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Robynne Chutkan, MD

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During this pandemic, I’ve been thinking about how I can contribute more to the health community. Each Wednesday at noon, join me for a FREE one-hour conversation where I’ll dive into a critical gastroenterology topic, and you’ll get your questions answered. Use the “Register Today!” links below to reserve your spot for the upcoming “Office Hours with Dr. C” topics. And be sure to register soon since space is limited to the first 100 people. I can’t wait to see you! Wednesday, December 2nd @ 12 noon EST Acid blocking drugs & COVID-19 Risk FULL Wednesday, December 9th @ 12 noon EST Vitamin D & COVID – Everything You Need To Know REGISTER TODAY! Wednesday, December 16th @ 12 noon EST Leaky Gut REGISTER TODAY! Wednesday, December 23rd @ 12 noon EST Getting Regular REGISTER TODAY! Wednesday, December 30th @ 12 noon EST Natural Ways To Detox The GI Tract…

Gerry: I am an avid follower of Gutbliss and was making and drinking green smoothies almost daily, then I began having intestinal issues, diarrhea etc. I ran across some experts talking about the dangers of ingesting too many foods high in oxalates. So, I’m confused. I’ve since given up eating spinach and Swiss chard and try to mostly eat vegetables and foods lower in oxalates, including fewer nuts and seeds. I’ve been eating more animal protein, pasture raised meats, eggs and dairy products. Now after many months my GI tract is returning to normal and I feel much better. How can it be that all these foods promoted as “health foods” are not good for everyone? I do want to add that I’ve been under an inordinate amount of stress that has probably put lots of strain on my whole body, but especially my GI system. Dr. Chutkan: Gerry, first and foremost, I’m so…

Magda was a new patient who was referred by one of my ENT colleagues for “refractory reflux”. She’d been on the proton pump inhibitor Nexium at a dose of twice daily for over a year, and was still complaining of symptoms. She’d cut out caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and late-night eating when the symptoms first began, and was a pretty healthy eater at baseline: oatmeal or fruit for breakfast; a salad for lunch, and chicken or fish with rice or quinoa plus veggies for dinner. At 5’8” she weighed 126 pounds, and was an avid exerciser. Magda was 29, didn’t take any other medications besides Nexium, and had no other medical problems. Hmmm. Why would a lean, active, healthy 29-year-old woman with good eating habits suddenly start having acid reflux? The symptoms had developed seemingly out of the blue, on the heels of a bad viral upper respiratory tract infection 14…

David: I had constant problems with acne, leaky gut, and digestive upset. I read The Microbiome Solution a year ago, reduced meat to once a month, eliminated sugar and grains, and my meals now consist of a wide variety of vegetables, legumes, wild plants, fruits, and seeds, although most of what I consume is vegetables and fruits. My digestion has stabilized and my acne is gone! I feel great and rested like never before. However, when I exercise, after about 30 minutes I run out of energy and feel weak and tired. Yet, the next morning when I get out of bed there are no signs of fatigue whatsoever. Any advice on why I feel so fatigued when I exercise and how to fix it? Dr. Chutkan: David, when we completely eliminate grains from the diet, we are depriving our bodies (and microbes!) of complex carbohydrates that can be an important energy source for…

Lindsay: I saw a compelling study linking the ketogenic diet to reducing inflammation in the gut and improving microbial parameters. I realize you’ve been against keto diets in the past. To me, ketones seem to be beneficial for gut health. Can you elaborate on the study and your take on it? Dr. Chutkan: Lindsay, the study you’re referring to, Ketogenic diets alter gut microbiomes in humans, mice, was published in May of this year and was conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Probably the trendiest diet of 2020, the ketogenic diet is a very low carb, high fat way of eating, which keeps the body in a metabolic state called ketosis, in which the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates and transforms fat cells into ketones in the liver, which act as an energy source for the brain. Some preliminary scientific evidence shows that a ketogenic diet may…

These days having a colonoscopy is no easy feat. In addition to the usual inconvenience of a clear liquid diet the day before and a bowel prep to clean you out (thoroughly!), most endoscopy centers now require a negative COVID test a few days before your procedure, and then self quarantine until your procedure is completed. That has lots of people wondering whether the hassle – and risk – is really worth it. Over the last few weeks I’ve spoken with a few patients to help them stratify their risk and decide if a procedure is in the cards.  The first patient I spoke to had ulcerative colitis and was due for her surveillance colonoscopy this month. Patients with ulcerative colitis may be at increased risk for colon cancer depending on how long they’ve had the disease; how much of their colon is affected; and how active their inflammation is. For my patient, although she’d been diagnosed with colitis 14 years…

Kaye was in her mid 60’s with a long history of hypertension, a cardiac arrhythmia that had been stable for several years, and an eye condition that wasn’t well defined but seemed to be progressing. She contacted me via our website to ask if I could help with some constipation she’d been experiencing over the last month. Normally I don’t do telehealth visits for new patients (only follow-up visits for out of town patients), but nothing about the last few months had been normal and she sounded like she was struggling so I agreed to help. Her medical history was complex, and included multiple trips to the Cleveland Clinic for second opinions for her eye problems, as well as several different specialists here in Washington DC. But my part in all this seemed pretty straightforward – stool was stuck in her colon and I just needed to help her come…

Dear members of the Gutbliss community, We hope you and your loved ones are safe during these incredibly challenging times. In this special edition we’ve put together some COVID-19 gut-focused articles, resources and information to help keep you healthy. From the latest research showing that fresh air and sunlight are important factors in combating coronavirus, to the gastrointestinal signs, which may show up before any respiratory symptoms. We also highlight which medications may increase susceptibility, share our homemade soap recipe to help protect you and your family, and discuss at-risk conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. Living dirty during a pandemic may seem counter-intuitive, but exposure to the outside world may actually be just what the doctor ordered – learn how to do it safely with our live dirty dos and don’ts, and check out our dirt/sweat/veg recommendations for promoting a strong immune system. And stay tuned for our series of…

Certain medications could make you more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and could worsen infection. NSAIDs: You may have already heard that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen and aspirin used to reduce pain, fever, and inflammation) may aggravate coronavirus infection. Because these drugs may affect the immune response, they can potentially elongate the infection time and increase the possibility of complications. While some studies support this line of thinking, the evidence is minimal and more studies are needed. Experts agree that they know very little about how NSAIDs effect coronavirus infection and are looking further into the association. In the meantime, the recommendation is that patients should use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to reduce pain and fever.  Corticosteroids: Because of their immunosuppressive characteristics, the routine use of corticosteroids is discouraged during the COVID-19 pandemic. These recommendations are in place because corticosteroids dampen the immune system, hypothetically increasing the risk of…