Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
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Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

With: Dr. Will Cole

About the Episode

Treat your brain to improve your gut!

Join leading functional-medicine expert, Dr. Will Cole, as he breaks down the causes, symptoms, and treatments for system dysregulation. He brings his years of experience with thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, brain problems, and more to give you actionable steps to heal the complex parasympathetic system within your body.

Start feeling better today!

What We Discuss

The “gut” includes the stomach, large intestines, and small intestines. The gut and the brain are originally formed from the same fetal tissue in the womb, and they are inextricably linked for the rest of our lives. Together, they form what’s known as the gut-brain axis. In fact, 95% of serotonin, our “happy” neurotransmitter, 50% of our dopamine, our “pleasure” or “reward” neurotransmitter, is made in the gut. And these are just a few of the many reasons why the gut’s known as “the second brain”!

The neurotransmitters produced in the gut work upon the vagus nerve, the largest cranial nerve in the body. It’s part of the parasympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system which regulates digesting, hormone balancing, and much more. Unfortunately, most of us in the West are in varying degrees of nervous system dysregulation, which brings together a cascade of side effects.

Shame and the Gut

“Shameflammation” is Dr. Cole’s coined word that describes the research on the mind-body connection, chronic stress, and its impact on physical health. Unresolved trauma, chronic stress, body shame, and food shame are all major factors for nervous system dysregulation. This research supports the idea that the emotional pathways for detox impact the physical ones.

This suboptimal function of the neuroendocrine axis (the intersection between our nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system) can wreak havoc on the body. The vagus nerve plays a major role in this because it’s the main connector between the gut and the brain, with far-reaching implications when it stops working properly.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Internal factors, like underlying gut problems, nutrient deficiencies, and chronic infections can cause symptoms just as often as external factors such as mold and environmental toxins. Life can stress your body in the form of a stressful job, traumatic events, toxic relationships, or unhealthy boundaries with people.

The symptoms can include things like brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, sluggishness, and gut dysbiosis. In addition, suboptimal communication between the gut and the brain can result in bacterial overgrowth, contributing to symptoms like bloating, IBS, food sensitivities, histamine intolerance, and more. Skin flare-ups can also happen for some people, as well as more undiagnosable problems like background anxiety and general discomfort. These are all telltale signs that your body is telling you something is wrong.

Past Trauma and Chronic Diseases

We should be reversing autoimmune diseases, not developing them. For some people, life is great, yet they still feel an underlying anxiety or dread they shouldn’t be feeling. It could be mold toxins, chronic Lyme, underlying gut problems, or environmental toxins contributing to it. There’s also the potential it’s leftover psychological stressors from their past playing out in their life today as if it’s still going on.

Research shows that people with more adverse childhood events (or ACE scores) are more likely to have autoimmune problems, metabolic issues, trouble losing weight, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypervigilant nervous system, anxiety, and depression later on in life. Many gaslight themselves, saying it wasn’t so bad, or will look at someone worse off than them, but that doesn’t change their own stressors.

Different Treatment Methods

Strengthening the parasympathetic system through nutrition, supporting gut health, and supporting the detox pathways are all good options, but the feeling side also needs to be dealt with. Meditation and breathing work can reduce the over-reactiveness of the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. Essentially cutting the trauma lines, you are increasing the parasympathetic processes such as rest, relaxation, digestion, absorption, and detox.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy or pairing micro-dosing with other supportive nutrients like neurotropics and adaptogens is being researched as a possible treatment option for some people. However, Ketamine is an anesthetic, and is not a magic cure-all for everything.

Listen now and start healing your gut-brain connection!

Guest Bio

Dr. Will Cole is the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel. He’s a leading functional-medicine expert dealing with thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems.

Links

Website: https://drwillcole.com/
Podcast: https://drwillcole.com/podcast
Gut Feelings: https://drwillcole.com/gut-feelings
Ketotarian: https://drwillcole.com/ketotarian
The Inflammation Spectrum: https://drwillcole.com/the-inflammation-spectrum
Intuitive Fasting: https://drwillcole.com/intuitive-fasting
ACE Score: https://www.acesaware.org
Related Episodes:
Optimize Your Brain, with Dr. Patrick Porter
De-Stress Using Yoga and Meditation, with Dr. Marianela Lavena

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Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test looks for the inappropriate presence of bacteria in the small intestine known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or “SIBO”.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Breath

COLLECTION INSTRUCTIONS

COST

$85-$225 depending on insurance coverage. 

Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the presence of harmful mycotoxins (toxins produced by molds).

LOCATION PERFORMED

At Home

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Urine

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SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$699

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Fully covered by Medicare. Repeat test prices $249

Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the genetic profile for multiple health indicators. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Blood Spot

COST

$319

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted

COLLECTION INSTRUCTIONS

Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This company can test for lyme, babesia, bartonella and additional tick-borne illnesses. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

In office

SPECIMEN TYPE

Blood

COST

around $1600 (depends on panel selected)

INSURANCE

Fully covered by Medicare. May be reimbursed with PPO plans.
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the presence of harmful mycotoxins (toxins produced by molds).

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$299

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates a wide range of environmental toxins that may be leading to harmful health effects.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$199

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted $30 discount given if done with mycotoxins.
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

Blood work for blood count, urinalysis and vitamin levels.

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BLOOD FLUID

Blood

NOTES

You often have to fast for these tests-please check your providers notes.

COST

Depending on the test, deductible or copay may apply.

INSURANCE

Depends on insurance coverage, deductible or copay may apply.
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

Glyphosate (“Round Up”) is a pesticide that is widely used and this test indicates the body’s levels.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$99 ($69 if performed with mycotoxins or environmental toxins).

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted $30 discount given if done with mycotoxins or GPL Tox.
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates many measures including micronutrients, antioxidants, minerals, detox, overview of gut function, omegas and toxic exposure. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home.

SPECIMEN TYPE

Urine

COST

$179 – $400

INSURANCE

Depending on insurance coverage. Fully covered by Medicare.

INSTRUCTIONS

Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the gut function and indicates microbiome balance, overgrowth, infection, inflammation, parasites and digestive efficacy. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Stool

COST

$179-$425 depending on insurance coverage.

INSURANCE

Depending on insurance coverage. Fully covered by Medicare.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

No probiotics for one week.

VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS

Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the full menstrual cycle, female hormones, and adrenal profile.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

COST

$160-$329

INSURANCE

Depending on insurance coverage. Fully covered by Medicare.

NOTES

Must be off hormones in order to do the testing.
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test is specifically for a tick-borne illness called “Bartonella”.

LOCATION PERFORMED

In office

BLOOD FLUID

Blood

COST

$260

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the presence of potentially harmful heavy metals stored in the body.  Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Urine

COST

Testing: $79 x2 paid to Doctor’s Data
DMSA: $38 paid to Johnson’s Compounding Pharmacy

INSURANCE

Not covered by Insurance
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test measures saliva cortisol testing throughout the course of one day and informs us where there might be an adrenal imbalance.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Saliva

COST

$80

INSURANCE

No insurance coverage

Heal the Gut-Brain Connection
Heal the Gut-Brain Connection

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test is designed to look at food sensitivities (IgG immune responses). It is available in both a 99 or 184 panel. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

In office

SPECIMEN TYPE

Blood

COST

$129-238

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted