When it comes to embarrassing or scary health topics, no one gives you a diagnosis quite like Dr. Oz. "This stuff is doable. We can make it happen," Dr. Oz says. "At the time we are done, you can sit back and say, 'Jeez, why didn't we do that before?'"
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Dr. Oz: Now, I talk about S-shaped all the time, but they don't have to be S-shaped. They can be exclamation point-shaped. It can be C-shaped. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that you are not straining as you go to the bathroom. How do we make sure that happens?
I've got a checklist for you:
Fiber—we know about that. At least 21 grams a day. Most people get half of that or less. Fruit. Oatmeal. There are lots of foods that have fiber. All the natural foods, the foods that come out of the ground. Look at the way they look when you eat them—they pretty much have fiber in them.
Number two, you want to make sure you get enough caffeine in your diet, which is the one time I'll say caffeine is good for bowel movements.
Magnesium helps too. (That's my little secret.) You want to always take magnesium with calcium, ideally. And the reason you bond them together is because calcium will constipate you. So, go for a roughly 2-to-1 ratio: If you're taking 1,200 milligrams of calcium, which is what most of us recommend, with vitamin D, add at least 600 milligrams of magnesium. You can go as high as 800 or even 1,000 milligrams of magnesium. If you take much more than that, you will be going to the bathroom all day long.
Try some physical activity. Yoga has got whole poses designed to [help] you go to the bathroom.
Water—enough so your urine is clear.
And finally, you've got to toilet train yourself. I know it sounds crazy, but you've got to get on a routine. It works. It works for kids. It works for adults. You've got to go to the bathroom the same time everyday. You've got to train yourself. If you are not ready to go, push yourself a little bit, work at it a little bit. When you are regular, it's heaven.
If I touch a doorknob, read a newspaper or open mail, I wash [my hands] immediately. My hands are very chapped from washing them constantly. Is my fear of germs justified or am I overreacting?
Dr. Oz: Let's separate fact from fiction. You've got tens of billions of bacteria in your colon. That's far more than the number of cells you have in your body. In fact, we are alive today because we have bacteria that help us digest the food that we eat. That's actually how we absorb the nutrients.
Germs are good. There are not a lot of germs you want to get rid of. The flu virus is a good example of one you don't want to have, so we wash our hands for that because it can reduce the number of flu virus particles on our hands, but it doesn't get rid of all of them. What hurts us is when we wash our hands so much that we start getting those cracks, because we have a natural protective border on our body. That border is there for a reason, and when you abrade the skin—by overwashing it, by using sanitizer too much and by doing other things inside your intestinal tract—you can cause all kinds of problems.
The main way you bring bugs in are the bags you carry. How many of you do this? You bring the purse home. It's been all over the world—on the floor, in dirty places, city streets—and you put it on the counter that you eat off of. Or makeup bags—they're real petri dishes. You get moist stuff from your eyes, your mouth, your nose in there, and you store them up. And you have plenty of things that you carry around in your life that you carry. So, I am going to give you a list of things that I want you to be careful of.
Garbage disposals you know about. You also want to be careful about the car dashboard, phones...anything that has nooks and crannies on it is problematic. Computer keyboards are in the same group. Shopping cart seats actually are often contaminated because kids have been in there, and they've been in places you don't want to have been [in].
Dr. Oz: Let's talk about the reality of where germs can be. This is Gina's purse. This lipstick looks so innocent and so beautiful, but it tested positive for Clostridium perfingens. This is a very toxic bacteria. It's found in your intestinal tract. It sometimes can actually invade into the skin and cause all kinds of devastating things like diarrhea. Not a good guy.
By the way, when you go to the bathroom and you flush the toilet, you aerosolize this big air bomb of stuff. I'm telling you, anything that's uncovered in the bathroom...that's why those lids are on there. If you can do one thing after the show, make sure you close the lid on the toilet because it gets onto items that are around you. So, in your bag, you're carrying this around, I would be careful about it. You can scrape the top of it off. If you put this in the freezer, you will kill the bugs.
