretion and beyond. World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Sep 28; 23(36): 6593–6627.PMID: 29085207

3 Ju Yup Lee and Kyung Sik Park. Gender Difference in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Korean J Gastroenterol. 2018 Oct 25;72(4):163-169. doi: 10.4166/kjg.2018.72.4.163.

4 Elizabeth J. Videlock,a Wendy Shih,b Mopelola Adeyemo,a Swapna Mahurkar-Joshi,a Angela P. Presson,c Christos Polytarchou,a Melissa Alberto,a Dimitrios Iliopoulos,a Emeran A. Mayer,a and Lin Changa,* The effect of sex and irritable bowel syndrome on HPA axis response and peripheral glucocorticoid receptor expression.Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Jul; 69: 67–76.PMID: 27038676

5 Patacchioli FR1, Angelucci L, Dellerba G, Monnazzi P, Leri O. Actual stress, psychopathology and salivary cortisol levels in the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). J Endocrinol Invest. 2001 Mar;24(3):173-7.

6 Robert L. Burr, MSEE, PhD, Research Professor,a Monica E. Jarrett, PhD, Professor,a Kevin C. Cain, PhD, Research Scientist,b Sang-Eun Jun, MS, Doctoral Candidate,a and Margaret M. Heitkemper, PhD, Professora. Catecholamine and Cortisol Levels during Sleep in Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Nov; 21(11): 1148–1e97.PMID: 19573081

7 Rong-fang Hu,1 Xiao-ying Jiang,1 Yi-ming Zeng,2 Xiao-yang Chen,2 and You-hua Zhang3 Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Crit Care. 2010; 14(2): R66.PMID: 20398302

8 Keren Hod, MSc,1,2 Tamar Ringel-Kulka, MD MPH,3 Christopher F. Martin, MSPH,2 Nitsan Maharshak, MD,4 and Yehuda Ringel, MD*,2 High Sensitive C – Reactive Protein as a Marker for Inflammation in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.J Clin Gastroenterol. 2016 Mar; 50(3): 227–232.PMID: 25930973

9 Tall AR1, Yvan-Charvet L2. Cholesterol, inflammation and innate immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Feb;15(2):104-16. doi: 10.1038/nri3793.

10 Church MK1. Allergy, Histamine and Antihistamines. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2017;241:321-331. doi: 10.1007/164_2016_85.

11 Wouters MM1, Van Wanrooy S1, Nguyen A2, Dooley J2, Aguilera-Lizarraga J1, Van Brabant W1, Garcia-Perez JE2, Van Oudenhove L1, Van Ranst M3, Verhaegen J4, Liston A2, Boeckxstaens G1 Psychological comorbidity increases the risk for postinfectious IBS partly by enhanced susceptibility to develop infectious gastroenteritis. Gut. 2016 Aug;65(8):1279-88. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309460. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

12 Zhuang Guo,1,* Jiachao Zhang,1,* Zhanli Wang,3,* Kay Ying Ang,2,* Shi Huang,4 Qiangchuan Hou,1 Xiaoquan Su,4 Jianmin Qiao,1 Yi Zheng,1 Lifeng Wang,1 Eileen Koh,2 Ho Danliang,2 Jian Xu,4 Yuan Kun Lee,a,2 and Heping Zhangb,1 Intestinal Microbiota Distinguish Gout Patients from Healthy Humans Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 20602.PMID: 26852926 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757479/

Castor Oil Packs and Constipation | Help to Get You Regular

Get You Regular

I remember my mother always being constipated. She would hyper focus on food and what she should be eating. Sometimes it would help, most of the time it wouldn’t. This is the situation that most people find themselves in. You are trying to get all your fiber and fluids in, yet you’re still not going to the bathroom. You aren’t having those amazing bowel movements as you should. What gives?

Your poo is much more complicated than just the food that you eat. That is just the start of getting things going. The gut is also highly regulated via hormonal and nervous system pathways. In fact, if you didn’t know it, the gut is known as the second brain1. It not only relies on the brain to tell it what to do, but it is the only organ that can work independently. Meaning you can take it out of the body and it can function completely on its own. This system is called the enteric nervous system and it dictates what goes on in the gut. How interesting is that! There are only a few ways to engage its action. The easiest is the infamous castor oil pack, and this will be our focus in this article.

The Issue of Compliance with Castor Oil Packs

If you’ve been prescribed castor oil packs, you are probably cringing right now. You know all too well the expectation that your practitioner had for you to do them, but they are just too much of a hassle and too messy to do. I know exactly what you’re feeling because I’ve been there too.

That’s what stopped me for years from doing the castor oil pack. It was something that I was told to do for years by not one, but many people… doctors, health food store owners, people who had years and years of natural health experts. I wouldn’t listen. Only because I was lazy and didn’t have the time. I know you are too and that’s ok! It’s human nature, after all, to do that which is of the least effort.

Pooping Problems

I was seriously suffering hardcore with gut issues. I’d go from diarrhea to constipation, to major bloating and gas. Like many of you, I was in a constant state of crap in my guts.

