Dis-ease Begins in the Gut, but Perhaps in a Way You Didn’t Consider
November 8, 2015 | 15 Comments | SAFM Team
I hope this is helpful and inspiring to you. After you experience the video, please do post questions or comments below. I want to hear from you! In response to the questions that have already rolled in, I am sharing some additional tips and specifics below for you.
This is a key root cause of dis-ease in the body that you want to be not just aware of but savvy about catching early in your clients and resolving them fully using functional medicine know-how. Wildly satisfied clients build wildly successful practices!
- If you want more information about dis-ease beginning in the gut specifically as it relates to digestion and absorption – and what the full definition of that really is – feel free to check out this other post. (If you want more inspiration, start at the beginning; if you just want to get right to the gut pearls, start the video at around 4:45).
- Explaining leaky gut to your clients can be a challenge until you’ve had a lot of practice! This article is very well-written and has many excellent diagrams to make the concepts more straightforward to your clients.
- What causes leaky gut (or intestinal permeability, IP)? Well, as I mentioned in the video, both insufficient Vitamin D and regular use of NSAIDs are common drivers. Also other common medications (e.g. SSRIs, birth control pills), chemicals in food, environmental toxins, microbial imbalance/overgrowth/pathogens (in my experience, especially Candida, parasites), chronic stress, insufficient zinc, insufficient antioxidant intake, poor digestive enzyme secretion (esp. from pancreas, more common in those with T2 diabetes), and excess alcohol intake.
- You may find more information about food sensitivity testing in this detailed post.
- I have written before about the value of quercetin (a natural anti-histamine) in helping your clients with seasonal/chronic allergies or chronic post nasal drip/congestion (which as an aside, in my clients, is very often a sensitivity to dairy foods but can certainly involve other foods/antigens as well e.g. mold). Someone asked for a clinical link re: quercetin and leaky gut.
- There are many wonderful alternatives to NSAID drugs for your clients with ongoing low-grade inflammatory pain (e.g. headaches, muscle/joint discomfort). Of course, in their work with you, the two of you have the opportunity to identify the true root cause and make it go away! But in the interim, it’s critical to help you clients to get some rapid relief so they stay enthusiastic about working with you and about the possibility of true healing.
- Once again, I highly recommend the Environmental Working Group (EWG) educational tools for your clients/patients, including the importance of prioritizing organic foods. Here is where they can find the annually-updated (data based on current agricultural practices) Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists of foods given their pesticide/herbicide retention.
- Here’s a clinical study (one of many) about the role of insufficient Vitamin D in promoting intestinal permeability (IP).
- There are thousands (literally) of clinical write-ups from peer-reviewed journal about intestinal permeability causes, mediators, and therapies. A few of you asked for a good overview, and this is my choice and also this one and this one (this latter one has some particularly good references re: specific probiotic strains and IP). But feel free to do your own inspired online search.
- Yes, there are many other supplements that can be helpful and healing for intestinal permeability beyond quercetin and probiotics (two of the safest and most straightforward to add). I also very often recommend to clients the amino acid l-glutamine (e.g. 3g taken 2-3 times per day on an empty stomach), curcumin (esp. in the Meriva formulation e.g. 500mg 2x/day), Vitamin E (I always recommend full-spectrum Vitamin E e.g. Jarrow’s “TocoSorb”), and/or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice – it needs to be this form to be effective, not whole licorice root; this form also removes the vast majority of contraindications for licorice use e.g. hypertension). To avoid creating new food sensitivities during the IP healing process, it is also often helpful for your client to use digestive enzymes with each of their meals for 2-3 months.
- Yes, there are definitely food choices that can help to heal IP. I am a big fan of homemade bone broth (for clients who are willing to make it). Overall, high intake of vegetables will be valuable for providing prebiotic fiber. Mucilanginous foods such as okra, chia seed, and flaxseed (ground). In some susceptible individuals, gluten promotes intestinal permeability by triggering the release of zonulin in the intestines. In general, I recommend all my clients with IP avoid all foods containing gluten (I really should’ve included that one in the video!). The role of gluten is also increasingly being shown as one of the three necessary triggers for autoimmune disease activation (the others are a genetic susceptibility and an environmental trigger, such as dysbiosis or toxins). If you’d like to learn more about the connection between intestinal permeability and autoimmune disease activation, check this out.
- The possible strong connection between glyphosate and IP and the epidemic of gluten-related inflammation? Check this out (and perhaps this too).
- This is a very detailed primer about food sensitivities: what they are, how to support them, what to do for elimination, and how (very important!) to do reintroductions in a way that is useful.
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