Our first episode of gut health is with Dr. Anjana who specialises in mould and gut health. On this episode, learn about her personal experience, find out which diet trends are not healthy.
What is Dr Anjana’s idea of healthy eating? Is vegan diet good for you? Or is paleo diet better for you? Should you go back to the diet of your real ethnicity roots or modernised roots?
Find out the connection between the gut and brain health, and also how it can transfer into your sport like weightlifting.
Brain fog – how does one end up with brain fog? How does one function with brain fog? Inflammation creates brain changes, optimising your gut health can be very important for brain function.
Let us know if you have mushroom growing out in your living room.
If you enjoy this episode, let us know via comments below or send us a direct message. You can find Dr Anjana on www.dranjana.com
Dr Anjana [4:23]
Yeah, I think I mean, we’ve talked amongst my colleagues a lot around this a lot. I think it’s really a personalized thing. For some people, eating vegan is good for them. For some people, eating a whole food diet with meats, fish, and eggs is good for them. For some people, eating you know, an Indian Ayurvedic diet is good for them.
Dr Anjana [18:52]
So yeah, Ginger is really good at stimulating motility as well as magnesium is around nice laxatives and that just helps people empty out.
Dr Anjana [24:23]
Yeah, absolutely. And I think yeah, I think going back to the inflammation side, I think chronic inflammation does create brain changes as well and changes regulation changes the wiring of the brain.
Dr Anjana is a highly qualified Integrative doctor who specialises in personalised medicine. This means she focuses on you––the real person in front of her––not just ‘the patient’ or ‘the illness’.
She combines the traditional foundations of a General Practitioner with a toolbox of progressive, evidence-based holistic practices, which means Dr Anjana can tailor testing and treatment models to fit who you are.
Episode 054 : Gut health with Dr. Anjana
Podcast brought to you by Jurmaine Health
Welcome to JURMAINE HEALTH podcast where the Center for brain and body improvement and our team that believes that everyone should live their best life in the best body and with the best brain.
Hello everyone! This is Shermain here and in this year we are going to open with Dr Anjana
and she is a doctor who specializes in gut health and mold. Would that be correct?
Dr Anjana [00:31]
She has a lot of credentials behind her name. So if you want to find out more about her, go to her website
Dr Anjana [00:41]
Could you share with us how you got into gut health?
Dr Anjana [00:48]
Yeah, as often it is. It's through personal experience and after a trip to Cambodia and hospitalised on the verge of shock with a very severe toxic gut infection. There. For a week, a toxic E. coli infection from something I ate in Cambodia. So that made me very, very unwell. And I came back and I was in the middle of my general practice sort of training and I noticed my fatigue levels were increasing. My gut health had deteriorated and none of the conventional approaches were working in terms of resolving that and so I had to do a lot of research into how to improve it. And that got me to one level of digestive health. Then after delivering my baby, I ended up with a very toxic infection called Clostridium difficile colitis, and I've had to rehabilitate my digestive tract.
Yeah. It's basically inflammation of the colon that results in lots of lots of shallow mini ulcers. And as a result, the treatment of it knocked out my complete, I guess my gut flora, and I was left with pathogenic bacteria guess taking over. And with quite severe digestive problems. So I did my own research and rehabilitated my gut back into as far as normal as I could get it through that I gained a lot of skills. And I've been treating people with I guess digestive issues since and had to do a lot of updating into the most subject research that looks at how to actually rehabilitate people's digestive tracts with that. And I think the problem is a lot of people going on the fodmap diet and it's great because it cuts down the fermentation in the small intestine, but it doesn't really address the problem. And I think people end up getting more and more restricted in terms of their dietary choices. Some people have seen on six foods that doesn't help your large bowel at all because your large bowel depends on diverse whole foods i.e. yeah, so it's quite important to dress it correctly.
When it comes to diet and nutrition, diet and nutrition, in my mind is very much like a, for the lack of a better description, a can of worms. So, you could go down a rabbit hole with a particular dietary fact that someone is following without an understanding of what gut is made out of is separate.
