Sunday, April 30, 2023

Beyond ZZZ's: Unleashing. the power of Sleep to Heal the Body

      As humans, we spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping. However, have you ever considered the importance of sleep beyond just preventing fatigue? In recent years, there has been an increased focus on the role of sleep in healing the body. Researchers have discovered that sleep plays a pivotal role in repairing and revitalizing

our bodies. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of sleep in helping to heal the body.

     Sleep offers an ideal environment for cellular repair and regeneration. When we sleep, our bodies undergo extensive repair work, restoring any damages that might have been inflicted during the day. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sleep helps to restore damaged muscles and tissues by increasing the release of growth hormones in the body.

This happens at the level of the cells , the mitochondria and in the brain .

     Additionally, sleep plays a crucial role in the immune system's functioning. The immune system plays a crucial role in defending the body against infections and diseases. It works by detecting and destroying harmful pathogens, including foreign substances and cancerous cells. However, the immune system is highly complex and interconnected with other physiological systems, including the nervous system, endocrine system, and circadian rhythm. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the relationship between immune function and sleep. This paper aims to explore the current scientific knowledge on this topic, including the effects of sleep on immune function, the mechanism underlying this relationship, and the implications for health and disease.

Effects of Sleep on Immune Function

     Sleep is known to have a significant influence on the immune system. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to a decrease in immune function, making individuals more susceptible to infections and diseases. For example, individuals who sleep less than 7 hours per night have been found to be three times more likely to develop a cold than those who sleep 8 hours or more (Cohen et al., 2009). Similarly, sleep deprivation has been shown to suppress the immune system's ability to produce antibodies in response to vaccinations, making the vaccines less effective (Prather et al., 2017).

     On the other hand, getting enough sleep can boost immune function and improve the body's ability to fight infections. For example, a study conducted on healthy adults found that those who slept for 8 hours per night had higher levels of natural killer (NK) cell activity than those who slept for 5 hours or less (Savard et al., 1997). NK cells are a type of white blood cell that plays a critical role in detecting and destroying cancerous cells and virally infected cells. Other studies have found that adequate sleep is associated with higher levels of cytokines, which are molecules that play a vital role in the immune response (Opp, 2005).

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Mechanisms Underlying the Relationship Between Immune Function and Sleep

     The mechanisms underlying the relationship between immune function and sleep are complex and not yet fully understood. However, several hypotheses have been proposed based on the existing scientific literature. One such hypothesis is that sleep helps to promote the proliferation of immune cells, including T cells and NK cells, by facilitating the production of cytokines (Imeri & Opp, 2009). Another hypothesis is that sleep plays a role in regulating the circadian rhythm, which in turn affects immune function. The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that regulates various physiological processes, including sleep and wakefulness, and is tightly connected with the immune system (Lange et al., 2010). Additionally, sleep has been proposed to play a role in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is a critical component of the stress response (Imeri & Opp, 2009). The HPA axis is known to interact with the immune system, and disruptions to this axis have been associated with immune dysfunction (Dhabhar, 2008).

Implications for Health and Disease

     The relationship between immune function and sleep has significant implications for health and disease. Sleep disturbances and deficiencies have been linked to a range of diseases, including infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer (Irwin & Opp, 2017). Additionally, sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to be associated with immune dysfunction (Sharma & Rizzi, 2020). Improving sleep quality and quantity may, therefore, be a promising approach to improve immune function and prevent a range of diseases.

     Sleep also influences the body's ability to regulate inflammation. Inflammation is our body's response to injury, infections, or foreign substances. Adequate sleep helps prevent systemic inflammation, which can cause long-term damage to various body systems. Inflammation is a protective response triggered by the immune system to remove harmful stimuli and promote healing processes. Although beneficial in the short term, prolonged or chronic inflammation can lead to a host of disorders, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. 

 The exact mechanisms through which sleep regulates inflammation remain poorly understood. Several recent studies shed light on the complex interplay between sleep and inflammation and suggest that sleep deprivation may contribute to chronic inflammation in the body.

