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As we move closer into Spring, I am really excited about seeing more sun, being outdoors, moving my body more vigorously and reveling in Nature as the ground thaws and new life emerges.  Ah, the beauty of Spring!  This time of year emboldens our will to take charge of our health and also to shed excess winter weight. There is much we can do to prepare ourselves for a healthy Spring.

This is a great time to add more green and deep colored vegetables and fruits, lentils and beans to our diet, increase our water intake and detoxify and cleanse. Our body is more open to detoxification during the change of seasons (Spring and Fall) and the cleanse I carry at The Ommani Center is a fabulous way to detoxify without feeling hungry.  This cleanse removes hormone disruptors plentifully present in pesticide laden food that is genetically modified, which get deposited in body fat and accelerate additional fat production.  These are toxic for our body, weigh down our liver, our most efficient detoxifier, and interfere with its healthy functions such as the regulation of our metabolism, blood sugar and glucuronidation.  Our liver also houses our first line of host defense (immunity) and produces powerful antioxidants.  In addition, the toxins we ingest disrupt our microbiome, the trillions of friendly/healthy bacteria present in our intestinal lining that keep toxins and proteins like gluten out of our blood stream, reduce inflammation and aid in the absorption of nutrients.  Disruption of these healthy/friendly bacteria causes leaky gut, where the lining of our intestines becomes more permeable to absorption of toxins and foods that don’t belong in our blood stream causing severe inflammation.  Both of these organs (the liver and microbiome) are critical for a healthy nervous system and emotional and mental well-being, and rely on the neurotransmitters our microbiome produces. “Healthy gut, healthy brain,” is an evidence based accuracy. More than 90% of our neurotransmitters are produced here. The microbiome is called the ‘second brain’ for this reason!  In addition, 90%of our immune system is also regulated by a healthy microbiome!

Many of us have been impacted by the aftermath of a COVID-19 infection.  This virus causes leaks in the gut, among its other multi-system disrupting effects.  Have you felt mental fog or lack of clarity after having even a mild case of COVID-19? This is the direct result of its contribution to leaky gut.  When this virus binds to the intestinal wall, it disrupts the friendly bacteria, which modulate what is absorbed into our blood stream as described above. If these bacteria are not manning our intestinal lining, unwelcome foods are absorbed into our blood stream that cause severe inflammation in every physiological system including the brain. Unfriendly bacteria then overgrow, producing toxins that further disrupt the gut barrier for inflammation. Friendly bacteria are ultra-sensitive to processed food, sugar, alcohol aspartame contained in many liquid and chewable pharmaceuticals, soda, juices, low calorie electrolyte drinks candy and even chewing gum.  Significant stress and lack of exercise, also disrupts their vitality.  If your lifestyle includes a glass of alcohol most days, along with a Standard American Diet, fast or processed food, sugar and not much plant fiber, you likely had leaky gut even before getting COVID-19. By the mechanism described above, this virus amplifies the already vulnerable nervous system that had little to no protection and lacks the neuroplasticity needed to recover from these lifestyle choices. As an example, one strain of friendly bacteria called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, not stable enough to be packaged in a probiotic capsule, but stable in the intestinal lumen is essential to keep our gut healthy. This organism is totally dependent on the plant fiber we eat. COVID-19  almost completely wipes it out. F. prausnitzii breaks plant fiber down into medium chain fatty acids that plug the holes in our intestinal lining created by COVID-19, and the other assaults mentioned above. A Mediterranean diet (heavy in plants) can assist in recovery from brain fog due to COVID and other offenders that cause microbiome disruption. When friendly bacteria crowd out unfriendly bacteria, our microbiome recovers, so does our neurotransmitter production as well as our immune system, restoring our body to an anti-inflammatory state.

If you take probiotics as part of your supplement regimen, it is important to take a broad spectrum one that is shelf stable.  Also, remember that your probiotic is only as effective as what you feed it.  These friendly bacteria love a diet heavy in plants and don’t enjoy the after effects of alcohol or a diet high in saturated fat, processed foods, additives and food colorings (just like our friendly flora) which nearly wipe them out.  So keeping this in mind while making healthier choices will serve your gut well.  It is so important to understand the impact of our choices on our body for us to take charge of our health and prevent diseases of lifestyle.

And last but not least, regular exercise stimulates the liver, and also fortifies a healthy microbiome, which grows and flourishes under its influence.  As Spring arrives, doing a cleanse, adding a broad spectrum shelf stable probiotic, eating more plants, reducing animal protein and alcohol, and adding daily exercise to your lifestyle will do you much good.  Weight loss and vitality are welcome by-products of these lifestyle choices which also boost confidence and self-esteem, and I assure you will make you feel happier in your body. This does more to heal the effects of long COVID than any pharmaceutical.

Start slowly and add healthy choices one by one. They stack up and produce results faster than you realize. You may surprise yourself with how good you can actually feel in just one or two weeks!

I am available for consultations to customize your needs to prevent and reverse diseases and reclaim your health.  I would love to assist you in any way I can to help you gain more health, energy and vitality.

For an appointment with me, please call The Ommani Center at 262-695-5311.

Happy Spring!


©March2024 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI.   Author of Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife (2nd Edition), Medial Press, 2014. Dr. Kumar is currently accepting new patients. Call 262.695.5311 for an appointment, either virtual or in-person.

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Evidence Based Integrative Medicine