Once again, I’d like to thank my clients for voting me favorite Acupuncturist in the Tri-Cities for a second year in a row. You’re all awesome!!
A growing body of research shows the gut affects bodily functions far beyond digestion. Studies have shown intriguing links from the gut’s health to bone formation, learning and memory and even conditions including Parkinson’s disease. Recent research found disruptions to the stomach or intestinal bacteria can prompt depression and anxiety—at least in lab rats.
Better understanding the communication between the gut and the brain could help reveal the causes of and treatments for a range of ailments, and provide diagnostic clues for doctors.
New research indicates problems in the gut may cause problems in the brain, just as a mental ailment, such as anxiety, can upset the stomach.
“The gut is important in medical research, not just for problems pertaining to the digestive system but also problems pertaining to the rest of the body,” says Pankaj J. Pasricha, chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Stanford University School of Medicine.
The gut—considered as a single digestive organ that includes the esophagus, stomach and intestines—has its own nervous system that allows it to operate independently from the brain.
This enteric nervous system is known among researchers as the “gut brain.” It controls organs including the pancreas and gall bladder via nerve connections. Hormones and neurotransmitters generated in the gut interact with organs such as the lungs and heart.
Like the brain and spinal cord, the gut is filled with nerve cells. The small intestine alone has 100 million neurons, roughly equal to the amount found in the spinal cord, says Michael Gershon, a professor at Columbia University.
The vagus nerve, which stretches down from the brainstem, is the main conduit between the brain and gut. But the gut doesn’t just take orders from the brain.
“The brain is a CEO that doesn’t like to micromanage,” says Dr. Gershon. The brain receives much more information from the gut than it sends down, he adds.
Many people with psychiatric and brain conditions also report gastrointestinal issues. New research indicates problems in the gut may cause problems in the brain, just as a mental ailment, such as anxiety, can upset the stomach.
Stanford’s Dr. Pasricha and colleagues examined this question in the lab by irritating the stomachs of newborn rats. By the time the animals were eight to 10 weeks old, the physical disturbance had healed, but these animals displayed more depressed and anxious behaviors, such as giving up more quickly in a swimming task, than rats whose stomachs weren’t irritated.
Compared to controls, the rats also showed increased sensitivity to stress and produced more of a stress hormone, in a study published in May in a Public Library of Science journal, PLoS One.
Other work, such as that of researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, demonstrated that bacteria in the gut—known as gut flora—play a role in how the body responds to stress. The exact mechanism is unknown, but certain bacteria are thought to facilitate important interactions between the gut and the brain.
Electrically stimulating the vagus nerve has been shown to reduce the symptoms of epilepsy and depression. (One treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration, made by Cyberonics Inc., is already on the market.)
Exactly why such stimulation works isn’t known, experts say, but a similar procedure has been shown in animal studies to help improve learning and memory.
Earlier this month, researchers made a small step toward understanding a gastrointestinal ailment that typically affects children with autism.
In a study of 23 autistic children and nine typically developing kids, a bacterium unique to the intestines of those with autism called Sutterella was discovered.
The results, published online in the journal mBio by researchers at Columbia’s school of public health, need to be studied further, but suggest Sutterella may be important in understanding the link between autism and digestive ailments, the authors wrote.
Dr. Gershon, professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia, has been studying how the gut controls its behavior and that of other organs by investigating the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Low serotonin levels in the brain are known to affect mood and sleep. Several common antidepressants work by raising levels of serotonin in the brain.
Yet about 95% of the serotonin in the body is made in the gut, not in the brain, says Dr. Gershon. Serotonin and other neurotransmitters produced by gut neurons help the digestive track push food through the gut.
Work by Dr. Gershon and others has shown that serotonin is necessary for the repair of cells in the liver and lungs, and plays a role in normal heart development and bone-mass accumulation.
Studying the neurons in the gut also may also help shed light on Parkinson’s disease. Some of the damage the disease causes to brain neurons that make the neurotransmitter dopamine also occur in the gut neurons, researchers say.
