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 others 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.
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.
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.
Start your gut health journey now and grab your complimentary check list to find out what the colour of your poo says about you in my gut health guide; 50 Shades of Poo!
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 like the one in the Beauty Sleep Brow & Lash Kit™ – this helps to naturally promote melatonin7 which does wonders for your sleep!
- Use your castor oil pack!
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. Get your Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack Pack™ and 500ml Castor Oil Bundle!
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:
- Reduce inflammation and improve the alkalinity of your body8 9
- Enhance antioxidants like glutathione that help your body to cleanse10
- Move the bowels – typically the next morning you’re happy to let go of a load!11 12
- 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
- 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.
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.
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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.
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9 Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9
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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
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