Let’s get right down to the guts of the matter! Whilst countless diet books have focused on fads and fleeting feeding fashions, we’ve had to wait until now to discover that the key to successful weight control is hidden in our intestinal flora. Encouraging the right balance of microbes in our gut and enhancing natural digestion are two of the most important and positive contributions we can make towards generating great health and real weight control.
Your Gut Biology And The Secrets Of Effective, Sustained Weight Loss
There is an ancient tradition in many cultures that our intelligence is not simply located in the brain. You might find it surprising that recent research is taking a fresh look at this unusual question and producing some unexpected answers.
Dr Natasha Campbell Macbride, an authority in this fascinating area, states “The importance of your gut flora, and its influence on your health cannot be overstated. It is truly profound. Your gut literally serves as your second brain and even produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin – known to have a beneficial influence on your mood – than your brain does”.
It gets better.
Your gut is also home to countless bacteria, both good and bad. These bacteria outnumber the cells in your body by at least ten to one. We refer to the world of your intestinal flora as the microbiome.
Your microbiome is closely inter-connected with both of your brain systems. Yes. We’re proceeding on the basis that we have two locations for the body’s operating systems. In addition to the brain in your head, embedded in the wall of your gut is the enteric nervous system (ENS), which works both independently of and in conjunction with the brain in your head.
Can Leaky Gut Be Destroying Your Health, Upsetting Your Hormone Balance And Making You Fat.
Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is a major cause of disease and dysfunction and accounts for at least 50% of chronic complaints, as confirmed by laboratory tests.
In LGS, the epithelium on the villi of the small intestine becomes inflamed and irritated, which allows metabolic and microbial toxins of the small intestines to flood into the bloodstream. This event compromises the liver, the lymphatic system, and the immune response including the endocrine system.
Some of the most incurable diseases are caused by this exact mechanism, where the body attacks its own tissues…. causing autoimmune disease!
It is often the primary cause of the following common conditions: asthma, food allergies, chronic sinusitis, eczema, hormone dysfunction, urticaria, migraine, irritable bowel, fungal disorders, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory joint disorders including rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the diseases that can originate with leaky gut. It also contributes to menopause issues, PMS, uterine fibroids, breast diseases and fibroids.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is often the real basis for chronic fatigue syndrome and pediatric immune deficiencies.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is reaching epidemic proportions within the population. Historically, the only way bowel toxins entered the bloodstream was through trauma, for example by sword or spear.
Here is a fantastic description and leaky gut healing plan from Dr Mark Hyman.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR GUT IS OUT OF BALANCE
To fix your digestion, you first need to understand what is sending your gut out-of-balance in the first place. The list is short:
- Our low-fiber, high-sugar, processed, nutrient-poor, high-calorie diet, which causes all the wrong bacteria and yeast to grow in our gut and damages the delicate ecosystem in your intestines
- Overuse of medications that damage the gut or block normal digestive function — things like acid blockers (Prilosec, Nexium, etc.), anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin, Advil, and Aleve), antibiotics, steroids and hormones
- Undetected gluten intolerance, celiac disease or low-grade food allergies to foods such as dairy, eggs, or corn
- Chronic low-grade infections or gut imbalances with overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, yeast overgrowth, parasites or even more serious gut infections
- Toxins like mercury and mold toxins, which damage the gut
- Lack of adequate digestive enzyme function, which can come from acid-blocking medication use or zinc deficiency
- Stress, which can alter the gut nervous system, cause a leaky gut, and change the normal bacteria in the gut
What happens then is obvious: you get sick.
But what’s important to understand is that many diseases that seem to be totally unrelated to the gut — such as eczema or psoriasis or arthritis — are actually caused by gut problems. By focusing on the gut, you can get better.
SEVEN STEPS TO OPTIMAL DIGESTIVE HEALTH
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Make sure to include plenty of fiber from foods like vegetables, nuts and seeds.
- Eliminate food allergies. If you think you have food sensitivities, try an elimination diet. Cut out gluten, dairy, yeast, corn, soy, and eggs for a week or two and see how your gut feels and what happens to your other symptoms.
- Treat any infections or overgrowth of bugs, parasites, small bowel bacteria, and yeasts can all inhibit proper gut function. You must treat these infections if you want to heal.
- Replenish your digestive enzymes. When you don’t have enough digestive enzymes in your gut, you can’t properly convert the foods you eat into the raw materials necessary to run your body and brain. Take broad-spectrum digestive enzymes with your food to solve the problem.
- Rebuild your rain forest of friendly bacteria. Take probiotic supplements. They will help you rebuild the healthy bacteria so essential to good gut health.
- Get good fat. Take extra omega-3 supplements, which help cool inflammation in the gut.
- Heal your gut lining. Use gut-healing nutrients such as glutamine and zinc to repair the lining in your gut so it can resume its normal function.
