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No-Nonsense Nutrition Report: Digestive Health and Inflammation

Leaky GutMy Blessed and Valued Health Seeker:

“All disease begins in the gut." — Hippocrates 

While “all” disease may not begin in the gut or digestive system, there is evidence that many chronic metabolic diseases do. This makes sense to me on many levels. 

Whatever we take in – whether we eat, drink, think, breathe or apply it to our skin – it is in some way processed by our digestive system. The bulk of our immune system (about 70%) resides there. So keeping our digestive system, our gut, healthy and functioning properly is critical to keeping ourselves truly healthy. 

Why it’s Important: 

Let’s just briefly talk about the connection between the gut and inflammation. Inflammation is a complex function but in simple terms it is the response of the immune system to foreign invaders, toxins or cell injury. 

Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing. It is how our bodies fight off pathogens like viruses and bacteria. God created our bodies to heal themselves and this is an important function. This is what is known as acute or short-term inflammation. 

When inflammation becomes chronic, (low-grade or systemic) that is when it becomes a problem. In fact chronic, systemic inflammation is one of the major underlying causes of some of the most serious diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, depression and metabolic syndrome among others.  

You may be wondering what this has to do with the gut specifically.

The Gut and Endotoxins:

Leaky Gut effectsOur digestive system houses trillions of bacteria collectively known as the "gut flora,” some of which are friendly and some which are not. Depending on the breakdown – whether the good outweigh the bad – greatly influences both physical and mental health. 

Some of the bacteria in the gut contain compounds called lipopolysaccharides (LPS), also known as endotoxins, large molecules that are found in the cell walls of bacteria called gram-negative bacteria. They can cause an immune reaction in animals. 

During an acute bacterial infection, they can lead to fever, depression, muscle pains and even septic shock in serious cases. Sometimes these substances can "leak" from the gut and into the bloodstream, either constantly or right after meals. The amounts are too small to cause symptoms of an infection like fever, but they are large enough to stimulate a chronic inflammatory response, which may wreak havoc over time resulting in increased gut permeability – leaky gut. Then you are dealing with diet-induced chronic inflammation. 

Diet, Endotoxins and Leaky Gut: 

When endotoxins were injected into test subjects, the result was rapid onset of insulin resistance, a key feature of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, studies have also shown that an unhealthy diet can cause endotoxin levels in the blood to go up. In these studies an “unhealthy diet” was a Western diet or what we would call the Standard American Diet (SAD) and it is! 

Just to be clear, when they say “high fat diet” it is high in bad fats like trans and hydrogenated fats and fried foods. Some researchers also believe that refined carbohydrates increase endotoxin-producing bacteria, as well as gut permeability, causing a "double hit" of endotoxin exposure. Diets high in refined fructose and gluten also increase gut permeability.  

Diet and Healing:

leaky gut bone brothResearchers recommend a real food based diet and minimizing processed junk foods. So let’s drill down on some specifics that can help with healing and maintaining a healthy gut. 

So first begin eliminating the pro-inflammatory foods

Alcohol 
Caffeine 
Conventionally raised meats which are high in inflammatory omega-6 oils. 
Grains, even healthy whole grains and especially wheat and gluten-containing grains and soy 
Processed foods 
Refined sugars and foods containing high fructose corn syrup Inflammatory, omega 6 seed oils like canola, sunflower, grapeseed, vegetable oils 
Genetically modified foods which contain herbicides and pesticides that damage the gut lining. Studies have found GMO foods destroy the probiotics in your gut and cause organ inflammation. 
Foods high in lectins like beans. Many foods contain lectins not just beans although they are a rich source. If you consume them be sure to soak, sprout or pressure cook. Alternatively buy Eden brand which are pressure cooked. 

Foods to include

Pasture raised poultry and eggs, grass-fed and finished meats and wild caught fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel that are high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats 

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, Suero Viv, Amasai* which provide healthy bacteria.  

