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IBS and Whole-Body Pain

Or - Why do I hurt everywhere when my IBS acts up?

By Dr. Don Davis
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)  sufferers have enough problems with stool frequency, bloating and abdominal pain without having to deal with pain anywhere else.  But that’s just what recent research is beginning to show us.


We already know that there is increased “overall” pain in other syndromes like fibromyalgia and in many other degenerative diseases like diabetes and heart disease.  But pain in areas outside of the gut with IBS is a little hard to relate to.  The reality is, it’s there, and its common.


The research has been building for a while, in fact in 2003, studies showed that body-pain outside the GI tract with IBS was actually greater than Inflammatory bowel disease and Crone’s disease. 

Cholesterol / Heart Disease and the Gut

By Dr. Don Davis

The concern about cholesterol and heart disease has had quite the ride.  It started with the
three decades of misinformation regarding cholesterol’s ability to cause heart disease.  The idea was that heart disease is caused by too much cholesterol and high LDL’s – not true.  And then there was the steady stream of questionable “facts” given to patients warning them that LDL cholesterol is the only thing that needs to be tracked during treatment.  Both of these little gems have been finally proven incorrect, so now maybe we can move on.


The truth is, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is an inflammatory response to lipoproteins (fat proteins).  Lipoproteins deliver cholesterol, but it’s actually the number of lipoproteins (LDL-P) in the blood rather than the amount of cholesterol they carry that is the best predictor of heart problems.


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Is Poor Sleep Making Your IBS Worse?

      Or is it the other way around?

By Dr. Don Davis

sleep-and-ibs-imageRecently there has been a great deal of work exploring the relationships of IBS to many other disorders like brain fog, heart burn (GERD) and bacterial overgrowth. So, it’s not really a surprise that other problems would related as well.


One of the more interesting connections of IBS and seemingly unrelated conditions is its connection to sleep. 

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Why do we get sleepy after eating?

The Facts, Myths and Magic


By Dr. Don Davis
Epicture1very year during the holidays, most of us temporarily suspend our health goals and start
eating.  It begins in November with a big bump on Thanksgiving
and cruises through December with a crescendo on Christmas and New Year’s.  Inevitably your weight will rise and you will be making familiar resolutions to exercise more and eat less.  In fact, most Americans report that they gain an average of 5 to 10 lbs. over the holidays.  Unfortunately, they won’t lose all that weight afterward, leading to an expanding mid-section year after year.

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Vitamin B12 Problems?

Is It From Diet Deficiency or Poor Absorption?

by Doc Don Davis

There are many health problems that aB12re linked to Vitamin B12 levels but most doctors assume that it’s a matter of deficiency. In reality, at least in North America, it is much more likely an issue with absorption. It’s thought that about 30% of people over 60 are affected by low B12 levels (aka hypo-cobalaminemia).


B12 is vital for proper brain and nerve health and so it’s linked to many brain and energy maladies like memory loss, anemia, cardiovascular disease and numbness, tingling, depression and loss of cognition that can be the beginnings of dementia.


Years ago it was believed that B12 deficiency was due to dietary intake because of the predictable deficiencies that can occur with vegetarian/vegan diets and the problems in developing countries. While it is true that this presents a problem, we find that even people with adequate meat in the diet are prone to this condition.

Contrary to popular belief, not only strict vegetarians (vegans) are at high risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Am J Clin Nutr February 2009 vol. 89 no. 2 693S-696S

Since dietary intake is usually adequate, that leaves poor absorption as the major reason for B12 deficiency. This is by far the most common reason for low B12 and the subsequent declining brain dysfunction and anemia.

Stomach acid and Vit B12?

graphAbsorption of B12 occurs in the intestines but must have a healthy stomach that produces stomach acid and intrinsic factor tomake this happen. Unfortunately, stomach acid declines with age which affects the level of intrinsic factor and then the B12 levels start to plummet. This can be helped and actually reversed with supplemental hydrochloric acid (HCL).


Intrinsic factor can also be lowered when you have a condition called Pernicious Anemia that can cause fatigue, lethargy and weakness. This is an auto-immune condition where the body attacks the cells that make intrinsic factor. In this case, treatment must include the immune system as well as the low levels of hydrochloric acid.

How about inflammation?

There are other reasons for decreased B12 absorption, like bacterial overgrowth, intestinal inflammation and gluten sensitivity. Inflammation can make it difficult for micronutrients like B12 to pass through an inflamed and damaged gut lining into the bloodstream.


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The Adolescent Gut – Brain

Adolescentby Doc Don Davis


Nobody wants to see a child suffer.  It doesn’t matter if he/she is a toddler or a young  adult. The point is: it just shouldn’t happen.  I know personally, the only thing I can’t watch in any movie is when a child is uncomfortable, stressed, or is left alone.  Maybe It’s just me, because of some issue in my past, but I suspect that almost all of you reading this feel the same way.  The utter dependence on those adults in control is a special circumstance in the world, one that isn’t replicated in any other domain.


Suffering doesn’t have to come from the hand of a care giver. I’m speaking here to the internal physical issues that affect children in a way that increases both physical and mental stress.

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Infertility and the Gut Bacteria


Male Infertility problems

By Dr. Don Davis


Infertility is an increasing problem, and the male’s side of the equation is estimated to be 40-50% of that problem.

Unfortunately, in most of these cases the cause remains unknown, so a study recently that sheds light on this is welcome news. Interestingly, the gut and the bacteria that live there seem to be the culprit.  In this study, it was found that the bacterial composition of the semen can affect infertility. And where did the bacteria come from? The gut!  Not only that, the testing actually found the same bacteria and the same proportions.

The researchers took 96 semen samples and found that the type of bacteria residing there was related to semen health factors like semen volume, sperm concentration, motility, antisperm antibody (IgA) and leukocytes (white blood cells).

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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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