Recently, we’ve added Ozone Therapy as a service to our patients here at the practice. We adore it for a plethora of reasons, but there are three functions that stand out.
        One of our functional nutritionists, Kathy Katz, pioneered our ozone therapy introduction to the practice. Right now, we’re utilizing is primarily as a method to kill/inhibit mold growth in the sinuses. We’re having incredible success, such as patients gaining their sense of smell after months of absence, a full nights rest after 10 years of insomnia (wow!), and brain fog dissipating as quick as you can say “holy moly!” Needless to say, there are endless benefits of ozone. Kathy eloquently combined these benefits below:

Ozone is molecular O3 (we breathe, molecular O2). When ozone enters your body, the extra oxygen atom reacts with your cell membranes in your body almost immediately.  It has a hermetic effect as it stimulates the body to do something better by irritating it. 

  • Energy production. Low doses of ozone lipoperoxides gently stress your mitochondria, making them stronger and more efficient at producing energy.
  • Brain function. Lipoperoxides can cross the blood-brain barrier and reach your brain, which has a huge concentration of mitochondria. That could explain why ozone therapy helps people recover brain function after a stroke. Ozone therapy also increases blood flow to your brain, which further boosts  your mitochondria.
  • Decreased inflammation. It seems strange that flooding your body with free radicals decreases inflammation, but it’s true. The key is getting the right dose. Low levels of ozone stress your cells just enough to make them stronger; they produce glutathione and superoxide dismutase, two of the strongest antioxidants in the human body.  Low-level ozone also activates heat shock proteins, the same anti-inflammatory proteins that turn on when you use a sauna. Ozone forms lipoperoxides, a type of free radical. Normally, you hear about how damaging free radicals are, and how you want to get plenty of antioxidants to prevent them from aging your cells. But in certain cases, free radicals can actually be good for you. According to Dr. Frank Shallenberger,  a leading ozone therapy expert, “We’re led to believe that free radicals are bad.  Oxidants and free radicals in the correct dose, in the correct amount, are actually highly beneficial.”  A good example is exercise. Working out creates free radicals in your muscles, and the inflammation they cause makes you build stronger, more efficient muscle with more mitochondria.  According to Dr. George Papicolauo, DO and Functional Medical practitioner,

“Ozone has been shown to modulate that response so that it will actually produce more of the anti-inflammatory cytokines versus the pro-inflammatory cytokines and activates your antioxidant system.” 

  • Faster wound healing. Ozone speeds up wound healing and blood flow, and is especially useful for chronic or treatment-resistant wounds.
  • Anti-mold, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiparasitic effects. Ozone treatment started out as a way to sterilize drinking water.[8] Researchers quickly realized that it also treats bacterial infections, even when bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, and kills parasites. Ozone completely removes toxic mold and mycotoxins as well. 

Ozone therapy disrupts the integrity of the bacterial cell envelope through oxidation of the phospholipids and lipoproteins. In fungi, O3 inhibits cell growth at certain stages. With viruses, the O3 damages the viral capsid and upsets the reproductive cycle by disrupting the virus-to-cell contact with peroxidation. The weak enzyme coatings on cells which make them vulnerable to invasion by viruses make them susceptible to oxidation and elimination from the body, which  then replaces them with healthy cells. (Ozone therapy: A clinical review, A.M. Elvis and J.S. Ekta.

  • Stimulation of oxygen metabolism: Ozone therapy causes an increase in the red blood cell glycolysis rate(breaking down glucose or sugar molecules). This leads to the stimulation of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate which leads to an increase in the amount of oxygen released to the tissues. Ozone activates the Krebs cycle by enhancing oxidative carboxylation of pyruvate, stimulating production of ATP. It also causes a significant reduction in NADH and helps to oxidize cytochrome C. There is a stimulation of production of enzymes which act as free radical scavengers and cell-wall protectors: glutathione peroxidase, catalase and superoxide dismutase. Production of prostacyline, a vasodilator, is also induced by O3.(Ozone therapy: A clinical review, A.M. Elvis and J.S. Ekta.
  • Strong teeth and gums. The combination of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits makes ozone a powerful tool for dental health. 
  • Immune Modulation :  Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease, and inflammatory markers are often seen in the blood of asthmatics which can lead to oxidative stress. A study in 2005 found that regular ozone therapy was effective at reducing these markers of inflammation, regulating oxidative stress and as an immunomodulator (ozone therapy is able to modify the immune system to cope better with inflammation). Also In 1995, a literary review concluded that ozone therapy can have “profound effects on systemic immunity”.
  • Reversal of Damaged Brain Tissue After a Stroke :  After a stroke, the affected area of the brain begins to lose it’s crucial oxygen supply, causing hypoxia of the surrounding brain cells. This area of damage is known as the penumbra. The best course of action is to restore oxygen to the penumbra as soon as possible to reduce damage. A 2012 study found that supplying a mix of oxygen and ozone gases to hypoxic brain tissue appeared to revert the damage. The authors of the study concluded that they support the use of oxygen-ozone gas in “well designed clinical trials in stroke patients”.
  • Cell Oxygenation: As in the case of strokes. hypoxia, when tissues don’t get enough oxygen, can lead to tissue death. Hypoxia can occur in other organs, such as the lungs after a severe asthma attack, and throughout the whole bloodstream if you have anemia.
  • Stem Cell Activation and Repair:  Our stem cells are continually working to produce new cells, be they heart, brain, blood, nerve, skin or any other cell. Without stem cells, we wouldn’t survive. The more ready our stem cells are to reactivate into new cells, the better. There’s now evidence to suggest that ozone therapy could improve this readiness to reactivate, thus leading to better cellular repair.

Potential ways  to utilize  Ozone: 

  • Ozonated water/oil is the easiest form of ozone therapy. You put ozone in water or oil and swallow it, delivering ozone to your stomach. This option is good for clearing out pathogenic gut bacteria or parasites. You can also swish ozonated water or oil around your gums for better oral hygiene, or put it on skin wounds and infections. 
  • Rectal ozonation: insert a catheter and instill up to a liter of ozone gas into your colon. The ozone goes straight to the liver, which makes it good for enhancing detox and liver function, and it will reach parasites and pathogenic bacteria in your gut. 
  • Nasal and ear insufflation: for sinus issues and allergies, decreasing inflammation and sinus pressure and for clearing brain fog.  Ozone given thru the ears can enter the lymphatic and blood system easily.  
  • Prozolone injections to restore join function and minimize pain.  This can be especially beneficial for osteoarthritis most commonly knee pain.  

Ozone is contraindicated for patients with: 

  • G-6PD deficiency or favism (very rare)
  • Pregnancy
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Serious cardio-vascular instability
  • Patients being treated with ACE inhibitors which cause blood vessels to enlarge or dilate, and blood pressure is reduced
  • Any bleeding disorders
  • Ozone Allergy

Contact us at the front or 512-829-1104 to get scheduled today.

Read More

(Part 4 of 4)

We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

Time to dive into the dysfunction of what happens when one part of the digestive cascade goes wrong. It’s a domino effect in the body causing system wide issues and chronic health problems.

We really wanted to breakdown the how the gut works, and the entire process from simply visualizing the food to eliminating it. It’s a pretty magical process, but there’s quite a lot of decisions our body has to make when breaking down and absorbing food. We broke this up into 4 different categories to touch base on the big picture in each segment. While this process is intricate in nature, we hope to breakdown into a really palatable and digestible picture. You see what I did there.

Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.

Philip Oubre (00:00):
Okay. So in our last couple of videos we’ve been talking a lot about digestion and the upper GI, we’ve talked about function.

Aubree Steen (00:06):
Hi, guys.

Philip Oubre (00:06):
Lower GI, we talked about function. Then, we talked about dysfunction of the upper GI. So once again, just to remind you, this is a north to south process. So, we’re going to be talking about the lower GI, which is small intestine, large intestine, and anus. Pooping, my favorite topic. If you don’t understand the upper GI, or if you don’t fix the upper GI first, you can do whatever you want lower GI, but it’s just not going to work. You’ve got to start in the upper.

Philip Oubre (00:30):
So if you have not worked on the upper GI, ignore this video, go back, watch the other one. While you’re doing that, just go ahead and subscribe, like our channel, all that fun stuff.

Aubree Steen (00:38):

Philip Oubre (00:39):
You like how I worked that in there?

Aubree Steen (00:41):
It was good.

Philip Oubre (00:41):
So with lower GI dysfunction, we could talk for hours on all digestion.

Aubree Steen (00:46):

Philip Oubre (00:46):
That’s so much of what we do. Yeah, so we’re going to try to pare it down to a good 10 minutes.

Aubree Steen (00:50):

Philip Oubre (00:50):
So, the first thing I want to talk about in the small intestine is mainly the main goal that small intestine is to absorb nutrients. So, Aubree, you lead us off for the first dysfunction we want to talk.

Aubree Steen (01:00):
Yeah. So something I wanted to bring back to the upper GI is that if you are not breaking down your food right, we talked about carbs fermenting, proteins putrefying, and fats are incidifying. That’s all mostly an upper GI problem, right? Now that you have that food molecule not properly broken down, you’re going to have lower GI effects. Right?

Aubree Steen (01:18):
So one thing from that food that’s improperly broken down is that A, you’re going to feed intestinal overgrowth, but the wrong kind you’re going to feed yeast, fungus, mold, and pathogenic bacteria more than anything.

Philip Oubre (01:29):

Aubree Steen (01:29):
Yeah, they love it. They get the by-product of it, it’s fantastic. That makes them stronger, it makes us have more gas, bloating, systemic issues, you name it. But another thing is that that food isn’t broken down and it’s causing havoc in our body. It causes inflammation when it’s not broken down.

