Could IBS really just be SIBO?


SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and is a condition thought to afflict more than 50% of those that suffer with IBS. It’s also a condition that is near and dear to me because I suffered from it, for way too long I might add! I’m writing about it in more detail so that I can help others realize that they should investigate this issue further to truly get a handle on their IBS related symptoms. This could be the underlying issue leading to unanswered questions as they relate to the vagueness that often is an IBS diagnosis.



There are several reasons why someone might go on to develop SIBO and its not my intention to dig into that for this post. I want to bring awareness to the symptoms and drive the desire to get tested. You need to stop ignoring symptoms or just accepting an IBS diagnosis. 


Constipation, bloating, diarrhea, loose stools, alternating constipation/diarrhea and incomplete evacuation are many of the IBS symptoms, but they are also the symptoms for SIBO.


Do you suffer from any of the above symptoms on a regular basis? If so, have you chased these symptom(s) with medications/supplements or received a diagnoses of IBS from your Dr.? If you answered yes to any of the above then my next question is: Have you been tested for SIBO? This is a test that requires you to drink a liquid and then for the following 2-3 hours breathe into a tube every 15-20 minutes (this may have been performed in the doctors office or at home). This is currently the only non-invasive way to be tested for this condition. If a colonoscopy or endoscopy was performed these methods would not be able to detect SIBO.


If you haven’t had this test yet, then you need to seek out a SIBO breathe test ASAP. The results to this test can guide treatment options and diet changes that can have a drastic impact on your IBS related symptoms, irregardless of the supplements or prescription medications you may currently be on or ones you may have tried in the past. Knowing if bacterial overgrowth is present is half the battle, the other important component is knowing which kind of gas (methane or hydrogen) you are producing. This will allow for appropriate supplementation/medication recommendations.


What to look for when seeking a SIBO test. There are 2 different SIBO tests, one that uses glucose as the testing substrate and one that uses lactulose as the substrate. Doing both can offer the most conclusive information, however, you can often start with lactulose and follow-up with glucose if it’s negative. Starting with glucose is also an option and then a follow-up with lactulose would be warranted if negative.


Some Gastroenterologists will offer this testing in office or they can easily write you an order for the test. If you get resistance or would like to take matters into your own hands there are reputable labs that offer direct to consumer testing. 


Moving past these GI related symptoms is possible and there are answers out there. Be your own health advocate and get the answers you deserve.

Bone Broth How To & Health Benefits

Bone Broth Recipe



Lets start with a small batch so I’m thinking an 8-10 Qt stock pot.  Use 1 -2 chicken carcass' (or just chicken bones from some legs, wings, breast etc.).  Put carcass’ or individual bones in the pot (skin is good too), you may have to break them to fit them nice and snug, then use bottled spring water (or tap water if you have a well), you will need a few gallons for this (not tap bc of the chlorine and fluoride in it).  Put enough water in just to cover the bones by 1 inch.  Then add in 2 TB apple cider vinegar cover and bring to a low low simmer (not a boil, not even a bubble) for 2 hours.  Next top off the water to come to almost the top of the pot, leave 2 inches at the top and throw in 2 TB whole peppercorns, 1.5TB sea salt and a few bay leaves and put the lid on.  Bring it to a medium simmer where its not bubbling out of the pot, but its definitely rolling.  Leave it like this for the next 40 hours, give or take, ballpark it, don’t sit by the clock and watch it, it’s kind of like, oh I think it might be ready kind of deal.  Now add 2 onions quartered (leave the outer paper skin on, this is where all the phytonutrients are) chop up 2 nice size carrots, add ¼ sleeve of celery and some garlic cloves, again you can leave skin on these too.  Let it continue on a soft bubbly simmer for another 3 hours.  This is the only time you want to make sure you watch time bc if you go too long with the veg it could turn broth bitter so 4 hours max once veg is added.  Also, if water is evaporating continue to top it off with bottled water throughout the process.  Shouldn’t be a problem if you have a lid on it and don’t let it boil to rapidly.  If you find yourself adding water frequently over the 2 days then it’s getting too hot, turn it down.  Take it off the stove, remove lid so it starts to cool slightly.  Strain bones and veg with a colander and put broth only into mason jars or other glass containers (avoid plastic if at all possible especially since it’s warm/hot).  Put lids on and allow to come to room temp on counter) this can take several hours.  Then pop it in the fridge.  Warm it in a pot to enjoy by the glass or for making soup:)


