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Hashimoto’s, Thyroid, Gluten and the Gut

Kaitlyn first came to see me suffering with extreme fatigue, insomnia, and a feeling of “unwellness” many years ago. She had a young child and worked part time but felt very fatigued all of the time. She was health conscious and followed a vegetarian diet with her husband and fed her whole family that way.

The first thing we did together was to run some bloodwork and to check into how her digestive system was working with Functional Medicine Testing. Through the allergy testing we found that she was allergic to most vegetarian protein foods such as dairy, beans, gluten (seitan – in meat substitutes) and soy. And her thyroid levels were way too low. She decided to add in clean animal proteins (grass fed beef, organic free range poultry and wild clean fish) and she went on prescription thyroid medication and with some fluctuations began to feel better.

After a period of stress and adjusting her thyroid medications a few times, we decided to test for Thyroid...

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The Gut-Hormone Connection

How your Gut Issues are Connected to Hormone Imbalance

Maureen, a 46 year old mother of 3, had recurrent digestive problems and IBS along with acne and irregular, painful periods with a hellish case of monthly PMS. It all began around the time her dermatologist prescribed longterm antibiotic therapy for stubborn acne. While her acne only showed modest improvements with this common approach of prescribing antibiotics for years on end, her digestion got worse and worse until she had almost constant loose stools, bloating and cramping no matter what she ate! As time went on she became even more fatigued as her adrenal glands crashed due to chronic stress during her young adulthood during the many life transitions she went through during her 20’s.

As time went on she noticed that she began to gain a significant amount of weight. No matter what she ate or how much she exercised, it did not come off.

Finally, during her initial visit with me, I suspected that her thyroid levels...

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"My Gut Hurts and My Brain Isn't Working!"

Have you ever felt this way? Janine certainly knows what this is like! “I have had chronic digestive issues since I was a little girl. And when things are especially bad I would forget simple words, and forget about remembering names! I am only in my mid-40’s! I can’t fathom what my memory and cognition will be like as I reach my 50’s and 60’s! I used to be really sharp, but now not so much! As my digestive issues have worsened, so has my brain! I also have severe mood swings now that I never used to have. I had my hormones checked and they are fine so it must be related to my digestion! Dr. Tara, can you help me?”

For many years I have noticed this brain and cognition connection in many if not most of my gut health patients.   I would do my usual work of identifying gut pathogens through stool samples and correcting the imbalance with the correct blend of probiotics. Other more mainstream scientists happily are also noticing this...

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Running on Empty? Help for SIBO-D

Barbara was very very sick. She was having bad diarrhea 10-15 times per day. She was feeling wiped out and isolated as she was too sick to go out. Working was nearly impossible as she could barely concentrate due to severe brain fog not to mention the multiple trips to the bathroom.  She had already taken 2 rounds of antibiotics with no change and this constant chronic diarrhea had been going on for months. She had already seen her doctor multiple times and there had been no change in her health , which was really sad because she actually liked her doctor. She was also suffering from intense bloating which made her look 6 months pregnant. “It feels like something is alive in there!” she told me as she cried in my office.

Chronic diarrhea is almost always caused by either an infectious agent, a chemical agent (chemotherapy)  or a reaction to foods. Her doctor had taken a stool sample but I thought that perhaps the test was not sensitive enough to detect the...

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Take a Pause and Do the Research

Uncategorized Sep 10, 2016

She called my office on a Friday afternoon.And urgently wanted me to call her back that day. She was not a current patient of mine but I called her back anyway because she sounded so scared and so desperate and wanted me to help her. Even my receptionist was concerned. She said she didn’t think she could last through the weekend and wanted to know what she should do. I gave her very basic guidance,   but in my opinion she really needed to be hospitalized or at least go to the Emergency Room and I strongly told her so.

I often get very complicated cases in my practice. I am sometimes the next of a succession of practitioners the patient is seeing for their complex problem. Patients are desperately looking for answers and are often in crisis. They want me to fix their problem right there on the spot. This is difficult if not impossible. Now it may be that the patient has been tested out the wazoo with various functional medicine tests and they are now on about 18 (or...

