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The HC Wellness Center offers both traditional and alternative therapies to assist clients in achieving optimal health, wellness and balance. Featuring as its principle service Colon Hydrotherapy, formerly seen only at fine spas and destination resorts, HC Wellness Center & Spa is one of the first to offer this valuable wellness service to the Charlotte Metropolitan and surrounding areas. HC Wellness Center & Spa is a premier North Carolina spa providing the most luxurious, and beneficial wellness and beauty services available to the Charlotte Metropolitan and surrounding areas. Established in 2004 with the vision of combining traditional spa treatments, that promote relaxation and well being, with the most advanced skin, body and wellness services. The HC Spa supplies a moment of luxury for your body, mind and spirit. Here nature and science meet harmoniously as the finest massage, skin care and spa treatments await you.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are you troubled by: Crohn's? Colitis? Celiac? Irritable Bowel?

Are you troubled by:
Crohn's? Colitis? Celiac?
Irritable Bowel?
Millions of Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases (lBDs) like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Millions more suffer from Celiac disease
and irritable bowel syndrome (lBS). If you're one of those millions, this newsletter will provide you with practical tips to help ease your gastrointestinal distress and find lasting relief.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Finding Lasting Relief from Gastrointestinal Inflammation
The term Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a broad term referring to any disease characterized by inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. The two most common types of these diseases are Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Both of these conditions can make your life miserable with symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, fever, joint pain, loss of appetite and fatigue, not to mention fistulas and complications that can require surgery to remove part or all of the colon. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 1.4 million Americans suffer from IBD, and 10% of those are children.

The main difference between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis is the location and nature of the inflammation. Crohn's can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from mouth to anus, although most cases start in the ileum. Ulcerative colitis is restricted to the colon and the rectum. Microscopically, ulcerative colitis is restricted to the epithelial lining of the gut, while Crohn's disease affects the entire wall of the bowel.

Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance
A closely related problem is Celiac disease. This is also a condition involving gut inflammation, but is an autoimmune disorder involving an intolerance to gluten. Gluten is the protein in wheat (and other grains like rye and barley) that makes dough elastic. Celiac disease tends to run in families (suggesting genetic origins) and, like other autoimmune conditions, can be triggered by a physical stress such as surgery, pregnancy, childbirth and viral infection. Sometimes, severe emotional stress can set it in motion.

In Celiac disease the immune system damages the microvilli, the tiny protrusions in the small intestines necessary for proper absorption of nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition in spite of the nutrients one is consuming in food. Symptoms of Celiac disease include recurring abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, foul-smelling, greasy or discolored stool, weight loss, anemia, bone pain, fatigue, delayed growth and failure to thrive in children and infants. 

People who do not have Celiac disease may still have an intolerance to gluten, causing intestinal inflammation and immune system problems. This is called gluten sensitivity and probably plays a role in IBD, which is why we are including information about Celiac disease in this newsletter, even though it is not considered an IBD.

Leaky Gut Syndrome
Diseases involving inflammation of the intestines damage intestinal membranes and increase their permeability, allowing partially digested proteins, fats and waste, not normally absorbed, to leak from the intestines into the blood stream. This condition is known as leaky gut syndrome.  This is why IBD and Celiac disease can be the root causes of other autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis. They may also contribute to allergies, asthma, depression, irritability and even "mental" illness. 

Incidentally, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are quite different. Unlike IBD, IBS does not cause inflammation, ulcers or other damage to the bowel. In IBS, the digestive system looks normal but doesn't work as it should. Symptoms of IBS, once referred to as "spastic colon," include painful cramping, bloating, gas, mucus in the stool, diarrhea and constipation. However, IBS can have similar root causes to IBD, so some of the natural remedies discussed inside may be helpful for IBS as well.

Healing the Gastrointestinal Tract
Even though lBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), Celiac disease and IES are different, they have common root causes and natural therapies. So, we're going to discuss all of them in this newsletter.  However, in working with these conditions, especially lBD and Celiac, it is important to get a proper medical diagnosis and to have medical supervision, as these illnesses can cause life-threatening health problems. 

