This is an interview with Dr. Arun Dhir, he is a specialist Upper Gastrointestinal surgeon, and we are talking about gut health & weight loss. I ask him questions from our readers. This is a transcript of the video we made.
Here is the audio:
Dr Arun writes for Holistic Living magazine and is in the GHE membership area, giving information to our members on gut health and weight loss.
Dr Arun says, “Thank you for the opportunity to come and share with your audience”.
Sharon says, “You are welcome. I’d love you to tell our audience what you do and then we are going to ask you some questions from our audience”.
Dr Arun says, “My journey started over 25 years ago when I passed out from med school. I started on a surgical training program and gastric surgery was something that really fascinated me.
That being said over the years, I have moved into being a medical practitioner with more of a holistic or integrated approach to see how best I can serve clients.
That is when the science of the gut microbiome was emerging and I spent a lot of time understanding, studying, at different conferences and researching this subject.
I feel our job as medical practitioners is to distil this information that is still in its early stages of evolution. To provide it to the common people so that they can apply it in simple steps in their lives and achieve lasting benefit. That is how I see my role”.
Sharon says, “If people want to find you and learn more about how you can help them, you can work with people online as well as them coming to your clinic. Please tell us more about this”.
Dr Arun says, “From a surgical perspective I have my own practice, but more importantly, and what is relevant to your clients is, that we are running a specific weight loss program, which is based on all concepts for an integrative approach to weight management.
I am doing this along with my colleague Doctor Shami who will you be speaking to you shortly, on how to balance and tap into the power of the mind, gut and the brain connection.
Because this connection, is so powerful it can bring about not only a powerful change, but a lasting change”.
Sharon says, “Great. Thank you. So let’s get into the first question. We’re looking specifically at weight issues”.
How Can Improving My Gut Health Help Improve My Weight Issues?
Dr Arun says, “We need to understand that the problem of obesity is growing to the proportion that it is almost an epidemic. We’ve got almost 60% of Australians that are either overweight or obese.
This is putting a huge strain on our medical system and there are several other associated medical problems that are affiliated with being obese. For example, issues with joints, issues with diabetes, cardiovascular problems.
The one common denominator of all of these problems is not an infection, it’s not a bug, it is all caused by inflammation.
The literal meaning of the word inflammation is to be on fire and what happens is, when there is poor bacterial balance in our gut, it leads to inflammation on the inner lining of the gut.
That is what leads to all of the problems like food allergies, gut issues, but not just that, it leads to development of poor bacteria or unhealthy bacteria, which leads to greater extraction of energy from the food that we eat, and that all gets stacked up as fat in the body.
That’s a very simplistic view. Several articles have been published on what these bacteria do to the food we eat.
The important thing is that having good bacterial health or having diversity in our gut, allows us to be able to not only digest food better but also maintain vitality.
Also maintain health because health comes from our body’s metabolism which is able to breakdown the special nutrients that are there. So, in short, gut health is critical in maintaining our overall health.
The success mantra of our program that we have been talking about is; Happy Gut = Healthy Weight”.
Sharon says, “Thank you for that information. If there are 3 things that I can do to aid my gut health, what would that be”?
Dr Arun says, “The 3 top things that we recommend to individuals that they need to focus on, as far as their gut health goes is:
3 Things To Aid Gut Health
“Ask, what is it that they’re putting in their mouth?
I say whatever you put in your mouth and in your mind, can change your world. It’s as simple as that. It’s important to understand that the healthy bacteria only need one thing and that is plant based fibre.
These plant-based fibres, when we consume them, breakdown into short chain fatty acids by the bacteria in the gut. This serves as their food.
It’s the plant based fibre that we need. The first change that we tell our clients is to make a change in their diet. Eat more vegetables and fruits, preferably organic so that they are cutting back on the pesticides. That was my second point.
The second point is to reduce the load of toxins that we are ingesting. By that I mean not eating out of plastic containers. Do not drink out of plastic bottles. Use glass instead of plastic.
So those are the simple things that you need to implement.
The third thing is to have a stress management strategy in place. In today’s day and age we all have stress. Not having stress in our lives is like asking a fish to live without water, you know this is not possible.
We only need to have strategies in place to manage stress. That doesn’t mean that you hit the bottle of alcohol in the evening. What it means is, go out for a walk, go and get some fresh oxygen and exercise.
Exercise releases so many hormones, they actually uplift our mood and produce all the happy hormones.
That link has already been established and studied scientifically. That is the third point that I encourage my clients to do. Now this sounds very simple but it’s really the bottom line that you have to take time for self-care”.