Philip Oubre (01:45):

Aubree Steen (01:45):
Think of like a bull in a China shop. If that bull was nice, he’d just walked straight through, right? But then you have all of this ricocheting damage effect, and it’s how those food particles act. They create inflammation in the intestinal lining itself, they damage the cell wall of the lining, and then they also increase intestinal permeability. That’s leaky gut. Yeah. Then when you have leaky gut, that’s when your susceptible to things like food allergies and intolerances. So with pro-

Philip Oubre (02:14):

Aubree Steen (02:14):
Right, autoimmunity, chronic illness, you name it. I mean, when you have that barrier that’s broken, you let in pathogens and toxic chemicals that aren’t supposed to be in your bloodstream, or systemically in your body, at all. So what happens, especially with food sensitivities and allergies, if you think of it, our proteins are supposed to be broken down into polypeptides, peptides, and then the amino acids. Our bodies don’t react to amino acids.

Philip Oubre (02:39):

Aubree Steen (02:40):
They react to polypeptides more than anything. So when you don’t break down that protein properly-

Philip Oubre (02:46):
Wait, wait. My favorite way to describe that is like a paperclip.

Aubree Steen (02:48):

Philip Oubre (02:49):
Okay? So if you eat, or if you eat paperclips that’s gross, but the idea is when you eat protein, you eat a structure, like a paperclip, and that protein is folded in very specific way to perform a very specific function. Your digestive process is supposed to unfold that paperclip and break it up into tiny little pieces. You’re supposed to absorb tiny little pieces of paperclip to where your body never even sees paperclips.

Philip Oubre (03:13):
But if your upper GI doesn’t break down the paperclip, then that paperclip enters the small intestine, you try to absorb it, but now you react to it because it’s a foreign object. You can tell, “That is not supposed to be inside of me,” so your immune system attacks it.

Aubree Steen (03:26):

Philip Oubre (03:26):
As it attacks it, it feeds forward the cycle. Because as you attack your own lining, you have poor digestion, which means more paperclips are going to come down, you damage your shag carpet, which we talked about in the first video. If you don’t have shag carpet, you can’t absorb your nutrients. Even worse is you’re going to create leaky gut because those cells can’t hold on to each other. They’re supposed to be like Red Rover, Red Rover where they’re attached arm to arm, nothing can penetrate. But as they’re inflamed, they start letting go. As they let go, more paperclips start leaking across the barrier, triggering more immune system reaction and on and on, and you go spiraling out of control.

Aubree Steen (04:00):
That’s when you can have the forever immune reaction, right, where you’re reacting to everything. You’re a patient or you’re a person who’s like, “Everything I eat causes pain, gas, bloating, makes me tired, it makes me anxious, it makes me depressed, irritable.” You name it. Again, there’s so much that is involved in the small intestine. Yeah.

Philip Oubre (04:18):
Right. As far as dysfunction and treatment, this is a very complicated part of the process, obviously. Number one is you have to digest your food perfectly so, or not perfectly but better.

Aubree Steen (04:29):

Philip Oubre (04:29):
So, go to the upper GI, learn about it as a function and how to treat that. But second, so how can you improve this malabsorption, this leaky gut, all of this stuff going on in the small intestine is one that you do have control over is you can change what inflammatory foods you’re eating. So immediately, if you’re having any bloating, gas, indigestion, auto-immune, anything like that, remove the gluten, preferably remove all grains. That’s rice, oatmeal, all grains.

Aubree Steen (04:50):
Yes, please.

Philip Oubre (04:50):
If you don’t know what grains are, just Google it, look it up. We don’t have enough time to talk today, and remove all dairy. Anything that comes from a cow udder or any udder or any kind of milk, complete remove it, butter included, any of it.

Aubree Steen (05:03):
Yeah, remove it.

Philip Oubre (05:04):
Those are the two biggest one. If you’re already a pro and already removing those but still having issues, then you need to go on AIP or autoimmune protocol, autoimmune paleo. You can look all those things that we’ve got documents and videos on that as well. So, you can change the food. Number two, you can take supplements to try to decrease the inflammation. We won’t talk a lot of time about them, but we can list a few, like SBI protect from orthomolecular.

Aubree Steen (05:27):
Yeah, Turiva from Ortho Molecular as well. Wonderful, full spectrum curcumin.

Philip Oubre (05:35):
Our favorites is UltraGI Replenish from Metagenics, which has some too.

Aubree Steen (05:39):

Philip Oubre (05:40):
We won’t get into the details. Then, probiotics are a big part that helped kill off some of the organisms. We look at probiotics as beneficial organisms, but they’re also competitors to the bad organisms.

Aubree Steen (05:50):

Philip Oubre (05:50):
So, good probiotics, especially a spore-based probiotic, like Proflora 4R from Bio-Botanicals.

Aubree Steen (05:56):
But inevitably, you’re going to have to remove the trigger, right.

Philip Oubre (05:59):

Aubree Steen (05:59):
So, digested food, but if you have overgrowth as well causing malabsorption or inflammation in the intestine, you’re going to need that taken care of and with a provider. But what you can do is take the supplements that he’s talking about, fixed nutrition, fixed digestion. Inevitably, you can add in some intestinal healing as well. If you have even just a little bit of aloe at home, don’t do it occasionally, but anything that’s really soothing to the gut, marshmallow extract. I really like intestinal repair co-

Philip Oubre (06:23):
Which is not marshmallows.

Aubree Steen (06:25):
It’s not marshmallows.

Philip Oubre (06:26):
You will be disappointed to find out marshmallow extract does not taste like marshmallows.

Aubree Steen (06:29):
Yeah, right. But, there are soothing elements as well. Yeah.

Philip Oubre (06:33):
Okay. So after you’re done with the small intestine, as far as absorbing nutrients and breaking down food, then you’re finally in the large intestine. The number one, well, I guess two huge dysfunctions we see in the large intestine or colon is, of course, constipation. That is such a common issue. Constipation, constipation, constipation. Then number two is not breaking down your fiber appropriately, or not even having enough fiber.

Aubree Steen (06:56):

Philip Oubre (06:56):
So, we can talk a lot about constipation. Even if you’re having daily bowel movements, you can still be constipated. If you’re only removing 80% of your stool every day, 20% is behind. If you do that every day for a long time, you’re going to be retaining a lot of stool, right?

Aubree Steen (07:11):
You got a lot of it. Yeah.

Philip Oubre (07:11):
So, just because you’re having daily bowel movements doesn’t mean you’re not constipated. Even if you’re having diarrhea, sometimes that can actually be from constipation. We call it encopresis. You’ll primarily see it’s in kids, but it happens many times in adults, believe it or not.

Aubree Steen (07:24):

Philip Oubre (07:24):
So as far as constipation, of course, if you start at the top of the digestive cascade, you can actually completely change constipation. So, just adding in stomach acid many times in the upper GI actually fixes constipation because you’re changing the whole way foods digest. You’re itching to say something.

Aubree Steen (07:40):

Philip Oubre (07:40):
Go for it.

Aubree Steen (07:41):
No. I know this. It may be a little gross, but you know how an animal, like a cat or dog immediately when they eat, they have to go outside to go to the bathroom?

Philip Oubre (07:47):

Aubree Steen (07:47):
Essentially, doesn’t mean that that food all of a sudden went through their entire digestive cascade, it means that their triggering response happened. Right? so when they started eating, they had that sight, smell, they had the digestive juices flowing. It shows you how connected everything is. The fact that them just eating triggered a bowel movement, essentially, that would be beautiful for us as humans, but sometimes it is. Sometimes I have patients who go, “Yeah, I eat breakfast, and then immediately have a bowel movement after.” The trigger-

Philip Oubre (08:10):
So, we should eat on the toilet is what you’re saying.

Aubree Steen (08:12):
Yes. Good one. Essentially.

Philip Oubre (08:17):
Don’t do that, that’s gross.

Aubree Steen (08:18):

Philip Oubre (08:19):
So yeah, so chronic constipation. We frequently use colonics as a way to catch people up.

Aubree Steen (08:25):
We do.

Philip Oubre (08:25):
When you’ve got so much backlog in your constipation, it’s hard to treat top-down with fibers and waters and all of that. Aloe Vera capsules, we like, and magnesium citrate is our other favorite laxative, but sometimes that’s not enough.

Aubree Steen (08:41):

Philip Oubre (08:41):
In order to catch up on the backlog, you’ve got to do colonics. If you don’t know what that is, that’s worth Googling.

Aubree Steen (08:46):
Yeah, totally. Not the images, but.

Philip Oubre (08:47):
It was basically where they stick a tube up and flush water in to get that old stool out. Once again, just like we talked about assisting digestion in the upper GI, this is not a permanent thing. You should not have to do this forever. If you can fix the root causes, then this is something that you’re using to get back on track. Once you’re on track, then your digestive system handles it on its own.

Aubree Steen (09:07):
Right. That large intestine, when he’s talking about maybe retaining 20% or more of it, that holds toxic bile, it holds overgrowth, that can make a home for overgrowth. You hold those toxic elements that your body was trying to remove and push out, now it’s staying in your body and you’re reabsorbing that.

Aubree Steen (09:23):
I can even tell you, I love the people that we send to for colonics. She will tell you that she can tell by what comes out how much toxic bile is in there, how many you’ll need, what your digestive system essentially looks like. So, it’s always worth going into. Never go to a self-one, by the way. Please see a certified practitioner.

Philip Oubre (09:42):
At least in the beginning while you’re working through it and so you know what’s comfortable. Because it is pricey, but it’s something that, if done right, you won’t need them forever. The self-ones just aren’t as effective. You’re right.

Aubree Steen (09:53):
No, no, no.

Philip Oubre (09:55):
So, the other thing I want to talk about as far as lower GI dysfunction in the colon is of course, fiber. We talk a ton about fiber. Just to remind you, humans don’t break down fiber. You eat fiber in order to feed the bacteria that break down the fiber for you. Those are the good bacteria, the beneficial bacteria. So if you’re not feeding them, they’re not there. So, the idea behind fiber is fibers are long chain fatty acids or those are chewy. They’re just long strings, basically.

Philip Oubre (10:22):
So, you absorb, I’m sorry, you eat these long chain fatty acids or fibers, and they go through your entire intestinal tract until they get to the large intestine, which is where the majority of beneficial bacteria is supposed to be. Then, they break down long chain fatty acids into short chain fatty acids. We’re finding more and more data that these short chain fatty acids are the key to longevity and health and brain function.