I would be told that I had microbiome issues, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), food allergies, anxiety, depression, hormonal dysregulation, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and fatty liver. You name it, I was told that I had it, and above all, I had MAJOR pooping problems.

When You’re Doing Everything ‘Right’ But Still Feel Like Crap

I was addressing all of these things with my naturopath but it didn’t make sense because here I was, doing all the ‘right’ things but still feeling like crap. I was taking good quality supplements, probiotics, digestive enzymes, magnesium, I would even go as far as laxatives from time to time because my constipation would get so bad. I was eating the right foods and exercising, but for some reason, it wasn’t fitting the bill.

I remember vividly, the worst 10 days where I didn’t go poo once. I was literally beside myself, I felt soooo horrible in my own skin. I remember searching out for a way to manually extract my poo!

My First Castor Oil Pack

After weeks of constipation, I became super sick and decided that I was finally going to try this treatment that EVERYONE had told me to do. I made myself my own castor oil pack and tried it.

Wow, was my response. It changed my world from the first moment that I put it on my body. I was already feeling better, more relaxed and well in my body. I felt. For a long time, it was like I just wasn’t feeling anything, I didn’t feel present in my system. I know it sounds weird but I was dealing with so much discomfort, that I felt completely disconnected from my body.

You see, it’s easier to look for an escape. It’s no surprise that when you’re dealing with an irritable bowel, anxiety, and depression are usually a result. Some say it is the cause, my belief is it goes deeper than that.

Historical Use of Castor Oil Packs

Castor oil packs ended up being my saving grace. I’m not surprised, as I began my research and found that this practice dates back to biblical times. It is mentioned in the ancient Chinese and Indian medical texts as well as practiced by the ancient Mediterranean and Egyptian cultures.

These packs are not the new kids on the block, rather, they are THE most important tool that fundamentally supports all other treatments. No treatment is like the castor oil pack and the beauty of it is that now it’s easy, and it can be done in the comfort of your home.

Innovative Castor Oil Pack Design

Necessity is the instigator of the invention. I know myself and I’m pretty sure you know yourself too. When something is difficult, time-consuming, or a plain old hassle, it takes a superhuman effort to get it done. When I was told to do the castor oil pack, I would look at the process and snark, “There is no way that I’m going to do that, forget it! I’m busy, I’ve got too much on the go.”

It took me hitting rock bottom, feeling like I was “never gonna get better”. It took years of naturopathic school, to finally believe that it was good for every condition. It took me grabbing the bull by its horns and creating a pack that made the process simple, easy and less messy, otherwise, I was never going to keep it up.

The Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil pack was born. Simply apply oil to the cotton compress side and tie it onto the body over the liver. To get yours, click here.

How Castor Oil Packs Alleviate Constipation

But how does this treatment significantly alleviate constipation? How can this one treatment be the foundation of gut health? It’s because it supports the 5 pillars of our health. Without these pillars being strong and functional, our beautiful, supreme body temple does not work the way it should.

These are the 5 ways that Castor Oil Packs Improve Constipation:

1. Move the smooth muscle of our body

Smooth muscle is only in select parts of the body, notably the digestive system/gut, including the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. It is in the uterus as well. The other muscles of our body that you’re familiar with, like the biceps and triceps are made of what is called striated muscle. Smooth muscle works via signals of PG3— whats known as an eicosanoid. You are likely familiar with it because when you take fish oils to get your omega 3s, those are also eicosanoids. In a nut shell, they are messengers in the body (like carrier pigeons) that tell certain body parts to do something. When you take fish oils, you tell your body to reduce inflammation. When you do a castor oil pack, you absorb castor oil through the skin that tells the smooth muscle of the intestine to move2. Movement in the intestine is known as peristalsis. This is a rhythmic movement, like a dance that propels the contents of the intestine down so it can be eliminated. In the stomach it mixes things, in the intestine, it moves things around to absorb and then to eliminate what we don’t need. The nice thing with the castor oil pack is that it regulates this dance. They will make you go to the bathroom and have an excellent bowel movement. Studies show it works as well as laxatives without the uncomfortable gas, bloating, and harsh urgency and patients feel more satisfied and fully evacuated3. This one thing that castor oil packs do is incredibly important.

[Please note Caution if you are pregnant. Castor oil packs are not recommended in this instance because of the uterus also being smooth muscle. So to prevent an accidental abortion, it would be best to stay away4 5 6.]

2. Castor oil as an excellent tool to break down biofilm

Biofilm is a protective barrier created by bacteria on mucous membranes. You probably know of these gut bugs as probiotics, which is what we call them when they are beneficial for the body. When they are not good for our health, I have coined them “conbiotics”.Probiotics help us because they create nutrients for our body like B vitamins. The conbiotics on the other hand, use up our bodies’ resources, they don’t make our vitamins, they create byproducts and gases that actually slow down peristalsis, making us constipated. The more virulent conbiotics are the worst because of protective biofilm that they can create to stop us from killing them. In Lyme disease, as an example, the bacteria Borrelia is transmitted via ticks. It is known for creating a destructive biofilm that is very difficult to break down. People who are dealing with Lyme disease should absolutely be doing castor oil packs, as they are one of the tools that will help them to reset their microbiome.

