Heal Your Gut Heal Your Body
It's Time to Purify
Heal Your Gut Heal Your Body
Cleansing (also known as detoxification) has been a central part of natural healing in many traditions for thousands of years. Traditional healers and herbalists have observed that improving bowel elimination improves overall health. They knew that if waste material was retained too long in the body, it caused autointoxication, a condition where waste material was absorbed into the body causing ill health.
Anecdotal evidence supports this idea. People who have done colon cleansing report they have more energy, experience less pain and enjoy a clearer mind and better emotional mood after a good cleanse. Until recently, modern medicine completely dismissed the idea that bowel health played a critical role in overall health. In their view, if the bowels moved once every three or four days that was OK. As long as elimination occurred at regular intervals that you were “regular.”
Modern Medicine is Finally Recognizing The Importance of Intestinal Health
Fortunately, research has started to emerge that validates the importance of gut health to overall health. It is demonstrating that autointoxication is a real problem. It’s just been given a new name – leaky gut. Leaky gut isn’t a medical diagnosis yet, but the research mounting that it exists and that is contributes to numerous health problems.
The research suggests that leaky gut may be involved in all of the following:
Frequent gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome
Allergies, asthma and chronic sinus problems
Autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (the most common cause of low thyroid), rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
Depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity
Chronic skin conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema
Multiple food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances
Arthritis, joint or muscle pain
So, if you have any of these problems, healing your gut may be an important key to recovering your health. The information in this newsletter will help you understand what leaky gut and autointoxication is, what causes it and how to heal it.
Understanding Your Body’s Borders
The skin and the mucus membranes (which like the respiratory passages and gastrointestinal tract) are protective barriers for the body. They constitute the first line of immune defense. In particular, the cells lining the small intestines are considered the “sifters and sorters.” They have to sift through the things you eat and sort out what gets assimilated and what gets eliminated.
Understanding Leaky Gut
As shown in the illustration below, when the cells lining the intestinal tract are healthy, they are packed, forming a barrier that only allows molecules of completely digested food to be absorbed. These nutrients include simple sugars (monosaccharides), amino acids from protein, fatty acids and glycerol (from fats), and vitamins and minerals. Other materials are blocked from being absorbed.
If the gaps between these cells widen, things that shouldn’t be absorbed can enter the blood and lymph. These can pass between the gaps (pancellular) or through the damaged intestinal cells (transcellular).
These larger molecules include partially digested proteins or large protein fragments. These proteins act as allergens and the immune system reacts to them as foreign invaders. Inflammation is triggered and antibodies are produced to tag the foreign proteins for destruction. The antibodies prime the immune system to react to these proteins in the diet creating allergic reactions or food sensitivities.
The enlarged gap also allow pathogens (viruses, bacteria, yeast and maybe even some parasites) to get past the intestinal lining. This further triggers immune reactions and inflammation. The inflammation can further damage the intestinal lining and increase its permeability.
Leaky Gut Causes Systemic Inflammation
Damaged intestinal cells are less efficient in extracting nutrients, which leads to nutritional deficiencies. In addition, the material absorbed from the gut enters the blood stream and is transported to the liver, which has to filter it. The excess burden of pathogens and food allergens stresses the liver, which contributes to further health problems.
Ultimately, all of this leads to systemic inflammation, as allergens, toxins and pathogens are spread throughout the body. This is what traditional healers called autointoxication.
The end result is pain, allergic reactions, chronic inflammation and autoimmune reactions in various tissues. In short, a breakdown of the intestinal lining adversely affects the health of the body as a whole, just as natural healers have known for centuries.
Trigger for Leaky Gut
Researchers discovered that a hormone called zonulin is responsible for determining how wide the gaps are between intestinal cells. Zonulin opens the gaps when infection or parasites are present so white blood cells can move in to fight the invaders.
Researchers have discovered that two key factors increase the release of zonulin.
First, more zonulin is released when there is an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in the small intestines, or an imbalance in the type of microbes in the gut. This condition, known as dysbiosis, will trigger more zonulin production. This leads to a widening of the gaps allowing white blood cells to move into the intestines to fight the infection.