Philip Oubre (10:47):
There’s so much, which is just absolutely fascinating, because we don’t digest fiber, the bacteria do, but it is an essential element of our living and being optimal. So if you haven’t seen anything on butyrate, butyrate is wonderful. Butyrate, you don’t make. Well, you technically make. There’s an asterisk there, but in your intestines, you don’t make butyrate.

Aubree Steen (11:06):

Philip Oubre (11:06):
You eat fiber, and that fiber feeds beneficial bacteria, and the beneficial bacteria make butyrate. Now, there’s a supplement, and it’s getting more popular, butyrate. So, we encourage you to get the oil version of the butyrate.

Aubree Steen (11:17):
Yes, the liquid.

Philip Oubre (11:17):
We like SunButyrate, and do a tablespoon. Well, it depends on the type, but do a dose of SunButyrate two or three times a day to start feeding those beneficial bacteria. The butyrate also feed your intestinal cells, but that butyrate is especially good for your noodle up top. We don’t know why, but it is extremely powerful in the dementia world, and the brain fog world, and just brain focus in general.

Aubree Steen (11:39):
It is.

Philip Oubre (11:39):
Butyrate feeds your brain. Same idea of ketogenic diet. You make butyrate when you’re in ketogenesis, and ketogenesis is good for the brain. We think it’s because of the butyrate connection.

Aubree Steen (11:49):
Yeah. They’re essentially different types of butyrate, but we’ll dive into a video about that later, but they have a beautiful synergistic effect, obviously. So if you could produce ketones at the same time as you’re eating a ton of fiber producing butyrate, that is the best combo for brain function by far.

Philip Oubre (12:01):
Yep. But then convergency in the dysfunction world, there’s actually bad bacteria that can metabolize your fiber into bad components, like propionic acid.

Aubree Steen (12:10):

Philip Oubre (12:10):
So, propionic acid, they’ve linked to anxiety and OCD and overweight, obesity. If you’ve got the wrong bacteria, you will make the wrong components out of your fiber. So, how do you fix that? Well, you eat the right food, you take the right supplements, you feed the good bacteria. They will rise to power, and then there’ll be able to take over the bad bacteria.

Philip Oubre (12:29):
We do a lot of biocidin and other supplements to kill certain bacteria, kill certain fungi and mold, because sometimes they just have some, I shouldn’t say sometimes, almost everyone.

Aubree Steen (12:39):
Too much power.

Philip Oubre (12:39):
Yeah. They have a strong hold.

Aubree Steen (12:40):

Philip Oubre (12:41):
The only way to take over that strong hold is you got to knock it down. That’s not a fun process, but we walk people through it.

Aubree Steen (12:47):

Philip Oubre (12:49):
I think that’s kind of all we wanted to focus on today in this video with lower GI dysfunction.

Aubree Steen (12:53):
Yeah, right. We wanted to simplify it. Essentially, we created four videos because we could talk about it all day, every day. Every single person is completely different.

Philip Oubre (13:01):

Aubree Steen (13:01):
But, these are things that you can look at at home, how to get started, what can you do?

Philip Oubre (13:06):

Aubree Steen (13:06):
Always feel free to watch anything else that we do. We will always put out techniques of how to help digestion and what to do moving forward. Essentially, everything you do and feel and taste, or whatever it may be, affects digestion. So best suggestion: try to lower stress, chew your food, eat highly nutritious foods, and remove the inflammatory ones, essentially.

Philip Oubre (13:29):
So, like our channel, subscribe to our YouTube channel, hit the little bell so you get notifications.

Aubree Steen (13:34):

Philip Oubre (13:34):
Eventually, we’re putting together an online course. You should see a link in the description once that’s published on how to heal yourself without even seeing a functional medicine practitioner.

Aubree Steen (13:43):
It will be insanely extensive. So, everything-

Philip Oubre (13:45):
Extensive, not expensive.

Aubree Steen (13:47):
Extensive, that’s what I said.

Philip Oubre (13:48):
She said it, just wanted to clarify.

Aubree Steen (13:49):
Okay, okay.

Philip Oubre (13:49):
Okay, guys.

Aubree Steen (13:50):

Philip Oubre (13:51):
We’ll see you next time.

Aubree Steen (13:51):
Thanks, guys.

Philip Oubre (13:52):

Read More

(Part 3 of 4)

We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

Time to dive into the dysfunction of what happens when one part of the digestive cascade goes wrong. It’s a domino effect in the body causing system wide issues and chronic health problems.

We really wanted to breakdown the how the gut works, and the entire process from simply visualizing the food to eliminating it. It’s a pretty magical process, but there’s quite a lot of decisions our body has to make when breaking down and absorbing food. We broke this up into 4 different categories to touch base on the big picture in each segment. While this process is intricate in nature, we hope to breakdown into a really palatable and digestible picture. You see what I did there.

Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.

Philip Oubre (00:00):
Hey guys. In this video we’ve already talked about the function of the upper GI and lower GI. So now we’re going to talk about the dysfunction of the upper GI. In the next video we’ll do dysfunction of lower GI. So when we’re talking about upper GI and just to remind you, if you haven’t seen the previous videos, you need to understand the function in order to understand the dysfunction. But we’re talking about basically from brain all the way to the stomach, pancreas and gallbladder. So the first step of dysfunction is in the brain. So Aubree, how do people mess up their brain and digesting food?

Aubree Steen (00:32):
The biggest thing people do is that they don’t sit and focus on eating … I know, right. So they do it while they’re hurrying on the way to work, while they’re talking on the phone, while they’re working or doing a bunch of different things at once. Your brain doesn’t have the ability to start the entire digestive cascade when it’s overloaded by something else. If you think about it, there’s only a very few people who are actually good at multitasking and the brain is the same way with digesting food. So inevitably, one of the biggest things that you can do is eat in a stressed out or distracted state. So what happens is you can either go into a parasympathetic response, which is going to be your rest and digest, which is what essentially is the best way of eating, or you going into a sympathetic, which is fight or flight.

Aubree Steen (01:14):
If you think of sympathetic as the fight or flight, you’re thinking about in prehistoric days, that fight or flight system was initially created for us to outrun a mammoth or a saber-tooth tiger or something that’s chasing after us. But in today’s society, we live in it all the time. You think about you getting in your car or someone slams the door really easily. You constantly have these triggers. What happens is that when you start to eat in that state, your body shuts down digestion, because essentially when your body’s in a fight or flight state, it doesn’t want to do two things, make babies or digest food. So you inevitably see digestion be the first thing to go. So what happens is that because the brain is the essential start of your digestive cascade, it affects literally everything else after that, your stomach pancreas, liver, gallbladder, your bowel movements, gas, bloating, you name it.

Aubree Steen (02:04):
One thing that it also does is the brain starts to trigger the saliva to produce something called salivary amylase. It’s what help break down the food in the mouth. When you are already in a distracted state, you miss that step and you miss the very first part of physically and chemically breaking down food. Another thing that happens is that it doesn’t just start up here the stomach too, your brain can actually change the blood flow to your small intestines. So if you’re eating in a stressed out or sympathetic state, your intestines aren’t going to be primed and ready as well. So it’s a little bit of a condensed version of it. But the biggest mistake of eating in a stressed out state is just that, actually.

Philip Oubre (02:45):
So the idea is that you can eat the greatest food you want, but a common saying is you are what you eat, but we wanted to say, you are what you absorb and if you’re not doing that part right, you’re not going to absorb and thus, you’re not going to absorb the greatest diets so you’re not the greatest diet.

Aubree Steen (03:01):
Essentially when you start with the north to south process, if you miss that first step, everything is affected. You have to get those first steps down. Your bloating essentially could be not chewing well or not even sitting with your food and giving your brain the realization that it has to break down this substance.

Philip Oubre (03:16):
So after you appropriately sit down with your meals and not rush through it or try to work on the computer, after you swallow your food, the food goes down to the stomach, and this is one of the first steps you have no control over. Now, it is a hundred percent up to control this parasympathetic state that Aubree just talked to you about and you’ve asked your digestive process to be in control of. So the stomach’s one of the first lines of defense to break down the food after the brain, of course, but the first one you have no control over. So that stomach’s main role is to make stomach acid and that stomach acid has to break down the food. One of the most common things we see, and we’ve seen patients go all over the place to this GI doctor and different stuff, and one of the main things they’re missing is they just don’t have enough stomach acid.

Philip Oubre (03:59):
Nowadays with stress that lower stomach acid production and the amount of people taking Tums and Rolaids and Prilosec and Nexium and all those, all those are stomach acid neutralizers. Now this is a big topic. I’ve got a separate video on just stomach acid, gastritis, all that stuff. You need to look more into that if you want to know more details about it but the theory … there’s not really a theory. The clinical reason for heartburn reflux is actually not enough acid. Not that you have too much acid. Yes, it works to improve symptoms if you wipe out the stomach acid completely with those drugs and antacids, but if you don’t have acid, then you’re not breaking down your food, and the other important part that Aubree reminded before we did this video was the stomach acid also disinfects the food. So we saw one of our favorite patients yesterday who’s completely paranoid about having food poisoning and all this and the-

Aubree Steen (04:47):
We love you. You know who you are [crosstalk 00:04:49]. Jace.

Philip Oubre (04:49):
The problem is that if you don’t have enough stomach acid, you can’t disinfect your food. So making sure you have enough stomach acid primarily to digest the food, but also to neutralize any kind of bacteria that are on it. So we could talk for hours about stomach acid. It is critically important. The main thing we task people with is something called a Betaine Challenge. So Aubree, give them the quick version of the Betaine Challenge that we ask our patients to do. And it’s something they can try at home if they choose to.

Aubree Steen (05:16):
Right. And just real quick, the reason why we brought the brain in before the stomach is because the brain starts the hydrochloric acid production.

Philip Oubre (05:23):

Aubree Steen (05:23):
So I’m going to-

Philip Oubre (05:24):
That’s the growling in your stomach when you’re hungry, the stomach’s already making juices and working. That’s the growling you hear.

