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The USA is truly a nation of gut grief. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 50 million people annually seek medical help for disorders of the digestive system as their primary diagnosis.
Major gastrointestinal challenges today include non hygienic food handling, imported toxins within our food supply, and a growing list of environmental pollutants and genetically modified frankenfoods. Daily, 200,000 of us suffer from food poisoning alone—and that’s the number with a more definitive diagnosis. Millions more may be affected but don’t know it because they just write their GI distress as “stress.”
Gut grief symptoms range from simple stomach aches and digestive bloat to heartburn, GERD (acid reflux), severe constipation, recurring diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, spastic colon and diverticulitis. Stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease are at the very serious end of the gut grief spectrum.
The four major root causes of all this misery are yeast overgrowth, parasite infections, superbug attacks (pathogenic bacteria resistant to antibiotics) and food sensitivities, exacerbated by improper diet and poor eating habits. The “Big Four” often lead to improper digestion, nutritional deficiency and a panoply of distressing symptoms which often mystify both sufferers and clinicians.
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS offers expert advice designed to address gut grief at its deepest source. The keys to this tried-and-true healing wisdom mesh the fortification of our system against pathogens and parasites, the elimination of accumulated toxins and the nourishment of every tissue, cell, and organ of the body. These basic steps can help to resolve much discomfort and make us feel lighter, cleaner, healthier and more vital.
Before gastrointestinal upset and dysfunction of any kind can be fully addressed, we must recognize that a healthy gastrointestinal tract depends on a healthy microbiome, commonly referred to as “good bacteria,” or probiotics. Without a microbiome, humans would not exist. Period. This amazing community of internal living creatures are integral to our immune responses, proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
The microbiome helps manufacture life-supporting substances such as enzymes, vitamins, hormones, and neurotransmitters. It removes toxins, controls hormones, regulates blood sugar levels, promotes quality sleep, influences hunger hormones, regulates stress and modulates (turns on and off) the expression of our genes. The microbiome determines how efficiently our organs work, and would you believe, it even determines how we look—healthy or otherwise.
Amazingly, our microbiome requires a balance of probiotics and pathogenic bacteria to function properly, with good bacteria mitigating the effects of the bad. When a balanced diversity decreases, otherwise beneficial bacteria can lose their counterbalance, and their unchecked action in the body can turn them pathogenic.
Ann Louise tells us: “Modern microbiomes have found themselves in a state of despair. In a healthy gut, probiotic cells would number around 100 billion to 1,000 billion per millimeter of the digestive tract. This number ensures that good probiotics have a majority strong enough to maximize their ability to protect your health. Today, many Americans have probiotic counts as low as 5 per milliliter. Not 5 billion—just 5!” She says that there are numerous reasons for this microbiome holocaust, including the overuse of antibiotics, energetically dead foods, plus lifestyles hostile to beneficial microbes, for example: high stress, lack of sleep, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
A deficient and unhealthy microbiome reduces our gut to an undefended wasteland ideal for the establishment of the big four gut corruptors: yeast overgrowth, parasite infections, superbug dominance and food sensitivities. This is because the microbiome is actually the foundation of our complex immune system. About 70 to 80 percent of our immune system resides in our gastrointestinal tract where a vibrant probiotic community is needed to inform immune cells of the content of the intestines and to direct those cells how to react to whatever we ingested. The microbiome even helps maintain the integrity of our intestinal wall to help prevent unwanted substances from entering the bloodstream. It helps extract nutrients from food. Most importantly, it defends against invaders in symbiosis with pathogen-fighting chemicals called immunoglobulins (antibodies) that keep unhealthy substances out of our gut lining.
Over 130 various types of parasites have been identified in the USA and an estimated two of every three Americans carry a variety of these invaders. Parasites are easy to pick up from contaminated water, improperly washed produce or poorly cooked foods. Parasites, including worms and amoebas, account for over 385 human diseases that mimic other many common conditions, such as: arthritis, chronic fatigue, obesity and leaky-gut syndrome. Parasites place a major burden on the immune system and are especially toxic to the liver. By eliminating parasites, the body can greatly reduce its toxic load. Then our entire system can more efficiently clear pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, fungus, and mold.
Among the most common reasons that food leaks through the intestinal wall and enters the bloodstream before it’s fully digested is candidiasis, an overgrowth of the naturally occurring yeast Candida albicans. The symptoms of candidiasis include: fatigue, headaches, bloating, nasal congestion, heartburn, even moodiness. Candida normally lives alongside our microbiome, which controls its growth.