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Constipation: Are You Clogged?

Jennifer was getting frustrated. No matter what she tried, she was only able to have a small hard bowel movement every 3-5 days which only offered a slight improvement in how she felt.  In between bowel movements she was horribly uncomfortable. She felt like her intestines were full of cement! She tried various laxatives as well as changing her diet to no avail. The only thing that reliably cleaned out her colon was having periodic colonics (colon hydrotherapy). But that was getting expensive and Jennifer couldn’t help but think that there was a better way for her move her bowels more naturally without an expensive treatment.

Constipation is a growing problem. There are many causes, including increased levels of stress and the Standard American Diet (SAD). The Standard American Diet is full of processed foods which contain little to no fiber. And stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Our sympathetic nervous system evolved to help us run fast (fight...

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Do All People with IBS Have SIBO?

The first time it happened was when I was pregnant. I was visiting my parents and I had just eaten a cookie my mother had served. My belly suddenly filled up with air and I was in intense pain. I drank some peppermint tea and the air moved through and I chalked it up to pregnancy doing weird things to my body. It happened again a few years later during a Thanksgiving gathering with friends. I had just enjoyed a nice dinner with friends when suddenly my gut filled with air. The pain was so bad that I could not stand up all the way! Again, peppermint tea and it passed. Then it started happening after almost every meal, not right away sometimes but a few hours after. And sometimes immediately after eating. I eventually got my food allergies tested and discovered I had a major case of leaky gut and food allergies.   Once I eliminated the allergens and started repairing my leaky gut, these episodes stopped. Did I have SIBO? Probably not. I didn’t test for it and since it...

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When a Flare Happens: Stress and Autoimmune Disease

Maureen had been working with me for about 6 months for her Crohns disease and we had gotten her to a pretty stable place and she was able to incorporate the diet changes into her life and was happy with the results. However, she had recently taken on some new stressful work projects, plus was having some trouble with her teenaged son and not surprisingly she had a flare of her autoimmune disease.

Flare-ups happen with autoimmune diseases. They do. And they are worse when there is stress involved. OR stress actually causes the flares. Not surprising that Maureen would have a flare with the added stress in her life. Though most of my patients who have a flare will find that if they are still on the protocol, their flares will be less frequent, less intense and shorter in duration. And then it becomes a bit easier to pinpoint what contributed to the flareup. Those cookies you ate while you were having an emotional eating session, the extra hours of work you have taken on, the loss of...

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Why does Gut Health Affect so Many Things? Especially Autoimmune Diseases?

Evelyn, age 51, sat tearfully in my office. Her hands were in constant pain and she had trouble buttoning her clothes and typing on the computer.  She had just been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease and her rheumatologist had prescribed some heavy duty immune suppressing pharmaceuticals for her condition. He told her she was to be on medications for the rest of her life. Evelyn found me so that together we could unravel the cause of her autoimmune disease and hopefully find a way for her to heal and at the very least manage her condition. When I asked her about her digestion, she mentioned having lots of gas, cramping and bloating every time she ate. This was still happening even after she gave up eating gluten on the advice of a friend!

I personally have skin in this game against autoimmune disease! I watched my mother suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 30 years! At the end of her life she was utterly dependent on opioids and naproxen to manage her pain....

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How Stress and Lack of Sleep Makes You Fat!

sleep stress weight loss Jul 12, 2016

Ellen, a 44 year old IT specialist with 2 kids had been putting in long hours at her job. She wanted to prove to her boss that she could do a good job so she took on extra projects and as many of you know, salaried positions often really require that you work over 60 hours per week anyway. So her exercise by necessity had to be reduced due to work and family commitments, and her stress levels and the means she used to deal with her stress levels had exponentially increased.   Then she found that within 6 months she had gained 30 lbs! And her digestion was also really suffering! While a 30 lb weight gain is hard enough on your health, Ellen’s self esteem took a very big hit because she felt less physically attractive, felt exhausted and completely overwhelmed by the thought of losing all of the weight that she had gained.

She also found that with increased stress, even though she was utterly exhausted trying to balance her life, she had trouble sleeping too! She...

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