*A1 casein in conventionally produced dairy can aggravate leaky gut. Amasai comes from a specific breed of cattle that does not produce this inflammatory substance. A1 casein may be 26x more inflammatory than gluten. 

Bone Broth which is a rich natural source of glutamine, which is healing to the gut lining and is also rich in the amino acids proline and glycine, which help regulate digestion, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in every part of the body. Try to include a cup a day.  

Also supplementing with collagen or gelatin is helpful because it can help boost your gastric juices and aid in restoring the integrity and health of your mucosal lining. (Gelatin is cooked collagen and will gel, collagen doesn’t. That’s why you can put collagen powder in your coffee or tea)  

Here is something I tried that really helped my stomach: I put a quarter cup of water in the refrigerator to get cold. Before bed I mixed 2 teaspoons of gelatin into the water. I covered it and left it out on the counter overnight. I drank it first thing on an empty stomach and did it for several weeks. I found incredible relief. It’s a weird gel-like consistency but I just knocked it back and it wasn’t bad. You can add a little juice or honey and more water to it if you can’t get past the consistency. 

Cooked or steamed, non-starchy veggies are easy to digest and are an essential part of the leaky gut diet. They will provide much needed fiber without irritating your gut. Spinach and sweet potato are excellent sources of the B vitamin biotin. 

Bananas are good sources of prebiotic fiber which provide food for our good bacteria. Fruit in moderation is fine but I would say keep it to 2 servings a day.

Health promoting fats including avocados, ghee and coconut oil, which are easy on the gut.

Helpful Supplements:

leaky gut aloe veraA probiotic supplement to recolonize the gut. Some studies show that probiotics can help reduce endotoxemia and the resulting inflammation. 

Aloe vera which is very healing and soothing to the digestive tract. 

Vitamins A, C, and E 

L-glutamine powder, an amino acid that helps repair the digestive tract 

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. 

Digestive enzymes to improve nutrient absorption and help break down food particles. 

DGL which is an adaptogenic herb. It helps balance cortisol levels, improves acid production in the stomach and supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach. 

Quercetin improves gut barrier function by sealing the gut and supporting creation of tight junction proteins. 

Biotin, vitamin B7 deficiency is connected to poor immune function since this B vitamin is converted in the gut. A deficiency may also increase pro-inflammatory cytokines and contribute to chronic inflammation. 

Adequate sleep, rest and stress reduction/management. Your spirit, soul and body are all integrated and impact overall health so don’t overlook any aspect of your being when dealing with any health issue. Chronic stress weakens your immune system, which cripples your ability to fight off foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses, leading to inflammation and leaky gut. 

Lack of sleep is damaging as well. Researchers are finding that there may be a link between how well you sleep and the gut microbiome. The sleep hormone, melatonin, is made from serotonin, which is normally found in abundance in your gut. So gut bacteria affect both serotonin and melatonin production. Prebiotics, which feed probiotics, have already been found to influence sleep in animal studies. 

NO-NONSENSE NUTRITION NUGGET: Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when large particles of food or bacteria leak into the bloodstream through cell membranes that have become permeable over time due to stress, dietary or hormonal imbalance, medicinal side effects, or exposure to infection. Leaky gut begins as inflammation and food intolerances, immune system issues, and then if left unmanaged, a can lead to autoimmune diseases. Your brain, skin, thyroid, joints, adrenals, sinuses, and colon can all be affected by leaky gut.
Until next week, I wish you overflowing, abundant health, peace and joy and I call you BLESSED (empowered to prosper and succeed). 

Ann 

**Sunday is Mother's Day - I wish all moms, grandmothers, godmothers, step mothers, foster mothers - ALL - a truly blessed day. If you want a unique little gift of blessing and encouragement for a special mom in your life, may I suggest my e-book Entrepreneurs for Eternity, on Kindle. 

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Your fork is the most powerful tool you have to transform your health. 

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST: 


Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body. 

As always, all information offered in these reports is provided for informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. 

“You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a nutritional deficiency.” Dr. Linus Pauling



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