Aubree Steen (05:30):
Yeah. One way that you can check is something called a Betaine Challenge. The only clinical way to check is swallowing a tube with a string down it. It’s a very invasive procedure and it rarely actually even happens to be honest with you and no one wants to go through that.

Philip Oubre (05:41):
I’ve never seen it.

Aubree Steen (05:42):
No, and empty. One thing that you can do is buy betaine hydrochloric acid and you essentially need to test it with your largest meal, but the way to see if you have enough acid is actually take the acid yourself. So what you want to do is have a food sandwich, so you want to start halfway of when you’re eating and take one betaine hydrochloric acid. My largest meal is lunch, so I would do that on day one. Day two, you would take two pills in that same time period sandwiched between the food. Day three, you take three and so on.

Aubree Steen (06:11):
You increase every single day at that one meal because you’re trying to find your dose. Eventually you’ll change it for the other meals. But you keep increasing until you feel a little bit of different symptoms. It could be upper GI. So it could be acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, any of that acidity feeling up in this area, or it could be lower GI kind of like when you have hot tea on an empty stomach or hot coffee, you feel warmth in your belly. It’s very warm and it’s not painful, but for some people it could be a little sensitive. If you hit that dose, let’s say, if you hit that at five, you go down a pill … Right, me too. You go down a pill and now your dose is four. Essentially you have to push it past the level so you know how much acidity your body needs to break down the food.

Aubree Steen (06:55):
If you don’t have enough acidity, essentially that betaine is useless because your stomach has to reach that certain pH to trigger the entire digestive cascade. So now we have our doses at four, that’s my largest meal. You’re going to need to figure out where it is for your other food. If you’re just having carbohydrates by itself, which we don’t recommend, you wouldn’t need any. You don’t need it with an Apple. You need it with protein and fat, essentially fat. But I’ve noticed that most patients with animal protein always, always, always have to have betaine. Betaine hydrochloric acid is usually paired with pepsin, which helps break down animal proteins even further.

Philip Oubre (07:32):
Yeah. So if you’re going to eat a boiled egg, you might need one, but that does have protein and fats. So you may need one, may need two, and it’s going to be something that’s going to be experimentation. Now, because we’re putting this out there in public for people to try betaine. This is available over the counter and things. I must add the asterisk as a physician saying that you should do this directly with your physician if you choose to. If you have peptic ulcer disease or gastritis, whatever it may be, if you take one betaine pill and you get pain, you should probably abort. Go talk to your physician, look up a functional medicine doctor, if you need further help, because anyone and everyone should be able to tolerate two betaine without any trouble. If you cannot tolerate betaine it’s because you don’t have enough stomach mucus lining, and you need more work there before you can add the betaine.

Philip Oubre (08:13):
But if you can’t tolerate one, you’ve got a real problem. There was another point I wanted to … Oh, well, yes. As you find your dose, you want to add it to each meal … I thought there was another comment I was going to make on that. Can’t remember.

Aubree Steen (08:26):
That’s okay.

Philip Oubre (08:27):
Well, anyway, so once you have enough acid to break down the food … Oh, I remember what it was. It was how to neutralize it.

Aubree Steen (08:34):

Philip Oubre (08:35):
If you’re on the four or five pills and you’re like, “Oh God, I’ve got too much acid. That’s too much.” You can neutralize it. You can take baking soda.

Aubree Steen (08:42):
Yeah, usually a quarter teaspoon and about six ounces of water is totally fine. Have more if you want. It’s happened to me before, where I took too much of the smoothie and you can just go in there, eat more food, drink more water and that will neutralize that well.

Philip Oubre (08:53):
More food can neutralize the betaine. You don’t have to take … so yeah, baking soda, or even just Tums or Rolaids or something, we don’t encourage that over time. But obviously [crosstalk 00:09:01] if you took too much, you got to neutralize it.

Aubree Steen (09:03):
It’s not harmful by any means, to be honest with you. It may be a little discomforting, but it is what it is.

Philip Oubre (09:09):
Yep. Now that we’ve discussed the dysfunction of the stomach and you’ve fixed it with betaine then that chyme or that food drops into the upper portion of the small intestine called the duodenum, and there’s further digestion going on there. And so, Aubree…

Aubree Steen (09:24):
Yeah, so you also have things called accessory organs. It’s going to be the pancreas, liver and gallbladder. When you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid and that pH isn’t at the acidity it needs to be, the pancreas doesn’t get the trigger A, for two different things. Sodium bicarbonate, which essentially neutralizes that acid. It also has other functions in the small intestine as well, but you also don’t release proper enzymes. So now you’re inhibiting the essentially digestion of carbohydrates but other food as well. That’s with the pancreas. But the liver and gallbladder is also an essential trigger. When you don’t have enough pH or the low pH or enough acidity to trigger the gallbladder, that’s when you can have viscous bile, toxic bile, old bile. It sounds strange that you can have that, but you can.

Philip Oubre (10:09):

Aubree Steen (10:10):
Yeah, but it’s essentially needed to break down fat, but it’s also to help remove toxins because there are toxins stored in the bile. So when you can’t trigger that, now you’re back-loading toxins, you’re having sluggish gallbladder bile and then you’re not breaking down your fat appropriately. And that’s when you can get lower GI dysfunction as well, gas bloating, you name it.

Philip Oubre (10:32):
So as far as supplementation, if you’re not making enough digestive enzymes or if you’re worried you’re not making enough digestive enzymes from pancreas, and by the way, that’s an easy stool test called an elastase. Anyone and everyone can check it, a regular doctor can check an elastase. If your elastase is low, you know you’re not making enough pancreatic enzymes and we see it all the time. You can also check breakdown products in a stool study. Most regular doctors won’t do that, but you can see if you’re not appropriately breaking down your food and it’s ending up in your stool.

Aubree Steen (10:58):
You can look at it and you’ll see little food protocols.

Philip Oubre (11:00):
Not the … The stool? Okay.

Aubree Steen (11:02):
You can look at your stool.

Philip Oubre (11:02):
Okay, you can.

Aubree Steen (11:04):
You can. You can look at your stool. If you look in your stool and you see pieces of food in there, I had a patient who thought she was digesting fine and she was like, “Oh yeah, I love these digestive enzymes because I don’t see the lettuce in my stool anymore.” And I was like, “Oh, why didn’t you tell me this? Oh, no.” But it was a good thing. Or if you’re stool floats, that means-

Philip Oubre (11:20):
We do gross things here.

Aubree Steen (11:21):
We do and we talk about it all the time, but it’s normal. We should normalize it. Or if your stool’s floating, it’s meaning that you’re not breaking down your fats well enough and now you have fecal fats. So you can actually look at your stool to see if you’re not breaking down food appropriately. For the pancreatic elastase we do like to see over 500. On certain stool studies they’ll say 200 or more is normal but we like essential optimal function at over 500.

Philip Oubre (11:45):
And the digestive enzymes are actually pretty easy to replace. You want a broad spectrum version. The one we’re using right now is called Digestzyme-V from Ortho Molecular and basically you take two of those pills. They’re really … We’ve only had a couple people react to them this time and most people can tolerate them perfectly fine. You take two, that’s not one that you really need to increase with size of the meal. Two should be plenty. If you’re going to eat a boiled egg, one is fine kind of a deal. So yeah, dial it with a meal a little bit, but it’s pretty hard to overdose on enzymes because they’re not really acidic. If there’s no food to digest, they’re just not going to do anything basically.

Aubree Steen (12:15):
Yeah. And my favorite part about enzymes is that I love this metaphor of, let’s imagine we’re all strong enough to push a car.

Philip Oubre (12:22):
What are you talking about? Of course I am.

Aubree Steen (12:24):
Of course we are.

Philip Oubre (12:25):
A very small one.

Aubree Steen (12:27):
You’re outside with a toy car. You’re like, “I got this, Aubree.”

Philip Oubre (12:30):
Hot Wheels.

Aubree Steen (12:32):
So essentially people are nervous about … the thing about [inaudible 00:12:36] is hormones. If I’m taking this, will it stop my production? Absolutely not. With hydrochloric acid and with enzymes, it helps you and then you can taper away from it. So if you were pushing a car by yourself or I was doing it by myself, I could do it. But if Dr. Oubre came up and helped me, now I just have the extra help. He got the car further and farther along and once I was able to regain my energy, I could push it very well again. It’s the same thing with digestive enzymes. They like Dr. Oubre. They come up and help. They help break down your food a little bit more and then-

Philip Oubre (13:06):
Like a warm hug.

Aubree Steen (13:07):
I know. It is. Enzymes are a warm hug. That’s the whole takeaway.

Philip Oubre (13:12):
The other point is that you’re not addicted to these things if you take them. They’re trying to restore your digestive patterns and if you can restore them, then they go back to normal is the idea. And then last but not least of course is gallbladder support, liver support and so you use bitters and things.

Aubree Steen (13:27):
Digestive bitters are super easy to buy. Honestly, you can go to any herbal shop and you’re looking things for Jin Shin, ginger, dandy lion. I don’t think eating the food is going to be as beneficial. They’re concentrated in these certain amounts to trigger a response in your nervous system starting on your tongue. You’re supposed to taste the bitterness. So I like bitters because they have two different functions. They’re used to break down food, but they’re also used as a therapeutic effect. If you do have an upset stomach where you feel nauseous, you can take bitters because usually nausea and upset stomach is because of…

Philip Oubre (13:57):
Food just setting.

Aubree Steen (14:00):
Yes. It’s not properly digested. So they can do both. And they’re harmless essentially. Obviously just don’t have it if you have an allergy to one of the components, but other than that, put it on your tongue 15 minutes before meals. One of my favorites is called Urban Moonshine from Whole Foods. So you don’t have … I know, it’s pretty good, right? But you don’t have to go to a fancy doctor’s office to get any.

Philip Oubre (14:21):
And bitters are called bitters because they do taste nasty. So if you just can’t tolerate the taste, they do have capsule versions of it and it is still effective. We do believe that the taste is part of triggering the cascade, but if you just can’t tolerate the taste, even just swallowing it whole, it does still work.

