Digestive Counseling Q&A
How do you determine what foods I am not digesting?
We will take an inventory of your signs and symptoms, do a palpatory exam, run a Bio-Impedance Analysis, and study all available lab test results, including a 24 hour urinalysis.
Signs and symptoms give us a subjective baseline of how you are feeling. The palpatory exam determines which systems and organs are under stress. The points used in palpation are closely related to acupressure points, and are another baseline to monitor your progress. The bio-impedance analysis tells us how well you are hydrating your cells and the quality of the cell walls. Blood work can tell us what might happen in the future. A 24 hour urinalysis does standard screening as well as 19 other tests that show us specifically what you are not digesting and how it has affected your health.
What are the symptoms of poor digestion?
If you are not digesting fats you might have frequent canker sores, cold blisters or boils; muscle and tendon weakness; discomfort in the lower back and buttocks; slow morning starts, writer’s cramps, or stiffness after sitting; dry skin, dandruff, hair loss; discomfort in ribs, pleurisy, discomfort upon inhalation; history of infertility; tremors, stiffness after rest; skin disorders and/or chronic shoulder problems.
The symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance might include history of speech impediment, stuttering, or stammering; dry, itchy eyes or dry mouth; poor memory; inability to relax or be serene; frequent sore throat, or sores on the tongue or in the mouth.
Protein deficiency symptoms might include history of spinal disc problems or back surgery; inability to make decisions or handle stress; irritated or receding gums, loose teeth; cold hands and feet; hot flashes, menopausal symptoms; clicking jaw or jaw discomfort; difficulty healing; edema; and/or chronic low back pain.
How do you fix poor digestion?
Since most foods are cooked, preserved, or irradiated, the enzymes have been killed. The body then relies on its own digestive enzymes to break down the food into nutrition. If you run out of digestive enzymes, you will borrow metabolic enzymes that are normally used to help you see, hear, think, walk and talk. The lack of metabolic enzymes results in symptoms. To fix this, we add enzymes back into the food with enzyme supplements. We also address other body illness by providing enzyme nutrition specific to organs or systems that are symptomatic by bypassing a poorly functioning digestive tract. Lastly, we provide dietary guidelines that allow your body to get the nutrition it needs and avoid problem foods that add stress to the body.
What are enzymes?
Enzymes run the biochemical reactions in all living things, including animals, humans, or raw foods. If it grows or ripens, it has enzymes. There are three different types of enzymes: those that occur in food, those that are made in the body for the digestion of food, and the metabolic enzymes that run all biochemical reactions such as sight, taste, movement, thought, etc. Food enzymes are destroyed or removed anytime food is cooked over 118 degrees, processed, irradiated, or genetically engineered. Enzymes are very specific to what they will break down or digest. Besides moisture, they require three things to activate: the proper temperature, the proper pH, and the right substrate9 or material) to break down.
Do I still need to take enzyme supplements if I eat a meal of raw foods?
Yes. Although there are enzymes in raw foods, there is only enough to break down and digest that particular food. If the body is under stress, you may need more support than what the raw food supplies.
Are food enzymes destroyed in the stomach?
No. Contrary to popular medical opinion, enzymes are not destroyed in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid does not digest enzymes; its only function is to activate the enzymes requiring an acid environment such as pepsinogen.
If I take enzymes, will by body stop producing enzymes?
No. Unlike hormone replacement, your body will not stop producing enzymes if you supplement with food enzymes. Enzymes occur naturally in food and only assist in the body’s digestive process. By supplementing with food enzymes, you are helping to replace enzymes that are lost by cooking or processing food. This relieves the body of the burden to create more digestive enzymes, allowing production of the required enzymes for other vital body functions.
What are enzymes? What do they do?
Enzymes run the biochemical reactions in all living things, including humans, animals and raw foods. If it grows or ripens, it has enzymes. According to the late enzyme research pioneer, Dr. Edward Howell, there are three different types of enzymes: those that occur in our food, those that are made in the body for the digestion of food, and the metabolic enzymes produced by the body that are made to run the biochemical reactions occurring in the body. Food enzymes are destroyed or removed anytime the food is cooked, processed, or genetically engineered for a longer shelf life. Your body needs these essential nutrients to aid in the digestive process, so the body does not have to produce all of the enzymes for the digestion of food. Enzymes are very specific to what they will break down or digest. Besides moisture, they require three things to activate: the proper temperature, the proper pH (acid or alkaline), and the right substrate (or material) to break down. For example, protease-the enzyme that breaks down protein-will only work on protein, not carbohydrate.
