Gut Health

October 26, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Health, Science | 8 Comments
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All disease begins in the gut.
–- Hippocrates

An average-sized human body comprises over 37 trillion cells. Most of them specialize and work in groups, like as skin, muscle or organ, for the common good. Our digestive system breaks food down into proteins and nutrients that cells need to function and communicate. However, good digestion requires the support of a wide range of microbes that live in our gut. They estimate there is 10x more microbes living in our gut than cells in the body.

‘Gut health’ is a term increasingly used in the medical literature and by the food industry. It covers multiple positive aspects of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as the effective digestion and absorption of food, the absence of GI illness, normal and stable intestinal microbiota, effective immune status and a state of well-being.
research paper

Our gut has turned out to have more neurons that our brain, leading to the term “gut brain”. The gut is also a central part of our immune system.

The microbes help us and we support them. But if some of them get carried away and overpopulate, we need to bring them back into balance.

For example, if we have too much sugar (including low quality carbs) in our diet, microbes like yeast (candida) become excessive. The yeast signals a demand for more sugar and we crave it. But anything in excess overwhelms the other microbes and throws the gut balance off. What we need to properly digest other foods is reduced.

This is chronic for some people. Too far out of balance and GI issues migrate to other parts of the body causing skin problems (thrush, age spots, rashes, adult acne), yeast infections, bloating, food and chemical sensitivities, bad breath, chronic fatigue, allergies, reduced immune function, stubborn gut fat, reduced serotonin (happiness), and so forth. Every piece of research I looked at had still more that could be added to this list.

This process can lead to the gut barrier being compromised, leaking particles into the blood stream and on into places they don’t belong. Known as “leaky gut”, this leads to increased infections, inflammatory problems, metabolic disorders and intestinal diseases. Research suggests gut imbalance can have a key role in autoimmune diseases.

Our modern diet has a few foods said to cause the most trouble with gut health.

1 – azodicarbonamide – an additive to whiten flour that is banned in the EU and other places but legal in N. America. It’s widely used in fast food buns.
2 – diet soda – the artificial sweeteners. Yeast loves all sweeteners.
3 – coffee – due to its acidity. Even worse with added sugar, especially found in fancy coffees.
4 – alcohol – kills friendly microbes

You may recognize some of these from the cancer risk list too.

A lean chicken burger and diet soda isn’t as healthy as you might think. More so if this is your regular diet.

Another thing to mess with gut health is antibiotics. They are very useful for bringing problem microbes under control but do this by cutting a wide swath. It’s thus important to restore our microbiome after taking antibiotics. NSAIDs like aspirin and Advil can also cause trouble.

The effect of ciprofloxacin [an antibiotic] on the gut microbiota was profound and rapid, with a loss of diversity and a shift in community composition occurring within 3–4 d[oses] of drug initiation. By 1 wk after the end of each course, communities began to return to their initial state, but the return was often incomplete.
research paper

If we restore gut balance, the many symptoms subside. However, starving the sugar-loving yeast can take several months. Even if we fast for a few days and break the sugar craving, until gut balance is restored, there will be a much greater tendency to “fall off the wagon” on diets, etc.

To restore gut health, you need sources of healthy microbes like:
1) Kefir
2) fermented veggies like Sauerkraut or Kimchi
3) probiotic supplements

Probiotic yogurt is a popular solution these days but commercial yogurt is usually pasteurized for longevity, killing the microbes. Most also have added sugar.

Ironically, if you have a yeast issue, fermented foods like sauerkraut may cause more bloating. They become more suitable after some balance is restored for maintaining balance.

Thus, a supplement is a good idea to restore gut health. You want one with billions of microbes and a number of strains. Somewhat like a good multivitamin.

(Unless you have a specific issue like Crohn’s that is better served by very specific strains.)

My local health food store recommended a more expensive one with more strains and numbers for post-antibiotics but a regular one for general restoration.

These probiotic supplements don’t last for more than a couple of weeks in the gut but they “elbow out” the bad guys and give the chance for beneficial microbes to get reestablished.

When you begin a supplement, it’s common to notice quick changes with digestion and elimination. Even with a colicky baby for a supplementing nursing mother.

Foods recommended to feed your gut flora (called prebiotic) included whole oranges, bananas, artichokes, yams, lentils and garlic. Overall, you want a diet emphasizing whole foods with a plant base for optimum health.
David

8 Comments »

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  1. Hi David!
    A good way of quickly reducing candida in the intestines is to eat clay (i mean the clay you can buy in the health stores; do not know what the exact name is in english). It binds with the yeast and carries it out. Have read a science paper several years ago and that works very quickly. And then probiotics etc.
    Also a problem is chronic microdoses of antibiotics that come from normal meat.

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    • Hi Michael
      I’ve heard of that but have never tried it. And yes, we do get exposed to antibiotics and hormones in all kinds of ways but especially through our modern food supply.

      On the other hand, getting anxious or paranoid about food would have a worse effect. So the idea is to be informed about food choices and favour what will support our health.

      It’s also worth noting that we don’t all have the same physiology nor live in the same climate. Not to mention our own needs evolve with aging. Thus diet and lifestyle can be an experimental process, evolving to meet the current need.

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      • Totally right!!

        15 years ago i was a “diet nerd” (doing rawfoods etc.) and i saw healing of a lot of diseases with alternativ medicine and diet. However, they had to stay on the alternativ diets and whatever alternativ medicine they were taking or the symptomes would come back.
        Now, with emotional integration of the deep childhood structures hidden within our personality i see miracolous healings that last. Have seen the healing of lifelong recurring candida and yeast infections within days after the child structure was fully experienced.
        It seems to me now that a lot of symptoms of disease are “attention signs” of the unintegrated child and once it is seen (the structure fully felt) the symptoms disapear.
        Though i really like Browns work (as you know😉 i have begun to realize that he understands this work much deeper and as i came deeper i saw that he has hints in his work that point to this deeper understanding of this stuff. It is not just releasing of blockages….more like an Art of integration of split off early child parts which leads to being able to really nurture oneself.

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      • Ah, interesting observation. I’ve experimented with various diets over the years but not raw or vegan.

        Myself, I tend to refer to healing as past rather than childhood as some goes further back. Because it changes the energy balance and releases rigidity, it can have all sorts of effects we may not anticipate.

        Agreed – as some would say dis-ease.

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  2. I am with you there David!
    From my experience with myself and others this aspect has become more prominent. That of not aknowledged parts that want attention and use physical symptoms to get attention (this is not meant totally literal though; but almost :-)…and at the same time this is a blockage.
    And in my experience of past life stuff…..that is mostly undigested because it was the unintegrated child in the past life….🙂
    Will fly to london today and come back on Monday. London has so much different foods available….looking forward to that 😉

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    • Yes- all the tricks of awareness to make things more conscious – if we’re willing.
      I’m off for a weekend retreat myself. Enjoy the Isles!

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      • Enjoy!!!
        Being a little shocked how much here in the UK humans are being replaced by machines. Passportcontrol: machines. Paying things in a Supermarket: machines. Less humans more machines. Strange!

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      • Yep. Ordering food in a restaurant too. And soon driving your car (a machine running a machine) and more…

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