Sharon says, “These are really achievable things that anyone can do. You do not have to spend a lot of money. These are things that you can do all day every day at home”.
Dr Arun says, “Absolutely. It’s the mentality that we have been brought up in our society that unless you spend lots and lots of money, whatever you’re going to be trying is not going to be very effective.
So that’s the mentality we need to get out off and take charge, take responsibility for where you are, because that puts you in a very powerful situation to bring about change.
The beauty is, as human beings we are all given the power of choice. We need to make a choice for ourselves as to what is in our longer term interest”.
Sharon says, “We hear a lot about probiotics. What role do they play in gut health and what type of probiotic would you suggest”?
Dr Arun says, “That’s very relevant question Sharon because I get asked that question by lots of my clients. There are many probiotics out there that claim certain advantages over the others.
Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of advertisement and commercialism in all of those claims. I don’t think we have found the right probiotic at this stage, short of a faecal sample from a healthy donor.
Now a faecal transplant is almost like a probiotic, it is being used in hospitals where it is transplanted or it is given, using the endoscope. Now that’s not what we are promoting.
That’s not what we say is the best way to change the gut flora. The important thing to understand is that your diet is the best probiotic.
There are individuals who come and see us and the other practitioners in our practice, based on the degree of what we call dysbiosis or the imbalance that is there in the gut. We need to start them on a certain probiotic.
I’m not here to promote brands but there are a couple of brands that we use. However, it all depends on the diversity of the bacteria that these brands can provide. The important thing is that these probiotics that we use, are only used for a brief period of time, maybe 6 to 12 months.
What we expect is, what takes over is your dietary changes, the dietary modifications. What I mean by diet is the probiotics, which is basically fermented foods, so fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut.
These can be very easily made, and these are natural sources of good quality bacteria. It’s as easy as putting in a bit of a kefir in your smoothie every day in the morning.
Now how expensive can that be? You are culturing this kefir, changing it every 2 or 3 days in your own kitchen.
Then there are the prebiotic foods, which are basically plants and vegetable based foods, which are feeding the good bacteria such as leeks, carrots, tomatoes, and asparagus.
Those kind of vegetables are very beneficial in helping the good bacteria take over. So it can be as simple as that but it needs to be a routine and there needs to be system that helps you achieve that”.
Sharon says, “I’ve been making kombucha tea and I have my kombucha on top of my salad dressing. You can do so many things at home”.
Dr Arun says, “The same goes apple cider vinegar as well”.
Sharon says, “Last question”.
What Can I Do To Help My Gut So I Can Achieve A Healthy Weight?
Dr Arun says, “What I want to highlight is there is a lot of information that is available in today’s age, with regards to the gut microbiome and how it is influenced, how it effects our overall health.
What we have done in our practice is come up with a program, which integrates all of this science and brings it all together. There is a specific 12-week program to follow, addressing any stress issues that individuals may be having and how this is affecting their gut health.
This program by the way, is being run by medical practitioners, so that’s the uniqueness. They would be able to delve into other issues, such as hormonal imbalances. Or it could be any other factor that may be related, which would be influencing your overall health.
Tie all of it together to the specific needs of the individual, so that they can be addressed in a systematic manner over a 12 week process. This also includes addressing gut microbial issues.
If the individuals have got severe issues such bloating (as we know many people with gut issues also struggle with their weight). Those kind of issues may need to investigated with endoscopies and things like that.
It can all be organized through our practice because we are providing that service through many good practitioners.
That’s where we see that there is a need for this in the society and in the wider community, because the information overload that is happening at the moment is confusing a lot of people.
That’s why I would say that as medical practitioners, our role is to filter the information as to what is relevant and not so relevant and bring it to the common people so that they can actually benefit and apply it in their life in a safe, practical way”.
Sharon says, “Thank you so much coming in today and answering our questions”.
Dr Arun says, “Thank you so much for the opportunity”.
Sharon says, “If anyone wants to find you and learn more about your program or work with you. Where will they go”?
Dr Arun says, “You can go to www.weightlossgame.com.au, they can get on the website and subscribe to our newsletter. We will be running some webinars through Global Healing Exchange, and certainly they can stay in touch with us. We will be delighted to be of service”.
Sharon says, “We are looking forward to seeing you in the future as you will be doing some more videos for the Global Healing Exchange”.
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Dr Arun Dhir,FRCS,FRACS – Gastro Intestinal Surgeon, Health & Wellness Advocate