The research shows that castor oil, compared to other chemical agents to break down biofilm, outperforms in vivo (in the human body)7 8 9. We need to have a healthy microbiome to have good bowel movements!

3. Castor oil packs reduce stress

Stress does not allow you to have healthy bowel movements because it tenses up the parts of the body that need to be relaxed to work. The intestines and bowels are regulated and working well in a relaxed state. You can take all the fluids, fiber, probiotics and digestive enzymes you want but if your body doesn’t know how to switch into the relaxed state for peristalsis and relaxation of the lower sphincter, you are a duck out of luck. For me, stress was severely impacting my bowels and regularity. Castor oil packs work via the nervous system by stimulating the nerves in the skin10 11. This only works when you wear the pack. This is probably the most important action. Improving the microbiome and getting the smooth muscle to function won’t matter if your lower sphincter can’t relax enough to let go! The topical application of a castor oil pack is exactly for that, to “LET GO”.

4. Cleansing with glutathione

We all know that cleansing is important, and there is one molecule known as glutathione that stands out among all of the antioxidants. It cleans and protects the body, and helps to detox heavy metals12.

It is well known that heavy metals impact our bodies in a variety of ways, inhibiting the immune system, therefore aiding and abetting to an unhealthy microbiome. They impact our hormonal system and detrimentally affect the nervous system. Glutathione is well known to be an antioxidant that in this day and age is in lower concentrations in our bodies because of the physiological demand due to industrialized pollution. There are very few ways to get glutathione. It is found in whey protein (which I never recommend since it is dairy based and for those that have an irritable bowel it is just plain torture), rooibos tea, (well known for its antioxidant effects) or oral supplementation (the jury is out on whether or not glutathione is absorbed well via supplements). Supplementing with magnesium and NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) may help as they are precursors to glutathione. The other way is via IV therapy, known as a Glutathione Push. Recent research demonstrated that castor oil improves the recycling of glutathione in the lenses of rats, greater than even a solution of glutathione13. This is very impressive, castor oil packs improve antioxidant status14.

5. Castor oil reduces inflammation

When you are inflamed in your intestines, it becomes very difficult to go to the bathroom. Castor oil packs reduce inflammation15 16, allowing for smooth passage of stools out of the body.

It’s incredible that this therapy can be such aid for those that suffer from constipation. Constipation contributes to more serious conditions and diseases and if something is not done, your body can be severely damaged in the long term. A system that can’t eliminate waste backs up, and the back up is the cause of many problems.

No different than when you garbage removal goes on strike or the sewer back ups. That is always bad news. Now you have the tools at your disposal to make it all better.

Time to act.

Buy your castor oil pack here. 

1 Gershon, Michael D. The Second Brain. HarperCollins World, 1999.

2 Sorin Tunaru,a Till F. Althoff,a Rolf M. Nüsing,b Martin Diener,c and Stefan Offermannsa,d,1 Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptorsProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5; 109(23): 9179–9184. Published online 2012 May 21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109PMID: 22615395

3 Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.

4 Gao J1, Sun N, Wang F.[Effects of castor oil-diet on the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 in pregnant rats].[Article in Chinese] Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. 1999 Mar;34(3):147-9.

5 Gao J1, Sun N, Wang F, Hao N.[Effect of castor oil-diet on the initiation of labor of pregnant rat].[Article in Chinese] Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao. 1998 Oct;20(5):367-70.

6 Kelly AJ1, Kavanagh J, Thomas J. Castor oil, bath and/or enema for cervical priming and induction of labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jul 24;(7):CD003099. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003099.pub2.

7 Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1. Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.

8 Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334.

9 Salles MM, Badaró MM, Arruda CN, Leite VM, Silva CH, Watanabe E, Oliveira Vde C, Paranhos Hde F. Antimicrobial activity of complete denture cleanser solutions based on sodium hypochlorite and Ricinus communis – a randomized clinical study.J Appl Oral Sci. 2015 Nov-Dec; 23(6):637-42.

10 Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

11 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17. ( Dopamine release, Limbic System of brain- Fatty Meal Satisfaction)

12 Jan AT, Azam M, Siddiqui K, Ali A, Choi I, Haq QM. Heavy Metals and Human Health: Mechanistic Insight into Toxicity and Counter Defense System of Antioxidants. Int J Mol Sci. 2015;16(12):29592-630. Published 2015 Dec 10. doi:10.3390/ijms161226183

13 Holm TBrøgger-Jensen MRJohnson LKessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

14 Kennedy D and Keaton D. Evidence for the Topical Application of Castor oil: A Systematic Review. CCNM. Presentation 2010 AANP

15 Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9

16 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8.

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