Fixing your digestion may take some time, but it can be done. And it is absolutely essential if you want to achieve vibrant health. So work on your inner tube of life using the steps above and watch as your symptoms (and those extra pounds) disappear.
Antibiotics Destroy Beneficial Bacteria
Antibiotics create their damage in two ways. The first is by destroying beneficial bacteria. The small intestine and large intestine host over five hundred different kinds of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria perform hundreds of functions required for healthy metabolism and immune response.
Through enzyme secretions, bacteria transform metabolic and microbial wastes before they are discharged by the body. These wastes include cellular debris, hormones, chemical wastes, bile, pus accumulations, viral toxins, bacterial toxins, etc.
For example, the body creates bile not only as a lubricant to flush wastes out of the liver, but also, to detoxify many of the poisons accumulating in the liver. Bile however is extremely damaging to large intestine epithelium.
When bile enters the small intestine via the common bile duct, beneficial bacteria break the bile salts down into a less toxic compound, making it non-dangerous by the time it reaches the large intestine.
When you take antibiotics you destroy these bacteria and the bile salts freely enter and damage the large intestine. I believe this contributes significantly to the high incidence of colon cancer plaguing today’s society.
Beneficial bacteria also break down hormone secretions that are discharged from the liver to the small intestine. If you lack the bacteria to break down estrogen and the intestinal permeability has been altered, the patient is now reabsorbing estrogens in their original state.
The body will deposit these in estrogen sensitive areas such as the breast, uterus, or ovaries, contributing, if not causing, fibroids and tumors. The same scenario is responsible for menopause difficulties and premenstrual syndrome as well.
Healthy mucosa allows nutrients to pass the barrier while blocking the entry of toxins.
With leaky gut, the barrier is dysfunctional, blocking nutrients at the damaged villi while permitting toxins to enter the bloodstream.
Antibiotics Promote The Growth Of Fungus
The second way antibiotics damage the intestines is by fostering the growth of Candida albicans and other pathogenic fungi and yeast. This event, more than any other, precipitates Leaky Gut Syndrome. In a healthy situation the small intestine epithelium maintains tight cell junctions, which contributes to the physical barrier involved in intestinal absorption. In addition to the physical barrier, there is an important chemical barrier within the mucus that contains immune agents, which neutralize any toxin that comes in contact.
Candida exudes an aldehyde secretion, which causes small intestine epithelial cells to shrink. This allows intestinal toxins to infiltrate through the epithelium and into the blood. The secondary barrier – immune agents in the epithelial mucus – remain the sole agent for neutralization.
Eventually, the immune system becomes exhausted rising to this challenge.
The damage done by Candida is to the intestinal epithelial barrier, allowing the absorption of serious toxic agents and chemicals, which then enter the blood and affect numerous organs, including the brain.
Food Allergies: The Complicating Factor
When the integrity of the intestinal barrier has been compromised, intestinal toxins are not the only pathogens to be absorbed. The barrier, in a healthy state, selectively allows digested nutrients to enter the small intestine when all is ready.
With leaky gut, nutrients can be absorbed before they are fully digested. The body’s immune response, through specific antigen-antibody markers, will tag some of these foods as foreign irritants.
Every time that particular food touches the epithelia, an inflammatory immune response is mounted which further damages the epithelial lining. What started as a Candida irritation with shrinking of the cells has now been complicated with active inflammation every time a particular food is eaten.
Food allergies are a common secondary problem to Candida, and if present, will maintain the leaky gut continuously, even if Candida is eradicated.
The most common food allergies are sugar, dairy, eggs, gluten grains (wheat, oats, rye), corn, beans (especially soy), and nuts.
We have to distinguish a real allergy – that which causes a histamine inflammatory reaction at the site of the small intestine (SI) epithelia – from sensitivity, which may cause uncomfortable symptoms, but seldom is very serious and needing medical attention
Sensitivities are usually due to low stomach acid or pancreatic enzyme secretion, that is, poor digestion.
In the healing of the intestinal lining, exposure to a significant allergy can sabotage the treatment. For example, one may be very good at restricting wheat, dairy and eggs, but then compromises the treatment by taking incorrect herbal tablets.
The Role Of The Liver And Lymphatic System
The metabolic and microbial toxins that enter the bloodstream during leaky gut end up in the liver, which has the job of detoxifying and discharging the poisons. Under normal conditions, the liver is taxed just by processing the daily metabolic wastes created by cell and organ activity.
Imagine the further load created by dumping serious intestinal toxins on a regular basis. There is a point when the liver becomes saturated; it cannot further detoxify the poisons, and they are returned to the blood circulation.
The blood has sophisticated mechanisms for preserving chemical homeostasis, and will diffuse as much of the toxic chemicals and physical debris into the interstitial fluids as is possible. From here the lymphatic system will attempt to collect and neutralize the toxins, but unable to send the toxins to the liver, the body essentially becomes toxic.