Let's go to purse number two, Suzanne. I've got something Suze's really excited about: your credit card. It's been used a lot. She wants to cut it, and I've got a medical reason to. It has something called enterococcus in it. When you have good guy bacteria protecting you, that's fine. But if you've got too much enterococcus, and if it's on your credit card, it gets into the numbers, gets into those digits, and it lives there....that can go to your heart. It can cause infections of some of the major organs in the body.
It's easy to deal with. You just clean it with an alcohol pad. You clean your credit cards off. You don't have to do it every time you go shopping, but once in a while. Remember, they're scooping credit cards through those machines. You've got to assume you're touching the hands of hundreds of people when you get your credit card.
Now, let's go to the last one. Tamara, this is the big one. I'm going through your purse and found your cell phone cover. Now think about this. We are carrying cell phones around all the time. We're putting it in our pockets, touching parts of our body, touching our nose, touching your cell phone, back and forth. And it's a communal item—never share your cell phone with anybody unless you want to share germs with them.
Secondly, if you're going to have something like this, you've got to clean it off once in a while. We looked at yours and found E. coli, which is what comes out in your poop. This is stuff that is actually, unfortunately, a problem for a lot of us. You have good guy E. coli, and you have bad guy E. coli in there. E. coli causes pneumonia. The bacteria, when they're in the right place aren't a big deal for the body because we have natural defense mechanisms. You need to get infected once in a while because it actually helps you build up your immune system. It trains you. No pain, no gain on this stuff either, but you don't want it in the wrong place.
Dr. Oz: A big problem many of us haveis that we don't really understand deep down inside of us what is going on. ... Inside of the belly, under the muscle, we've got something called the omentum. Now the normal omentum looks like pantyhose. You can sort of see through it. When you get an infection, the omentum moves over, walls off the infection. It's critically important for us. Our ancestors were able to store fat in this pad.
Now, the problem with the omentum is when you've got a lot of belly fat, that fat does three things. It puts pressure on your kidneys, which generates high blood pressure. It poisons your liver, which causes your blood to look like it's got cream in it. And it gets your cholesterol up off the wall. And that fat ultimately paralyzes insulin, and you get diabetes.
I think part of what happens is we get mad at ourselves, and we beat ourselves [up]. And when we get stressed out in life, what's the first thing we do? Eat. That's a natural response because stress 1,000 years ago was a famine. ...When you have belly fat, you also get fat in your liver, and that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Twenty percent of us—20 percent of people in this audience, people at home—already have evidence of fat in their liver.
Think about these issues, all of them, because they're reversible. That's why we are here together. These issues you've got are ones that we can deal with, but if your liver has fat in it, and it's getting cirrhosis; and if your insulin is paralyzed and you've developed diabetes; and if your kidneys are already beginning to show the evidence of damage; that, I tell you, [means] we're getting toward the edge. I mean, you're a candy bar away from falling off over that edge and having the issues we are talking about. I want to be clear about this.
How does high blood pressure and high cholesterol affect overweight family members?
Dr. Oz: Danny, you are 360 pounds. Your blood pressure is 170/96. It should be 140/90 at the absolute most. That's when we start treating with medications. At that blood pressure, I send people to the emergency room. That's not a good blood pressure for a young man to have, and it reflects the fact that your arteries are squeezed down. They are being affected by the fat that you've got in your body, that you're beginning to generate damage to all the little very delicate linings of those blood vessels of your body, leading to stroke, heart attack, kidneys issues, all kinds of problems. Some we can't tolerate.
Your blood sugar is 106, which means you are prediabetic. You are not quite where your mom is, but you are going to get there. You are going to catch up to her.
David's weight is 280 pounds. Your triglycerides, that's the fat in your blood, are 266. It ought to be less than 150. You've got cream in your blood. If I were to take your blood and sample it, I'd see cream in there right now.
Your HDL, that's the healthy, good cholesterol—the Mighty Mouse cholesterol that actually is the good stuff that takes away the junk from your arteries—is supposed to be at least 35 to 40. I prefer it be about 50. Yours is 25. I have never, on a television show, talked about an HDL as low as yours. And the major driver of low HDL is belly fat and your genes. You can't control one of them, but you have a lot of control over the other one. We are going to have to deal with that because your blood sugar is also 128, which means you are a diabetic, and you've got a big risk factor of heart disease.