You can up the nutrition content if you get chicken feet from your local farmer in addition to stock bird’s that have been stripped of the meat and still contain the neck(here’s a good local source and add them in, 1-2 pounds per batch in the very beginning.  Also, beef knucklebones are a very good collagen rich addition to the broth and beef marrowbones can also be a great addition.  The knuckles are so big you should only need 1 per batch.  A local source for these is Everything Natural and also bi weekly deliveries from to the Dickson City Kmart.  Bulk purchasing can be done thru them as well so let me know if your ever interested in splitting a bulk purchase.


Health Benefits of Bone Broth


Bones and joints
It should be pretty obvious that the best way to get the nutrients necessary to build bone is from bone itself! Drinking bone broth provides all of the raw material for building healthy bones: calcium, phosphorus, amino acids, and more. A deficiency of the raw materials for building bone can result in a number of different conditions. For example, osteoporosis is associated with reduced levels of collagen and calcium in the bones. Of course, you’ll also need the nutrients required to support the building process, like vitamins D, K2, and C.  

As for joint health, lubrication by GAGs is the key to a full range of motion, whereby part of one bone can slide smoothly and painlessly over part of another. Sure, you could buy expensive supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to keep your joints healthy, but why, when these and a host of other beneficial nutrients can easily be obtained from bone broth? After all, GAGs are not the only component of broth that improves joint health. Collagen supplementation has been shown to reduce joint pain in athletes.

Gut health
A healthy colon contains a single tight layer of epithelial cells, a thick mucus layer, and a diverse collection of microbes. Microbial dysbiosis and a thinning of this mucus layer can quickly compromise the integrity of the epithelial barrier. Microbes and dietary proteins can then “leak” into the bloodstream and invoke an inflammatory response by the immune system. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of bacterial cell walls, stimulates a particularly robust immune response.

Bone broth is a staple of gut-healing diets, and rightfully so! Gelatin absorbs water and helps maintain the layer of mucus that keeps gut microbes away from the intestinal barrier. In a mouse model, gelatin supplementation reduced the severity of colitis by strengthening the mucus layer and altering gut microbiota composition. Gelatin and glycine have also been shown to reduce the inflammation caused by LPS.  Glycine has been shown to protect against gastric ulcers as well. Glutamine also helps maintain the integrity of the gut mucosa and intestinal barrier.

Bone broth has so many benefits to gut health that I had to make digestion its own section! Drinking broth with meals is an excellent way to aid digestion. Glycine stimulates the production of stomach acid, which is essential for the proper digestion of food. Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) is surprisingly common in developed countries and can lead to a number of health issues.

Glycine is also an important component of bile acid, which is released to aid in the digestion of fats in the small intestine. Bile acid is important for maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels. The presence of gelatin in the gut also draws fluid into the intestine, improving gut motility and supporting healthy bowel movements. Low blood levels of collagen have been associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

Mood and sleep
Bone broth can also improve both mood and sleep. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it can decrease anxiety, promote mental calmness, and help with sleep. One study found that three grams of glycine given to subjects before bedtime produced measurable improvements in sleep quality.

Unlike methionine, glycine does not compete with tryptophan for transport across the blood–brain barrier. Tryptophan is the precursor (raw material) for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being. Serotonin, in turn, is a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep–wake cycles. This is why a diet that includes bone broth and fattier cuts of meat can help prevent the depression and insomnia that some people may experience when eating a diet high in methionine-rich lean meat and eggs.

