The Road to Good Health
Updated: Jun 14, 2019
If you want to stay healthy for life, take a good hard look at how healthy your gut is.
Nobody likes to talk much about the guts; some even look blank when you ask about the well-being of their guts, and yet, who would have guessed an unhealthy gut could be the cause of countless chronic diseases. Here I will share with you why your gut is as important as your brain and heart.
An interesting quote that really struck a cord with me seven or eight years ago was the famous statement made by health expert and author Sherry A Rogers, MD: “The road to health is paved with good intestines.”
This is no surprise as the gut wall is what protects our body from the outside wall, as a friend of mine says, it’s like the Great Wall of China, which was built centuries ago to defend China from its enemies. Similarly, any breaches in the gut wall will leave us susceptible to attacks from millions of “micro-terrorists” which have entered our body through the food we take. Such breaches happen when we develop leaky gut or “intestinal hyperpermeability.”
A leaky gut occurs when there are leaky junctions instead of tight ones between the cells lining the intestine. This will lead to the “escape” of the micro-terrorists – from seemingly harmless undigested food particles to microbes and toxins, from inside the gut to other parts of the body. This then puts the immune system on red alert, resulting in an inflammatory response; much like what would happen if terrorists enter into a country, the army would defend with fire power.
Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, writes that inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.” Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Heart disease is inflammation of the arteries. And the list goes on. Instead of taking a medication to reduce joint pain or lower cholesterol, we would be better served by reducing inflammation in the body.
Design with Ease
"The road to health is paved with healthy intestines." - Dr Sherry A Rogers
Scientists are now beginning to work out how inflammation lays the groundwork for the following*: Coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular research indicates that inflammation acts in concert with an excess of "bad" LDL cholesterol to create atherosclerosis. At high blood levels, LDL cholesterol becomes oxidized. That makes it recognizable to the immune system and marks it for ingestion by macrophages. The lipid-loaded macrophages trigger complement activity that damages the vascular endothelium — the layer of cells that lines the inside of blood vessels. Macrophages and their fatty cargo slip through the resulting cracks and lodge next to the arterial wall, where they are encased in a shell of fibrin and form arterial plaque. As the plaque grows and its fibrin coat is stressed, it may rupture, forming a clot that blocks a coronary artery supplying oxygen to the heart muscle. Heart tissue nourished by the artery then dies, causing a heart attack.
Studies have determined that people whose CRP levels rank in the top third are twice as likely to have a heart attack as those with CRPs in the lowest third. The risk is even greater if a person also has high cholesterol. More doctors are adding a CRP test to the battery of routine screening tests for adults.
Diabetes. Several large observational studies have shown that people with high levels of CRP are more likely to develop insulin resistance, a precursor to full-fledged diabetes in which cells rebuff insulin and therefore don't properly metabolize glucose circulating in the blood. Researchers have also found that people who ultimately develop diabetes have high levels of inflammatory molecules, including TNF-α, a molecule produced by macrophages, and T cells.
TNF-α seems to increase the liver's production of glucose and triglycerides and interfere with insulin's duties as a blood sugar escort. Moreover, insulin has anti-inflammatory effects of its own. Thus inflammation not only sets the stage for insulin resistance but accelerates as insulin resistance sets in, which may further hasten the onset of diabetes.
Cancer. Nearly 150 years ago, the pathologist Rudolf Virchow termed cancer a "wound that doesn't heal." He noticed that tissue from malignant tumors contained high concentrations of inflammatory cells and hypothesized that the tumors often formed at sites of chronic inflammation. Recent evidence suggests that he was right. About 15% of cancers — including cancers of the liver, cervix, and stomach — are closely linked to infectious diseases. Cigarette smoke and asbestos contain inflammatory substances. Exposure to cigarette smoke is a notorious cause of lung cancer, and exposure to asbestos is linked to mesothelioma, a cancer of the tissue lining the chest.
Moreover, laboratory research has shown that products of inflammatory reactions, such as reactive oxygen species, damage cellular DNA, creating mutant genes that lead to cancer. Macrophages, the mop-up molecules in the inflammatory process, churn out numerous tumor growth factors and appear to spur on angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels that nurture tumor cells with a fresh supply of blood. In short, malignant tissues seem to commandeer many of the inflammatory weapons sent out to vanquish them.
Alzheimer's disease. Doctors once thought the central nervous system was outside the reach of the immune system. The blood/brain barrier, formed by tightened capillaries, acts like a bouncer, screening out inflammatory cells and molecules so they can't enter the brain. Yet observational studies have found links between NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen), COX-2 inhibitors, and other anti-inflammatory medications and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, the brain may have its own branch of the immune system. Cells inside the brain called microglia, the counterparts to macrophages, swarm and engulf foreign substances and release TNF-α and other inflammatory molecules. Excess production of a molecule called beta-amyloid appears to play an important, and perhaps initiating, role in Alzheimer's disease, but the immune response may also be involved. Once microglia ingest beta-amyloid, they become enshrouded in fibrin and form the plaques characteristic of the disease.
Some other conditions which are associated with leaky gut are:
Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, RosaceaAlzheimer’s disease and dementia
Brain fog, migraines
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Multiple sclerosis MS)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Premenstrual Tension (PMS)
What causes a leaky gut? Stress, lack of sleep, some medication including corticosteroids, antibiotics, antacids, NSAIDS, chemotherapeutic drugs, and some medications for arthritis, toxins, poor intestinal flora or lack of good bacteria, alcohol abuse, health conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and so on.
So how do you heal your gut? Here’s some advice from Dr Josh Axe:
REMOVE foods and factors that are damaging the gut to address acute inflammation. First things first. If you have a case of acute inflammation, you need to put the fire out first, before you start the clean-up process. You can do this by eliminating the most common dietary triggers of inflammation and using foods and nutrients to dampen the inflammatory response.
REPLACE with healing foods. Once the fire is put out, you need to focus on wound-healing and rebuilding a healthy gut wall. Some foods that are good for healing are bone broth; raw cultured dairy like yoghurt, kefir, raw cheese and butter; fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut; all coconut products; sprouted seeds like chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds; and last but not least your FitLine Basic or PowerCocktail, which is a powerful combination of vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrot, green pepper, tomato, beetroot, turmeric, fibre from apple, with enzymes and probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus reuteri)
REPAIR with specific nutrients. Naturopathic physician Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., author of The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine, recommends the following nutrients: zinc; magnesium; iron; calcium; potassium; vitamins A, B-12, D, E and K; folic acid; ascorbic acid; and quercetin - all of which can be found in your PowerCocktail and Restorate.
REBALANCE with probiotics. But not just putting the good guys back with probiotics; we also need to ensure the environment within the gut is conducive for the growth of beneficial bacteria. You can do this by making sure your digestion is working well, you are not overly stressed and you are eating nourishing foods.
Here's to a healthy gut and a healthy YOU!
* Excerpt from Inflammation: A Unifying Theory of Disease, Harvard Health Publishing, April 2006