When the microbiome is thrown off balance and our immune system is weakened, the Candida fungus can explode out of control and become a systemic parasite. It changes from a noninvasive spore form into a fungal form that grows threadlike mycelia. These structures bore through the intestinal lining, penetrate other cells, and extract nutrients. That is how Candida migrates to other tissues, producing toxins, such as acetaldehyde, which stress the immune system. Candida can also stimulate the production of histamine which triggers classic allergic reactions. An estimated eighty percent of people with multiple allergies have Candida overgrowth.
The media is awash with epidemic reports of virulent, infectious pathogens, many of which seem resistant to medications, including antibiotics. Salmonella, E-coli, MRSA and H pylori (causes stomach ulcers) are among the most troublesome these days. No one knows how many superbug cases go unreported because detection can be tricky. What we do know is that these superbugs can be spread in a number of ways, while many varieties can be traced to produce and meats sold at the supermarket.
Ninety percent of food allergies stem from the most common reaction-producing foods: grain, gluten, corn, unfermented soy, peanuts, lactose (milk sugar), monosodium glutamate and sulfites in wine (used to prevent mold). Food sensitivities can trigger an array of symptoms that baffle millions of food sensitive people, including: headaches, fatigue, depression, irritability, rashes, puffy eyes, congested sinuses, persistent phlegm, runny nose and sneezing, edema, yo-yo weight changes and a general feeling of unwellness.
There are many effective ways to individually address each of the big four gut corruptors. But first, we must focus on a basic plan for restoring digestive health which include these three basic components:
1. Restoration of a healthy microbiome for kick-starting immunity.
2. Careful balancing of hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach for proper digestion.
3. Introduction of effective digestive enzymes that assist the body with absorption and assimilation of critical nutrients.
The first step is to replenish our beneficial gut flora with a good probiotic formulation such as Flora-Key. This tasty powder includes five strains of probiotics with two billion beneficial bacteria per serving. It mixes easily with drinks or smoothies and is safe for kids. This formula should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach and again in the evening on an empty stomach.
Next, we can determine if we have a shortage of hydrochloric acid (HCl) needed for proper digestion. The home test consists of taking with a meal one capsule of a good HCl supplement that includes pepsin, such as UNI KEY’s HCL+2. A flash of extreme warmth afterward indicates that the body already sufficient stomach acid. If, on the other hand, there is no warmth after the first dose, an extra capsule is taken with each subsequent meal until the warm flash is achieved.
This increasing dose should not exceed five caps. Once the heat flush is achieved, that dose, minus one capsule, can be continued with each meal. For the many people who lack adequate stomach acid, HCl supplementation can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of: reflux disorder (GERD), protein or mineral deficiencies, immune disorders, arthritis, hives, osteoporosis, gall bladder disease, lupus and vitiligo (non-pigmented skin patches).
Step number three is the addition of an effective digestive enzyme formula to help the body process proteins, fats and starches. Inf-Zyme Forte provides a diverse combination of pancreatic enzymes, plus anti-inflammation enzymes. It also includes antioxidants and metabolic co-factors which help minimize food intolerances and heal the intestinal wall. This product is specially coated to resist stomach acid so that it releases into the upper part of the intestine where food synthesis occurs.
While we are building our gut health foundation with probiotics, hydrochloric acid balance and effective digestive enzymes, we must be conscientious about several other important items. At the top of the list is drinking half our body weight in ounces of pure water every day. A great idea is adding fortifying herbal teas, such as dandelion root tea, for liver cleanse. Chicory root tea actually stimulates the growth of probiotics.
In addition, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, complex starches and molds should be completely eliminated from the diet at the start of any foundational gut restoration project. The big four gut corruptors feast upon sugars and starches, so we replace these comfort foods with quality proteins such as fish, poultry and beans, plus green and colorful vegetables that build and fortify. One caveat is to make sure that all fish products come from the North Atlantic, due to Fukushima pollution of the Pacific.
Another important step is the addition of foods rich in soluble fiber which include: nuts, seeds, oatmeal, green leafy vegetables and root vegetables. These fiber foods heal the intestinal tract because they inhibit Candida and bad bacteria, while reducing inflammation.
Yet another important recharge tip is the dietary inclusion of omega-3 oils found in the oils of North Atlantic fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil. EPA and DHA are omega-3s that stimulate the immune system and help kill superbugs, including Salmonella and staph infections. UNI KEY’s Super-EPA contains molecularly-distilled fish oil free from PCBs, dioxin and heavy metals (like mercury). The blend contains oil from salmon and cod from the North Atlantic, along with krill oil. It provides 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per softgel.
So there you have it.
This is a simple but effective preliminary plan for gut restoration that can pay big dividends for the rest of our lives. In the next blog post, we will explore Ann Louise’s excellent tips for vanquishing the big four gut corruptors for good. We will also outline her workable ways to quickly and painlessly flush our entire system of chemical toxins and pathogens on our journey to permanent healing and glorious vitality.