What is the process of digestion? What happens to food when my body begins to digest it?
Digestion is a complex and often overlooked process. According to Dr. Howard Loomis, formulator of many enzyme supplements, digestion does not automatically happen just because food is eaten. If at anytime a digestive organ does not perform its job properly, other organs may suffer, causing the pain and discomfort associated with indigestion.
Normal digestion begins in the mouth. Thoroughly chewing raw or unprocessed food releases any enzymes contained within that food. Chewing also mixes the starch-digesting salivary enzyme, amylase, with the food. When the food is swallowed, it passes into the upper, or cardiac, part of the stomach. During this time, the enzymes from the saliva and food work to begin digesting the food. Studies have shown that as much as 45% of ingested carbohydrates can be digested after the first 15 minutes in the stomach when only salivary amylase is at work. Supplementation with food enzymes, which work in a broad pH range, will increase this amount of digestion that occurs in the stomach.
Contrary to popular belief, the stomach is flat and empty when one first begins to eat. When the stomach receives the food, it begins to stretch, which signals the production of the acid and enzymes needed for digestion. This window of time, while the body creates and gathers hydrochloric acid in the stomach, takes at least 30 to 60 minutes. Hydrochloric acid lowers the pH of the stomach to around 3.0, thus activating the protein-digesting enzyme pepsinogen, which then initiates protein digestion. The now liquefied food passes into the intestinal tract. Based on the amount of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that one has eaten, the body produces the exact amount of enzymes needed to digest the food.
The small intestine is where the pancreatic enzymes work. They require an alkaline environment to be activated. By using food enzymes to begin the digestive process in the stomach, the amount of enzymes needed from the pancreas is reduced. When one step of the process does not happen, the subsequent digestive actions are affected. For instance, if you take antacids, you are reducing your body's ability to produce hydrochloric acid and, therefore, your ability to digest protein. Supplementation with food enzymes, which will work in a broader pH range than pancreatic enzymes, will help digest your food, lessening the work of your digestive system and relieving the stress on your digestive organs.
Why are pancreatic enzymes (pancreatin) not used in these products?
Pancreatic enzymes are animal enzymes obtained from pigs and cattle. Pancreatic enzymes are only able to work in an alkaline pH environment of 7.2 to 9.0 as found in the duodenum of the small intestine. It does not help digest food in the stomach and thus does not spare the body the necessity of providing all of the enzymes needed to digest food.
Why is HCl not used in these products?
HCl (hydrogen chloride) is actually a salt that is commonly used in supplements, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter products as an ingredient carrier. Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) is produced by the body to provide an acid environment for the activation of pepsinogen into pepsin. Pepsin is what breaks protein apart into smaller fragments. Supplemental HCl (hydrogen chloride) is not a digestive aid and cannot convert pepsinogen to pepsin.
At what temperature are food enzymes destroyed?
Food enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 118º Fahrenheit or higher. Canning, pasteurizing, and microwaving all destroy enzymes in food, thus increasing the body's demand for enzymes when digesting processed, cooked, or genetically engineered foods.
Do I still need to take food enzyme supplements if I eat a meal of raw foods?
Yes. Although there are enzymes in raw foods, there is only enough to break down and digest that particular raw food. If the body is under stress, the body may need more support than what the raw food can provide. Enzyme supplements are needed when eating cooked or processed enzyme-deficient food. Additional supplementation can give the body the digestive support it needs to make up for the lack of enzymes in an enzyme-deficient diet.
What is an enzyme complex?
An enzyme complex is a group of similar enzymes that work on the same type of substrate, i.e., proteases for protein or amylases for carbohydrates.
What is acid-stable protease?
Acid-stable protease refers to protease that is stable or active in a pH range of 1.8 to 4.0, allowing it to be active in the acidic environment of the stomach.
What role do acidophilus microorganisms have in digestion?
Acidophilus microorganisms produce lactic acid by fermentation of sugars and starches, thereby inhibiting the growth of toxic bacteria in the alimentary canal. Acidophilus does not have any effect on the digestion of food and only works in the intestines.
What is the 24-Hour Urinalysis test?
The 24-Hour Urinalysis is done at certified laboratories around the country. Our testing procedure begins with the same standard screening tests performed in hospitals to recognize disease. Diabetes, liver and kidney disease as well as urinary infection or inflammation are first ruled out before proceeding. The physical tests for color, cloudiness, volume, and specific gravity are recorded. These are used to recognize any abnormalities including the kidney's ability to clean the blood.
