TEL: 616.808.2695 | FAX: 616.808.26971959 East Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

The gut microbiome consists of various bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that reside in the digestive tract, with its composition varying among individuals. This microbiome holds the key to understanding our health. In the last 10 years there have been more and more studies done to count and characterize these bacteria. Over 1000 different strains have been identified and each has their own genetic make-up. It can be said that there are 250-800 times more bacterial genes than human genes. Even more remarkable, these bacterial genes make substances that get into the human bloodstream, affecting our body chemistry, metabolism and energy production.

How could they affect our weight? When we eat food, our gut breaks it down into small pieces. Only the smallest pieces get absorbed into our blood. The rest is eliminated as waste material. In other words, not all of the calories in the food we eat get into our body and increase our weight. The gut bacteria help break down food. Some bacteria are better able at breaking down complex carbohydrates (ie: grains and legumes) into simple sugars, which makes them less likely to be stored as fat. Theoretically, if our gut has more of those kinds of bacteria, it should be easier to lose weight.

When it comes specifically to weight, we can look at two specific species: Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. Obese subjects tend to have a greater amount of Firmicutes species, and a higher Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio than individuals of normal weight. Firmicutes have been shown to be negatively proportional to resting energy expenditure, whereas Bacteroides have been shown to be positively correlated with the percentage of body fat.

We’ve seen evidence of this in rat studies. The microbiome of an obese mouse was transferred into another mouse with no microbiome and it became obese. The same thing was observed when using a lean mouse.

Many factors can alter our microbiome composition and impact the diversity of bacterial strains.  These include diet, exercise, medications, supplementation. Any imbalance is known as dysbiosis and is associated with weight gain and obesity. The influence of the intestinal microbiome on metabolism, hormone balance, neurotransmitter function, and the brain can play a major role in weight management and treatment of obesity. Moreover, the use of probiotics and prebiotics improves gut bacterial composition, and has achieved promising outcomes for prevention and treatment of obesity.

A stool test can be taken to determine your specific microbiome makeup, including the above mentioned Firmicutes and Bacteroides. It can also analyze other markers of guy dysfunction like inflammation, infection and metabolic activity. These take-home kits can be picked up at the office.


Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S., impacting more than 8 percent of Americans. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in governing mood, sleep, digestion and other body functions. For years, a chemical imbalance of serotonin has been widely viewed as the culprit for depression, resulting in the widespread use of antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which boosts serotonin in the brain.


A recent paper published in Molecular Psychiatry, concluded there is no convincing evidence that depression is associated with, or caused by, lower serotonin concentrations or activity. This was based on a synthesis of findings reviewing 17 different studies. Also noted was that there was no greater level of serotonin activity in healthy people versus depressed people. Even by reducing serotonin levels with drugs did not worsen the mood of volunteers who participated in these experiments. The long-accepted serotonin hypothesis doesn’t consider the complexity of the brain when it comes to depression.

While not to criticize prescribing medications for depression, or those using them, antidepressants are one of the many possible treatments, but they are not for everyone. As with any medication, antidepressants are associated with potential side effects, people and their clinician need to weigh up the benefits versus the cons. The idea of a biochemical alteration gives the implication of lifelong issue but depending on the severity of depression, there are some practical lifestyle approaches to put into place. Structure and routine throughout the day and the addition of exercise and dietary changes can improve milder forms. Neurofeedback is another approach for many cognitive based disorders (ie: depression). It aims to reorganize and relax brain wave patterns and increase plasticity of the brain. These positive changes result in fewer depressive episodes.

If anything, this research should push the conversation surrounding depression to a deeper level. Depression presents itself differently from person to person, and taking a one-size approach isn’t the answer.


Our weight loss programs are on special for the month of August. It includes either the 4, 5 or 10-week HCG Weight Loss and even the 12-week Adolescent Program.

Also on special are our MIC (Methionine-Inositol-Choline) injections. Only $10 all month long. These lipotropic injections are a great addition for continued fat metabolism with a healthy diet and lifestyle.








Call the office to schedule a free consultation to find the right program for you or to place your order for the injections. 616-808-2695


Nearly 70% of our immune system resides in the gut. The goal of adding in probiotics is to promote a balanced microbiome, with a predominant population of beneficial bacteria and strengthen the gut lining. An imbalanced microbiome disrupts overall health and is associated with many undesirable GI symptoms in IBD and IBS. Using probiotics has been gaining popularity, with an increasing amount of scientific research to back up the health benefits. Unlike traditional probiotics that include strains of the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria species, spore-based bacteria are of the bacillus family (Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans).

These soil based organisms found in dirt and vegetation, are delivered to the gut as dormant spores, making them extremely stable and resistant to the stomach acid, enzymes and bile. Our natural consumption of these organisms has decreased with the shift to a more calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diet vs a high fermented, plant based diet. 

One benefit of probiotics is the ability to support tight junctions in the gut mucosal lining. Without these tight junctions between cells, the lining becomes more and more permeable, allowing undigested food, toxins, and other molecules to enter into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream these toxins stimulate a highly potent and damaging inflammatory response, which has been shown to be the root cause of the vast majority of chronic diseases.

Research has shown that the Bacillus strains significantly decreased the level of endotoxins in the bloodstream. In addition to decreasing endotoxins, spore biotics produce many beneficial and potent antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds. These go to work in the intestinal tract to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. This is consistent with other findings that show that spore-based probiotics support:

  • Healthy digestion and bowel regularity
  • Microbial diversity and balance
  • Balanced inflammatory response
  • Healthy immune function

Spore based probiotics can still be used in combination with traditional probiotics. However, for patients with intestinal permeability concerns, greater outcomes will come from using the spore biotics first. We use both spore based and traditional probiotics in our 17 week GI Repair and Restoration Program.


In recent years, there has been more and more evidence linking small bowel overgrowth (SIBO) and irritable bowel syndrome. Anyone suffering from chronic constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating should look further to rule out SIBO. It has been shown that SIBO is an underlying factor for those patients with fibromyalgia.

The majority of our microbiome resides in the lower part of the large intestine. SIBO is an increase in the number of bacteria in the small intestine. It isn’t an infection or too many “bad” bacteria, but rather too many bacteria in the wrong part of the digestive tract. This bacterial migration is often due to low stomach acid production or a pancreatic enzyme insufficiency and sub-optimal function of our internal migrating motor complex (MMC).

Other symptoms not listed above can include: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Brain Fog 


These symptoms are often worse after eating simple sugars and carbohydrates. This is due to bacterial fermentation of the sugars and failure of the MMC to fully sweep the undigested food particles from the small intestine. These bacteria can also produce toxic by-products that can be damaging to the mucosal lining of the intestine. If not addressed, it can lead to permeability issues. 

There are several testing options to detect the presence of bacteria in the small intestine. The best is a 3-hour breath test. There is also a stool test that is more comprehensive and looks further at digestive function and inflammation as a whole. Both are available through Age Management. 


SIBO won’t go away on its own, and takes a little more than just adding in some probiotics. We need to decrease the amount of bacteria in the small intestine. This can be accomplished with antibiotics and a rotation of antimicrobials. The final step is to complete the 17 week GI Repair program here at Age Management. If you think you may have SIBO or any of the symptoms, please reach out, don’t suffer another day.

1959 East Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

TEL: 616.808.2695 | FAX: 616.808.2697

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