Ask the Doc: Give the Gut a Break To Optimize Digestion, Vagal Tone For Gut Health, and Solving Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis

February 8, 2016

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On this show:

Dr. Tommy Wood is back for Ask the Doc! Tommy is a medical doctor, with degrees from Oxford University and Cambridge University. He’s currently working toward a Ph.D. in neonatal brain metabolism at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is also an athlete, specializes in working with endurance athletes, and he takes the functional approach to practicing medicine for optimal health, wellness and performance. Tommy consults with athletes via Nourish Balance Thrive. You can also submit a question to Tommy for future ATD episodes at

Digestion talk

  • Motility – what it is and its importance, and why it matters a lot for endurance athletes.
  • Phases & the migrating motor complex, the cleaning wave between meal
  • Time without eating (mini fasts) stimulates movement kinesis
  • Benefits for digestion to go 4-6 hours between meals and intermittent fasting
  • There are positive effects of fasting for athletes too!
  • Can you fast without negative effects and reap all the positive effects?
  • Weight loss: how to plan your calories and achieve your goals
  • How can motility be disrupted?
  • Can underlying gut issues disrupt motility (SIBO, candida, etc) and/or supplements or foods?
  • Vagal tone and HRV – how this fits in with digestion and gut health
  • Why “fat-adaptation” is beneficial for optimal digestion by allowing you to space out meals without “detrimental” effects of going 3+ hours without food.
  • For Athletes: Is it good or bad to be eating all the time? Many athletes eat before, during, after training and graze through the day. Pros and cons to this as it relates to digestion and motility.
  • Why we should be giving the gut a rest regularly. If not daily, taking the time 1-2x a week to do some intermittent fasting or fasts. Or cycle our nutrition appropriately with the race season.
  • BUT: Is it potentially dangerous (hormonally, etc) to go too long without eating (3-4+ hours) especially for females?
  • Prokinetics: what are they and when would we want to use them?

Healing Mast Cell Activation Disorder

  • The functional approach to heal a female runner with mastocytosis with anapyhlaxis or “exercise-induced anaphylaxis,” basically, an allergic reaction to one’s own body with certain exercise.
  • Mast cells: immune cells that induce the histamine release
  • Histamine issues: one makes too much, releases at the wrong time, can’t metabolize it; allergic response
  • Histamine’s relation with GI issues, food and diet and
  • Food’s cross-interference with exercise as a possible cause
  • Lectin: it can bind to mast cells and cause them to activate
  • Lectin found in soy, legumes, wheat, potatoes
  • Try an Autoimmune paleo diet, elimination diet and/or food allergy testing
  • Supplements to help with histamine metabolism: Folate, B12, Vitamin C, etc.

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