Notes from The Healthy Gut Summit
Liz Lipski PhD
Approximately one third of the people have a digestive issue, the digestive system is not supposed to give us discomfort when it does it’s giving us the message that something is wrong and we need to pay attention to that message. If someone has a lot of stomach pain, acid reflux or heartburn one of the first simple things you can do is slow down and chew your food well, relax when you eat. This puts us in the cephalic stage when we relax to help us digest the food better, we eat on the run too much.
Each patient needs to be looked at individually, if a patient is reacting to too many different foods we look for leaky gut first. The small intestine is where we absorb most of our nutrients into our bloodstream, it is a very energy dependent system replacing the microvilli every 3-5 days. Our lifestyle, drugs and stress all effect our ability to do that and then this single cell lining doesn’t repair itself as most over the counter and pain medications block the repair of the lining. Chronic stress also doesn’t allow for repair and if you have a gluten intolerance and keep eating grains you keep activating the inflammation on the lining and it can’t repair. Prednisone, cortisone, birth control pills and antibiotics also damage the lining.
The purpose of eating is to nourish every cell in our body so we can feel vibrant.
When the small intestine is damaged larger food molecules slip through that shouldn’t, we get yeast and bacteria coming through with the food along with the food additives, chemicals, pesticides and dyes in the food all going into the bloodstream. The larger food particles going through that our cells can’t use and now we have all this garbage in our blood. This activates our immune system and we start having an immune response to the food that we could normally eat before but now we can’t break them down. This leaky gut not only contributes to food sensitivities but because your not getting the nutrients you need anymore and you activated your immune system it now see’s food as something dangerous. This causes a host of other problems including all autoimmune diseases, celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, psoriasis, eczema the list goes on and on.
The gut is the most metabolically active organ in the human body. The gut does have protective barriers but everything we do with what were exposed to breaks through.
The first thing that happens when a baby is born beginning with first milk feeding is special sugars that go and immediately coat the gut with a protective lining so a virus or pathogen can’t get in. The greatest effect we can have for the gut microbiota is through diet according to the latest research, it’s the one thing we can change. The gut is where we make B complex vitamins and vitamin K, it’s where most of our genes are. There are 150 times more genetic material, genes, in our gut microbiome than we have in our human genome. Less than 1% of the DNA in our body is human DNA the rest is microbial and fungal DNA, we have a symbiotic relationship with these microbes.
A high sugar diet supercharges the bad bugs that cause damage and the sugar itself is inflammatory. High fat diets depend on what kind of fat it is for it to be good or bad, nut’s, seeds, coconut, coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, these are natural fats and good. The fats were eating now are stripped denatured fats for the most part. This is needed in processed foods because that’s what makes it shelf stable, this is bad for us they become inflammatory and a hindrance not contributing any nutrients to your body.
Everyone is different for what’s best for them as you move toward core whole foods, it’s easier to listen to your body for what’s good for you and what isn’t. One thing you can do is for one week write down in one column everything you consume that makes you feel good energized, in another column write down the one’s that make you feel sluggish and you can refine it from there. Most of us feel good when we eat a lot of vegetables.
There is three main gut intero types they found that people who eat a more vegetarian diet have more prevotella bacteria and those eating more meats have more bacteroides and bacteriodeles showing what you eat has an impact on your microbiome. Just like we have different fingerprints we have different microbiome that is unique to us. If we are out of balance it takes about a month to change it if you change your diet.
If a patient comes in and says I have GERD we first see if it’s a doctors tested diagnosis, then we check to make sure they don’t have H-pylori or another type of infection that’s actually causing the GERD. We also check that they don’t have barrett’s esophagus or any esophageal inflammation or bile reflux to rule out if this is something that is chronic. Most people don’t but we need to make sure nothing serious is going on. Next I would say stress, the digestive system really works best when calm and relaxed. Work on better coping skills by trying yoga, tai chi, playing a musical instrument, deep breathing exercises, and acupuncture can be really useful with GERD and chiropractic manipulation can sometimes be. Osteopathic manipulation can be awesome for GERD because some people actually have a hiatal hernia where there diaphragm is kind of squeezing and that’s what is causing it, a structural problem. Cleaning up the diet and some digestive support using bitters, apple cider vinegar mixed with water with a meal to see if that alleviates heartburn. Taking some baking soda with a meal to see if you have too much acid because baking soda will neutralize it. Usually with heartburn and GERD it’s too little stomach acid, try the apple cider vinegar first if that makes it worse then try the baking soda. Umeboshi plums are very good they are very alkalizing and soothing to the stomach and things like licorice, you can do a licorice tea, chew on licorice root or take capsules it’s very soothing for the esophagus and the stomach. Slippery elm tea, capsules or lozenges or mallow root, there are lot’s of roots that are very soothing we can try.
Constipation starting with the basics honor the urge don’t ignore it just because you don’t like public restrooms. The longer it stays in the colon the harder it gets and the harder it is to have a bowel movement. Most people are not getting enough fiber the average American is getting about half of what they should have in their diet. Fiber makes us feel full, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance so we are able to utilize the glucose in our bodies well and gives bulk to the stool so we can have a good bowel movement. My favorite fiber is food including legumes, beans, root vegetables and vegetables. Some people increase their fiber and find they have gas and bloating and fell worse so we have to look at other pieces of it. Many that are chronically constipated have SIBO, it’s a low grade infection in the small intestines that can cause constipation, gas and bloating. It’s also common in people that have diarrhea and IBS. Human cells don’t produce gas the microbes in our gut produce gas and need to be balanced.
Constipation can also be a magnesium deficiency, 80-90% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diet because we eat so much processed foods. Magnesium is found in whole grains and green leafy vegetables, it is the relaxation mineral allowing for the rhythmic contraction of the digestive system it’s peristalsis this doesn’t work without magnesium. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can be muscles are tight at night, occasional eye twitching, muscle cramping, sensitive to noise, easily irritable, cry easily, startle easily, nerve pings, menstrual cramps, migraines and headaches. Start out with a magnesium supplement and slowly raise the dose until your bowel movements are where they should be or if you start to get loose stools you took too much and found the right dose for you just under that. There are different magnesium’s for constipation, you could use a magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide that will move it along fast because it’s not well absorbed into the tissues giving a laxative effect. Otherwise I like to use magnesium malate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium taurate, magnesium alpha-ketoglutarate these forms get absorbed into your tissue and into your cells it’s used in over 300 ways in your body. When finding your level if it starts getting really high we add choline citrate to assist in the absorption.
Eating cultured and fermented foods and probiotic supplements helps balance the microbiome, sometimes this alone relieves the constipation. If you feel worse when you take probiotics or start eating fermented foods give it a few days until the battle is over between the good and bad guys as your adding good guys and then you should start feeling better. Some are having histamine reactions to the fermented foods and probiotics, these are the same people who can’t eat leftovers. Studies are being done on why but there are hints so far for dysbiosis as the cause. we are seeing more of this especially among Autistic children and in each case it was SIBO a pathogen in the small intestine treated with oil of oregano or antibiotics if necessary. We don’t realize how easy it is to pick one up from our food, usually a restaurant or sometimes they move up from the colon into the small intestine where they shouldn’t be. For all patients run the basic tests to pinpoint your problem.
A study done at Johns Hopkins found that herbs worked better for SIBO than the drugs normally used at a fraction of the cost and with a longer sustained remission. Antibiotics have one single mechanism with herbs they have hundreds of compounds in each herb, all have different compounds with many more benefits. Your emotions are also very important for your health.
Liz Lipski PhD web page
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.
M. Scherker medical researcher.