To understand how to work with these conditions naturally we need to understand what causes them, as natural healing is all about fixing causes rather than treating effects. Even though medical science has not fully understood the causes, we can extrapolate some of the causes by looking at risk factors. 

Although it is well established that intolerance to gluten (which may have genetic roots) is the direct cause of the symptoms of Celiac disease, the intolerance to gluten often appears to lie dormant until something triggers it. Furthermore, many of the same factors that trigger Celiac disease also trigger lBD, which include diet, the use of certain drug medications and emotional stress. Here are some of the triggers.

Risk Factors for Intestinal Inflammation
People who live in Western countries have a higher risk for developing lBD than people in other countries. However, as countries industrialize and adopt Western diets and lifestyles, lBD increases. So, there is definitely a lifestyle cause.

Smokers are at higher risk of developing Crohns disease, whereas they are at lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Research has linked long-term oral contraceptive use to a higher risk of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's. Other drugs, such as isotretinoin (Accutane), could also play a role. Pain-relieving NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) can worsen lBD symptoms but are not thought to increase the risk of getting the disease initially. 

One Japanese study reported an increased risk of Crohn's disease for women who consume a lot of animal and milk proteins. Other studies report a possible link to overconsumption of foods high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which suggests a lack of omega-3 essential fatty acids may be involved. 

A big factor may be the balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Healthy intestines contain trillions of good bacteria or friendly flora. These organisms play a role in digesting certain foods (especially dairy), protecting the body from infection and regulating the immune responses. 

Antibiotics and other drugs can disrupt the balance of these intestinal bacterial, as can infections with harmful bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter. Both of these bacteria have been associated with lBD. They are ingested in contaminated food and are responsible for thousands of cases of food poisoning each year. 

Since stress can trigger these bowel disorders, it's possible they may have emotional triggers, too. Adrenal fatigue results in lower levels of cortisol, which controls inflammation. Also, stress can be a factor in the regulation of the immune system, which may aggravate the autoimmune factor in intestinal inflammation.

Strategies for Healing the Intestines
The following measures have shown to help bring Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis under control. Many of these same strategies will help Celiac disease.

Adopt a Paleo Diet
Just a few thousand years ago, practically all human beings lived on what has been called the hunter-gatherer or paleo diet. These people simply collected the foods nature provided, which means they ate wild game and fish, raw milk and wild plant foods. Grain was not a significant part of this diet, and what grains and seeds were consumed were typically soaked and/or fermented before consumption. In addition, foods were not sterilized, so people had a wider range of gut microflora (probiotics) than people do today. 

As mankind learned to farm, diets changed. Today, we consume a large amount of grain and simple sugars. The meat and dairy products we consume are also raised on grain instead of grass. Dairy products are no longer whole and raw. Naturally fermented foods and other foods containing probiotics are not consumed. These changes in diet are probably the underlying cause of all of these diseases of the intestines. 

The place to start is to avoid all gluten-bearing grains, which include wheat (including bulgur, durum flour, farina, graham flour, semolina), barley (including malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar), rye, triticale, spelt and kamut. This is an absolute necessity when working with Celiac disease, but it can also be helpful for lBD.

Usually rice, corn, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa will be OK because they don't contain gluten. However, some people have found that in the beginning stages of therapy, it can be helpful to avoid all grains to give the intestines a better chance to heal. Many people also find it's a good idea to avoid all legumes (beans, soy products, lentils and peas) as well. 

It may also be necessary to avoid all dairy products. Some people will do all right with cultured dairy like yogurt and cheese, but many people have to eliminate all dairy foods.  It is also important to avoid eating refined sugars of all kinds and may even be helpful to eliminate honey, maple syrup and sugary fruits. In addition, people with lBD and IBS should avoid products sweetened with manitol, sorbitol and xylitol. 

Ideally, the diet should include servings of meat from grass-fed animals, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, wild-caught fish and game, and lots of vegetables, particularly non-starchy ones like zucchini, greens (such as mustard greens, beet greens, Swiss chard and kale), broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Good fats, like butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil and avocados are also acceptable.

For more information call 704-823-1577 or check out our website at www.hcwellnesscenterandspa.com