Hippocrates said it 2000 years ago: ” All disease begins in the gut”
We all have heard and used the following expressions:
– I have a gut feeling.
– My gut tells me…
– That experience made me sick to my stomach.
Well it turns out that our gut in fact plays a huge role in our overall health. New research confirms that our gut biology, specifically the microbiome (bacterial makeup) impacts and influences our neurological, hormonal, cardiovascular and metabolic functions. Furthermore, the research indicates that these relationships and pathways are bi-directional.
Modern medicine has yet to really address these relationships by continuing to treat symptoms – often with drugs, thereby ignoring the root causes. As such, our population is getting sicker and more compromised. Thankfully, functional or integrative medical practitioners are helping to address the root causes of so many diseases and, specifically, looking at how our microbial makeup is really impacted our health and longevity. In essence, by examining gut flora and gut health we can start to better understand and treat and prevent many of the inflammatory diseases that plague so many of us ( cancer, cardiovascular, degenerative neurological, metabolic, hormonal and immunological disease).
Our Microbial System:
– Is very complex.
– Your gut has been termed the “second brain.” It produces more neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to have positive influences on your mood, than your brain does.
– Made up 100 trillion organisms ( found in sinuses, skin, gut, soft tissue, organs).
– In fact, we have more bacterial organisms than human cells in our body!
– We have 100 x more microbial genes than human genes!
– According the Dr, Mercola: “A probiotic-rich diet has been shown to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes to help them express in a positive, disease-fighting way. This makes your gut health a very powerful variable in epigenetics, a cutting-edge field of medicine that your lifestyle plays a significant role in your genetic expression”.
– The gut directly impacts our moods and cognitive function ( see below).
– Helps us digest our food and synthesize nutrients and vitamins.
– Helps prevent disease by minimizing intestinal permeability and leaky gut. This reduces the chance that toxins and unwanted food particles get into the bloodstream and trigger an inflammatory response.
– Prevents harmful bacteria from entering the body.
– As mentioned above the microbiome impact our immune system by modulating inflammation, impacts metabolism ( obesity) by regulating insulin and leptin resistance.
– The gut flora are now implicated in diseases such as Parkinson’s, Hashimoto’s disease, Alzheimer’s, MS, Fibromyalgia, as well as, ADHD, depression, anxiety disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
– Research has shown that diabetics differ from non-diabetics with regard to their gut flora density and diversity. Type 2 diabetes is linked to compositional changes in the gut microbiome.
– New research shows a link between the microbiome and estrogen metabolism (whereby elevated estrogen impacts not only fertility but increased risk of breast cancer)
– The gut and brain share a bi-directional pathway. This has strong implications for diagnosing and treating mood and behavioral disorders, anxiety, depression, and managing stress.
– The gut flora ( bacterial composition ) impacts the HPA axis ( hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenals) which governs the stress response ( by modulating stress hormones such as cortisol ) which directly impact our immune system.
– Stress in turn affects the quality and quantity of healthful gut bacteria. Chronic stress clearly leads to long-term damage to the microbiome.
Rebuilding The Microbiome:
– Need to restore healthy gut bacteria.
– Address and remove risk factors such as: unhealthy diet ( refined sugars and carbs, GMO’s artificial sweetners), get adequate and restorative sleep, exercise regularly ( but do not over train!) and incorporate some relaxation and meditation into your life to restore and re- balance your nervous system.
– Add fermented foods and pre- and probiotics. ( sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, beets, garlic, raw yogurt, kefir)
– Avoid antibiotics ( which destroy the healthful bacteria in the gut).
– Avoid ( or at least minimize ) NSAID’s, alcohol and birth control pills!
– Dsyfunction in gut.
– Low HCL production ( stomach acid is crucial to gut health).
– SIBO ( small intestine bacterial overgrowth – usually seen in upper section of small intestine.).
– Fungal growth ( candida ), bacterial infections ( H Pylori)
– Autoimmune ( colitis, Crohn’s, Lupus, rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, IBS, allergies, kidney and urinary problems and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
Also known as intestinal permeability. The gut lining gets compromised and foods and pathogens enter the bloodstream and then have a profound affect on the entire body.
Leaky gut can impact many areas of the body and the function of vital organs that can lead to illness and disease.
Joints ( rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia).
Headaches and migraines.
Sinus and mouth ( frequent colds and food sensitivities).
Brain function ( depression, ADHD, anxiety and cognitive impairment).
Skin ( acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis).
Thyroid ( Hashimotos, Graves, hypothyroidism).
Colon ( constipation and IBD, Crohn’s and Colitis).
Gluten: protein in wheat inflames gut and then gets into bloodstream travels through body triggering autoimmune response.
GMO’s: pesticides and herbicides destroy gut flora.
Processed sugars: feeds yeast which leads to yeast and candida overgrowth which in turn eats the intestinal wall.
Conventional dairy: loaded with chemicals and antibiotics.
Medications and antibiotics: destroy gut flora.
Pathogens and bacteria ( candida, mold and fungus).
5 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut
1. Know your gut type.
2. Remove inflammatory triggers.
3. Nourish gut lining w/ key nutrients.
4. Treat specific organs w/ supplements.
5. Rebalance microbes and probiotics (microbiome).
Nourish Your Body:
– Bone broth ( high in amino acids like proline, lysine and L- glutamine).
– Coconut oil ( anti microbial / great for candida).
– Fermented foods ( sauerkraut, cabbage and kimchi which are loaded with pre and probiotics).
– HCL benatine ( low HCL leads to SIBO and GERD).
– Goats milk kefir ( high in probiotics).
– Blueberries ( resveretrol and flavonoids).
– Squash and pumpkin ( organic source great for spleen)
– Probiotics: choose SBO ( soil based organisms), 50 billion IU, essential for gut health, helps build B12 and Vit K in body.
– Digestive enzymes: help to break down food and gluten. Take 2 caps w/ meals.
– Adaptogenic herbs: ginseng (spleen), licorice root (stomach) and ashwagandha (adrenals/thyroid).
– L Glutamine: crucial amino acid protests gut lining and repairs small intestine.
Below are various tests that can be performed to accurately assess your gut health.
– SIBO breath testing.
– Stool testing.
– Gluten sensitivity and intolerance ( transglutaminase IgA and IgG antibodies testing)
– Cross reactive proteins.
– Cyrex Array 3, 4, 10 testing.