Dr Anjana [3:21]
Yeah, I think it is correct. Shermain, I think it's also using particular diets as therapeutic interventions for time. It's not like fodmap as well as, as we go into SIBO diet. It's not meant to be there forever and they are used as therapeutic time-based interventions like I would give someone a medicine or a herb to relieve pressure that we really want to reintroduce you back part of the journey that I take people on is also understanding what is healthy eating.
There is a word that was just taught to me over the last few days. So someone is so into healthy eating or what do you think is healthy eating? Again, I'm gonna look it up again. Judy, Dr Tang is gonna look it up.
As we speak about that I think it's a National Eating Disorder, has become labeled as an eating disorder. So as we're looking for that, we will talk about how one is going to answer what is a healthy diet for that individual?
Dr Anjana [4:23]
Yeah, I think I mean, we've talked amongst my colleagues a lot around this a lot. I think it's really a personalized thing. For some people, eating vegan is good for them. For some people, eating a whole food diet with meats, fish, and eggs is good for them. For some people, eating you know, an Indian Ayurvedic diet is good for them. Some people intermittently doing juice fast is good, but I think it's very much personal. I think I draw from it. A couple of key things - no pesticides, eat organic, eat whole foods, lower your carbohydrate intake because studies show you eat carbs, you're going to put on weight. So grains, carbohydrates, sugars and white sugar, you can kind of say is a no no, to really try and cut out white sugar, anything artificial cut that out. And I think then what's remaining is basically your whole foods. And even with your meats, try to get grass-fed meats that you know haven't been fed grains, which are pumped full of pesticides and meat injected with hormones. And I think we're kinder on the planet by doing that. And we're kinder to the animals by doing that. So it ends up being, I guess, a karmic cycle of kindness where you're doing it in an ethical kind of way. And I think that feeds back into our bodies, but if you're eating a stressed animal, and that's what you're going to have in your body, I think it comes down to those principles. In my practice, I see people going on a vegan diet, you've got rheumatoid and feeling amazing, but I've also got patients that go on a whole food meat diet, meat and veg diet, feeling amazing too. And so I think even when we're going down the alleyway of Paleo Eating, for example, it's taking from it, it's actually a lot of vegetables. And if we go back to you know how cavemen ate, I mean, even more the indigenous population, it was a lot of like roots, you know, your vegetables and the intestines immersed in that is your game, which they wouldn't catch all the time. So, you know, you would eat that maybe once a week, once in two weeks, depending on what you found, then you'd have fish from the river. So I think it's really adopting those principles, and not becoming extreme with anything.
So this is a segue. Have you watched the show The Game Changer?
Dr Anjana [6:44]
I have watched it, I was actually look, I have actually watched 45 minutes of it. Look, I think it is significant. And when we look at cardiovascular health, there is a lot about you know, plant-based diet. And does that mean exclusively plant-based? Does that mean 80% plant based? I don't know what that means. And I think, you know, again, eating the meats that are, you know, healthy for you rich in Omega, Omega as well. So I guess meat instead of eating plants, you may, as opposed to grain, so I think it's great it works for them doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but it works for them.
So dosage is important. dosage is important, cycles are important to correlate that to a lot of what we do in the body team or Jurmaine Health which is we it's almost like back pain. Everyone has their back pain, but there's a huge like that and there's a huge why, because of the way they come into back pain, the way they get out of back pain is completely different and the dosage is different and the cycles of recovery are different. So when one of my colleagues said to me, said, "Hey, we know about nutrition, we should be to you know, get onto that and have the advice on that one as well." I mentioned to them saying that nutrition is really difficult. It's really, really hard to understand someone's gut flora, their microbiomes unless we send them for testing and we understand functional medicine. But what I really appreciate all of your expertise is that you understand pharmaceuticals and functional medicine and nutrition and all of that. So when that happens, it is almost like looking for that unicorn type person, a person's expertise to be able to bring that across to someone else. And we have found that very helpful with Dr Anjana's help for our patients, and we see them flourishing a lot, and many of them flourishing and doing well.
