#45: Court Vreeland DC, DACNB- Improve Your Mood by Balancing the Gut-Brain Axis

by Mike Mutzel


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About Dr. Court Vreeland

Doctor of Chiropractic
Diplomate American Chiropractic Neurology Board
Bachelor of Science Degree – Biology

Dr. Court completed his undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. He then attended Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri where he completed his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Dr. Court finished his Diplomate degree in chiropractic neurology in September of 2007 after an intense 2 1/2 years of study. He has also completed a course in the Neurological Rehabilitation of ADHD and other learning disabilities in addition to courses in vestibular rehabilitation. While still in chiropractic school, Dr. Court spent extra time learning outside of school by attending 100 hours of training in applied kinesiology.

Dr. Court lectures regularly throughout the community and across the nation. Dr. Court worked closely with Biotics Research Corporation to co-develop a line of supplements designed to target neurologic health. The product line currently has three supplements that help patients manage anxiety, insomnia, depression, dementia, Parkinson's disease and other neurologic conditions. For a list of dates and locations that Dr. Court will be lecturing, please visit our home page.

Dr. Court enjoys playing golf, hiking and taking his dog, Logan swimming.

Contact Dr. Court Vreeland

Show Notes

02:12 Healing the Gut: In modern medicine each practitioner has his/her own specialty. No one looks at a patient from a boarder perspective. In the early 1900s research was done on the brain/gut connection. Eventually, psychiatry took over and the focus turned away from the gut and onto brain chemistry. With the ability to look at gut DNA and other makers, we see a connection between gut function and how we perceive our world.

04:43 Lipopolysaccharides and the Gut/Brain: LPS (lipopolysaccharide) are toxic structures that are present on the surface of most gram negative bacteria in the gut. When a bacteria dies, it is free to pass through the gut barrier if the gut barrier is not intact. In early observations decades ago it was called autotoxemia or autointoxication, but it was not linked to bacteria. It was the precursor to the term endotoxemia, which is the name for the process by which the LPS flow through the gut wall and stimulate a potent inflammatory immune response.  It is a chemical reaction that creates systemic change, as well as change in neurotransmitter function. This research from the early 1900s showed that the process works both ways. Psychological stress created altered gut permeability. Dietary factors altered gut permeability. Both upregulated translocation of LPS. The study was dropped and pharmaceutical interventions were pursued.

07:54 1906 French Fry Study: When laboratory animals were fed bread fried in cottonseed oil (similar to a French fry), intestinal permeability increased compared to control animals. Diets high in fructose, calories, and fat are the types of things that trigger the flow of LPS by breaking down the junctions in the gut barrier. They also alter bacterial content of the gut, increasing populations of bacteria that promote over-absorption of calories from our food. These bacterium also produce more toxins, which break down the gut barrier even more. The Western diet is low in nutrients, like vitamin D, A, zinc, calcium and magnesium, which promote gut integrity. NSAIDs can also trigger gut barrier breakdown. In addition, alcohol breaks down the gut barrier. All of these alter gut bacteria, complicating the entire picture.

11:00 SIBO and Endotoxemia: SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is the process that precedes endotoxemia. Dysbiosis is an imbalance or an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut. Endotoxemia results from the LPS created by the overgrowth in the gut. If the LPS is not contained in the gut, it creates an immune response of low grade chronic inflammation. Dr. Vreeland checks high sensitivity CRP. In his practice, he sees people take too many probiotics and induce SIBO. He recommends a stool analysis to determine whether it is SIBO and a blood test to determine the reaction to LPS. That would mean that LPS is escaping the gut.

14:14 Impact of Birth and Breastfeeding: You cannot control how you are born, but that is where it all starts. We are meant to be delivered vaginally and breastfed by our mothers. The first bacterial exposure should be the birth canal. The next exposure is from breastmilk and the mother’s skin. Babies born by C-section are immediately given to their mothers and they receive bacteria from skin contact first. Colonization is done in the wrong order. Bottle feeding, rather than breastfeeding, also causes a bacterial imbalance. Asthma rates are significantly higher for children born via C-section. The rate almost doubles for children who were born via their mother’s second C-section.

15:52 Bacterial Rehabilitation: If you were born by C-section and not breastfed, you should do everything you can to inoculate the gut and create as much balance as possible.  Other things to consider are NSAID use, nutritional status, alcohol use, vigorous exercise, stress management, and antibiotic use. The medicalization of pregnancy and birth has created more problems than it has solved, according to Dr. Vreeland. Only recently in our history have we opted for hospital births, but infant mortality rates have not dropped. Dr. Vreeland believes that this is because of our interventions.