Immune function
While ancient folk wisdom suggests that bone broth can cure the common cold, modern science has confirmed that the components of bone broth do indeed influence the immune system. For example, glycine receptors have been identified on the outer surface of several different types of immune cells. The effect is a dampening of the immune response, resulting in reduced inflammatory signaling molecules and oxidative stress that may reduce damage to lungs and other tissues. The GAG heparin sulfate has been shown to influence B cell function, T cell function, and macrophage activity.

Bone Broth: A Nutrient Gold Mine



Bones contain an abundance of minerals as well as 17 different amino acids, many of which are found in broth as proteins like collagen and gelatin. Though the exact nutritional content varies based on the bones used, cooking time, and cooking method, the following nutrients are consistently found in most bone broths.

With 28 different types, collagen makes up about 30 percent of the protein in your body and is the main component of connective tissues like cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and skin. It is also present in the blood vessels, cornea, and lens of the eye. In addition to providing structure, collagen also plays an important role in tissue development and regulation.

When collagen is simmered, it forms gelatin. This hydrolysis of collagen is irreversible and results in the breakdown of long collagen protein fibrils into smaller protein peptides. However, its chemical composition is very similar to its parent molecule, collagen. Gelatin is what gives bone broth or stock its Jell-O-like consistency once it has cooled.

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex carbohydrates that participate in many biological processes. They can attach to proteins in order to form proteoglycans, which are integral parts of connective tissue and synovial fluid, the lubricant that surrounds the joint. If the connective tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, is still attached, the bones in broth will provide our bodies with the whole spectrum of GAGs, including keratan sulfates, dermatan sulfates, chondroitin sulfates, and hyaluronic acid, which are the raw materials for skin, bone, and cartilage formation.

Glycine is an amino acid that makes up more than a third of collagen. It also acts as a neurotransmitter, binding to glycine receptors present throughout the nervous system and peripheral tissues. Signaling through this receptor is particularly important in mediating inhibitory neurotransmission in the brainstem and spinal cord.

Proline is an amino acid that makes up about 17 percent of collagen. The addition of hydroxyl groups to proline significantly increases the stability of collagen and is essential to its structure. Though small amounts of proline can be manufactured in the body, evidence shows that adequate dietary proline is necessary to maintain an optimal level of proline in the body. Proline is not typically thought of as a neurotransmitter, but it is able to weakly bind to glutamate receptors and glycine receptors.

Glutamine is yet another important amino acid found in bone broth and is the most abundant amino acid in the blood. It is one of the few amino acids that can directly cross the blood–brain barrier. Intestinal epithelial cells and activated immune cells eagerly consume glutamine for cellular energy.

Bone marrow
Inside the center cavity of the bone is the bone marrow, consisting of two types, red and yellow. Both types contain collagen. Red bone marrow is the site of manufacturing for new immune cells and red blood cells, while yellow marrow consists of healthy fats. It is thought that important nutritional and immune support factors might be extracted from marrow during cooking, but the bioavailability of these factors has not been studied.

Bone is also full of minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. An acidic medium is necessary to extract these minerals from food. When making broth, always add a splash of vinegar or other acid in order to extract the most minerals from the bone.

How and Why You Should Exercise When You Lack Energy

As a Health Coach and Fitness Trainer I often hear people say that they would like to start an exercise program or exercise more frequently, but their lack of energy is holding them back. Well, that’s an easy fix, isn’t it? Just get out and move more—won’t that fix your lack of energy? Well, not so fast! Although it is true for some people that the sheer act of moving more will provide an energy increase, unfortunately it’s not universal. Think of it like losing weight, when that one person just drops soda and loses 10 pounds; they make it look and sound so easy. Meanwhile everyone else drops soda, sweets, and bread and can only manage to lose 2 pounds. What gives? 