Aubree Steen (14:37):
Right. We like CarminaGest by Designs for Health. We’re obviously not affiliated with any of these brands, but we do use them for their efficacy in our clinical research too.

Philip Oubre (14:47):
So that wraps up the upper GI dysfunction. So please like our channels, subscribe to it, hit the little bell on YouTube so you get notifications of our future videos so you can keep learning more. And the next video we’re going to be talking about lower GI dysfunction, which is mostly small intestine and large intestine and of course, pooping.

Aubree Steen (15:06):
Cool. Thanks guys.

Philip Oubre (15:07):
See you then.

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In this video, I wanted to talk about the flu shot. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been asked a lot of times should I get the flu shot or not? Now, one of the first things I want to mention is that as a functional medicine doctor talking about vaccines, I understand this is like putting my head in a guillotine. So, before you make any kind of anti-vaccine comments or pro-vaccine comments, please just watch the video through because I understand that this is a controversial topic and every patient has their right to decide what they want to do. This video is designed to be an informative video. I’m not selling anything. I’m not necessarily promoting anything. This video is designed to help you decide whether you should take the flu vaccine or not.

So, one of the important things about the vaccine movement is that there are two sides to this story. One side is true. The other side is true. But neither side is the truth. You really have to take both sides of this to come up with the truth. So, if you want to understand the dangers of vaccines, then you want to go look at what the anti-vaxxers are saying. If you want to understand the benefits of vaccines, then go to more of the conventional medicine side of things and understand why they’re saying that you should get the vaccines. And then, the truth is somewhere in between that. Let’s use our noggin, guys, and come up with what works best for you.

So, vaccine disclaimers. It seems to be talking about vaccines is basically like talking about politics and religion, you just don’t do it. So, I’m breaking the ice. I’m talking about vaccines and here we go. So, you are allowed to have an opinion. I’m allowed to have an opinion. Just because it’s my opinion doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Just because your opinion doesn’t mean it’s wrong. So, might want to keep your opinions to yourself.

You are allowed to make your own choice. It is your body. It is your family. You get to decide whether you have a flu vaccine or not. And you don’t need to dictate whether others do it or not. In fact, you should be on board with others taking the flu vaccine, because if they get it, then they’re less likely to spread it to you. And you don’t have the risk, but you got the benefit. So, you should make an informed decision. You should not decide that you’re not going to get the flu vaccine because you read one article about how vaccines are bad and vaccines are toxic. And you also, on the flip side, should not get a flu vaccine just because someone told you, you should. You need to understand that to every benefit there is a risk. That is everything we do in medicine there’s risks and benefits. And you’ve got to determine what’s right for you based on your situation.

And you should never listen to one side of the argument. If you Google, how many people die of water, drowning every year, you’d find out that water is terrible. Water kills tons of people. But we also know that we survive on water. So, it depends on what you’re Googling, and your friend circle, and what social media is putting down your throat. That may not be the entire side of the argument. So, look at the other side of the argument in order to understand the entire picture.

So, there are pros and cons to any vaccine. So, this is just kind of generic, but I’ve tried to gear it towards the flu. So, the pros of vaccine, the good reasons to do a vaccine is you’re less likely to miss work. You’re less likely to miss school. And that’s a big deal. If you want to use your sick days for being sick, instead of going on vacation or something, then that’s up to you, that’s your option. The other deal with the flu vaccine is, of course it reduces the burden of disease. So, even if you still get the flu, you’re less likely to get complications.

And I don’t know if you know about my story, but earlier this year, I was hospitalized with two tubes in my chest in order to drain the fluid. And it was thought to be a complication of the flu virus, questionably COVID, but my antibodies were negative. So, this is prime in my mind because I did not get the flu vaccine last year. And it’s very possible that if I had gotten the flu vaccine, I would not have developed that complication. I would not have spent five days in the hospital with a tube in my chest. And six weeks of fevers and weight loss, and everything that went along with it, if I had maybe gotten the flu vaccine, true story.

Reduces likelihood of hospitalization. It reduces complications from the flu, which is what I just talked about. And then, of course, it prevents death. If you’re less likely to get hospitalized, you’re less likely to die.

So, what are the cons? These are real, we need to talk about these. It’s potentially a toxic exposure. So, in the vaccines they have preservatives, they have other chemicals. I don’t know how they’re manufacturing. So, no telling what’s all in it. A vaccine always triggers an inflammatory response. That’s what it’s supposed to do. In fact, they put adjuvants inside the vaccine in order to get you to have an inflammatory response, because the problem is, if you don’t have an inflammatory response, then you don’t actually get immune to the vaccine. And that’s the whole point. So, frequently, they put immune stimulating triggers with the vaccine, called adjuvants, in order to trigger that immune response.

Number three is it can cause autoimmunity. Vaccines are very heavily linked to triggers of autoimmunity. They can hurt, but not that bad. We need to get over that. And, of course, the vaccine can be ineffective, meaning you could get the vaccine, but still get the flu. It’s not perfect, but they certainly try to pick the best they can. And then, of course, drug companies can make money. That’s kind of silly because anything in this world that’s selling a product should make money. I’m a business owner. I’m a physician yes, I make money off of seeing patients. And if I expect someone to create a good vaccine, I expect them to make money on it because I want someone, if they’re going to make a better vaccine that they deserve to make more money off of it. It’s expensive to do these drug trials and create these things. So we can’t demonize someone just because they make money off of it.

So, I just went through the pros and cons. And I actually want to kind of break down each of these topics, and help you understand why these may not be cons. Or how you can reduce the likelihood of that being a risk. So, the first one is that vaccines are toxic that’s why you would never want to do one. While that is partially true, it’s a little stretch of the truth. So, in my opinion, if one little vaccine is what pushes your toxicity over the edge in order to have some sort of detrimental side effect, then it really says that your detox pathways were already bogged down. The likelihood of the one vaccine that you got as being the inciting factor that McDonald’s and Burger King, and processed foods, and sugars and all that had on your system, I would give a whole lot more weight to poor food choices than one vaccine.

Now, once again, this is applied to the masses. So, there are children out there that have been affected by one vaccine that is true. But this video is designed to the masses. There is a risk and benefit, and you never know if you’re going to be that one person until you go through with that. So, I’m not talking about that one person that got injured. And, of course, there’s more than one but, anyway, I feel like I’m putting my head in the guillotine here. But we’re going forward. So, if you’re worried about a vaccine causing a toxic exposure, then maybe you could take detox supplements to help facilitate the detoxification of that vaccine. Maybe you could do a vitamin infusion after you’re done to try to wash those chemicals away.

Number two is autoimmune trigger. So, the idea that a vaccine can trigger an autoimmune disease. Now, that is true. And that is documented that the vaccines do trigger autoimmunity. Once, again, it’s because of that inflammatory trigger. And any time you have inflammation, you can upset an autoimmune condition. But if you have an improved gut health, if you remove inflammatory bacteria, and yeast in the bowels, if your body’s already healthy and primed, then the likelihood of getting that autoimmune trigger is less likely. I’d pay more attention to the cigarettes and cheeseburgers you’re eating to see if that’s going to set you up for a vaccine to cause an autoimmune trigger.

And then, last is inflammation. Of course, you can add in anti-inflammatory supplements. You don’t want to do too much, like you don’t want to take a whole bunch of steroids after you take a vaccine of any sort, because then it blunts your immune response. And if it blunts your immune response, then you’re less likely to get immunity to that thing you just received. So, you really don’t want to overdo the inflammatory supplements unless you’re already at risk. And if you’re already at risk, maybe you shouldn’t even do it.

So, there are some very real facts about the flu that you need to understand, especially in this COVID world where we’re talking about numbers and things. The flu annually infects 9 million at the lowest, and 45 million people at the highest. Now, keep that in mind because the population of the US, this is just US is around 327 million. That’s a large percentage of the population that’s going to get the flu. And the reason why it varies is because some strains are more virulent than others. And it hospitalizes anywhere from 140,000 to almost a million people. That is a lot of hospitalizations. And then, it kills 12,000 to 61,000.

So, those are very real numbers and very scary. So, that is one of the benefits of getting the flu shot is you’re less likely to get infected. If you’re less likely to get infected, then you’re less likely to get hospitalized and die. And even if you do get infected, you’re less likely to get hospitalized, and you’re less likely to die. That’s important.

Now, my current opinion on the numbers that we’re going to see for this year, and it’s early this is why it’s just my opinion, I have no research to back this up, but I believe we’re going to see the lowest flu rate that we’ve ever seen in years. And the reason why is because we’re wearing masks, we’re socially distant, we’re already doing things to prevent COVID-19. So, it stands to reason that the flu rates will actually be really low as well. So, you need to factor that into you making an informed decision or not, because if you’re already socially isolated, I think I have another slide for this. But if you’re already socially isolated, and you already have a low risk of getting the flu then you have a low benefit of getting the flu, which makes the risks higher.

So, let’s talk about some of the vaccine facts, more facts. It’s only effective 19 to 60% of the time. Now, if you don’t know, that’s not just a random coincidence. The way the flu vaccine is determined is what happens with the flu is it waves through the US, and then after it’s done with the US it starts spreading to the other hemisphere. While it’s in the other hemisphere, meaning it’s winter in Australia kind of deal over the summer, when it’s summer for us it’s winter there. And so, over the winter there, the flu virus is spreading there. And while it’s there, it’s mutating again to get ready to come back to the Northern hemisphere.

So, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to study what’s the dominant strain in the other hemisphere? And then, they try to predict it for our hemisphere, for when it comes back. That’s not a perfect science. And when the COVID-19 vaccine comes out, it’s not going to be a perfect science. They’re going to try to predict the best vaccine, the best strain they can, but it’s not always perfect because it can continue to mutate. So, that’s why sometimes it’s less effective than the others. But even when it’s a less effective at preventing the infection, it still helps you fight off the infection.