Second, zonulin is released by a protein called gliadin, which is found in grains that contain gluten, such as wheat, rye and barely. It’s been known that people with Celiac’s disease are genetically unable to handle gluten as it inflames and destroys their intestinal lining, but recently many people who don’t have Celiac’s disease have started becoming intolerant of gluten.
As people’s intestines become more irritated, they become more gluten intolerant because it aggravates leaky gut and increases autointoxication. Elevated zonulin levels have been confirmed in people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma, multiple sclerosis, type one diabetes and Crohn’s disease.
Healing the Gut
Traditional colon cleansing was primarily focused on increasing elimination via the bowels is using fiber and herbal laxatives. This may be a useful first step in healing the intestinal tract, but it is no longer sufficient to restore gut health. Three more steps must be taken to help heal the intestinal tract and eliminate the leaky gut and the autointoxication it causes.
Here is the process for reducing leaking gut and gut inflammation, healing the intestinal membranes and ultimately improving overall health and well-being.
Improve elimination by making sure the bowels are moving properly.
Eliminate irritants by avoiding food allergens and other substances that irritate and inflame.
Balance gut flora by taking substances to knock down unfriendly bacteria, yeast or parasites; then take probiotics to encourage a healthy intestinal flora.
Nourish the intestines by taking herbs and nutrients that reduce gut inflammation and tone the colon by tightening the gaps between the intestinal cells.
We will look at each of these steps more closely.
If your colon transit time is slow, you need to start by improving elimination. Colon transit time is the time it takes for the waste material from the food you eat to exit the body. A healthy transit time is about 18-24 hours. This means that in 25 hours or less, your body should eliminate what it didn’t absorb from a meal.
Unfortunately, the average colon transit time by taking a few ounces of liquid chlorophyll or eating some red beets and checking how long it takes for the green (chlorophyll) or the red (beets) color to show up in your stool. If it takes longer than 24 hours, or if you have less than one bowel movement per day, you should start your gut healing program with a two week Colon Cleansing Program. Like a Clean Start.
A good colon cleanse will have a Lower Bowel Formula, LB containing herbs like cascara sagrada, buckthorn and Turkey rhubarb. It will also have a good Blood Purifier Formula containing alteratives like red clover, burdock, yellow dock, dandelion, black walnut and Oregon grape root. The cleanse should also contain some form of fiber such as psyllium hulls and/or bentonite clay.
For reasons we've already pointed out, grains containing gluten, such as wheat, rye and barley should be avoided while trying to heal leaky gut, but there are other substances that you should avoid in order to help the gut heal. Refined sugars, like white table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, should also be avoided as they feed bacterial and yeast overgrowth, which also directly contributes to increased zonulin levels and leaky gut.
One should also avoid substances that disrupt the friendly flora or can potentially increase intestinal inflammation. These include a variety of drugs (antibiotics, birth control pills, NSAIDs and chemotherapy agents), pesticides, food additives and genetically modified foods (GMOs). It’s also wise to eliminate any food allergens. Dairy, for instance, is problematic for many people, as are soy, nuts, eggs, nightshades, citrus fruits and shellfish.
Balance Gut Flora
If you have a lot of belching, bloating, intestinal gas or IBS, you probably need to balance your gut flora. There are several supplements that can help knock down the unfriendly bacteria and yeast.
First, research suggests that berberine, an alkaloid found in many herbs traditionally used to fight infection, will help to control intestinal bacteria and reduce intestinal inflammation. One berberine containing herb is goldenseal, which has a long history of use for intestinal infections and diarrhea caused by giardia. Goldenseal also helps tone up the gut membranes. Berberine or goldenseal are particularly helpful if you frequently experience acid indigestion.
Second, cinnamon has a strong antimicrobial action and is an astringent that will tone up the gut membranes. A Blood Sugar Cinnamon Balancing Formula containing cinnamon, nopal and the inulin-containing herbs like dandelion and burdock, can be used to reduce sugar cravings, balance intestinal flora and tone up intestinal membranes. This is particularly helpful if you crave sugar and have high blood sugar.