17:43 Antibiotics and the Microbiome: Antibiotics do not just kill the bad guys. Our bodies can often rebound our bacterial flora after one round of antibiotics. Without adding probiotics, a second round of antibiotics alters our bacterial profile forever. It may increase the risk of chronic disease. The more antibiotics you get, the worse your risk profile. About 50% of antibiotic use is unnecessary.

19:10 GMOs, Glyphosate and the Microbiome: Glyphosate is in the herbicide Roundup. It prevents the overgrowth of weeds. It is breaks down the gut barrier/intestinal lining. Roundup Ready seeds are genetically modified. Cross pollination of nearby GMO fields cause neighboring non-GMO crops to become GMO. GMOs can also break down the gut barrier and change our bacterial profile, impacting balance, symbiotic function, nutrient absorption, and nutrient production.

23:09 Glyphosate and Neurotransmitter Production: The neurotransmitters that we create are from the amino acids that we consume in our diet. The precursor of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine is tyrosine. The precursor of serotonin is tryptophan. The carbon backbone of glutamate comes from glucose, which is also turned into GABA. Glyphosate is also transferred via breastmilk. Glyphosate alters the metabolism of precursors. The levels of neurotransmitters that we have in our brain are directly related to the serum levels in our blood stream. The level of serotonin in your brain is directly related to the level of tryptophan in your blood. We need to get enough amino acids, get enough quality proteins and digest and absorb them in the appropriate amounts and then turn them into neurotransmitters. If we cannot turn them into neurotransmitters, over time we alter brain plasticity. Once plasticity is altered, we see changes in mood, behavior and stress. Drugs and behaviors to circumvent these changes compound them.

25:48 Brain Plasticity Changes: The brain is a plastic environment. It can always be molded. New pathways can cover the old pathways that do not lead to good function. Besides healing the gut and balancing neurotransmitters, you need to change your thought processes and look at the world in a different way. That alone can begin to mold the brain in a different way.

28:03 Gut Inflammation and the Brain: Glial cells are sentinels for the brain. They are not neural tissue, but they are inside the brain. They are the immune system of the brain. They can be reactive. Many processes can turn them on. When they are overly aware, they begin to break down tissue, change neurotransmission and alter plasticity. Trauma or chemical exposure can do it also. With inflammation, LPS escapes the gut through a permeable membrane, creating an inflammatory response in the form of cytokines. Cytokines, messengers for the immune system to communicate with itself and the central nervous system, make their way to the brain. Glial cells become activated antigen presenting glial cells. They create more inflammation, which interrupts neurotransmitter metabolism, and they break down more cells. They are programmed to do this, though it may be a false alarm. They are difficult to turn off. We can reduce stimulation and prevent more glial activation.

30:44 Bottom up Treatments: Dr. Vreeland has a 5 step process. Examine, eat, supplement, exercise, and eliminate. EESEE. Examine is stool testing and nutritional status. Eat is a paleo inspired diet, with lots of vegetables, healthy proteins and healthy fats, as well as fermented foods. If it wasn’t available 10,000 years ago, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Stick with a 90% rule of compliance. Supplement is repletion if nutrients are low, a good balance of probiotics and prebiotics to act as the fuel for probiotics, and whey protein, which is an easily digestible amino acid. Supplement also includes anti-inflammatory herbs like curcumin and fish oil. Exercise is universal. Most of us do not implement this in the right way or with enough frequency to make a difference. Vigorous exercise is best, done 30 to 60 minutes 3 to 4 times per week. It prevents pathogen overgrowth and promotes bacterial diversity of the gut. Eliminate or better manage stress, eliminate artificial sweeteners, eliminate antibiotics except when necessary, eliminate the overuse of pain killers, and eliminate the overuse of alcohol.

34:52 Top down Strategies: Change your view of the world to a positive one. Research shows that a pessimistic view of the world worsens health outcomes. It is also tied into the ways you activate the autonomic nervous system and how that effects your gut. The way to make this shift is different for each of us. It could be cognitive behavioral therapy, self-help books, meditation, yoga, or prayer. It needs to be something that allows you to be within yourself and change your thought process.

37:09 Dr. Vreeland’s Favorite Herb or Nutrient: Vitamin D is his pick. The research is substantial. It effects more than bone health. Vitamin D receptors are ubiquitous throughout the brain. It is a neurosteroid, so it impacts how your brain works and how you make neurotransmitters. It is an immunomodulatory substance, so it prevents the immune system from under-reacting or over-reacting. The average person uses 3 to 5,000 IU per day.

38:54 Dr. Vreeland’s Elevator Pitch: Exercise is underutilized. We are challenged as to how to implement proper exercise even when we know what we are supposed to do. Habits start young, so teaching children to have fun in a way that is physical will benefit test scores and will transition them into physically active adults.

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Show Notes

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