Dr. Oz: Your weight is 175, and you have no risk factors right now. Your blood sugar is fine, your blood pressure is fine. You are lucky.
But don't con yourself into thinking you are not going to catch up. My big concern is that you will develop habits because you get away from a routine you're supposed to have, and you'll start to develop issues that ultimately will make it very difficult for you to turn back.
You've got to make it easier to do the right thing in your kitchen. You walk into your pantry right now, and you've just got junk, junk, junk, junk and junk. Once you fight the battle in the supermarket, you will win the battle at home.
I'll give you quick tips:
I want you eating breakfast within an hour of awakening. A high protein breakfast—not candy bars, not donuts. Choose eggs or something with protein.
No eating two hours before bedtime.
Do some physical activity. Give me 5,000 to 10,000 steps a day of physical activity. Just make it easy so it's sustainable and you'll do it everyday.
Got a question for the one and only Dr. Oz. You know, everyone's got their opinion about how I should deal with my heartburn. You're a doctor. What do you think I should do?
— Regis Philbin
Dr. Oz: I want to take one step back and talk about why I don't often throw antacids at the problem. I want you to understand what really is happening with heartburn. When you are lying back in bed—at night especially, though it can happen at any time during the day—you will notice the acid pulls up into the stomach. If you've got reflux, it will go back up into the esophagus. This junction is supposed to stay closed, but when that acid bathes the inside of the esophagus, the swallowing tube, you burn it. It's like a sunburn. And that sunburned area, once it's irritated, cracks and becomes deformed, and it has to heal. Now, it gets bright red and takes about a week to get better, but if you get bad and bad again, it starts to develop these changes that become cancer.
There's been a dramatic increase in esophageal cancer, which is a bad cancer, because we are numbing our stomachs with antacids and blocking the ability of our body to respond to the warning sign that you are having pain. So, I don't want to just throw antacids or other kinds of medications [at you].
And you know what, Regis? I think one of the best home remedies that I found was aloe vera. They make a little syrup out of it. You drink it. It's actually pretty effective. If you're going to take something by mouth, you might want to try that as one of the options because it bathes the area and coats it. Let me give you my quick recipe that I think makes a ton of sense.
Step 1: No more alcohol, especially late at night, because the problem with alcohol is it relaxes that sphincter so you can't get the acid back where it needs to be. It keeps going up there and sunburning, which again is what it's doing to your esophagus. You never have time to heal.
Step 2: Regis, I see how you dress. Loosen the pants. Loosen them up. Take the belt out. And for women who wear Spanx and other kinds of gear like that, the problem is it puts pressure in the abdominal area, and that squeezes the acid back up to the esophagus.
Step 3: You have to elevate the head of the bed. This is important. Pillows do not work because human beings roll off their pillow. Take bricks, books, something you are not using, put them under the headboard of the bed, and put the bed at a little bit of an angle. I'll tell you a clue a lot of folks don't realize: If you are getting hoarse in the morning or you feel you are congested up top, it's because the acid is going up really high. It's burning your vocal cords. So, there are all kinds of signs besides just having classic heartburn that you've got reflux of acid up into the esophagus.
Dr. Oz: I think this is normal. I'm not worried about it, but one little trick you ought to try is a beet transit test. Do you know what that is? Eat beets and see how long it takes for them to come out. You can tell, right? The color changes almost immediately. See how many hours that is. Ideally, that's going to be the 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-hour range. But not three days and not an hour. It will give you an idea about what's going on. But the other thing that most folks get caught up on—and you shouldn't—is just let it go and pass the gas.
Here's the deal. Most of us pass gas at least once every hour to once every hour and a half. This show is two hours long. So, we're going to be moving it out of there. If you let it go, that's one of the best solutions. I'm talking about, you can do it quietly. You can excuse yourself. Most gas doesn't smell. What makes the gas smell are when the bacteria go to town on things like eggs and sulfates.
In America, we learn the most important things about our bodies before the age of 5. If we don't get it straight, we mess it up the rest of our lives. Passing gas and going to the bathroom are things we should have learned, and we didn't talk about it openly. So, I am trying to break through that right now.