Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leaky gut

One of the things that bothered me the most about being diagnosed with lupus (and there were many) was the total lack of answers to the question "why?" Why was my body attacking itself?

Mainstream medicine usually blames genetics, although there really hasn't been much in the way of proof that this disease is genetic. In fact, few diseases are purely genetic in origin. Besides, that whole "it's genetic" thing never rang true to me. I knew in my gut there was more to the picture. And speaking of gut, today's topic is. just that: leaky gut.

20 years after my diagnosis, the mindset is finally starting to shift because no one has been able to definitively prove a genetic cause. Now doctors are saying that autoimmune diseases are "multi-causal" (caused by several or many precipitating factors). Oh, good. Now we know why I got sick... lots of reasons. Glad we cleared that up.

No wonder I went elsewhere to find better answers. As I've spoken to and worked with alternative medicine practitioners over the last 20 years, one theory that has come up repeatedly is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Holes in the gut, or a permeable gut, allow partially undigested food to leak out into your bloodstream, causing the the body to form antibodies in an... oh, look AUTOIMMUNE response. I'm listening.

What causes the gut to start leaking?
1) Use of antibiotics. Our gut is made up of healthy (and unhealthy) bacteria. When we take an antibiotic, it kills everything- the good and bad guys. The good bacteria are what help us digest our food. But now they are gone. So food is leaking out undigested. On top of the absence of good guys, we also now have an overgrowth of bad guys- candida (yeast), which is small amounts is normal. When allowed to overgrow because there are no good bacteria to maintain balance, candida causes a host of problems, including many symptoms that sound a lot like lupus. 

2) stress

3) nicotine

4)other drugs: chemo, NSAIDs (advil, etc.), birth control, antacids, steroids (yes- if you didn't come into lupus with a leaky gut, you'll have one by the time they are done treating you!)

5) alcohol, excess sugar, soda, caffeine, processed foods

6) Various parasites, bacteria, mold and mycotoxins

7) nutritional deficiencies

8) food allergies

9) diseases such as Crohn's where the immune system is attacking the gut.

10) Overconsumption of grains. If you look at cows that eat grains instead of grass, they live much shorter, much more unhealthy miserable lives (see the movie "King Corn"). If you want to get a cow fat really fast, instead of letting her graze for grass, lock her in a stall and feed her corn. Sound pretty much like a day in the life of most Americans- sitting at a desk hunched over a computer, eating something probably made from corn or wheat. Those cows not only have a higher percentage of body fat, but are also very unhealthy and live much shorter lives than their ancestors. (Again, sound familiar?). Look, I love a big fat yeast roll as much as the next guy- I truly do. cake, cookies, donuts, pasta, pizza, yes. Love them all. But even gluten free, they are still grains, and eating too many grains and not enough plants is going to literally tear you up inside. And I mean "literally" not in the way most people use that word, like "really," but I mean literally as in "the literal sense of the word"- actual tears in your intestines. Hard to believe a soft, chewy pretzel could tear anything, but it can and does.

What do you think- Does it ring true to you? 

 This whole "leaky gut" theory sounded like a lot of hokum the first time I heard it, but the more I read and the more I do things to repair my gut, the more I believe it... in my gut...

*** If you or someone you know would like to live healthier, happier, freer life, e mail me for a free one-hour consultation - I am a holistic health coach! Talk to someone who has been there and is living well now. You've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain! Start living your best life. ***

Carla Ulbrich, The Singing Patient and Health Coach

www.singingpatientwellness.com - health coaching- visit this site to get a free e book on nutrition! 
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