HEALING A DAMAGED GUT
MAYBE EASIER THAN YOU THINK
Unfortunately, when people think of Gut Health, they tend to think of overt problems such as IBS, IBD, CONSTIPATION, etc. The truth is, the only way you are ever going to solve the overt problems is to deal with the Gut's covert problems, of which there are at least four --- Leaky Gut Syndrome, Parasites, Candida and Dysbiosis. Let's briefly touch on each.
- PARASITES: PARASITES are sort of an in-between category; not necessarily overt, but probably not completely covert either. Parasites are not difficult to test for if you run the right tests.
- SYSTEMIC CANDIDA OVERGROWTH: Candida is a YEAST INFECTION, which also happens to be a form of Dysbiosis (stick around for the last bullet point). Although it's caused by the same critters and same general process as vaginal yeast, don't confuse the two. What I am talking about here is systemic yeast that lives in your Gut, makes it's way into the blood stream, and circulates throughout your body. An almost sure sign that this is at least part of your problem is PATHOLOGICAL SUGAR / CARB CRAVINGS (an itchy anus is another sure tip off).
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: Due to CHRONIC INFLAMMATION, the small intestine can become more permeable than it should. In other words, particles (partially digested food makes up accounts for most of this, but there are any number of others) that should be kept out of the blood stream are allowed in, wreaking havoc on health. Your body sees these too-large particles as foreign, and mounts Immune System attacks against them. You can read more about LEAKY GUT SYNDROME by following the link. If you are chronically ill, you can bet your bottom dollar that you are dealing with some degree of this problem. There are several simple and inexpensive tests to determine if you have a Hyper-permeable Gut.
- DYSBIOSIS: 80% of your body's Immune System is found in the Gut --- mostly in the form of the bacteria that live there (HERE). These bacteria are collectively known as your "MICROBIOME" and despite what your doctor is telling you about this problem (probably nothing), it is arguably the single most critical aspect of your health. To learn more about DYSBIOSIS, just follow the link. BTW, dysbiois can also be tested for --- just follow the link under "Parasites" above.
Once you realize that it's highly likely you have one or more of these problems, the question becomes, "what do I do now?". Because knowledge is power, one of the best ways to start is by reading the links I provided. But today I am going to go a step farther and give you a brief overview of what it will take to heal your Gut --- no matter which problem(s) you happen to struggle with.
The easiest way to remember the process of fixing your Gut is to think of the four R's (Remove, Repair, Restore, Replace). This just means that you will be removing things from your diet or lifestyle (CIGARETTES or TRANS FATS for instance) that are destroying Gut Health, using specific foods / products to heal or repair your Gut, restoring the proper balance of good bacteria, and replacing weak STOMACH ACID, bile salts, DIGESTIVE ENZYMES, etc.
- START WITH A CLEANSE: Although I am not a fan of most commercial cleanses or long-term cleanses, kicking things off with a Master's Cleanse (lemonade cleanse -- read about it online) is beneficial for most people. I've done many of these myself, and it is frankly amazing how many aches and pains go completely away within a day or two. Be aware that there are people I greatly respect (DR. ART AYERS for instance) who do not recommend any sort of Bowel Cleanse as they feel these can be disruptive to Gut Flora. If your problem is some sort of Dysbiosis or SIBO, this is probably not a bad thing. Usually I suggest 3-5 days, as opposed to the standard ten days recommended by many.
- ELIMINATION DIET: Although there are all sorts of tests that can tell you if you are sensitive to this or that (Cyrex Labs has some excellent ones), I feel that the gold standard here is an ELIMINATION DIET.
- GO PALEO: Sugar not only feeds infections (HERE) and cancer (HERE), but feeds Dysbiois as well. Nothing does a better job of regulating / controlling blood sugar than the PALEO DIET. On top of that it cuts out virtually all reactive foods (you might need to double check yourself on NIGHTSHADES --- particularly if you are person who deals with lots of joint pain). A solid Paleo Diet is going to provide plenty of fodder for your Microbiome in the form of FIBER as well. I would also suggest that you think long and hard about consuming ample amounts of FERMENTED VEGETABLES (tons of internet info on how to make these yourself).
- CONSUME PLENTY OF HEALTHY FATS: This would fall under Paleo, but I will mention it as its own topic because most people (especially doctors) are still freaked out by DIETARY FAT (particularly if it's saturated) QUALITY FISH OILS are good for their anti-inflammatory properties, as is real, organic coconut oil (this stuff is almost magic, as long as you do not have SIBO). The coconut oil I have found to be most effective is the stuff that actually tastes like coconut.
- GET OFF THE GLUTEN: This would also fall under Paleo above, but it bears repeating ---- if you have any sort of Chronic Inflammatory Degenerative or Autoimmune Diseases (HERE, HERE, and HERE are lists), you have to get off GLUTEN period, end of story --- even if you are not a Celiac (HERE). This is because for decades the peer-reviewed literature has been heavily linking Gluten, Leaky Gut, and AUTOIMMUNITY to each other (HERE). And don't think for a moment that you can get by just by replacing your Gluten-containing junk with GLUTEN-FREE JUNK. Not only are most of these products terrible, they are virtually all made with CROSS-REACTORS. If you don't grasp Gluten Cross-Reactivity, read the link. Cross-reactivity means that you can go Gluten Free and still have problems because you have not dealt with the Cross Reactors.
- SUPPLEMENTS: Firstly, I'm not necessarily a fan of taking lots of supplements at this point --- particularly if they are not WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS. If you start looking online, there are people who suggest taking supplement X, Y, and Z (not to mention P, D, and Q) to heal a damaged Gut. I would rather keep things simple by using one or two products that have everything in them, as opposed to numerous individual nutrients. There are any number of products touted to heal a damaged Gut that I cannot vouch for simply because I have not used them. I mostly use Clearvite & Repairvite by Apex Energetics.
- GET OFF MEDICATIONS: I am here to hopefully get you to the point you can get off of your meds. I am not here to take you off of your meds --- that is the job of your doctor. However, you need to be aware that all medications destroy your Microbiome (HERE); with ANTIBIOTICS being the worst offender. If you are taking Antibiotics or have taken them at some point in your lifetime, you need to at least start browsing the link titles in this bullet point. Again, do not get off any medications without the knowledge and consent of your physician, but start contemplating / formulating / planning your own personal EXIT STRATEGY.
- BACTERIAL RESTORATION: Although most practitioners and patients tend to go in strong for this bullet point by going early and often to the PROBIOTICS, I prefer to take another route. I am not against a good HSO product (see the link above), but I do feel that there are better ways to restore bacteria (HERE is an example of one). Be warned that if you have major issues, Probiotics alone are not going to get it done for you (HERE). For those of you with many of the hardcore health issues mentioned earlier in the lists, you may have to start thinking about the next bullet point.
- FMT: I have written a number of posts on FMT (FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANT). For many of you who have tried the bullets above without fantastic results, this could be the solution you have been searching for. DO NOT simply blow this point off because it sounds gross. At least take the time to read the articles.
If this post sounds similar to my HOW TO FIX MOST CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS POSTS, it's because it is. No matter what is wrong with you, the first steps to getting your life back involve dealing with Chronic Inflammation and Gut Health. This alone is going to solve (or at least dramatically improve) most people's problems.