The true big thing to be scared of is Guillain-Barre. So Guillain-Barre is an awful neurological condition where you lose sensation, you lose motor function, usually to the lower extremities, but Guillain-Barre has all kinds of variants. Guillain-Barre is a terrible disease, that is true. And with the flu vaccine it effects one per million, at least that’s what the studies show. And that’s most likely going to be funded by a drug company, so the number’s probably higher than that. But it’s going to be somewhere around there. Still not a ton of people, one per million. Even if you inflated those numbers, times 10, that’s still 10 in a million. That’s still not many people. So, the big scary part of getting the flu vaccine, as far as the autoimmune trigger is Guillain-Barre, and that is terrible.

Now, what’s interesting is the flu virus itself also causes Guillain-Barre. And, actually, it causes Guillain-Barre at a higher rate than the flu vaccine does. The difference there is, if you never get the flu, then you’re not at risk. But if you get the flu vaccine every year that, potentially, could be a risk 60, 80 times, depending on how many times you get it. So, that is the very real risk to consider. If you’re already someone who has neurological autoimmunity, or family member with Guillain-Barre, then maybe it’s best to skip the flu vaccine because you’re at higher risk.

More facts is it reduces the likelihood of getting infection, of course, which means there’s less sick days, and there’s less spread to your loved ones. So, especially the problem with the flu and the United States is it comes around winter time, which is our Christmas time, our Thanksgiving time. Families are getting together, so if you decide to skip your flu vaccine, and you go give grandma a hug, well, you could potentially give her the flu illness. And while it may not cause any harm to you, you just give it to grandma. And grandma’s at a different risk category. Even if she got her flu shot, remember it’s not perfect, so you could still give it to her. Of course, it reduces severity and complications in death. We already talked about that.

So next, and this is potentially the main reason to get the flu shot this year if you’re indeterminate or unsure, we do not know what happens when you mix influenza and COVID-19. So, we know that influenza is bad on lungs in a different way than COVID-19 is bad on lungs. And we know the influenza virus likes to cause a lot of inflammation inside of the breathing tubes, the bronchi, and that causes a lot of constriction, and a lot of mucus, and a lot of congestion inside of the lungs. That’s already inflammatory trigger. And we know that COVID-19 likes to affect the tissue of the lungs, actually, where the blood is flowing inside the lungs trying to take the oxygen out of the air. COVID 19 affects the tissue where the flu affects the airways.

So, the concern is that now you’ve got a really bad situation, if you’ve got the flu and COVID-19. And viruses love to run together, especially when your immune system’s already sick, or down, punished by an illness, then it’s easy to get another one. I see patients all the time, but it’s common for a patient to go like five years or 10 years without any kind of illness. And then, one season they’ll get three bronchitis infections separated by six weeks or so.

And then, they’re always like, “Well, this has never happened to me. What am I doing wrong? What’s different?” And it may not be anything that they’re doing wrong. It’s that their first punishment to the immune system set them up for the second one, set them up for the third one. An inflammatory trigger, especially the flu virus and COVID-19, they are very inflammatory viruses, that already upsets the immune system. It kind of confuses it, so it doesn’t really know what to fight. It makes it more susceptible to other things like COVID-19. So, if you’re nervous about COVID-19, and because there is no vaccine, then you don’t want to mix influenza and COVID-19. So, that might be your trigger to say, go ahead and get your flu shot.

Other things that would help you make a decision, whether you should do it or not, you should consider getting the flu vaccine if you have asthma, that’s just a big deal. The flu virus loves to kill asthmatics, elderly, infants, and pregnant ladies. I actually didn’t put pregnancy on here. So, those are the big at risk populations. But asthma is a big, big trigger for influenza. What’s interesting, it’s not as big of a trigger or a concern for COVID-19, but if you already have asthma, flu can really push you over the edge.

If you have any lung issues, really any lung issues, you have any concern in your lungs, you should really consider getting the flu vaccine because the one in a million chance of getting Guillain-Barre is not nearly as big of a deal of dying of the flu. And, once again, this was paramount to me because nine months ago, I was in the hospital, perfectly healthy, as far as I’m concerned, 38 year old male in the hospital for five days with a tube in my chest, because I didn’t get a flu shot. I got the flu in December and then, fast forward a month later, I got a bacterial infection in my lungs, which is a complication of the flu. I refused to take antibiotics because I was stubborn and thought my body could fight it. Six weeks later, I was in the hospital with the tube. So, don’t be like me, consider getting a flu vaccine, consider taking antibiotics if you need it.

Next is if you’re a smoker, you got lung issues just admit it. Even if you’re a social smoker, you should consider the flu shot.

Obesity, so really I put obesity yes, because of the flu virus is harder on obese people. But really the bigger reason for obesity is the COVID-19 because COVID-19 loves to kill obese people. That seems to be a major at risk population. So, you don’t want to mix flu and COVID-19. So, if your BMI is over 30 and really over 35 or 40, then you definitely want to get the flu vaccine.

Next is age over 60. Now, if you notice, I put age over 60 and age under 40. So, the 40 to 60 year olds are kind of in the middle here. But if your age is over 60 it’s just natural that, over time, your immune system’s dampening, your body ages over time. Now, if you’ve been taking care of your body, there’s plenty of 60 year olds that I know that are healthier than 30 year olds. So, that’s not necessarily a for sure thing, but it’s a consideration. And then, of course, once you break 65, they want you to do that high dose flu vaccine.

And then, of course, any kind of immune suppression. So, if you’ve gotten a kidney transplant, if you’re on steroids, if you have autoimmune issues and you’re more immune suppressed, then you should consider doing the flu shot.

You may avoid the flu shot, if you’re in great health. Now, there’s a difference between thinking you’re in great health and actually being in great health. So, if you haven’t had your inflammatory markers tested, your blood sugar, your cholesterol, and the only reason you’re healthy is because you haven’t actually gone to the doctor to get diagnosed with anything, then that doesn’t really count. So, if you’re in great health and you have markers to prove it, then you can certainly skip the flu shot. If you want to take your risks, then you can certainly skip it.

And then, of course, if the age is less than 40 you’re, in general, a lower likelihood to have a complication, like myself, end up in the hospital. But, remember, you can still spread it to loved ones, even if you don’t get sick.

And then, of course, if you are socially isolated and your risk of getting the flu already is dramatically reduced there’s no reason to get it. But we still have to go out, and I do want you to go be social as much as possible and safe. So, any exposure is enough.

So, one of the things you can do to either fight the flu naturally, or have less side effects, if you get the flu shot is, of course, to get healthier. And so, on my channel, I’ve got all kinds of stuff out there and so I’m listing here. You can subscribe to my social media channel. You can subscribe to my YouTube, my Facebook, my Instagram. I’m always putting free content like this out there to help you make good decisions and get healthier.

Number two, you can take my courses. So, I’ve got online courses on my website. Just go to the website, look at the top click Courses, and you can take my nutrition course, gut courses, detox courses, and all that’s available online. And then, number three, you can become a patient. Call my office, go to my website to become a patient, and learn what that entails.

We do offer urgent care for people in Austin. I mean, we can do remote urgent cares, but there’s only so much we can do over the internet. We do have the rapid flu test, and rapid COVID-19 test, that’s the swab. This is Mimi, my nurse practitioner. So, we try to have same day appointments, if you call. The assessment can be done by a provider. Or we can just do the swab and send you on your way, and let you know your diagnosis.

If you have COVID-19, then one of the things I would recommend is a COVID-19 infusion protocol. So, I’ve designed this protocol to help dampen the cytokine storm, and reduce the immune reaction to COVID-19. So, this infusion protocol is really designed to be in the early stages of COVID-19 to prevent you from getting the lung inflammation and cytokine storm. From what we’re seeing, it really looks like by the time the cytokine storm has started that you’re already in trouble, and the vitamin fusions, although they will be beneficial, it’s almost too late. So, you really want to get those ahead of the game. The hard part with that is if you get the infusions and you don’t get hospitalized, then you have to wonder like, “Well, did that do anything?” Well, you won’t know because you don’t get to do it again, and decide, or wave your crystal ball and see if you would’ve gotten hospitalized.

And, of course, we have supplements to reduce the cytokine storm. If you go to my website,, there’s a form you can fill out, and it’ll send you my COVID-19 action plan, nutritional goals. It’s got like several things that come with that email. So, if you sign up on our list, you’ll get our newsletters and things, of course, going forward. But main thing is you’ll get my lung tracker, our COVID-19 action plan.

And then, of course, whenever you’re taking a photo, it’s always a good idea to check your teeth. So, I’m a good boss, I checked her teeth. I don’t think she liked it. So, hope this video was helpful. Once again, subscribe to my YouTube, click the little bell, so you get alerts for my next videos. And get healthy and make an informed decision about whether you should take your flu shot or not.

Read More

(Part 2 of 4)

We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

We really wanted to breakdown the how the gut works, and the entire process from simply visualizing the food to eliminating it. It’s a pretty magical process, but there’s quite a lot of decisions our body has to make when breaking down and absorbing food. We broke this up into 4 different categories to touch base on the big picture in each segment. While this process is intricate in nature, we hope to breakdown into a really palatable and digestible picture. You see what I did there.

Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.

Phillip Oubre (00:00):
In our last video, we talked about upper digestion, from the brain, sight smell and taste to swallowing, digesting food with a stomach, and finally from the pancreas and gallbladder. It’s important to understand the upper digestion before we talk about the lower digestion. So if you haven’t seen that video, you may want to go and check that out on our YouTube channel or Facebook or wherever you are. And of course, subscribe to our channels so that you can see all our upcoming videos.

Phillip Oubre (00:24):
But this video, we’re going to be talking about lower digestion. And primarily we’re going to be talking about small intestine, large intestine, and of course, pooping.

Aubree Steen (00:30):

Phillip Oubre (00:32):
Yay, good euphoric feeling if it’s done right. The main goal of the small intestine is absorbing nutrients. Main goal of the large intestine is, that’s where our majority of our microbiome is and absorbing the water, and of course getting rid of waste. So Aubrey, why don’t you lead us off? What’s the point of the small intestines? After the food is already digested, what’s the role of the small intestines?

Aubree Steen (00:55):
Absorbing nutrients. That is the number one role of the small intestine. You have to have a healthy, small intestine to absorb those nutrients. Healthy small intestine, meaning by a great microbiome. So a variety and abundance of bacteria, healthy mucosal lining, intact gut lining where you don’t have permeability. We’ll talk about the dysfunction of course later, but that’s the main job, honestly, in my opinion.

