This post is linked to The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania.
The damaged intestinal lining can wreak havoc on our entire body systems.
I know. My son suffered greatly until we took steps to heal his. This topic is important to me. I have seen dramatic changes in my own son’s health. I have seen a new child emerge as healing took place. He became a child with energy. A child with a purpose. A child of health. So yes. This topic means a lot to me.
It is up to us to take our health into our own hands. It is up to us to share this information with the people that we care about. This is why I am sharing it with you. These steps below are crucial to healthy living. They are crucial to reversing the declining health of our nation. They are crucial to giving our children a chance at health. They are also very basic. So live them, share them, and encourage others to do the same.
Guess what? Did you know that this generation of children is the first generation in the history of the United States to live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents? You can read more about it in this article from Ground Report – News: Health and Science. Something needs to change. This is unacceptable. It is wrong in every way. This statistic should, in fact, be the reverse.
Okay, off of my rant and on to topic of what to do about it.
According to many allergy experts, having a ‘leaky gut’ – or increased intestinal permeability – is a common cause of the multiple food allergies and many autoimmune diseases. Most of us have varying degrees of damage. Small openings can develop in the lining of the intestine, which allow large molecules of undigested or incompletely digested foods to enter the bloodstream. When the food is eaten again and again and passes into the bloodstream undigested, or only partially digested, the antibodies bind with the food and then travel through the bloodstream to any part of the body where they then cause problems.
Internal factors in a person’s body can cause, or contribute, to a leaky gut. These include nutritional deficiencies, inflammatory bowel disease, poor digestion, and food allergies. There is a vicious cycle involved with these internal factors since the leaky gut also causes them or contributes to their severity.
Dr Fasano and his team have researched the dynamic interaction between zonulin, which works like the gatekeeper of our body’s tissues, and the immune system. According to Dr. Fasano, “Our largest gateway is the intestine with its billions of cells. Zonulin opens the spaces between cells allowing some substances to pass through while keeping harmful bacteria and toxins out.” He goes on further to explain, “I believe that zonulin plays a critical role in the modulation of our immune system. For some reason, the zonulin levels go out of whack, and that leads to autoimmune disease.” Dr. Ron Hoggan and Scott Adams (founder of Celiac.com) also give an explanation about Celiac Disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the leaky gut and autoimmune diseases in Cereal Killers: Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free A to Z (Chapter 2).
Some autoimmune diseases that are linked to intestinal permeability are: Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, migraines, attention deficit, autism, depression, eczema, acne, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, chronic fatigue, and of course, food allergies.
Correcting the altered permeability can have an immediate effect on relief of symptoms and a gradual improvement in the underlying condition. We just cannot overlook the important connection between the health of the human body and the integrity of the gut wall.
Ultimately, healing the gut should be the primary focus of many autoimmune diseases today. This will go a long way in reducing the inflammatory and immune processes involved in such diseases. We need to ensure that we are treating the underlying cause and not just masking the symptoms!!
STEPS TOWARDS HEALING THE GUT:
1. Re-establish internal ecology and healthy intestinal flora with anti-fungals and probiotics (I really like the Pro-Bio Gold probiotic from Kirkman Labs, and this Four Strain Bifidobacteria or this Six Strain Probiotic Blend from Custom Probiotics). Take steps to eliminate candida issues.
2. Eat fermented foods such as yogurt, Kefir (read my previous post all about the benefits of Kefir), Natto, naturally fermented vegetables, sourdough bread (Sharon from The Fresh Loaf , The Sourdough Companion and Dr. Jean Layton of Gluten Free Doctor Recipes all have amazing Gluten Free Sourdough Bread recipes – although, as of this posting, I believe that Jean has yet not posted her actual recipe) , and Miso
3. Address nutritional deficiencies focusing on increasing antioxidant intake. Some good choices are: carotenoids, B complex. vitamin C, E, zinc, selenium, germanium, coenzyme Q10, bioflavinoids, especially quercetin, catechin, hesperidin, rutin and proanthocyanidins, pycnogonals, grape seed extract, pine bark extract, bilberry; herbs (I have my family on quite the array of supplements only after determining some deficiencies through bloodwork). I cannot suggest enough to have your doctor test you for vitamin deficiencies prior to starting a vigorous supplement regimen.
4. Change the diet to incorporate only natural and organic foods. Avoid Genetically Modified Foods (GMO’s). Although it is not 100% assurance, buying organic as much as possible will help reduce exposures to them.
5. Eliminate all processed foods, refined sugars, and refined white flours from the diet.
6. Include quality soluble and insoluble fiber into the diet. Fiber ensures that bulk is formed in the colon and toxic wastes are absorbed and gently eliminated. Fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes. and whole sprouted grains (preferably gluten free) are all good choices.
7. Remove hard to digest proteins such as gluten and dairy from the diet. James Braley, M.D. and Ron Hoggan, M.A wrote the book Dangerous Grains, an excellent resource to discuss the negative health impact that gluten-containing grains can have on the body.
8. Add in digestive enzymes to the diet to aid in proper food breakdown (this is what saved my son from a never-ending cycle of constipation, after trying everything else). My favorite site for all information about digestive enzymes is EnzymeStuff.com.
9. Enhance the mucosal lining of the stomach. Supplements such as: betain and pepsin, glutamic acid, stomach bitters, apple cider vinegar, Slippery Elm, Marshmallow Root, and amino acids – L-glutamine, and N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG) are all very helpful. One that our family takes that is excellent for supporting healthy gastrointestinal mucosa is Kirkman Labs Gastromune AI Support – Hypoallergenic.
10. Increase consumption of essential fatty acids such as: fish oils and GLA, Coconut Oil, milled flax, flax seed oil, chia seeds, evening primrose oil, borage oil, olive oil, fish oil, black current seed oil; soluble fiber – pysillium seed husks and powder, apple and citrus pectin, the rice derived gamma oryzanol
11. Avoid Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and antibiotics whenever possible. Both can contribute to intestinal permeability tremendously.
12. Try a Rotation Diet – Food-Allergy.org has an excellent “How-to” about Rotation diets. This is especially helpful for those with multiple overt food allergies, because it is likely that you may also have slight, subclinical allergies to many other foods which you consider safe. Eating these foods on a rotated basis reduces your exposure to them and hopefully will help preserve your tolerance for them.
13. Increase Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is often considered as an anti-allergy vitamin. It can help to stabilize mast cells that often trigger the release of histamine and other allergy mediating chemicals.
14. Consider making your own bone broths. Homemade broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine. The minerals in broth are easily absorbed by the body. It supplies the amino acids that help the body detoxify. The gelatin in it helps to coat the digestive tract. It is so beneficial for joint health, asthma, cancer patients, immune system health, cold, flu, sore throat, digestive problems (such as inflammatory bowel disease), and so many other health conditions. It is also so easy to make.
15. Investigate alternatives such as homeopathy.
This only touches on the topic. I could elaborate thoroughly about each of these tips and add so many more. If you have the time, one of my favorite threads on the Mothering.com forums is one that they made as a permanent resource – There is more information here than you could imagine on this “Healing The Gut Cheat Sheet”.
So, once again, these tips, although not brain science, are so crucial to our health. You do not have to do all of them all of the time. Pick the few that sound do-able. You can add more into your lifestyle as you feel comfortable. Then…Live Them. Share Them. Encourage others to do the same.
If you like what you see here and do not want to miss a post, don’t forget to subscribe to my feed or have my recipes delivered directly to your inbox (you can enter your email address at the top of the page).