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What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

By Doc Don Davis            .................. I’m sure you know the feeling, even though you may not know the name. Irritable bowel syndrome or Spastic Colon is one of the most common intestinal disorders. Most doctors and patients find it hard to clearly define just what Irritable Bowel Syndrome is. It used to be a diagnosis of exclusion where the doctor would finally label your symptoms as IBS when they couldn’t think of anything else to call it,But IBS research has advanced so much in the last 5 years that it has cleared the path to a much fuller understanding of the cause and effects of IBS. This syndrome – or collection of symptoms, may start with (photo) indigestion, bloating, gas and abnormal bowel frequency and then progress to (photo) abdominal pain, cramping, heartburn, diarrhea alternating with constipation and nausea. In addition, many patients have what…

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The Second Brain- in your Gut

By Doc Don Davis            .................. Today I’d like to talk about a second brain that we all have that resides in our intestines.  You would think one brain would be enough, but we actually have two brains; one at the top of the spinal cord and one large, powerful “brain” in the gut, called the enteric nervous system.  Anyone that has given a speech and experienced the predictable performance-related stomach distress knows that your gut is listening closely to your brain.  But what can the brain learn from the stomach?  As it turns out, plenty. You see, the brain and the gut, including the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and colon are intimately connected by the huge vagus nerve in a two-way street. Scientists were recently shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the vagus neurons carry information from the gut to the…

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What’s the deal with gluten?

By Doc Don Davis            .................. Why is it so controversial? It’s clearly part of the modern nutritional landscape that results in a lot distress, both nutritionally and politically.  I'm not only talking about standard medicine vs alternative therapies even though that's part of it.  I'm referring to the severe and widespread damage of undiagnosed gluten sensitivity vs the psychological reluctance to give up what we consider one of the most emotionally attractive and satisfying foods of all time. Gluten containing foods like cookies and breads, stimulate the addiction areas of the brain raising dopamine levels promoting carbohydrate seeking behavior, binging, and food habits that are not consistent with human health.  I don't think I have witnessed a more passive-aggressive food option. And the "political correctness" of being gluten free discourages rational discussion about bagels and beer. Let's face it, if you aren't gluten-free you aren't…

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Parkinson’s and the Gut

By Doc Don Davis            .................. I’m rarely surprised by the outcome of the scientific studies I read, but I was startled when I recently read an article in the annals of Neurology addressing the link between the gut and Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease of the nervous system resulting in a gradual irreversible loss of movement control. It’s been in the news for several years because of its’ unfortunate affects on Mohamad Ali and Michael J Fox. We’ve known for decades that Parkinson’s develops because of degeneration in a particular place in the brain called the substantia nigra and causing decrease production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. We thought the degeneration occurred because of our unlucky genes or exposure to toxic substances like pesticides or oxidative stress. We now know that a clumped form of a protein called alpha-synuclein, has been found to…

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