Phillip Oubre (01:20):
Yeah. And I always like to talk about the shag carpet. And anytime we’re talking about the small intestine, it’s all about the shag carpet. What do we mean by the shag carpet? The idea is that when you eat food, you have to absorb these molecules of your food in order to absorb it. If you think about, if you have a cup of coffee and you dump it on shag carpet, with all the little fingers and things, that cup of coffee is going to be fully absorbed into a little dinner plate size absorption. If you took that same cup of coffee and poured it on your kitchen floor with tile, it’s going to spread out really far. So the idea is you have limited real estate, limited time to absorb your nutrients. So you need as much shag carpet as possible. And if you don’t have shag carpet, then it’s not going to absorb in time. And it’s going to dump into the large intestine, which is where the majority of your microbiome is. And then they’re going to have a heyday with undigested food, or not even undigested food, just heavily caloric food, lots of calories and nutrients. And then you’re going to have overgrowth issues.

Phillip Oubre (02:19):
So you’re supposed to get first choice of what foods you absorb, not second choice. So if you have a bacterial overgrowth-

Aubree Steen (02:25):
Supposed to.

Phillip Oubre (02:25):
Yeah, supposed to. So if you have bacterial overgrowth, you get the crumbs of what the bacteria and fungus don’t need. You’re in charge. You’re supposed to absorb your food first. So if you don’t have that shag carpet, then you can’t absorb your nutrients. And we’ll talk about in the dysfunction video, what are some of the things that ruin that and shag carpeting,

Aubree Steen (02:42):
You can think of that shag carpet like, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of an intestine where there’s all these little folds, right? There’s all these little microvilli that are in there and they’re all responsible. They look like these nice little, almost sea urchin things. Or like seaweed, something nice and flowing. Yeah. But those are mostly responsible for absorbing your nutrients. We want to keep that shag carpet healthy and long, and not damaged, essentially.

Phillip Oubre (03:07):
In addition to absorbing nutrients, it actually wants to keep certain things out. This is a very careful, it’s just like the customs department in any country. You want to let people that you choose to let in, but anyone else you want that you don’t want in, and I don’t want to get political, that’s not what this is about, but you need to keep certain things out and you want to absorb certain things. So your intestines don’t just absorb everything. It doesn’t absorb apple. It doesn’t absorb watermelon. It absorbs the unique molecules and calories that it chooses and vitamins that it chooses. And it leaves the rest in to turn into stool.

Phillip Oubre (03:41):
So you’ve probably heard of food sensitivities, food allergies. Why does someone react to apple or watermelon? And the idea is that if your barrier is not intact, and I’m getting into dysfunction a little bit, but the idea of the function is to keep apple out so that you don’t react to apple. Because if apple crosses the barrier, now you’re reactive to apple. So not only do you want to absorb, you don’t want to absorb everything. If you absorb too much, that’s called leaky gut, and now you’ve got other inflammatory issues.

Phillip Oubre (04:08):
The small intestine is where the majority of nutrients are absorbed. By the time it leaves the small intestine, your large intestine does not absorb nutrients. That’s not the purpose. It mainly absorbs water. So now that we’re in the large intestine, undigested food or whatever’s remaining ends up in the large intestine, and then what happens?

Aubree Steen (04:26):
Mostly recycling water, and removing those toxins in waves. Sometimes a very small percentage of it is reabsorbing anything that may have gotten missed in the small intestine, but essentially that’s very small and not the main priority. But you have to think of it as literally a waste removal, getting it out of your body, soaking up the water and hydration and pushing it out. It has the very last remnants of what should be in your body basically.

Phillip Oubre (04:52):
So you probably know by now that humans eat fiber, we eat fiber. We’re supposed to eat fiber. But humans don’t really absorb fiber. Through the small intestine, you’re not really breaking down the fiber. The fiber is keeping things moving and kind of the, what do they call it? The insoluble fiber is the scrubbing brushes that goes through the small intestines. Yeah. By the time the fiber gets to the large intestine, your bacteria, your microbiome, your trillions of organisms are in the large intestine. They finally finish breaking down the fiber. And once they break down the fiber, then the large intestine does absorb some of the components or short chain fatty acids that come from these fibers. So that’s the other important part of the large intestine.

Phillip Oubre (05:33):
Usually we have people who don’t absorb enough in the small intestines, and then in the large intestines things get sluggish. Constipation is a common problem that we see.

Aubree Steen (05:43):
It’s huge.

Phillip Oubre (05:44):
Yeah, there’s a colon transit time. If things stay in the colon, another word for large intestine is colon. So if food stays in the colon for too long and the colon absorbs too much water, now you have hard stool. And I like to think of the stool as a toothpaste container. Sounds disgusting, but in the large intestine, you want your stool soft like toothpaste so that when the intestines are squeezing, it’s able to easily squeeze that toothpaste through. If you think about, if you leave your toothpaste container open, whoever does that, that’s gross. And you put the cap on that stuff.

Aubree Steen (06:12):
You’re fired.

Phillip Oubre (06:13):
Yeah, that’s gross. So put the cap on. But if you leave your cap off the toothpaste container and your toothpaste were to dry out inside of the container, it would be a lot more work to try to get that toothpaste out. It’d be like rocks and things. Same thing that happens in the large intestine.

Phillip Oubre (06:26):
So improving that transit time from beginning to anus is important. And we’ll get into some more dysfunction, but your nerves are the primary thing that’s responsible for controlling that transit time. So if you’re diabetic or if you’re inflamed, or if you have neuropathy to your intestines, which sounds crazy, but it happens all the time.

Aubree Steen (06:45):
We see it all the time. We really, really do.

Phillip Oubre (06:45):
Absolutely. It’s well known with diabetics. So if you have neuropathy, then that time is slowed. And then you’re going to have chronic constipation. And if you have chronic constipation, well, everything’s going to go wrong after that. Everybody needs a good bowel movement every day. And then of course, last but not least is of course you have to take out the trash every day.

Aubree Steen (07:03):
Every day.

Phillip Oubre (07:04):
Every day.

Aubree Steen (07:05):
I can’t tell you how many people I know who are like, yeah, I go every three days or something. Or I had friends who were constipated for a week and I’m like, you can’t do that. If you think about it, that large intestine is recycling. Whatever stays in there is going to stay in there longer, and you have the potential to reabsorb toxins, harness any bacterial overgrowth. Again, we’ll talk about that in dysfunction, but you have to keep eliminating or else you will recycle those very toxic elements.

Phillip Oubre (07:32):
One of the common sayings you’ve probably heard is you are what you eat. We like to correct that and say, you are what you absorb. But then the third part is, you are what you don’t get rid of.

Aubree Steen (07:41):
Oh, that’s true. That’s true.

Phillip Oubre (07:44):
If you’re crappy. Anyway, so yes, you got to take the trash out through whatever means necessary. And chronic constipation is a big deal that we can talk about another time. Last but not least, I think of my son who doesn’t poop at all at school, holds it all day and then poops at the end of the day. So it’s important to get comfortable. Everyone poops, everyone passes gas, right?

Aubree Steen (08:04):
Everybody does.

Phillip Oubre (08:04):
So try not to hold it if you can, because that leads to further constipation. If you’re uncomfortable going to work, figure out things that will make you more comfortable at going to work because the longer you hold it, the more likely you are to create problems. Good bowel habits, just like we talked about, sitting down and eating our food and taking our time, same thing with bowel habits. If you’re rushing or skipping, there’s consequences that come from that.

Aubree Steen (08:28):
Right. And the reason why we wanted to talk about the whole entire North to South is because chewing can simply change how you have bowel movements, right?

Phillip Oubre (08:36):

Aubree Steen (08:36):
Anything that you can fix up here will make everything lower work essentially much better. So we kind of dove into the functionality of the entire digestive process. We’re going to go into dysfunction next, but then we’re also going to go into tips and tricks of what are best nutrition habits, supplement habits, any kind of lifestyle changes that you can make and implement for all of this to work better. You don’t have to go see a functional medical doctor to improve your digestion, by any means. There’s a lot of components that go into it, and a lot of times it is some type of external toxin or internal, whatever it may be. But you can do so much at home, honestly, that’s easy and simple.

Phillip Oubre (09:17):
Yep. And we’re going to help teach you. So hit the like button, hit the subscribe button, leave a comment, whatever it may be. That way you get notified when we release the next video. And we’ll see you guys out there.

Aubree Steen (09:25):
Bye, guys.

Read More

(Part 1 of 4)

We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

We really wanted to breakdown the how the gut works, and the entire process from simply visualizing the food to eliminating it. It’s a pretty magical process, but there’s quite a lot of decisions our body has to make when breaking down and absorbing food. We broke this up into 4 different categories to touch base on the big picture in each segment. While this process is intricate in nature, we hope to breakdown into a really palatable and digestible picture. You see what I did there.

Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.

Philip Oubre (00:00):
Okay, guys. So today we want to help clarify the upper and lower digestion. We always talk about digestion, gut health and all that. But one of the things people frequently miss is they say, “Oh, my stomach this, my stomach that,” and what we’re going to talk about today is that the stomach is not just from rib cage down to pelvis. There’s multiple organs in your stomach.

Philip Oubre (00:20):
So today, when we refer to the stomach, we’re actually talking about the actual stomach that’s in the upper part of your rib cage. But we want to go through this whole digestive process north to south, meaning starting at your mouth, all the way to the anus, and what exactly happens. Because we like to think that we just eat whatever food we want to, and then that food gets magically digested, and we magically absorb everything, and everything goes perfectly until we poop it out.

Aubree Steen (00:42):
That’d be great.

Philip Oubre (00:42):
That would be great, right? But it is an extremely complicated process from north to south. And if any one process goes wrong, the rest goes wrong. So we want to dive into exactly this north to south process. So Aubree, one of the things you’re always harping on our patients is, what is the north most process?

Aubree Steen (01:02):
Your brain, your brain.