One study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, found that sleep deprivation can cause a significant increase in inflammatory markers. Participants who slept less than six hours per night had higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker that indicates inflammation in the body. The study concluded that sleep disruption may trigger the immune system to produce pro-inflammatory substances, leading to chronic inflammation.

Another study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that sleep disturbance in patients with heart failure can exacerbate inflammation, leading to adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The study concluded that improving sleep quality in these patients could lead to a reduction in inflammation and improved cardiovascular health.

The connection between sleep and inflammation may be due to the role of sleep in regulating the body's circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm regulates various physiological processes, including the immune response. Research has shown that sleep disturbances can disrupt the circadian rhythm, leading to dysregulation of the immune system and increased inflammation.

     The brain also benefits greatly from sleep, and good sleep has been associated with improved cognitive function, including memory consolidation and learning. During sleep, the brain processes the information we gathered during the day; therefore, good sleep allows us to retain and recall important information more easily.

When we get a good nights sleep the prefrontal cortex , the thinking and reasoning part of the brain is able to exert control over the primitive brain or amygdala . When we don’t sleep , the primitive brain takes over our decision making and allows us to make more impulsive decisions that affect our food and exercise choices . 

In conclusion, this blog post has highlighted the importance of adequate sleep in helping to heal the body. Boosting the immune system, facilitating tissue repair and regeneration, and controlling inflammation are all important factors; making sure that we get quality sleep should be an integral part of our health routine. Fortunately, adopting healthy sleep habits, such as developing a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime significantly improve the quality of our sleep and enhance our overall well-being.

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Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Alper, C. M., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Turner, R. B. (2009). Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Archives of internal medicine, 169(1), 62–67.

Dhabhar, F. S. (2008). Enhancing versus suppressive effects of stress on immune function: implications for immunoprotection and immunopathology. Neuroimmunomodulation, 15(2), 80–87.

Imeri, L., & Opp, M. R. (2009). How (and why) the immune system makes us sleep. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(3), 199–210.

Irwin, M. R., & Opp, M. R. (2017). Sleep health: reciprocal regulation of sleep and innate immunity. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42(1), 129–155.

Lange, T., Dimitrov, S., & Born, J. (2010). Effects of sleep and circadian rhythm on the human immune system. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1193(1), 48–59.

Opp, M. R. (2005). Sleep and psychoneuroimmunology. Neuropsychopharmacology, 30(S1), S67–S76.

Prather, A. A., Janicki-Deverts, D., Hall, M. H., & Cohen, S. (2017). Behaviorally assessed sleep and susceptibility to the common cold. Sleep, 40(5), zsx017.

Savard, J., Laroche, L., Simard, S., Ivers, H., & Morin, C. M. (1997). Chronic insomnia and immune functioning. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59(4), 419–426.

Sharma, A., & Rizzi, D. (2020). Sleep disordered breathing and immunology: An overview. Respiratory Medicine: X, 2, 100029.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

How to heal a leaky Gut: healthy habits to Follow

Thursday, April 13, 2023

SIBO - Many ways to Treat but very Difficult to Cure.

 Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition where there is an abnormal increase in the number of bacteria in the small intestine. This overgrowth can cause various digestive symptoms, including bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and malabsorption of nutrients. In this blog post, we will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of SIBO.

Diagnosis of SIBO:

The diagnosis of SIBO is made through a breath test. This test measures the amount of hydrogen and methane gas in the breath after consuming a substrate such as lactulose or glucose. These gases are produced by the bacteria in the small intestine. An increase in the levels of these gases indicates the presence of SIBO. There is a new test called TRIO which measures all three gases. 

Another way to diagnose SIBO is through an endoscopy with a biopsy of the small intestine. However, this method is invasive and is not commonly used. It  is important to identify and address the underlying cause of SIBO. In some cases, SIBO can be caused by structural abnormalities in the small intestine, such as strictures or adhesions; other  conditions to exclude are hypothyroidism or diabetes.  One of the main problems is the movement of the ileo-cecal valve which may malfunction and be unable to sweep bacteria out from the small intestine. Addressing the underlying cause may help prevent the recurrence of disease. 