Next, the more complicated chemistry tests are performed. Among these tests is an indican evaluation to measure the presence of food in the colon that is putrefying, creating irritants and toxins which cause pain and inflammation. The urinary sediment is evaluated for excessive crystal formations, which can indicate problems with digestion or excessive consumption of protein, sugar, or fat. The amount of acidity or alkalinity being excreted is checked and compared to the amount of calcium and salt (chloride) being excreted. These tests often can give us a clue as to whether digestive complaints are caused by excessive acidity or alkalinity in the diet. Other important tests, such as vitamin C excretion, are also measured.
Why do we need to do colonic enemas?
So much of our food is processed, cooked or irradiated that digestion is often an incomplete process. Undigested food will ferment, or become toxic in the digestive tract. Cleaning the colon is a natural way to prevent the absorption of these toxic substances. Nearly everyone can benefit from an occasional colonic.
What are the contraindications for a colonic procedure?
Abdominal hernia or surgery, Acute liver failure, Severe anemia, Aneurism, Colon cancer, Cardiac disease, Cirrhosis of the liver, Colitis, Diverticulitis, Fissures or fistulas, Hemorrhage or perforation, Hemorrhoidectomy, Third trimester pregnancy, Rectal or colon surgery, Renal insufficiency
What are the benefits of a colonic?
Cleaning the colon strengthens the muscles, allowing for a more complete bowel movement. It also allows for better absorption of nutrients, and assists in the elimination of waste and toxins from the lymphatic system. Eating healthy foods targeting the digestive weaknesses you have, drinking good water, stretching, breathing, doing prescribed exercises, eliminating harmful and toxic substances from your environment and diet, and maintaining a positive attitude about your progress are some of the ways to improve your health and well-being. Colonic enemas do not cure disease or treat symptoms. They only augment what you are already doing for your next level of health.
What can I expect to learn about my colon after and during this procedure?
Palpation of the colon through the abdominal wall often reveals the shape and response of the colon muscle, suggesting a structural or mechanical abnormality. Examination of the contents of the colon thru the elimination hose will reveal lack of digestion, and uncommon stool texture or color. There are therapies that can be done in the privacy of your home, diet changes, and digestive enzymes to aid in the correction of these conditions, or you will be referred to a medical doctor.
What kind of equipment is used?
At Next Level Healing we use a stainless steel, continuous flow, gravity fed, closed system. Everything that touches you is disposable. You are with a registered nurse, certified colon hydrotherapist throughout the procedure. The equipment is sterile, the water is triple filtered, and the room is very comfortable. You have an adjoining private bathroom and a shower is optional before or after the therapy. This is not a do-it-yourself procedure. Allow an hour and a half on your calendar.
What should I do to prepare for a colonic?
Susan suggests that you do everything you NORMALLY do prior to your appointment. If you change your diet or supplementation before your colonic, she can’t tell if what she sees is the result of that change or a chronic condition.
Does it hurt?
The maximum pressure during this procedure is one pound per square inch, which gently washes the colon. The activation of peristalsis will feel crampy at times. Everyone is different, which is why Susan does not recommend a protocol until she assesses you personally.
What should I eat or drink afterward?
Eat anything healthy that doesn’t give you gas. White protein and lightly steamed veggies are usually a good bet. Remember to drink clean water.
What about “coffee enemas”?
At Next Level Healing we do not use coffee in the water.
Is this considered a medical procedure for insurance purposes?
If you have a doctor’s order, this is usually a “covered procedure”. Check with your insurance company first. If you bring a prescription we will give you a super bill to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement to you. Payment is due at the time of service, and is reflected on the super bill.
What about fasting?
Technically fasting is abstaining from all foods and drinks except water. We do not supervise fasting at Next Level Healing, because we find that fasters show stress and catabolism in a very short period of time. We recommend, instead a four day cycle diet that helps your body recharge metabolism and return to homeostasis.
How does a four day cycle diet work?
We customize a diet that provides all essential nutrients in simple categories – protein and fat, or carbohydrates. Then we add enzymes to support the systems and organs that we know are under stress, and use gentle methods of removing toxins. Detoxing this way helps with weight reduction, hormone balancing, and nerve healing. Next Level Healing will teach you ways to reduce or eliminate cravings, allergies, mood swings and sleep disorders.
Will I get nosebleeds when I use a sauna?