Philip Oubre (01:04):
How is that involved in eating?

Aubree Steen (01:05):
How is it? So everything happens with sight, smell and taste, right? So you have to think about is that-

Philip Oubre (01:10):
Say that slower, because I mean, you just say it all the time, but for them sight, you got to see the food, smell, you smell it.

Aubree Steen (01:18):
And taste. You have to think of your body as registering that it’s about to eat food. So I know that sounds like a simple concept, but in today’s society, we’re on the phone and we’re driving and we’re on the computer and we’re trying to get our kids jumping off of our shoulders, things like that.

Philip Oubre (01:34):
That and the microwave. Since when can you ever take raw food to cook in 90 seconds?

Aubree Steen (01:38):
I know. That should be abolished forever.

Philip Oubre (01:40):
Yeah. Don’t use microwaves. Please don’t use microwaves.

Aubree Steen (01:42):
I hate microwaves.

Philip Oubre (01:44):
It’s a strong word. We don’t use hate.

Aubree Steen (01:45):
Okay. I despise… sorry.

Philip Oubre (01:48):
I don’t know that that’s a better word.

Aubree Steen (01:49):
Okay. But anyways, right, so the main thing that we forget is that we’re not getting our brain online with the fact that we’re eating food. And I think most people don’t realize that your brain is the main signaling aspect for your stomach and all your digestive organs to start prepping to get food. You know how you feel really sick when you’ve been hungry all day and you literally just inhale food, and immediately after it… Yeah, I mean, we’ve all done it, right? But then you feel awful and you’re sitting there, and you’re like, “I shouldn’t have done that.” There’s a reason because of that.

Aubree Steen (02:23):
So your brain is the first thing that tells your body, “Hey, we’re eating. Y’all better get ready and prep for this food and digest it, because we need to break it down.” Because it is an intricate process. It takes a lot.

Aubree Steen (02:33):
So the first thing is actually isolating and sitting with your food, and saying, “Okay, I’m smelling it.” It’s kind of like when you smell your mom’s cooking and you start to salivate, that’s actually a digestive response. Your body’s preparing to have enzymes in your saliva break down your food. So I mean, long story short, you need to sit with it, and you need to tell your body, “We’re going to eat this food.” Plus we should be more mindful with everything that we’re doing, especially food. So brain is the first thing. Sight is seeing it. Smell is actually getting the senses, the smell from the food, and then taste. They all play together and they all start the digestive cascade, essentially.

Philip Oubre (03:14):
And taste is kind of a big one, sight and smell also of course, but in the modern era of shakes and blending everything up, and drinking them down, there’s a couple senses that can be missed. And you want to make sure you at least think about that. And you think about the shake, because if you’re going to ignore one of the senses, you probably need to heighten one of the other ones. Think of Daredevil. He’s blind, so his other senses went-

Aubree Steen (03:35):
Oh, that’s good.

Philip Oubre (03:35):
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. So the problem with the protein shake is, you’re not really cooking anything. There’s not really a lot of smells that come from it. You’re often blending it and it’s ready in just a matter of a minute or two. And then the food is already chewed. You blended it up, so you’re also skipping that chew step.

Philip Oubre (03:51):
So be careful if you’re putting a lot of stuff in your shake, you may need more digestive support with a shake. Whereas if you had cooked the food and smelled it for 30 minutes as you cooked it, that’d be a different scenario. So not ignoring the north most part, because once again, the scenario I use, and the metaphor I use in the office all the time is if you’re going to build a Ferrari, but the guy that’s building a frame is terrible or drunk on the job, then it can look like a Ferrari, it can sound like a Ferrari, but chances are, the thing’s going to fall apart. So if the frame doesn’t work, nothing else is going to work. So the first stage of digestion is that brain getting that in line matters a lot.

Philip Oubre (04:25):
So one of my favorite things to talk about, because Aubree is always talking about the brain, sight, smell, and taste thing. My favorite part is to talk about the stomach, because after you swallow the food, you now have zero control over it until it reaches the anus, and you get to choose when you go poop. For the most part, hopefully you get to choose when you go poop. Otherwise that’s a whole nother process.

Philip Oubre (04:44):
So after you swallow the food, the food gets to the stomach, and there’s a very important piece of the puzzle that must happen. And when we talk about stomach, we mean the upper part of the digestion, the very first organ before the intestines. So that stomach has to break down the food using stomach acid. And this is one of the common things we find in functional medicine is that your stomach does not make enough stomach acid, and we’ll talk about dysfunction in another video. This video is more about the function, how is it supposed to work. And then once you understand how it’s supposed to work, then we can talk about dysfunction more.

Philip Oubre (05:16):
So the stomach is supposed to make stomach acid. And the stomach acid is designed to break the food up into smaller and smaller molecules, because your intestines don’t absorb whole beef and whole rice or whatever you ate. It’s going to absorb molecules, tiny atoms and molecules. So your stomach is supposed to take really large things, so you chewed up your food as much as possible, hopefully, and then your stomach acid is supposed to take it down to a smaller level, and then the intestines take it down to an even further level.

Philip Oubre (05:45):
So that stomach requires stomach acid. And if the stomach requires stomach acid, how does the stomach not digest itself? It must make a mucus lining. So if you’re having any kind of heartburn, reflux, anything like that or stress, you don’t have enough stomach acid, or you could not have enough mucus lining. And if you don’t have enough mucus lining, your stomach isn’t going to make any stomach acid, because it’s going to damage itself and it’s not going to destroy itself. So one of the most key critical parts of digestion is getting enough stomach acid to break the food down to small enough components, so that then it can move into the small intestine.

Aubree Steen (06:18):
Right. And so the sight, smell, and taste is the first trigger to tell your stomach, we need to produce that acid so it can digest the food.

Philip Oubre (06:28):
So after the stomach dumps its contents, I’ll let you handle what’s the next trilogy stage, and we’re still talking about the upper digestive components. So we’re going to split these two videos into upper digestion ends at liver, gallbladder, pancreas, lower digestion is small intestine and below.

Aubree Steen (06:43):
Yeah. So kind of in a quick summary of it, basically that acidity of your food is a triggering mechanism for also your pancreas, your liver and your gallbladder. Your pancreas is one thing that’s automatically triggered as well, as you release digestive enzymes, enzymes that help break down your food. I love enzymes, because they kind of get the nitty-gritty.

Aubree Steen (07:05):
Your hydrochloric acid is responsible for mainly breaking down proteins and fats, but it breaks down everything a little bit further. It prevents it from becoming a basically undigested molecule in your system. It gets the bulk of it. But sometimes we need a little bit more help. And that’s where enzymes come in. They’re on the microscopic level.

Aubree Steen (07:24):
So that acidity triggers the pancreas, and then the pancreas also releases something called sodium bicarbonate, which also changes the acidity from when it’s super acidic in your stomach to going into your intestines, you have to change that acidity, or else you would literally damage your intestinal lining. So that sodium bicarbonate is changing the pH, and so your intestines can actually handle it. And that’s really the main function of the pancreas in the digestive tract at least.

Aubree Steen (07:51):
Of course, the pancreas helps manage your blood sugar and insulin and glucose, and how food is absorbed essentially. But that’s the main cascading effect that happens. And then… Yeah, go ahead.

Philip Oubre (08:04):
Well, I was just going to add that the stomach and pancreas are really intricately connected, because if there’s not enough stomach acid entering that section of the duodenum, that upper intestine, then the pancreas doesn’t release enough enzymes, or even if it does release enzymes, it needs that stomach acid to even activate the enzymes, because the enzymes released by the pancreas are inactive. I forget the term for it, it starts with a Z of some sort. But those inactive proteins, if they’re not activated, they’re literally useless.

Philip Oubre (08:29):
Now when you take digestive enzymes, you take activated digestive enzymes. So that’s why those don’t really need a stomach acid to work. And then the final part of that is of course, bile comes down from the liver or the gallbladder, and that’s also further to neutralize the stomach acid and start to break those fats up into smaller and smaller molecules.

Philip Oubre (08:48):
We like to believe, and this is, at least, I don’t know the percentages, but we like to believe that chewing your food is about 20% of the digestive process. Everything before you swallow is about 20% of the digestive process. That stomach acid is responsible for 60 to 70% of it, to get it down to those somewhat kind of thick molecules stuck together. And then the digestive enzymes, that last piece to cleave molecules into actually absorbable components.

Philip Oubre (09:15):
So that’s kind of the summary of the upper digestion part of, just to rewind, the brain, the sight, smell and taste, chewing your food, swallowing it, and the stomach acid, stomach acid, stomach acid. Aubree said hydrochloric acid, same thing. Betaine is the supplement version of hydrochloric acid. Then it enters the small intestine, triggers the pancreas, gallbladder and liver to release their components, to finish the digestive process. And then we’re going to talk about lower digestion, which is mainly absorbing all those nutrients, and what happens to the leftovers. I want you to end with, undigested food… what’s the three-

Aubree Steen (09:50):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So if you don’t properly have that cascade, which of course we’ll dive into in a little bit, carbohydrates can ferment, disgusting, I know.

Philip Oubre (09:59):
Sounds gross.

Aubree Steen (09:59):
Yeah. Fats can rancidify.

Philip Oubre (10:02):
That sounds grosser.

Aubree Steen (10:02):
And proteins can putrefy.

Philip Oubre (10:04):
That’s disgusting.

Aubree Steen (10:05):
So if you think of those words, and the face that you make when you hear them, that’s what’s happening in your body.

Philip Oubre (10:09):
If you don’t digest your food.

Aubree Steen (10:10):
Yeah. And so this, of course, is a very oversimplification of how it works, and with every person, it’s definitely bio-individual. But we wanted to tell you this, because we do have patients who are very confused sometimes at like, “Well, I’m getting bloating. Why do I need to care about my stomach acid? Or why do I need to care about the pancreatic support?” And so we really wanted to say, it does start from up here, and it’s a whole north to south process. But yeah, we’ll dive into lower GI.

Philip Oubre (10:37):
That’s next.

Aubree Steen (10:37):

Philip Oubre (10:38):
See you next time.

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