Dr Anjana [8:47]
So Judy has found out, the word is orthorexia. So, obsession, exactly. coined in 1998. And it's an obsession with being healthy, to the point it is not healthy.
Dr Anjana [9:06]
You know, I do tell patients that see, as we rehab that gut isn't as we get better. It's an [80/20] rule, you need that flexibility, you go Christmas, enjoy. Having said that there are certain foods I do find across the population tend to be problematic or tend to go down a slippery slope of bad digestion, such as things like excessive use of sugar and sometimes wheat and dairy for some people, but other than that there should be that flexibility.
I just wonder whether I guess race or ethnicity specific foods perhaps apparently it might be helpful for certain Chinese genetically small biome or Chinese ancestors and others so likely to have followed a specific type of diet when they say rice and vegetables. Is that perhaps more of a diet that I should seek to compare to say one with more dairy products? Which is? Well, not necessarily.
Dr Anjana [10:08]
That's a really good question. I do believe I mean, if we think about the microbiome being inherited from your mom, then and your mom's from her mom, then it would seem that you are sort of transferring that across generations. And so yeah, there is an argument to go back to your roots, but your authentic roots. Yeah, not the modernized. Because, I mean, look at what like the diet the Western diet did to the indigenous population in terms of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So it has very bad, you know, quite severe ramifications on their overall health. So that would make sense. I mean, having said that, eating
On the flip side like, you know, Asian diets and its impact Asian cuisine and its impact on us.
Dr Anjana [10:56]
Potentially, but the beautiful thing that Asian cuisine i.e. in the broth the mushroom? Yes. The, you know all the beautiful medicinal mushrooms that come in there. I think they're the red dates. I think when you go back to the real roots of it. It's so clean, what they eat.
Well, ancient culture we use food as a medicine. That's very common. We have foods with herbal, and we cook with them someone on the show with a really does work but it's you know, for example, ensure that we have luscious black hair.
Dr Anjana [11:39]
Yeah, exactly. I think there's some foods across the cultures that are the same like chicken broth that's across the culture quite the same, as being very nourishing. So yeah, I agree with that.
Oh, what happens with? Oh, this isn't this is a totally different tangent altogether. We all got health and health. and how it affects stress and brain function.
So I think I can sort of do the inverted away, which is where when we're stressed, we don't digest well, our peristalsis does not work as well. We need our parasympathetic nervous system in order to, as they say, rest and digest. So if we're on sympathetic or overdrive, we're not completely digesting our food. So I guess then that results in issues such as small intestinal bowel overgrowth, dysbiosis, gas, venous reflux, all those symptoms. So it does play a big role that way. The other way is that the serotonin in our gut was the highest in our digestive tract as opposed to in our brain. So as our digestion flags off, there are also fibers of the Vagus nerve that send messages up to the brain. So people with irritable bowel syndrome can potentially be affected, I guess psychologically.
So for those of you who are listening, the vagus nerve, as the brain down as the spine, spine, it starts at c3 c4 goes all the way down it feeds through your carotid artery, your lungs, and sometimes all the way down into your intestine. And on the left side, it will be your stomach,
a lot of the viscera,
a lot of other organs. Or they kind of are they can't breathe properly, that sometimes we have got to address those regions as well. And with people not being able to digest well or do have gut issues. What we see normally with one side is that they can't they can't squat well. That's a common very common reaction. So for those of you who are doing weightlifting, you are going to have trouble holding your abdominal positions with weight overhead. This is, this is a side note. It's quite useful for you guys to know that. For those of you who have good gut health, you find it's really easy to keep in a brace position or keeping at the bottom. And also your breathing patterns that come along with that too. That affects holding weights or overhead.