There are three main types of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): hydrogen-dominant, methane-dominant, and hydrogen sulfide-dominant. 

  1. Hydrogen-dominant SIBO:

Hydrogen-dominant SIBO is the most common type of SIBO, and it occurs when there is an overgrowth of hydrogen-producing bacteria in the small intestine. Treatment for hydrogen-dominant SIBO typically involves the use of antibiotics, such as rifaximin, to reduce the number of bacteria in the gut. A low FODMAP diet may also be helpful in managing symptoms.

  1. Methane-dominant SIBO:

Methane-dominant SIBO occurs when there is an overgrowth of methane-producing bacteria in the small intestine. This type of SIBO can be more challenging to treat than hydrogen-dominant SIBO. Antibiotics, such as rifaximin and neomycin, may be used to reduce the number of bacteria in the gut. Prokinetics, such as erythromycin and prucalopride, can also be helpful in improving gut motility.

  1. Hydrogen sulfide-dominant SIBO:

Hydrogen sulfide-dominant SIBO occurs when there is an overgrowth of bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide gas in the small intestine. This type of SIBO is less common than the other two types, and it can be challenging to diagnose. Treatment for hydrogen sulfide-dominant SIBO may involve antibiotics, such as metronidazole and tinidazole, and dietary changes.

Alternative therapies include herbal preparations of berberine , garlic , Neem , or oregano . Another option is the elemental diet which is an Amino Acid powder that you purchase or you can make your own . The idea is to use a medical food that gets absorbed before it gets to the large intestine where the fermenting bacteria reside. Probiotic treatment may be beneficial but it depends on the stage of treatment and the degree of inflammation in the gut. Prebiotics like guar gum have been shown to be helpful  in some cases. If there is an underlying problem with fungi or parasites, this  also may be complicating the healing and elimination of SIBO. The length of treatment may vary and there may be recurrences  after a course of therapy which make it very frustrating for many  patients. 

Friday, April 7, 2023

How to heal your microbiome

       The human microbiome is a collection of microorganisms that live on the inside of the intestines , and control your overall health and well being. These microorganisms, compromising of bacteria, fungi and other microbes, fluctuate based on the use of antibiotics, chronic stress, poor dietary habits, and may lead to reduced immunity, inflammation and chronic disease. Therefore it's important to optimize your microbiome . Some of the most important lifestyle  factors include diet, sleep patterns, stress management and environmental exposures to toxins and pesticides.


     Diet Habits are one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy microbiome. A diet specifically high in fiber and plant based foods can help promote the growth of "good bactera in the gut , compared to a diet high inn animal products and processed foods can damage the mucosa and create an imbalance or overgrowth of unhealthy organisms (dysbyosis).  To optimize good health, whole grain, legumes, leafy and non-starchy vegetables . Fermented foods may help some but not all conditions. These include yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi and they contain natural probiotics to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.


     Sleep can affect your gut health. Chronic stress can affect the intestinal production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which alter mood. In addition, the production of cortisol, the stress hormone is produced and this affects blood sugar, and insulin levels. To promote good  microbiome health, there are methods to reset the parasympathetic nervous system utilizing techniques of meditation , deep breathing ,yoga as well as some form of physical exercise ( walking , swimming , bicycling).

     Environmental toxins including exposure to pesticides, herbicides, heaby metals ( in foods), air pollution , and volatile compounds in furniture , create inflammation which affects the immune system and the health of the microbiome. Air pollution, toxins in the water we drink and food additives can create havoc on our overall health in this fashion. We should attempt to control the environment as much as possible with natural cleaning products,  air and water filters, avoid fragrances and perfumes and read labels to identify  artificial ingredients and hidden sources of sugar that affect our heath daily. 

    If you are interested in a step by step approach to heal your microbiome you can contact me through my website . You can download my  free ebook 10 steps to improve brain fog .