Healing the gut can eradicate diabetes, allergies, heart problems, dementia, even cancer
This 34-year-old gentlemen had been a top athlete, but now had difficulty walking due to a lack of balance, resulting in falls. After extensive investigation in the neurology department, no significant abnormality was found.
My assessment revealed mild gut symptoms of occasional bloating and altered bowel habits. He consumed a diet of soda, cereals and pasta, together with alcohol to excess. The lab tests revealed antibodies against the ‘balance – organ’ in the brain (cerebellum). Genetic test confirmed a sensitivity to gluten (DQ2/ DQ8).
I advised him to go on a gluten-free diet, supported by other measures to support his gut health. In a few weeks, he reported a great improvement in his symptoms. He was able to walk as normal and had no further falls.
Gut problems can manifest themselves as diseases anywhere in the body (not just the obvious indigestion, heartburn and so on.) The gut could be the culprit in metabolic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia and even cancer. It could be the underlying cause in allergic conditions, particularly hay fever, acne, asthma and eczema.
It can cause rheumatological conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus and connective tissue disease, endocrinological problems, such as thyroid disease, neurological issues, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, and psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety, due to a deficiency of essential amino acids required for efficient brain chemistry.
Reinstating gut health may resolve your chronic health condition.
In this article, we are going to discuss what causes gut problems, essentially what makes the gut become leaky? We will explore the relation between the gut and the immune system. And we will see how to calm the immune system and restore balance.
We must keep in mind that the gut wall is the interface between the external environment and your body. Anything in the gut is essentially still outside your body. And molecules move across the gut wall to enter it.
The gut wall is made up of a single cell thickness surrounded by a thin muscle layer. This separates the gut content, including its huge population of bacteria known as microbiome, from the 80% of your immune system that resides on other side of the wall. This acts like a regiment of border guards.
So, a single cell thickness separates this huge toxic pool from these guards (your immune system) who are going to allow only a selection of beneficial nutrients into the bloodstream.
The gut bacteria population (microbiome) weighs almost 2 kilograms and includes about 500 types of friendly bacteria. These healthy bacteria produce mucus to protect and short chain fatty acids to nourish the gut wall.
There are 9 bacteria for every cell in your body! As if we are bacteria having a human experience!
What happens in the gut? Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars like glucose, protein into amino acids, and fat into fatty acids. These are the macro nutrients needed to fuel the body and for growth and repair. During the digestive process, minerals and vitamins are also released. These are the micro-nutrients needed in tiny amounts to support your health and vitality.
So, only fully digested food, in the form of glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins can pass through the gut wall. The gut lining cells stick to each other tightly – these are described anatomically as, ‘tight junctions,’ which make it impossible for larger molecules to pass through.
The problem comes when these junctions are damaged, creating gaps that allow partially digested and toxic substances to leak into the bloodstream and cause a wide range of problems.
What damages the integrity of the gut lining?
Causes include sugar and processed carbohydrates, fast food, and meals cooked in the cheap vegetable oils. Also harmful are toxic substances from yeast bacteria and partially digested proteins. Some people cannot digest certain types of proteins such as the gluten in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Other people find it hard to process milk and other dairy products. In some, corn, soy, eggs and peanuts can also disrupt the gut integrity. And drugs such as antibiotics (also found in poultry and commercial meat) and pain relief pills (NSAIDs) damage the gut wall.
Having said all of that, the most significant cause of leaky gut syndrome is the chronic stress rampant in our modern society.
During stress, your body reacts as if you were being chased by a lion. Your resources go to the brain, heart and muscles to fight or flee the danger. Your gut is not a priority and your body shuts down the blood supply to it. You lose your digestive enzymes and stomach acid, creating deficiencies and the non-sterilisation of food. The bowel wall becomes leaky.
The immune system is not expecting to see toxins or partially digested molecules, leaking through the wall, it considers them to be invaders and launches attacks against them. The process continues while the immune system gets more and more irritated.
The molecules can move around and stick to normal body cells. The combination appears foreign (molecular mimicry) to the immune system, which then also attacks the organs (such as the thyroid, joints or kidney) resulting in autoimmune diseases, organ damage and loss of function.
This process can happen in joints resulting in rheumatoid arthritis, in the kidney, joints and skin resulting in Lupus disease, in the thyroid gland resulting in Hashimoto’s disease, on the skin and joints resulting in psoriasis, in the nervous system resulting in multiple sclerosis (MS), between the muscles and nerves causing myasthenia gravis, and in the gut resulting in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
These autoimmune diseases were fairly rare in the 60s and 70s because we had been enjoying a good diet. Since then, our diet has changed to include sugar and processed carbohydrates, fast food, commercial meat, toxic and trans-fats, which all damage the gut.
(It is also worth noting here that autoimmune diseases rise in direct proportion to our modern-day meticulous hygiene. Studies show the increase in autoimmunity can be linked to a lack of exposure to childhood illnesses.
Patients suffering with inflammation in joints, skin, blood vessels or the brain, or excessive weight gain, can get better by changing their diet. For example, Indian families, who consume polished white rice, can solve most of their health problems simply by cooking their curries in saturated fat, such as coconut oil or butter, and replacing rice with beans or vegetables.
When your gut bacteria are out of balance – i.e. you have many pathogenic bacteria and not enough beneficial ones – you can become very sick.
If you’re eating an unhealthy processed modern diet, you end up having unhealthy bacteria. Eating good healthy food – whole fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds – gives you a healthy spectrum of beneficial bacteria.
Remove her colon? No, remove her nutritional deficiencies
This 37-year-old lady had severe ulcerative colitis, which worsened while she was on a heavy medical treatment of steroids and cytotoxic drugs. She had been through a lot of stress at home and at work. She and her husband were devastated when she was advised life-saving surgery was necessary to remove her colon.
However, lab tests revealed severe mineral and vitamin deficiencies. A stool analysis confirmed digestive issues, toxic bacteria in her colon and a high level of inflammation. She received digestive enzyme support, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents, and adopted the 5R protocol.*
Her symptoms settled gradually. She consumed a better diet and regained strength, which enabled her to perform gentle exercise. She also received counselling to relieve her stress.
Her progress is best reflected in her symptoms score decreasing from 98 to 5 within 6 months (lower symptom score indicates recovery). She came off her medication and required no surgery.
*The 5R protocol to heal the gut and reinstate gut health:
- Remove any toxic bacteria, yeast, any offending food such sugar, processed carbohydrates, fast food, allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy, corn or peanuts
- Replace digestive enzymes, stomach acid or bile, fibre being the best food for beneficial bacteria
- Repopulate the gut with friendly beneficial bacteria in probiotic and fermented food
- Repair the gut with glutamine in cabbage soup and collagen in bone broth
- Rebalance your life by adopting a healthy lifestyle with whole food, organic and locally grown, physical activity, both aerobic and strength training, an adequate night’s sleep, fresh air and sunshine, a de-stressed life, warm loving relationships and social connections
Now, my friends, does what you have heard from Socrates and myself, lead you to believe that your health problem may have origins in the gut? Please do get in touch and let me know your story so far.
I would love to hear your experience with gut issues and autoimmunity. This may help someone else going through the same challenges to find the right path to health.