Gut Pathology – pt 1

Brain-fog-Henrik-SorensenDo you feel like this sometimes? Play detective and heal that gut!

Health is sustained by a state of balance among countless strands of a web of genetic, physiologic, psychological, developmental, dietary and environmental factors. When something goes wrong, it makes sense to pay attention to all aspects of this web that can be addressed with reasonable cost and risk.  Balance is a recurring theme here..

Balance means providing all of the necessary elements to optimize the system and removing interfering elements.

So when consulting with someone diagnosed with autoimmune or inflammation based illness that “has no cure”, we can ask the following:

›Is there a need to get something?  (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, rest)

›Is there a need to avoid something?  Gluten, food, food chemicals, preservatives, NSAIDs, pollen, dust, dander, chemicals, mold, germs.  Are you exposed daily to hidden toxins?

Toxins:

Elementary (lead, mercury)

Biologic (from plants, germs)

Synthetic (petrochemical PCBs, BTA, pharmaceuticals)

We must play the role of detective and search for clues as someone recounts a lifetime of certain habits, potential triggers, major crises, or long term exposures to low or moderate toxins, all of which can contribute to disease.

If we find a definitive cause to an illness, we can’t stop there, because many times there is a cause for the cause, and that’s how we are going to look at addressing the issues of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, as well as a host of other ailments which have “no cure” (ie: they haven’t come up with a pill that does anything but suppress symptoms yet). Through seeking to restore balance by providing all of the necessary elements to optimize the system and removing interfering elements, we’re retracing the steps of pathophysiology in search of possible first dominoes.

You can become a detective too, once you know which clues to look out for!

There are many chronic disorders and diseases which pervade modern society that range from annoying to severely debilitating, painful, and even life-threatening. Could many of them be traced to the same physiological malfunction? Seems far fetched at first glance, but many studies and trials are revealing the true importance of intestinal epithelial cell function and the tight junctions which hold these cells together. Crohn’s disease, asthma, celiac disease, psoriasis, and many other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases have their roots in  the dysfunction of this specific part of the small intestine.

While these studies have pinpointed one aspect or another of increased intestinal permeability, most of them conclude with the all-too-common, “. . .more studies are needed.” After researching this issue, I began to wonder whether these scientists have been reading each others studies to connect the dots. There certainly are many specific details to sort out, but enough has been proven to begin informing the public, clinicians and patients on how to avoid the things that harm the gut, and add in things that keep it healthy.

leakygut
The list of possible symptoms is extensive, as a hyper-permeable gut can be the first domino in a host of diseases. Abdominal pain, asthma, chronic joint pain, confusion, mood swings, fuzzy/foggy thinking, indigestion, bloating, poor immunity, recurrent vaginal infections, skin rashes, diarrhea, poor memory, shortness of breath, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, anaphylactoid reactions, brittle nails, hair loss, and constant hunger pains can all be warning signs (Mellowship, 2006). The lack of official diagnosis and consensus among healthcare professionals is due to the staggering diversity and complexity of possible symptoms.

Take fatigue, for example, which could be caused by anything from simple dehydration to sleep apnea to a damaged gut lining.

Another critical issue at hand is our concept of disease. When we diagnose a disease, it is as if some imaginary boundary was crossed. Up to a certain point, you don’t have a disease, then POOF, you are diagnosed. We don’t typically look at a headache or change in mental capacity or slight aches and pains as warning signs of disease, but maybe we should. They are our bodies way of urging us to get something we need, or avoid something we don’t.

There are some “mystery diseases”, such as fibromyalgia, that are still considered primarily neural or psychologically based that seem to be clearly linked to a permeable gut. Chronic joint pain, fatigue, indigestion, mood swings, and foggy thinking, all of which are possible symptoms of a leaky gut, are also symptoms of fibromyalgia. Ironically, Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like meloxicam, ibuprofen, and naproxen are typically prescribed, but guess what… NSAIDs are proven to damage the intestinal lining, making the underlying cause worse in order to temporarily suppress symptoms. We will take a closer look at this next week

leaky-gut-intestinal-permeability-33-638

 This is not to say that leaky gut is ALWAYS the cause of these symptoms, but it is grossly underestimated and barely mentioned/acknowledged in mainstream medicine. The science demands attention.

What are we doing wrong, exactly?

Everything we ingest must pass through the small intestine. With our recent discoveries regarding how much of our immune function is based around the gut, it is time to raise the red flag on some foods, medications, and beverages we commonly consume.

Next week, we will go over some major culprits and show the mechanisms of damage to the intestinal epithelial cells. Just by reading this blog post, you are already a few steps ahead of potential future diseases that will never happen, and we’re just beginning~

 

About Chef Brandon

bkaleChef Brandon Schlunt is co-owner of HealthSavor, a Cincinnati Ohio based healthy, organic, gluten-free meal delivery service, created to help busy families, individuals and children eat nutritious meals easily and affordably. Chef Brandon focuses on helping his customers lose weight, lower their blood sugar and feels very honored to have earned the trust of many doctors, students, parents, athletes, and on-the-go businessmen and women all over the city. Chef also B enjoys playing many instruments, doing creative things with his daughter and fiance, and continuing his education in nutrition.

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