Gut Health

Having healthy gut will help the body prevent and heal many chronic diseases such as allergies, asthma, thyroid disorders, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, oesophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, anxiety, depression, eczema, psoriasis, autoimmune diseases. The gut can not perform properly its function when it leaks and its micro biota is in disequilibrium. The cause is usually due to – not being breastfed at birth – unhealthy diet – bad eating habit – physical , emotional and mental stress and – frequent use of antibiotics . Using bovine colostrum, black cumin seed oil, fermented foods, changing diet and eating habit and changing lifestyle can help restore and protect our gut health and free us from many chronic diseases including those mentioned above.

Digestive tract (gut) function in brief

The gut’s primary function is to make suitable nutrients from foods and drink we consume (digestion), feed them into blood stream (absorption of nutrients), prevent unwanted matters from entering the blood and eliminate undigested matters ( excretion). 90% of digestion and absorption is performed in the small intestine. The lining of the healthy intestine is one cell thick with tight junctions to allow only appropriate nutrients into the blood while keeping large molecules out. The digestive system needs both healthy gut and good gut flora (micro biota) to work effectively. The gut microbiome contains tens of trillions micro organisms (virus and bacteria) which communicate with the brain. It has at least 1000 kinds of micro-organisms with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes). It weighs in total up to 2 kilos. Most microorganisms in the gut are friendly and not harmful to our body. A third of our microbiome are the same while 2 thirds are particular or unique to each person. Gut bacteria are essential for our body with many important roles including:

• Helping to produce hormones, like serotonin, for example

• Aiding in the extraction of energy (calories) and nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and antioxidants

• Managing our appetite and body weight

• Digesting fiber which helps form stool

• Controlling our moods, motivation and cognitive health

• Preventing us from catching colds and viruses

• Helping repair damaged tissues and injuries.

A healthy gut has more friendly bacteria than bad bacteria. When there are more bad bacteria than good bacteria, gut health is in trouble. This condition of “dysbiosis” often happens after a course of antibiotics. Research shows that after a week of antibiotics treatment it takes up to a year to restore normal gut micro biota. The majority of germs live in the large intestine while the small intestine is usually sterile. But when the germs sneak up into the small intestine and proliferate there, the gut microbiota becomes unhealthy creating a condition called “Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth” (SIBO), one of the main causes of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and can contribute to leak gut condition.

Leaky gut in adults

When the lining of the intestine is damaged or leaks, the tight junctions become loose allowing toxins and large molecules to enter the blood stream. The body’s organs are invaded. The immune system is mobilised to fight back. The battle is raging all over the body, causing casualties, weakening and damaging its organs. Inflammation spreads all over the body, antihistamines are sent out. All sort of abnormal symptoms surface, especially skin and respiratory allergies.

Certain incidents can cause leaky gut. The first and most common incident happens when we eat food containing gluten, a protein in wheat , barley , rye , spelt, flour, farina, couscous. Gluten increases the protein zonulin, a substance that loosens intestinal tight junctions.

The second is when in the gut we have undigested food, harmful food. Eating on the go, or in a rush does not give enough time for the food to be digested. The result is intestinal inflammation. Inflammation is like fire. It starts burning and causing damage to intestinal tight junctions causing leaky gut.. Undigested food particles, bacteria, yeast and things like that go into the blood. All of the body including the brain, inflammation is activated to resist aggression.

The immune system normally can heal gut damages during sleep if the condition is limited. However if we keep consuming gluten food, or frequently eating in a hurry and do not give enough time (at least 12 hours) for the digestion to rest, the immune system can not heal daily gut damage. Thirdly, when we have mental, emotional and physical stress, the body secretes cortisol, which reduces healing DHEA and growth hormones hormone. Cortisol reduces IGA (immunoglobins) in all viscous membranes of the body, particularly in the gut, the role of which is to prevent proliferation of parasites , micro-organisms and fungal. Therefore, It essential to reduce all types of stress to avoid risks of leaky gut.

Leaky gut in children

In recent years there have been so many children suffering food allergies and eczema due to leaky gut. It is mainly because many children are born by C- section, instead of natural birth. And they were not breast-fed in the first four or five days of life. Natural birth allows babies to absorb billions of good germs from the mother’s birth canal. Good bacteria from mothers are needed for the children’s life long immune system. Children born by C- section are deprived of bacteria for their digestive and immune systems. At birth, the newborns have intestine permeability or leaky gut by design. However the condition disappears after two days of feeding on colostrum – mother milk secreted first few days after giving birth – which contains growth factors to tighten the gut lining. In other words, after the first few days of having colostrum, breastfed babies no longer have leaky gut.

Babies not breastfed from birth miss the natural closing of leaky gut, therefore suffer leaky gut related diseases, especially food allergies and eczema. The good news is that this leaky gut condition can be healed by taking bovine colostrum, according to new research findings and clinical trials. As this new information is new and has not been widely known, it is unfortunate that too many children still suffer food allergies and eczema.

Symptoms and signs of leaky gut

-Food allergy is the most common sign and symptom of leaky gut.

• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain) and

• Inflammatory Bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease (diarrhea, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, anal bleeding, constipation, nausea, fever) and ulcerative colitis as severe leaky gut can occur in the large intestine.

• Autoimmune diseases like Lupus (when the immune system attacks the body’s tissues and organs), Multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, arthritis, psoriasis and ceczema.

• Thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s, thyroidisis, metabolic syndrome causing fatigue, depression, weight gaining, and obesity.

• Nutrient malabsorption causing deficiency in B12, magnesium and digestive enzymes.

• Brain disorders such as autism, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s.

In addition, the following signs may relate to leaky gut:

• Gastric ulcers

• Infectious diarrhea

• Celiac disease

• Esophageal and colorectal cancer

• Allergies

• Respiratory infections

• Acute inflammation conditions (sepsis, SIRS, multiple organ failure)

• Obesity-related metabolic diseases (fatty liver, Type II diabetes, heart disease)

• Propensity towards weight gain or obesity

Natural ways to heal leaky gut

1. Remove factors that may cause damages to the gut: First we should eat slowly with thorough chewing before swallowing. Do not eat on the run. Instead sit down, relax and enjoy eating. Secondly, let your digestive system rest at least 12 hours a day for healing.

Next, stop eating: – unsprouted grains and seeds – and GMOS animal and plant products • sugar added foods • refined vegetable oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, – chemically processed foods • Dairy products

2. Gut health supplements

Bovine or goat colostrum. Colostrum contains antimicrobial peptides, immune-regulating compounds and growth factors. It provides essential nutrients, regulates immune response, balances gut flora and improves tissue growth and healing. Clinical results confirm Colostrum’s effectiveness in healing leaky gut and related symptoms including psoriasis, acne, eczema, allergies in making skin look younger. Colostrum is available in almost every country in capsules and in powder.

Black cumin seed oil. Research and clinical trials show that black cumin seed oil can help heal leaky gut symptoms such as psoriasis, inflammation, inflammation, eczema, allergies, asthma or cough. The healing can be quick with children, but it may take 1-2 months for adults . (Please see the article black cumin seed oil). Recommended dosage is from 40 mg to 120 mg/ kg of body weight. It is better to try with small dose.

• Probiotics (approximately 50-100 billion live bacteria of CFU (colony forming unit) a day to help replenish good gut bacteria and reduce bad gut bacteria number.

• L-Glutamine-an essential amino acid supplement helps protect and heal the gut lining.

• Licorice root as extract powder or tea helps balance cortisol, improve stomach acid level and protect, heal throat mucus lining. Using 2 licorice tea bags per cup can quickly reduce reflux, bloating, abdominal pain and sticky sensation in the throat.

3. Increase in consumption of gut healing foods such as – bone or vegetable broth. It is been shown that 3-4 days of fasting with only bone or vegetable broth significantly improves autoimmune disease and leaky gut condition.

• Fermented vegetables and foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, yogurt, kombucha, fermented ginger. If you are still allergic to foods, please test each of them before consuming. These foods have lots of good gut bacteria and can replace the probiotics at a later stage of treatment.

• Coconut products-all coconut products are very good for the gut. Medium chain fatty acid in coconut oil is more easily digested than other fats and is good for the gut. Coconut yogurt or kefir is better than dairy yogurt for some people.

• Vegetables rich in soluble fiber are prebiotic, essential for nourishing and multiplying good gut bacteria: Beet root, beans, onion, garlic, apple, unripe banana, sweet potato, grain and seed sprouts, chilled cooked potatoes. It is better to start with cooked vegetables.

• Increased consumption of good fats such as egg yolks, avocados, cold pressed coconut oil, flax seed oil, wild caught fish – to a moderate level.

• Increased consumption of fruits of diverse variety with moderation daily 1-2 times, best time is the morning.

• Add ginger and turmeric in daily diet to enhance digestion including relief of bloating, reflux, and healing of intestinal and stomach lining.

4. Reduce mental, physical and emotional stress.

Breathing exercise, relaxation, mindfulness meditation, moderate physical exercise, praying, practice to be thankful, forgiving and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be used effectively to release stress thus reducing cortisol and inflammation that play an important role in gut disorders.

DISCLAIMER: This guide is for information purpose only and does not replace the advice of your physicians.

References

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Axe, J. The Leaky Gut Diet and Treatment Plan. Dr Axe Food is Medicine. Published: July 30, 2018

Bryant, T. Gluten: What One bite of Bread Can do. IBS & SIBO SOS Summit Colostrum. Sciencedaily. URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/colostrum.htm

Gundersen, M. 5 Ways Ginger Benefits Digestion. Gut Health Project. June 9, 2016. https://www.guthealthproject.com/5-ways-ginger-benefits-digestion/

Halasa et al. Oral Supplementation with Bovine Colostrum Decreases Intestinal Permeability and Stool Concentrations of Zonulin in Athletes. Nutrients. 2017 Apr; 9(4): 370. Published online 2017 Apr 8. doi: 10.3390/nu9040370 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409709/

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