My Notes from the Healthy Gut Summit
Dr. Mark Hyman
You can practice self care and transform your health in a very dramatic way.
The gut plays the most important roll in your health, if your gut is not healthy your not healthy. There is a living breathing ecosystem living in your gut, learning how to tend that garden is important if not disease will ensue.
Many things have happened in the last one hundred years that are altering our gut creating an epidemic of issues that are causing inflammation and the breakdown of the gut by altering our gut flora. We have changed our diet dramatically, taking out all the fiber, put in tons of sugar, processed foods, flour and fats that feeds the bad bacteria. When you take out nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans and you put in sugars and processed foods like dairy that many people react to and the new strains of gluten your changing the whole environment.
Gluten is a key thing because we changed the genetic strain of the wheat to dwarf wheat which has a much higher gluten content. This is much more likely to cause a leaky gut, it has led to a 400% increase in the incidence of celiac disease which is a true increase not just an altered prevalence. They took peoples blood from fifty years ago and compared it to peoples blood today and saw this huge change in people who actually have a problem with celiac. We have also hybridized foods and GMO’s that alter our gut flora and change the patterns in our gut. Also stress and environmental toxins, these also change our gut causing leaky gut and changing enzymes. The drugs we are using what I call gut busting drugs, things like overuse of antibiotics, antibiotics in animal foods, nineteen million pounds a year just to prevent infections because they all live in close quarters that promotes infection and the cows that are eating grains instead of grass and their stomachs blow up they have to give them antibiotics so they don’t explode. So antibiotics, aspirin, advil all the anti-inflammatory drugs can cause leaky gut as well as steroids, hormones and all the acid blocking drugs they give out like candy. These drugs block the acid production needed to break down protein and absorb food causing bacterial and yeast overgrowth. When you combine the pill on top of that it’s all damaging your gut flora and why we have sixty million people with IBS.
It’s critical to start life with a normal birth, when you have a C-section the baby doesn’t aquire the bacteria it needs and you wind up with a huge problem and twenty five percent of pregnancies today are C-section. This is causing more allergies, asthma and autoimmune. I am pro vaccine but I’m having a problem with the load of vaccines that are given it’s just astounding and I believe we need to rethink that.
Your gut is connected to your brain and you have just as many neurotransmitters in your gut as you do your brain. Stressful emotions and when your stressed or chronic stress you change the flora in your gut and this can cause leaky gut. Stress plays a huge roll we have to find ways to relax whether it’s exercise, meditation, yoga or anything that helps you relieve stress. When your stressed your gut shuts down and increases stress hormones like cortisol which is a steroid hormone produced under stress but when it’s increased over long periods of time chronically it causes a leaky gut and increases overgrowth of yeast in the gut. It also increases damage to the brain, it leads to poor choices around food, damage to the hippocampus the memory center and insulin to go up over time this leads to depletion of the whole system.
With childhood obesity there’s a lot of factors and clearly sugar in the diet is a huge problem, the average kid has 34 teaspoons of sugar a day. The stress on our kids is also effecting their metabolism effecting their gut. We see so many allergies and so much autoimmunity in kids and obesity, all those things are connected to stress in different ways. Having a healthy gut biome helps you deal with stress, inflammation in the gut causes inflammation in the brain. Altering your mood and your anxiety because of what’s happening in your gut, it may not be because your stressed that your gut is having a problem it’s the other way around.
It’s really important to know that we can change that with our attitude and our beliefs and thoughts. We change our gut flora with every bite of food but we also change it with every thought. Everything is connected so when you do something that’s good for one thing in your body it’s good for everything and visa versa. You do something that’s hurtful for one part of your system it’s hurtful for another part it’s all interconnected. This is why healing the gut is good for all sorts of problems. It’s something people can learn how to do and take care of your gut.
Gut Care the 5 R’s
Remove the factors that are driving a problem in the gut, processed foods, flour, sugar, food allergies with the help from an elimination diet. The ten day detox diet for example, that eliminated gluten, dairy and processed foods. You need to take out the culprits that are triggering inflammation and causing disturbances in the gut. Some people have a lot of bacterial overgrowth they need to eat a low fermentation diet and can’t tolerate grains and beans and need a very low starch diet. We also have to remove the bad bugs and we can do that by staving them going on a low starch diet that kills them. There also may be some bad bugs that we need to treat like parasites, fungal overgrowth and small intestine bacterial overgrowth that’s a huge problem. People that have bloating after eating that’s often because the bacteria have migrated up from the colon into the small intestine causing fermentation. It’s like a brewery in there and you kind of blow up after eating.
Replace the missing enzymes and digestive enzymes. You need to reset the gut we can use herbal bitters and remove drugs like antibiotics, steroids, hormones, birth control pills, acid blockers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Replace hydrochloric acid in people who don’t have enough stomach acid and trouble digesting their food.
Reinoculate with healthy bacteria and fermented foods that have a lot of bacteria in them and taking probiotics putting back the good guys.
Repair by providing the nutrients the body needs to repair itself with fish oil, primrose oil, zinc, vitamin A, glutamine, curcumin and herbs.
Relax, learning how to deal with stress try yoga or meditation.
Learn self care tools, self care is way better than health care. Get enough sleep and exercise, it’s not that hard to do putting in the right foods and finding the exercise that works for you and how to fit it in. And have fun, take walks in nature.
Emphasize fiber not sugar, eat plenty of whole fruits and vegetables and you will get plenty of sugar and fiber to help your gut. It depends on the problem you have, if you have a gut problem you have to tailor your diet to that as there is no one size fit’s all diet. I personally eat 80% vegetables and a small amount of fruit, some nuts and seeds and small portions of clean animal protein. Vegetables should take up most of your diner plate with meat more as a side dish.
We have all been brainwashed into thinking that dairy is natures perfect food, the truth is this has all been propaganda pushed by the food industry, dairy council and the government in collusion with them. There is no scientific evidence to actually support it. Some populations can tolerate it but most populations cannot, they don’t have the enzymes to digest it. You need to get off dairy as a staple food it’s very inflammatory and can lead to autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes, allergies, asthma, eczema and IBS. It’s something most people don’t tolerate very well and they don’t know they don’t, they eat it and feel badly and don’t know why.
Get off gluten, and gluten free products in the store is just gluten free junk food. Gluten drives inflammation and leaky gut. It’s easy to change biology and the ecosystem, I know now that the science is not complete but it’s there enough so we can solve a lot of our chronic health problems in a powerful way that we were never able to do before using functional medicine. Changing behavior is something else, to change the biology we have to change what people eat and their lifestyle and that’s not easy.
Peer support helps with changing your lifestyle, find people with the same interest and goals. Your partner, friends, online support groups, there is a huge network online of people helping each other.
Dr. Hyman web page
His page for the Ultra Wellness Center
Dr. Hyman is also the director for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine
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.