Sunday, May 09, 2021

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — 'My digestion is fine, thank you!'

| March 24, 2021 1:00 AM

So many people have digestive difficulties, that I am surprised when I ask new patients about their digestion and they say “It’s fine.” Of course, frequently when they say that and I dig a little deeper, it isn’t fine, they’ve just acclimated to a lesser degree of function and it doesn’t determine their activities for the day. Many people simply don’t know what healthy digestion really is. They think if they have one bowel movement per day, that that is what defines healthy digestion.

But digestion is more than that. It is more than just your stomach and your elimination. It also includes your mouth, your nose, brain, diaphragm, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small and large intestines, even your vagus nerve. It is the Vagus Nerve that I want to highlight today.

The Vagus Nerve is the communication link between the brain and the gut. Many of you have already heard of the brain-gut communication. That is a deep mechanism that is very important. The Vagus nerve is essential for brain to gut enzyme release, to stimulate “Parasympathetic tone,” and it detects gut inflammation and alerts the brain that something is wrong and needs help. It is partially responsible for your emotional wellbeing, for sensing changes of microbiota in your intestines, to stimulate intestinal tone, moving your stools along, and is partially responsible for nutrient absorption. That is a lot of key functions!

Also key, is knowing what to do to help it. Remember the diaphragm listed above? Well, that is one of the keys. Breathing deeply, meditating, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong, and other forms of relaxation are helpful as well, but there are other things as you can do too.

Another key in healthy digestion is the balancing of “friendly bacteria” in the gut. We used to think you can’t go wrong in taking probiotics, but we now know you can. There is much conversation right now about exactly how to determine which probiotics to take, and which not to. Taking the wrong probiotics can cause other problems. The other important part of this is prebiotics. We now know that probiotics are worthless in the absence of prebiotics. Prebiotics are the food that help the probiotics stick around and colonize. They are only in a handful of foods. In cultures where they have good gut health, their diet happens to be high in both prebiotics and probiotics naturally. Unfortunately, our diets are so broad and include such a wide variety of foods compared to these cultures, that we have to be deliberate in our effort to include both in our diet.

There is so much we can do to improve our gut health — from pre and probiotics to other nutritional supplementation and dietary regimes, to acupuncture which is so helpful in restoring digestion. Learn more by joining us for tonight’s webinar, "Beyond Tums: Drug-Free Solutions for Heartburn, Reflux, Indigestion & Upset Stomach," at 7:30 p.m. Register here or visit our website at to learn more about this and other upcoming webinars.

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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with over four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.