Hello All - apologies for delay in this one - traveling.
Soooo...the gut - a massive topic - a massive organ. First off - and not to scare you - a quote - "death begins in the gut" Nobel prize winner Elie Metchnikoff (and I'm pretty sure a Greek whose name I've forgotten)
When I look back over my digestive history I can remember doing several things that are widely accepted as bad.
1. Missing breakfast
2. Missing meals because I felt to stressed/anxious to eat (I call this corporate syndrome!!)
3. Drinking a lot on an empty stomach
4. Eating more processed food as I got older
Apart from this I've had an incredibly healthy diet. I don't like sweet things (that's probably my adrenals talking to me...) I love fish. I eat plenty of fruit and veg, drink at least 2 liters of water a day. My mother fed us on stuff from the market that she cooked when we were kids. I don't like pizza, burgers and fast food. I could go into more diet detail here but although I could end up sounding like a semi-saint there are many ways in which my diet's changed ro the worse over time in response to work and what's available out there.
My digestion has never worked brilliantly. I've been plagued by bouts of constipation. I take daily fibre - benefibre and try to keep natural fibers up. I've had the classic consults including diagnosis of possible stomach ulcers, IBD, IBS, colitis blah blah blah.
I hate that so many terms get bandied around based on symptoms vs facts. So many of these terms get misused and overused it gets confusing. I'm going to break each one down clearly in a later blog. Anyway- mini-rant over - The FACT is that a gastroenterologist in Australia ruled all this insanity out by checking. Basically my gut looked fine except for a patch in my terminal ileum that was inflamed. Characteristic of autoimmune gastritis. And way late in the day. The UK seems happier to use terms and prescribe Zantac (now it's over the counter but it wasn't when I had it) than find out what's really wrong. Whoops another rant. I should not that although there was no major damage this doesn't rule out the possibility of leaky gut at a more 'microscopic' level. At least there was no sign of Crohns or celiac-like damage. I'm not celiac I was tested.
I'm sure I retrospect that the stress, time poverty and general 'not paying attention to the signs' has caused many problems. Many practitioners now believe that gut problems and leaky gut in particular originates win a poorly managed bacterial infection that damages the gut allowing foreign particles into the bloodstream, leading to an autoimmune reaction. I can believe that. That said, once the damage has been done it needs to be managed and minimized as a matter of priority. I took too long about it but its not over yet!!
Anyhow, when my immune system finally started attacking my thyroid it also went for my gastric parietal cells. These live in the stomach and are responsible for producing stomach acid and intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factory's responsible for B12 absorption and lack of it can lead to pernicious anemia. I have to have b12 shots every 3 months. I get iron infusions too.
Basically in summary my digestion's now in real trouble.
In my testing frenzy I did a CDSA test. Simpy put this checks out the health of the gut. It looks at beneficial bacteria, how your digestion's is working, fatty acid balances and what comes out. The results indicated my stomach was doing OK - plenty of beneficial bacteria. I'm losing a lot of cholesterol but that's likely linked to an adrenal-liver imbalance I'll cover that later.
I'm going t break down the test results in my next blog and skip to what action I took as a matter of urgency.
1. Eliminate irritants from diet - sugar, wheat and gluten, alcohol, no red meat, no dairy
2. Take blue herbs every day - increases pH of body over time (I'm too acidic) more on this. It's different to lacking stomach acid. I need to break it down in detail for you.
3. Take 5g glutamine powder/day - this helps heal gut and reduce inflammation caused by antibody attack and long term damage to intestines. Good news - the gut can regenerate if you're careful with it.
4. Take plenty of water and soluble fibre (already doing this)
5. Avoid cruciferous veg and things bad for thyroid increased veg in general
6. Good quality grilled protein with every meal. I like eggs as well so making sure I have those. This helps balance out and eliminate cravings
7. Use good oils. I take oil supplements but cook with omega-rich oils now too. These reduce inflammation and manage the omega 3-6 balance.
8. Take digestive enzymes with HCL. Some people take beta in hydrochloride I take it with my enzymes. This has helped my digestion normalize. No more constipation or digestive distress!
Both dairy and red meat are known to exacerbate autoimmune responses in the body. Here's a ref from one of my main doctor friends who specializes in this m.ajcn.nutrition.org/conten...
I have to break now - am in Australia at 6am on 3% power and need to recharge (in oh so many ways...!!)
More tomorrow...I'm barely started on the gut but here's food for thought! Pun intended.
I'll go through symptoms and tests in detail next. I'm going to cover Crohns and its link to autoimmune conditions, celiac, colonoscopy, endoscopy, stool samples tests and CDSA. I'll then cover off healing the gut and the surprising thing that happens when you start supporting it properly!!
Tanks for reading