Jenn Albers - Functional Medicine Practitioner, Discussing The Importance Of Gut Health
“Gluten: A Gut Feeling”
Gut function is extremely important, and can be affected by something called "Leaky Gut Syndrome' (LGS). You may or may not have heard of it. Leaky Gut Syndrome is where the lining of your intestines have become more permeable, so it allows things like food particles and large molecules to permeate your system and create havoc with your immune system. It's also important in your gut function to be tested for parasites. Many people suffer from parasites and don't know it.
A lot of people who suffer from thyroid problems also suffer from irritable bowl syndrome (IBS). They have problems with constipation or diarrhea, or both. Rapairing your gut begins at the plate. Chronic inflammation is caused by poor diet. When you have increased intestinal permeability, another name for LGS, you will also have chronic inflammation, because a healthy GI tract is a tightly woven mesh of tissue that does not allow the absorption of bacteria, harmful foods, or undigested particles in the bloodstream. When you're suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome, this is exactly what's happening.
Once in the bloodstream, these particles are recongnized as foreign invaders or antigens, which cause immune system attacks. And, unfortunatelyfor many people, especially those with insulin resistance, this response happens almost every time they eat, resulting in chronic inflammation or irritable bowel syndrome. This sets the stage for development of an autoimmune disease such as Hashitmoto's or some other autoimmune problem.
So the first step in repairing the gut is to remove the foods that are creating a chronic immune response: gluten, soy, milk, egg, yeast. And then it's important to heal your body. And then you can heal your body with a 4R colon program, which means removing or eliminating problems - gluten, milk, soy, yeast, or parasites-inoculating, and using a probiotic. On a 4R colon program you can replace specific enzymes to repair your gut and utilize specific neurological compounds. This is why it's important to have healthy gut function in regards to treating your thyroid.
Over 2000 years ago Hippocrates famously coined the phrase, “All Disease Begins In The Gut”. In recent years we have realized the importance of this statement and how strongly our gut health does affect our mental, physical & spiritual health.
Here are a few quick facts on the human gut:
1. The human gut is home to over 100 trillion micro-organisms.
That is 10 times more bacteria in our guts than we have human cells in the entire body. A number that large is hard to comprehend … but can you imagine how much of an impact 100 trillion microorganisms can have on our health?
2. Our gut bacteria comprises more than 75% of our entire immune system.
Do you find yourself feeling sick and tired a lot of the time? Quite often our immune system has been weakened by a imbalance of proper gut bacteria, along with an overload of internal and external toxins. Simply correcting this microflora balance (ideally 85% good bacteria to 15% neutral bacteria) can heal up to 75% of your immune system that resides in the gut.
3. When our intestines become permeable, AKA “Leaky-Gut Syndrome”, we are at risk of developing various autoimmune conditions and other illnesses.
Health concerns such as IBS, Chrons Disease, and other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s and Type 1 Diabetes are steadily on the rise. Studies have shown that a weakened intestinal system, (and genetic coding), play a big role in why we may develop an autoimmune condition.
So what can we do? Here are 5 steps to restoring and maintaining a healthy gut.
1. Look before you flush.
What is your poo telling you? As a Colon Hydrotherapist I have spent a lot of time … well… analyzing poop! The most amazing part of working with a client on my table is seeing the before and after in their health and how closely it reflects in their poop. The truth really is in the stool. So pay attention.
Here is a Bristol Stool Chart to get you started.
2. Increase your stomach acidity.
One of the most common things I see on the colonic table is extremely undigested food. If we are not digesting our food properly we are not absorbing nearly enough nutrients & minerals … even if we are eating the most organic, local foods. A lack of stomach acid also allows for pathogens, parasites and ‘bad’ bacteria to pass into the intestines, causing digestive issues and health concerns.