Researchers are now studying whether gut neurons, which can be sampled through a routine colonoscopy, may help clinicians diagnose and track the disease without invasive brain biopsies, says Pascal Derkinderen, a professor of neurology at Inserm, France’s national institute of health.
The IVF Acupuncture Group is a team of doctors specializing in providing quality, evidence-based acupuncture services for patients undergoing IVF in Greater Vancouver.
I am happy to be a part of this team of excellent practitioners providing Acupuncture and Chinese medical services to couples undergoing in vitro fertilization and various other fertility treatments.
To read more, please visit http://www.ivfacupuncture.org/
Are you drinking tea daily? If not, you may be missing out on many health benefits.
The ancient Chinese have been drinking various green teas for millennia and were well aware of the health benefits far before the advents of modern science were able identify the compounds in tea that make it such an incredibly nutrient rich beverage.
The benefits of green tea include many healing and preventive processes that cater to diseases like cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, infections, impaired immune functions, and cardiovascular diseases. The benefits of green tea also reduce high cholesterol rates in the body. By drinking recommended amounts of green tea, the human body is cleansed from toxins that are responsible for many health problems, which improves your health and your lifestyle as well. You will feel relaxed, full of energy, and even develop a good outlook in life once you drink a good cup of green tea.
Green tea is able to provide people with these benefits because it contains certain vitamins. It is particularly rich in EGCG or epigallocatechil gallate. EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant that inhibits cancer cell growth and kills present cancer cells without harming the rest of the healthy tissues in the body. EGCG also helps to lower and balance cholesterol levels, and prevents the abnormal formation of blood clots in wounds. Blood clotting, also known as thrombosis, often leads to severe heart attacks and stroke. EGCG has become so reliable and popular in the medical community that it even produces better results than red wine, which contains a polyphenol called resveratrol that prevents heart diseases as well.
Over the last few decades, green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers have lower chances of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer. Although green tea does not raise the metabolic rate enough to produce immediate weight loss, a green tea extract containing polyphenols and caffeine has been shown to induce thermogenesis and stimulate fat oxidation, boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate.
Most teas that are imported from Asia are purchased from large factories favouring quantity over quality, and usually contain harmful pesticides and fungicides. At Rocky Point Acupuncture, we will only be carrying fair trade, organic teas purchased directly from the farmers, and will therefore be supporting the local economy and ecology. Our organic teas will be sold in bulk, allowing people to buy as much or as little as they would like. Beautifully packaged, high quality tea also makes a great gift.
If you or someone you may know would be interested in purchasing our organic and fair trade tea, please give Eran a call at the clinic, 778-355-9777.
§ Se Chung Oolong tea (certified organic, Fujian, China) $4.00/per 50g
Dark, fermented green tea with a spicy-chocolate fragrance.
§ Rooibos tea (certified organic, South Africa) $2.25/per 50g
African bush tea. Caffeine free and very high in anti-oxidants.
§ Midnight Jasmine (certified organic, China) $3.00/per 50g
Green tea with jasmine flowers.
This is just the beginning, and we will be stocking more options of tea in the future. If there is something specific you would like us to carry, please let us know and we will search our sources to find the highest quality available.
Pre-birth acupuncture is recommended for woman from week 36 onwards and weekly thereafter. Weekly acupuncture promotes a healthy and natural birth, by boosting energy, softening the ligaments and tendons prior to labour and aiding in cervical dilation. It also promotes relaxation and nourishes the blood in the body (which helps you to sleep better, have more energy, and a greater sense of wellbeing). Midwives who have attended births where their patient had pre-birth acupuncture, noted that the length of labour was reduced, the need for medical interventions were reduced (less medical induction, epidural and caesarean births), and saw an increase in normal vaginal deliveries, which is optimal for the health of the baby and mother.
Research shows that pregnant women who receive pre-birth treatment are more likely to go into labour around their due dates, or if induction is required, they respond well to acupuncture induction and move efficiently into a natural labour. To see if pre-birth acupuncture is right for you, contact Rocky Point Acupuncture and book an appointment. 778-355-9777