This will not happen in an infrared sauna because the energy heats objects, not air.
How do my thoughts affect my body?
The power of thought has been taught for years. What is different here is that you will learn the power of emotion.
What is the difference between thoughts and emotions?
You can repeat thoughts over and over like a mantra, but you will not experience the benefit without the factor of belief. At Next Level Healing, you will learn how to elevate your emotional state and apply it creatively toward the healing of your body.
What is the body-mind connection?
The brain has many functions. One of them is the storage of memories that warn us of danger related to bad experiences in our life. The part of the brain responsible for this is called the limbic system. For example, if you were robbed in a narrow dark alley, the limbic system would warn you through the emotion of fear whenever you were near a narrow dark alley. This protective mechanism is important in some cases, but not relative in others. People who have been sexually abused, for example, have trouble with intimacy in love relationships. This is because the action in the moment relates to a memory of the past. We would want to over-ride that fear so a fulfilling love relationship could unfold.
How do I over-ride unnecessary fears?
At Next Level Healing, you will learn techniques that have been proven to change belief patterns. For example, you will learn to control your emotional state just before you fall off to sleep. This technique not only allows a restful healing sleep, but also programs the mind for the highest mood level upon awakening. Along with a few others, such as hypothalamus reprogramming, this exercise will help you manifest good health.
What if my problem is structural, not emotional?
A structural exam in standing, sitting, pronated and supinated positions will alert us to any asymmetrical issues in your body. The bones are the only thing that should be symmetrical from right to left. If they are not, then the systems and organs that are supported by the bones can not have maximum function. The cause of some symptoms can therefore be related to a biomechanical abnormality or structural deformity of the feet. Change the way the feet hit the ground, and you change the entire structure of the body from the ground up.
What is an orthotic?
An orthotic is a custom support that goes inside you r shoes. It is the exact contour of your foot with adjustments that change the way the foot moves during weight-bearing.
Why can’t I wear a pair of orthotics sold at pharmacies?
The left and right feet are not the same – otherwise you would not have the structural stress that is affecting your health. The feet are shaped different in an effort to correct structural and positional imbalances, and provide shock absorption. If the left and right sides of your skeleton are not symmetrical, then you have structural stress, and the solution is helped by supporting and cushioning the bones of the feet – one foot at a time. Over the counter orthotics are identical side to side and back to front and therefore have no positive effect on your health.
Will the orthotics hurt?
No. The orthotic will be the identical shape of the bottom of your foot in a neutral position with minimal weight bearing. The correction will feel great because it will shift pressure off troubled areas and prevent further degeneration. Change the way the foot hits the ground and you will feel a positive change in the entire body.
When do I wear orthotics?
Wear your orthotics all the time, because it is better to be in a constant state of correction then to switch from corrected to uncorrected.
Will the orthotics fit in all my shoes?
The right question here is do your shoes fit the orthotics? Orthotics are the exact shape of your feet. If your shoes don’t take the orthotics, then the shoes don’t fit your feet.
Susan can trace the last, or internal shape of the shoe and create a custom orthotic that fits you, but the shoes should only be worn on special occasions or for special sports.
What kind of shoe should I buy for my orthotics?
Orthotics take up space in a shoe, and often need an extra depth, a deeper toe box, or a half size increase to accommodate the orthotic and the foot. Shoes with removable insoles are best, as they give a foundation for the orthotic to sit on. Susan will make suggestions about heel counter, rigidity, midsoles, last (shape) preferences and built-in antipronation devices.
How long will the orthotics last?
A change in anatomy, such as weight, foot structure, and flexibility, could require a new set of orthotics. If your activity level changes, your orthotics should be examined immediately. Otherwise, Susan will reevaluate the need for orthotics every 2 to 4 years.
How will I know if I am having problems?
Any new problems or increase in original symptoms could be a warning signal that some aspect of your orthotic is not correct. Blisters, new calluses, and open wounds should be reported immediately.
Is there any advice for runners?
Reduce mileage on hills, reverse your route daily, avoid sudden changes in surface, increase mileage very slowly, replace shoes frequently using the same brand unless a problem occurs, stretch gently and warm up gradually.
Are there any exercises that will help to correct structural problems?
Structural problems, such as shoulder fixations, unequal arm length, short leg syndrome, foot flare, hemipelvis, knee flexion, heal tension or leg rotation fixations can be corrected with specific exercises. If we find any of these issues during the structural exam, Susan will teach you the corresponding exercise to help correct the problem.
Patient Advocate Q & A
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