Hydrochloric Acid is naturally produced in our stomach when we eat in order to break our food matter into “chyme” which is then passed into the small intestine for further digestion and absorption of nutrients. However our busy lifestyle and irregular eating schedule has caused this acid secretion to reduce substantially. Some studies also note that a lack of minerals in our food may be contributing to the lack of hydrochloric acid being produced. If your food is not being turned into a healthy chyme you will cause unnecessary stress on your entire digestive system. The most effective ways to increase your stomach acidity is by taking a digestive enzyme with hydrocholoric acid (betaine HCL) with meals, or taking 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or bitters with mealtime.
3. Incorporate Fermented Foods – Every Day.
Fermented foods are a great way to re-establish healthy gut flora, heal the intestines and immediately improve bowel health, mood and energy. I’ve found that fermented foods can be superior to taking probiotic pills/powders (as they can be more bio-available and therefore better utilized by the body). Beware of processed foods and packaged yogurts that claim to have probiotic benefits. Instead focus your efforts on finding raw, unpasteurized kimchi, sauerkraut, and other food items that are naturally fermented (or make them yourself!). Start by having 1 tbsp of fermented foods with each meal and slowly increase to ¼ cup with each meal. This will improve your digestion, nutrient absorption and promote proper bowel health.
4. Make Time For Your Meals. Sit, Relax and CHEW your food.
Our society is always on the go, and as a result the meals we have are often ate too fast, while driving, while working, etc. Mealtime is no long a sacred time to sit, relax and enjoy. For most of us, eating is an inconvenience that we simply don’t have time for anymore.
We need to get away from eating while in “fight or flight” mode and instead allow the proper time to honor ourselves and our health. Relaxing and paying attention to our food is one of the most important things we can do for our digestion. And chew, chew CHEW! It is recommended that eat bite of food is chewed at least 30 times before swallowing. Initially this will seem like an eternity. Even starting with chewing 15-20 times will make a huge difference for your digestion and reduce bloating & fatigue after eating.
5. Eat a Balanced Diet with Whole, Fiber-Rich Foods.
It is extremely important to eat a balanced diet including many plant fibers, healthy proteins, and oils from nuts, seeds and algae. Green smoothies are a great way to support digestive function and proper bowel health. Most importantly make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients from different types of foods and honor your intuition when it comes to what your body needs. Once you eliminate toxic, processed foods from your diet and work on healing and repairing your gut you will notice you are much more in tune with what your body needs and what nutrients you may be lacking in order to heal.
If you struggle with digestive issues and are looking for immediate change I recommend you start with these 5 things right away. And if you want to see the direct result of the changes you’re making… find a local colon hydrotherapist so you can really see what your poo is telling you!
How Gluten Triggers Leaky Gut
According to some experts interviewed in the featured video,“Gluten: A Gut Feeling”, including Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research in Massachusetts, mankind did not evolve to eat gluten and therefore cannot digest it properly.
Research suggests the human gut views gluten as a foreign invader against which it must mount an immune response, and Fasano believes this is true for everyone.
However, that doesn’t mean everyone must avoid gluten. Most people, he says, can handle gluten without clinical consequence. Others are not so lucky. People with autoimmune disorders are particularly at risk for complications.
Sixteen years ago, Fasano and his team found that gluten can stimulate a molecule in your gut called zonulin — a protein that triggers the opening of junctures between the cells in your gut lining.
In essence, it makes your gut more permeable, allowing food particles to escape into your bloodstream, causing inflammation, immune reactions and raising your risk of various autoimmune disorders. This is known as leaky gut syndrome, and you don’t have to have celiac disease to suffer the consequences of leaky gut.
Note that types #1 and #2 indicate constipation, types #3 and #4 are the ideal stools, and #5, #6 and #7 are typically considered diarrhea.
If you're serious about getting healthy, if you're serious about correcting your thyroid problem, you need to change your diet. You need to eat healthy; you need to eliminate junk food; you need to taking essential fatty acids (EFA's), especially fish oil based EFA's, and especially high quality fish-oil-based EFA's.