Dr Anjana [15:26]
So basically SIBO stands for small intestinal bowel overgrowth. So small intestine should be, usually it should be sterile and the large bowel is full of diverse bacteria. And that's where fermentation happens. The fermentation shouldn't happen in our small intestine. So what happens is, and look it may be it's multi causal. According to Professor Mark Pimentel, who is the leading sort of researcher in this area, he believes that most SIBO begins with food poisoning and the body gets a bit confused with the toxin that's released by the bacteria and develops antibodies to that toxin, which also attack the nerve fibers in our small intestine. So that results in the cleaning action of our gut becoming not as effective because the nerves just not working well. That then results we think of a stagnant pipe, it results in bacterial overgrowth in that area. And so you get fermentation so a lot of people will complain of gas in their stomach, diarrhea or constipation, depending on the type of gas that you have. Can be reflux, I believe a little reflux can be attributed to that to burping, abdominal pain, farting. So flatulence, yes. And different levels of smell on that. So basically, we measure two gases. One gas is hydrogen gas, and the other is methane. And there's another Gas called hydrogen sulfide, which the Pimentel lab is working on a testing kit that we can't actually assess that because at the moment, we can't assess for that gas for that specific symptom I look for is like a smelly egg you smell, you know, really bad gas. So those are the different gases. Hydrogen doesn't tend to have any smell to it and is usually associated with diarrhea and methane gas associated with more constipation. Those are the different types from treating patients over the last over the years. I do believe and we do a gut balancing protocol.
Generally people go on and teach them healthy eating habits they go on, they don't tend to have any problems. They don't tend to relapse. However, because it's an autoimmune process. Professor Mark Pimentel talks about relapsing happening at about the six month mark because it's an autoimmune so it fills up again and people then needing another hit of antibiotics or anti microbials. Bearing in mind his lab does mainly antibiotic based treatments whereas mine is a more integrated approach.
I tend to look at digestive enzymes hydrochloric acid in the stomach gut repair into small intestine anti microbials whether that be antibiotic but also herbal my preference is herbal because it's more broad spectrum so it does tend to look at other microbes that could be going on such as fungus, parasites bacteria and motility issues so I don't know where that puts you guys on high dose ginger but ginger being at a medicated level a quite a good motility stimulant and that sometimes is one of the things that I deal with maintenance if people have any relapsing.
I found that when I travel I need a lot of ginger so I carry aroma ginger essence.
Dr Anjana [18:52]
So yeah, Ginger is really good at stimulating motility as well as magnesium is around nice laxatives and that just helps people empty out. Yeah, so that's sort of the round, like the overall sort of quick summary. And at the same time, we put people on a diet, which reduces fermentation. And it's a diet that I've got some patients love it so much because they feel so much better. They never get off it, which is really bad. I don't like that.
The idea is to expand the diet back up to normal. Yeah, as we address and you want. What we found is that when you do the diet with the anti microbials, it really works much, much better because you're reducing that load and as soon as you remove gas from the intestine, suddenly the intestine can breathe. The gas in of itself causes the motility issues as well. All right. So yeah, so that's pretty much the quick summary.
I do visceral work, i found that many people who are really stressed and they seem to report a digestive issue, small intestines seem quite tender in the area as a result of that the sometimes can be a pain in your being described as a hip pain or mid back pain even or sometimes because of the visceral referral pain goes into the right, yeah, so a person might have a need, you know, undiscoverable normal and local, not non localized the pain or they will have a pain or just have this random shift. Not quite a hip pain, but it's just there.
Dr Anjana [20:54]
Yeah. And it's that because the viscera sort of inflamed referring back. Yeah, that's what I would think.
we have a question, probably from an audience, what about brain fog and sugar?
Yeah, and sugar, sugar specifically.