Since we are all unique, it only makes sense that we should each have unique requirements for how to gain more energy through exercise. Adrenal fatigue, or HPA axis dysregulation as it’s more commonly known, happens to be one of the main reasons why the one-size-fits-all approach to exercise and boundless energy is the wrong kind of approach.


So what do I recommend to get that euphoric energy surge? For starters, I evaluate where a person is. If they already have an exercise routine but are feeling burned out instead of plugged in, then I’m going to modify it. I’m always cognizant of a client’s goals so that we can keep them on track while making changes that will give them the energy they desire. This might be as simple as reducing the amount of running or cardio and upping the weight-bearing, muscle-building component. Many people think they need to spend endless hours working out each week to hit their goals or to maintain what they have earned in the gym. Stepping away from this mentality is by far the best thing they can do for themselves. The constant exercise and lack of variety often backfires, leaving the goals far outside of the person’s reach. Adding in simple restorative walking a few days a week in place of running or cardio can be a great change. Walking in nature is very therapeutic and can provide positive mind-body benefits by helping to regulate and reset the body’s circadian clock.


It’s often this circadian clock that is out of balance, resulting in a lack of energy or inability to attain strength and fitness goals. This is true for those people who already work out, but also for the those who don't currently work out because they lack the energy or drive to do so.


How should someone who wants to start a routine begin? First, as with anything new, please be sure you are cleared to exercise by your health care provider. I would start slow and recommend something simple like walking in nature 2-3 days per week for 10-15 minutes at a time. For 2 weeks evaluate how you felt before and after this change, keeping a journal so that you can see the impact and recognize it instead of relying on recall. From here you can add in more movement, based on feedback provided. This might be more walking, increasing the time in 10-15 minute increments along with how many days per week. I highly stress the importance of walking outside over walking on a treadmill or an indoor track. Just be cognizant of your surroundings and make sure safety is a top priority. Click  here and here to see why you should walk in nature and change your exercise program so that your HPA axis dysregulation doesn't continue to sap your energy and set you up for failure if you’re using the wrong exercise program.


Weight training is a key component to addressing HPA axis dysregulation as well. After you implement a walking routine, it’s time to start addressing weight-bearing movements. I’ve blogged before as to the importance of incorporating weight training for its bone density benefits. Now I want to tell you why it’s important to add the correct type of weight training so that you can get the energy boosting benefits as well. To start, you should first obtain clearance from your health care provider that you are okay to start an exercise program. From here, depending on your experience, we will want to dial back your current regimen or take the necessary steps to start one. In an ideal world I’d suggest that you meet with a qualified personal trainer to show you proper form and put together a program for you. Programming is key when you are looking to gain energy, and starting with appropriate sized weights for your level of experience is important. We also need to focus on the appropriate number of reps. When a person is new to training or looking for muscle hypertrophy (change), they often focus on higher rep ranges—think 12+ and multiple rounds, at a 3-5 range. This can be a proper technique depending on goals, but it won’t help our fatigued client. The focus needs to be on compound movements—think hinge, squat, pull and push movements with reps set at no more than 5 and with only 2-3 rounds at that rep range. The idea is to stimulate the muscle tissue enough to promote change while not causing exhaustion, leaving something in the tank.  However, the weights should be heavy enough, so that getting more than 5 reps would be a challenge after round 2 and definitely after round 3. If we push the higher reps, the likelihoodof fatigue is much greater. From here we want to focus on lifting for only 20-30 minutes at a time.


To recap, someone with fatigue or low energy should start out first with a walking regimen and build up to 3 days or more per week. Once this is well established, the next add-in should be a weight program, using compound movements focusing on low reps and minimal rounds. Re-evaluate after 2 months and see how you are feeling, based on your journal. The next steps would be to stay where you are, based on how you feel, or add in more lifting frequency so you can be at 2-3 times per week.


Fatigue recovery can take many months; don’t push yourself more than is necessary, and allow your body to take the time it needs to re-establish your circadian rhythm.

Are Women Being Ignored In Medicine?