Microbes grow and develop, hence there can be chronic lymphatic swelling, especially in children. Over a period of time, toxins will be forced into distal connective tissue around muscles and joints, causing fibromyalgia, or into the cells, which can precipitate genetic mutation and ultimately cancer.
Stress To Immune And Endocrine Systems
The immune system is stressed in three major ways. First is at the site of the intestinal mucosa. As toxins and food antigens brush up against the mucosa, the immune system mobilizes to neutralize the toxins. Normally, much of this work would have been done by beneficial bacteria, which have been destroyed by antibiotics.
For toxins that make it to the mucosa, the body will tag them with a chemical secretory IgA (SIgA), which attracts macrophages and other white blood cells to consume the toxins. It is not long before this immune response is overwhelmed and depleted.
This can be measured directly with a stool or saliva test for the intestinal SIgA level.
The second stressor happens in the liver and lymphatic system, which, also overwhelmed, puts demands on the immune system. The third stressor is a consequence: as the immune response diminishes, more microbes (viruses, bacteria, and fungi) multiply, allowing for a chronic state of infection.
The most important organ in the production of immune agents seems to be the adrenal gland, and Leaky Gut Syndrome slowly diminishes adrenal function. In the early and middle stages, there is actually an adrenal excess, as measured by excess cortisol output. Eventually, cortisol levels drop, and one now has exhaustion.
The Role Of The Digestive Tract
Candida flourishes when the terrain in the intestines favors it. Just killing Candida is usually not successful, because the chemistry and vitality of the terrain has not been normalized, and Candida returns.
Antibiotics are the original cause of the change on the terrain. By killing acid forming bacteria (Lactobacillus bacteria produce lactic acid, for example), the environment becomes alkaline, which promotes Candida.
Antibiotics and chronic illness reduce stomach acid production, contributing to the alkalinity, and also allowing poor digestive absorption. In fact, many people with LGS are malnourished and will lose excessive weight, no matter how healthy the food is that they eat.
The idea that lactobacillus supplementation is all that is required after antibiotics is somewhat delusional; in fact most of the lactobacillus from supplementation does not survive in the intestine, due to poor terrain. Just to make sure you have a full understanding of the seriousness of Leaky Gut, the following is a summary:
- When the gut is inflamed it does not secrete digestive enzymes to digest foods properly or absorb nutrients and foods properly. The result can be indigestion with gas and bloating, called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- When large food particles are absorbed, food allergies and new symptoms are created (e.g., IBS, gallbladder disease, arthritis or fibromyalgia).
- When the gut is inflamed, carrier proteins are damaged, so malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies occur. These deficiencies slow down the ability of the gut to heal and can cause any number of other symptoms (e.g., magnesium deficiency induced angina or gut spasms, chromium deficiency induced high cholesterol or sugar cravings, zinc deficiency induced prostatitis or lack acid formation)
- When the detoxification pathways that line the gut are compromised, chemical sensitivity can arise. Furthermore, the leakage of toxins overburdens the liver so that the body is less able to handle everyday chemicals in foods, water and air.
- Now many foods can cause symptoms that never did before, because the gut’s detoxification (liver) system is unable to cope with the hundreds of chemical additives, dyes, colorings, preservatives and pesticides common in our foods.
- When the gut lining is inflamed, the protective coating of the gut antibodies can be lost. With loss of the secretory immunoglobulin A (SigA), the body becomes more vulnerable to infections in the intestines from bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeast and they become resistant to treatment.
- Ironically, the more resistant the bugs become, the more-high-powered antibiotics doctors prescribe, resulting in more overgrowth of resistant fungi (Candida). As the unwanted bugs grow, the gut gets more inflamed and leaky initiating a vicious cycle of worsening condition and major cause of so many incurable diseases.
- When the intestinal lining is inflamed, bacteria and yeast can translocate. In other words, they can pass from the gut cavity into the bloodstream and set up infection anywhere else in the body, including the brain. This is often the mysterious and undiagnosed cause of infections in the teeth and gums, bones, prostate, bladder and sinuses.
- With the formation of antibodies, the food antigens that leak across the gut wall can sometimes resemble the natural antigens on tissues. Protective antibodies will then attack the antigens, as they should and the tissues, causing further damage.
It is the very reason why auto-immune diseases begin. Lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, myocarditis, iritis and thyroiditis are some of the members of this ever-growing category of mysteriously incurable auto-immune diseases.
In order to ensure that you use the natural medicines correctly, we recommend the following supplements that correspond with your level of concern mentioned in your health.
- Level 1. No real concern, there is only a need to maintain.
- Level 2. Concern and symptom needing solutions
- Level 3. Severe symptoms and some real concerns needing solutions
- Level 4. Sever symptoms and serious concerns
(we can provide you with a specialized online functional medicine consultation)