Dr Anjana [21:41]
I mean sugar is inflammatory. Generally, it also I guess, if you've got gut problems, it's going to feed the bacteria and it's going to release gas and that gas is going to make you brain fog. One of the biggest things I when it's a patient was just purely it's coming from the digestion is they'll say they brain fogged and as soon as you Thank god they'll come and go,” you know, got my brain back. I've got my brain back!” I'm thinking clearly again, I've got mood regulation back. That cleanness. We were just using our brain for yesterday or the day before because we were talking about whiplash before and when I mentioned to my team about our function on your own show path model, we are talking we are saying that well in a whiplash case scenario, a person's entire system is going to go into a shutdown mode. So they have this very fall for a lot of times this whiplash effect because it's an external physical trauma, it also reverberates into the pelvis, right, the pelvis and abdominal areas. So my best guess, for grief. Grief is also because no way apart from you know, you have what's cervical in the mercury tension. We also have Vagus nerve again, coming into play.
Yes is not working now. So you're Gut's gonna play? Yes.
Like I'm able to digest sugar, i’m able to
internalize sugar and it contributes to the brain for 100% Yeah, so that's that's how our thinking work, but you have clarified for so this
I mean in my area of brain fog can be can be attributed to many other things that is, you know, one of them and as I said if it's a pure digestive case and yes, it does tend to clear it's one of the biggest things that people say improves
and what is your take on brain fog for one, you know, for your brain so I had three hours of sleep last
time, that's my take on it. I think as is like from a neuroscience perspective Do what we say about brainfog l, we do come across some complaints of rainfall. And probably the most recent few that come through for me is chemotherapy, brain fog, and how that's impacting on their ability to return to work. Get back on track with life and family and stuff like that. So I guess that is mindful that I'm just a person but the system's around.
Dr Anjana [24:23]
Yeah, absolutely. And I think yeah, I think going back to the inflammation side, I think chronic inflammation does create brain changes as well and changes regulation changes the wiring of the brain. And so the way things connect may not work as efficiently. And that's where, you know, optimizing your health is super important to maintain your brain function.
Dr Anjana [25:22]
I think. I mean, how I look at it is it's globally inflammation. That's what's driving these diseases, whether it's Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, it's all inflammation. And I think it can be sometimes unique. What that inflammatory trigger is what the inflammation trigger is, is it mold? Is it gut? Is it chronic viruses, heavy metals, I don't know. It could be just so many things. So it may be hard to find that perfect cause because it could be so multifactorial. So an inflammation in of itself causes insulin resistance as well as leptin resistance. So it's like a bit of a chicken and egg like metabolic syndrome. You get that?
a whole list of reactions and system of methodology that, you know, we can't go down a rabbit hole and we have a to figure it out in in a very short time. Yes. Yeah. A patient of the patient loses patience. Yes.
And that sometimes can be a little bit trying for us as we're trying to figure out what could be a trigger. Because a lot of times I've dealt with patient, a patient of fear. And we have to be given time to look for look for those answers that we seek. A lot of times, patients will fall behind. We are not motivated. And so sometimes that We do have to take into consideration how much time to spend with you to be able to help troubleshoot.
Dr Anjana [27:07]
Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, that's where it is finding someone that you can work with. And there are some conditions that take a short time to turn around. And there are some that take a longer time and sometimes a very hard case you think it is going to take you two years takes you eight weeks turn around, it just does.
If it's a gotten back to normal, but you know, extremely simple. Yeah, so it can be it can be that willingness to put in the time, I think, also the willingness to work as not just how do we say it I guess, as part of the team and yell like you're an active member. And I know with a lot of the old school sort of medical views, it was more that paternalistic view of this is you do this is what I know but really times are changing and people are taking, I think more control and have more knowledge about their own health.
Dr Anjana [27:07]
Dr Anjana [28:01]
I had a quote, I had a 12 year old the other day 12 or 14 year old come to me knowing exactly what she needs to go on for the SIBO protocol, had it all researched. And she was very informed. And I find that quite refreshing to be honest, because then she knew what she had to do. She was fully empowered. She had bought into what she needed to do. And she was a collaborator in getting better. And it wasn't one of those kids where the parents are like dragging them to take, you know, the things. So that was very refreshing. I think some doctors find that challenging and don't like that very much. Being told what to do, but I think Yeah, but I think that some I think it's a good change for health overall.
