Posted on Sep 22, 2020, 3 p.m.
A strong proponent of holistic medicine, JYOTHI RAO, MD, an A4M fellow, has worked in clinical practice since 1997. She is board certified in internal medicine as well as in anti-ageing, functional and regenerative medicine. She is also the medical director of Shakthi Health & Wellness Center in Maryland.
“I believe knowledge is empowerment and focus my practice on wellness and prevention. Through this partnership in health, my patients and I work together to optimize their health and vitality.” ~ JYOTHI RAO, MD.
Seventy percent of immune cells are located in the gut. Therefore, the determination of overall health can be observed via gut health. Health factors such as: the glow of the skin, hormone imbalance and chronic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune and heart disease and even depression can all be attributed to gut health. Understanding what is occurring in the body is the first step toward restoring good health. Imbalance in the body causes many of the common symptoms individuals experience when the microbiome (millions of cells and hundreds of different types of bacteria of the gut) is off-kilter.
The Gut is the Second Brain
There is a strong connection between poor gut health and depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue. In addition, research has shown that individuals with irritable bowel or other digestive diseases also suffer from some degree of depression. The mind-gut link is powerful and highly underestimated.
Keys to Good Gut Health
At Shakthi Health & Wellness Center, we find that when the gut is healed, the body becomes more balanced and various symptoms and itises dissipate. Strong gut health is key to reducing hormone imbalance, inflammation, stress, and food sensitivities. A well-designed plan for overall gut health will help bring balance back to the body.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few important tips for improving gut health:
- Identify food sensitivities with the elimination diet. For some individuals, food sensitivities can lead to increased inflammation. At Shakthi, we test for food sensitivities that can lead to poor gut health and help our patients modify what they eat through the elimination diet. This entails removing inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, and soy, as well as reducing the amount of sugar in the diet. We often recommend a more plant-based diet as well as high quality, physician-supervised nutritional supplements. The saying, “you are what you eat” rings true, especially in regards to a healthy gut.
- Balance the hormones. The gut plays a large role in hormone balance. Poor gut health can wreak havoc on your hormones, leading to an increase in cortisol levels and common symptoms of hormone imbalance such as mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, low libido, fatigue and poor digestion. At Shakthi, we understand the relationship between the gut and hormone levels and test patients for both to ensure a plan that brings all systems back into balance.
- Rest your body; calm your mind. When the body is out of balance due to poor gut health, people often experience sleep disturbances, and even brain fog and burnout. Stress, as well as poor quality sleep, has a detrimental effect on overall health and can lead to anxiety, depression, and plays a role in conditions such as fibromyalgia and adrenal fatigue. Dr. Rao works with patients and provides tools to combat stress, calm the mind, promote better sleep patterns, and incorporate relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga into daily life. A calmer mind significantly benefits the gut.
A healthy gut begins with a balanced body, which is why it is important to look at the whole picture. All of the systems of the body are connected, and the gut-brain connection is powerful. Changing what you put into your body, reducing inflammation, restoring hormone balance and addressing issues such as anxiety, depression and fatigue all come into play when restoring gut health.
Dr. Jyothi Rao, MD, ABAAHP, FAARFM, has been practicing medicine for over 20 years. She received her Doctorate of Medicine (MD) from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed her internship and residency at the prestigious New England Medical Center (Tufts) in Boston. She is certified in Medical Acupuncture from UCLA, and Cardiopulmonary Stress Testing. She is also board certified in Anti-Aging and Internal Medicine, as well as being a fellow in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine at A4M. Before opening the Shakthi Health & Wellness Center, Dr. Rao practiced medicine in New York and Maryland.