Go with your GUT + A Four Letter Word
HOPE: 'A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen'.
… and one of the BEST four letter words in our vocabulary. When we believe there is HOPE or expectation for something to happen, it is far more likely that it will happen. Without hope we give up, 'there is no hope'. It is one of the most important feelings I believe we can nurture both within ourselves and within those around us.
Sometimes when we are ill or loved ones are ill or have been given a diagnosis it is hard to have hope, especially when we're told 'there's nothing you can do', as we were told when our daughters foot stopped developing. But the one thing we always had was hope & a strong belief in the bodies innate ability to heal, given the right tools and fuels.
Which brings me to my favourite topic - Our Guts!
Hippocrates said, 'All disease begins in the gut'.
If our gut is the cause of all disease, maybe we can fix it? When we consider this, it's empowering and gives hope. We know it's important to 'Go with our Gut'. Now there's even more reason before to… 'Go with our Gut'.
2 Things Necessary for A Healthy Gut.
There are two closely related areas that determine our gut health;
1. Our healthy gut flora (the good bugs)!
2. A functional gut barrier. The gatekeeper that decides what gets in and what stays out.
You're probably familiar with this, but you may not be so familiar with the devastating implications to our health of these two not functioning optimally? With reference to the research and work of Dr Chris Kresser I explore these 2 areas more closely below.
1. Our Gut Flora
Our guts contain 10 times more bacteria than ALL the human cells in the entire body. That's a whole lot of bacteria. With this much bacteria, I reckon they must have an important role to play... but ... we do our best to get rid of these good 'bugs'. We have to stop. Here's just a snapshot of what they do;
- promote normal gastrointestinal function
- protect from infection
- regulates metabolism and
- comprises 75% of our immune system!
Dis-functional gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoiummune conditions like Hashimoto's, bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.
We must respect, nurture and nourish our good bugs. Our optimum health depends on it.
As I've covered in previous newsletters some of the modern lifestyle choices we make that affect our gut flora include:
- antibiotics and other medications
- diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
- wheat and industrial seed oils can contribute to leaky gut
- chronic infections
2. The Gut Barrier
One of the most important functions of the gut is to prevent foreign substances entering the body. When the gut barrier becomes permeable (i.e. leaky gut), large protein molecules escape into the blood. Since these proteins don't belong outside the gut, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them.
'Experts in mucosal biology e.g. Alessio Fasano, M.D. now believe leaky gut is a precondition to developing autoimmune diseases'
A new theory holds that the intestinal barrier can determine whether we tolerate or react to toxic substances we ingest from the environment. The breach of the gut barrier (which is only possible with 'leaky gut') by food toxins like gluten or other toxins causes an immune response which affects not only the gut, but other organs and tissues e.g. the skeletal system, the pancreas, the kidney, liver and the brain. It can manifest as skin problems e.g. eczema or psoriasis, heart failure,autoimmune affecting thyroid or the joints, mental illness and more.
You don't have to have gut symptoms to have a leaky gut.
|The Liver: It's important to mention the Liver with leaky gut. Leaky gut puts an extra burden on the Liver. It allows extra toxins to circulate through the blood-stream. When the liver is bombarded by these irritants, it has less energy to neutralise chemical substances and do it's job efficiently. The liver then stores these toxins it can't deal with in fat cells. If the liver has time or capacity later, it can deal with the stored toxins, but usually it's busy dealing with what's new coming in. Our livers today are so bombarded it's difficult for them to do their job. Therefore it's essential to support the liver and reduce the total body load of toxins so it can do its good work. Elizabeth Lipski, Clinical Nutritionist.
Summary: Leaky gut and bad gut flora are common because of our modern lifestyles. if you have a leaky gut, you probably have bad gut flora and vice versa and we MUST rebuild our healthy gut flora and restore the integrity of our gut barrier.
Some steps to start restoring or maintaining your gut health:
- remove all toxins including foods that can hamper digestion e.g. gluten & processed foods
- eat fermented foods
- treat any intestinal pathogens or microbial infections
- manage your stress
- add in healing whole foods such as vegetables, (especially greens) and the magic elixir, organic home made bone stock.
Leaky gut is a very real condition that many of us can suffer from, and often without realising it - including myself. I will be sharing the steps I'm taking to heal my gut another time, (but I can say, I've been feeling a whole lot better and have learnt a whole lot more).
If you are a parent with children, and any of the following situations have occurred then either the gut flora has been compromised (or destroyed) or it hasn't been promoted (fed);
- they didn't have a natural birth
- they were given antibiotics and not treated with probiotics following the medication
- were unable to breastfeed for any length of time
… then it's critical to 'play catchup' and help restore their gut health. In my 7 week e-course, 'Our Happy Children' I share 5 fundamental principles necessary for children to thrive in our modern day lives. Check out the details here.
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease or ongoing illness and you haven't seriously checked out your gut, make sure you do. Testing can be done with a good holistic Doctor or your Naturopath, alongside adding in beautiful, nourishing healing whole foods. Have hope. Keep trying. Don't give up.
Information sourced from Dr Chris Kresser: http://chriskresser.com