Finally, if your symptoms are severe you may wish to do a two week Yeast Cleanse Program, containing herbs like pau d’arco and oregano, along with caprylic acid. This can help to control yeast like Candida as well as an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
After knocking down the bad bacteria, take a good Probiotic Supplement along with prebiotics. Inulin is a prebiotic found in many herbs traditionally used to improve overall health such as dandelion, burdock and chickory root. It is also found in the Gut Healing Formula described in step four.
Nourish the Intestines
There are a number of herbs and nutrients that can help to heal the gut lining after transit time is improved, irritants are eliminated and the gut flora is balanced. Here are some important ones to consider:
Glutamine is a very important amino acid needed by the body in large quantities. Although it is synthesized from glutamic acid, it is often needed in larger quantities than the body can synthesize. It’s the most abundant amino acid in the blood stream and in your skeletal muscles. It’s also in the Krebb’s cycle to produce energy in the mitochondria.
Glutamine is so important to the body that it actually has specific ways to taste it’s presence in food. The taste buds responsible for the meaty or savory taste of meat, bone broth and mushrooms (called umami in Japanese) are triggered by glutamine. This is why the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been used as a flavor enhancer in foods. Of course, MSG is a salt of glutamine and is not the same as l-glutamine.
Although it’s found in plant and animal proteins, glutamine is especially plentiful in bone broth, grass fed beef, spriulina and whey protein. L-glutamine is critical for gut health and supplementation with l-glutamine or foods rich in it has been shown to help repair leaky gut and reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory diseases like ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It also reduces food sensitivities.
In addition, glutamine is important for brain health. It is used to create the neurotransmitters glutamine and GABA are associated with problems like epilepsy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and alcohol addiction.
Finally, l-glutamine can aid in athletic performance, improve recovery after exercise and help to build bones and muscles. It also has benefits in reducing sugar and carbohydrate cravings.
When taking large quantities of l-glutamine (2-5 grams) for more than a couple of weeks, it’s important to also take B-vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 as it helps the body process glutamine.
Gut Healing Formula
You can take l-glutamine as part of a Gut Healing Formula, that is UltraBiome Builder,
that contains 2500 mg. of l-glutamine per serving along with various fibers (psyllium hulls, apple fiber, flax seed, acacia gum and guar gum) and inulin (a pre-biotic mentioned earlier). The blend contains several herbs and nutrients that reduce inflammation, including green tea leaf extract, rosemary, turmeric and grape seed extract. It also contains olive leaf, which helps to fight infection and sodium copper chlorophyllin (chlorophyll), which helps the body detoxify many chemicals and acts as a natural deodorizer.
Mix one packet of the UltraBiome Gut Healing Formula with 9 ounces of water and take between meals on an empty stomach once or twice daily. The program not only helps to balance the gut microbiome and tone up leaky gut, it can also help the body detoxify heavy metals and other chemicals.
Other Herbs and Nutrients for Leaky Gut
There are several herbs that help reduce intestinal inflammation and/or tone up the gaps between intestinal cells. These include pau d’arco, cat’s claw, turmeric, kudzu and black walnut. They can be taken as single herbs or as part of a Gut Toning Formula.
Fat soluble vitamins are helpful for protecting mucus membranes in both the GI and respiratory tract. Vitamin A has been shown to regulate the growth and differentiation of intestinal cells. Lower levels of vitamin A result in a reduced ability for intestinal membranes to resist infections. Vitamin A deficiency also increases severity of IBS symptoms.
A lack of vitamin D may also contribute to leaky gut, so a Vitamin A and DSupplement may also be beneficial for improving gut health.
There is some research suggesting zinc may be helpful for leaky gut. Zinc is important for the immune system and wound healing and is a common nutritional deficiency, especially in men.
Iodine is also important for gut health and seaweeds like kelp and dulse, which are naturally rich in iodine and other minerals, have been used to improve GI tract health as well.
- Sunshine Sharing, Steven Horne
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