At first glance this title might be confusing, so let me drill down a little for you. To rephrase this I would ask, have you gone to the Doctor for an ailment or symptom, eagerly awaiting answers, only to hear, ‘I’m sorry, but the lab work, exam, etc. all came back normal’?”  Then you are sent on your way to deal with your mysterious ailment on your own.


This is becoming more and more prevalent today where the quick 15-minute appointment that our insurance covers for a Doctor visit results in little relief and few answers. The more common outcome from this kind of appointment isreceiving vague recommendations for eating “healthy” and exercising more and learning to de-stress, along with a prescription that might help alleviate symptoms.  Outside of an acute health issue, these recommendations won’t get the average woman the relief or answers she needs.


 More and more we are seeing the medical community put women into a category of “hypochondriacs.” This happens because we keep seeking answers to issues that we are experiencing, but yet the medical community can’t identify, let alone alleviate these issues, with their medications and recommendations. Think about it. If you are going to your healthcare provider again and again for similar or even unrelated issues, and they are unable to provide relief or answers, you can imagine that after a few visits they may be more inclined to treat you as a “problem” and just brush off your complaints as being imaginary or inflated because they can’t actually find a clinically significant cause to tie the issue back to. Worse yet, you may be placed on a medication to address a symptom(s), but this symptom is likely the tip of the iceberg. There may be several underlying issues at hand that just never get addressed because the medical community increasingly ignores female patients. We’re viewed as “more complex cases.” Is this because we are so good at managing symptoms and putting others first that we wait too long to take care of ourselves?


Let me provide some examples of where this is happening all too often.  Lyme disease is a wicked and often debilitating condition. Since the condition can manifest into so many different symptoms, it often takes several visits before a diagnosis is even made, if one is made at all.  Thyroid issues are another diagnosis that often takes several visits to confirm. Since subclinical thyroid issues are so common today, they are often overlooked as the cause of our ailments.  Lastly, gastrointestinal issues (which are too many to list) are another ailment that tends to take several visits, tests, and even drug trials before a proper diagnosis can be made. Unfortunately, there are times when this takes too long, and the patient is then put into the category of being a hypochondriac because the attempts to understand her conditions are long and drawn out. The treatment approaches initially tried aren't offering relief or the testing isn’t providing answers. 


Where can a patient go from here? Does she then start to believe that maybe her issues truly are in her head? Hopefully not! It’s not the patient that has the issue, it’s our current medical system. If you don't fit into the appropriate diagnosis box, you unfortunately fall through the cracks. All while allowing the condition to fester and worsen, making it more and more difficult to uncover the root cause of the issue(s).


So what’s a woman to do? Be strong in our convictions, ask questions, go into your appointments prepared. We must take control of our own health and be our own biggest advocate. As long as we don’t become complacent and accept a “Doctor knows best mentality”, we can improve healthcare not only for ourselves, but for many women, girls, and children who will come after us. Picking a health care provider or practitioner who listens and does a thorough intake is a good place to start. Who’s to say we can’t interview them? Ask them how many clients/patients they have helped with similar symptoms. What is their standard protocol— do they use medication first or are they more geared to lifestyle approaches as their first line of attack? How will they support you during your journey with them, and who else will be involved as far as staff and other services are involved?


 Make sure their answers align with what you want and expect. Know that there are many qualified practitioners who specialize in what you are looking for, the caveat being that you may have to look outside the four walls of a medical office to find them. These practitioners may not have MD, DO, PA, or NP after their name. They may in fact be practitioners who went through similar situations that you are going through and then turned their quest for health and recovery into a passionate career. Health practitioners come from a variety of backgrounds and have various certifications that allow them to work with clients seeking health and answers to their unexplained health issues. Some certifications that are common in this arena are FDN-P, CN, CHHC, and HHP, among others. Finding the right fit for you and your needs is critical, so be sure to see what these practitioners offer and how they can help you put the pieces of your health together again.