I had one teenager about three years ago, he came in knowing exactly what to look for. Because he had
chronic neck pain. I don't want to carry on my training. I do. I know exactly what my movements are. Doing, oh my god.
Like, you know, this is what I've been trying to convince people, most of my years in working. And this teenager is coming to me and saying to me, Look, I noticed something else going on and refusing to, you know, make this worse until I know exactly what it is. So I'm not going to train until you tell me that I can train. And you know how difficult it is to get adults to do that? But it was a collaborative, collaborative collaborator.
Dr Anjana [29:34]
And that's what I find the patients that I'm actually in collaboration role, they just they just go faster, they do better.
They do better. They recover faster, they spend less money. Yeah, and they progress through life much better. Last, I think, last question before, before we close out for today, which I would like to know about your expertise about mould
Dr Anjana [30:00]
Mould became a bit of a special interest to me, again through my personal experience of it having got exposed when I was my sickest. And so I did a whole lot of research into recovery. And so I do take patients now through that process of addressing the issue. I think my big take home was underestimating mold. And I think prior to my own personal experience with it, I used to think there was a bit of paranoia about something that was there for, but now I understand more. And I guess there's a reason why in Sydney and now Melbourne, the rental, you know, it's an enforced thing that it has your your place has to be mold free, and people have the rights now to demand that there is remediated.
The problem is and this is the one of the big take homes is the industry is not regulated, so finding someone who can advise you correctly and remediate correctly is the problem. So people can remediate and end up worsening their problems. So it's really I think, if it's going down the alley you think you're being mold affected by chronic sinus issues, your brain fog, you've got body pain, you know, all sorts of things. And I suggest that you go, you go and talk to someone who has got an interest in it, like myself, and get the proper advice so that they can they can guide you to the right people, because the worst thing is spending money and then ending up some bs because it's not been remediated properly.
And yeah, it's a neurotoxin. It's a biotoxin. It treats and wreaks havoc on your body and it can take a very long time to rehabilitate.
Is there a lot of mold in Melbourne?
It really is. I get this, mold is everywhere. The thing is, it is each person's sensitivity to it. And I look I've grappled with this whole thought about mold like why is it an issue now? Is it that our system is most stressed, we can't, I mean we just can't regulate and can't clear and so we've been more affected. I don't know. But at the end of the day people are seeing it a lot. So I don't know whether it's an overall environmental issue or whether it's us we're not well these days but they say around 25% of the population will be mould sensitive. Yes.
Dr Anjana [32:22]
Here's what they say.
I haven't looked into it exactly myself. So you know, I don't want to fully back this but they say even in the Bible, it's written down if there's black mold in your house, you burn it down. You burn it down. So it was written that many years ago. Okay, whatever centuries. What am I going to say? That says something? Yeah, doesn't it like that? Maybe it's not that healthy.
I went into this house and there's a mushroom in the middle of the living area, and it's growing out of their carpet and they didn't think it was oh, not okay.
Dr Anjana [33:23]
Not a good idea. Look, I think a lot of people, I think they just assume it's okay to live in that situation. And yes, concerning because I guess if you're growing mushrooms, you've got very high levels of moisture in your air. And those spores are getting into you. Those toxins are getting into you and other compounds are getting into you too, as well as microbes.
Interesting stuff for today. So do you have any questions for us?
Dr Anjana [33:50]
No. Thank you very much for inviting me. That was really fun. Thank you
Thank you for having us. Thank you for taking your time to answer questions and providing clarity to our audience. And for those of you who are listening, you can find Dr. Anjana at dranjana.com.
Dr Anjana [34:08]
Yes, that's right.
Occasionally, she might be on Instagram.
Dr Anjana [34:13]
Thank you for listening, if you enjoyed our podcast, please feel free to connect with us on Instagram at Jurmaine Health Body all one word. We always welcome feedback and ideas too. We are happy to answer any questions, just reach out to us at our website, www.jurmaineheath.com.au. Tune in weekly for the most relevant information on how to live your best life with your best brain and in your best body!
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