Many if not most people have digestive problems. They may not have names such as irritable bowel, yet they certainly cause us concern as well as discomfort. Two such on-going disorders are Celiac disease and Leaky Gut syndrome.
Celiac disease is a recognized disorder; it is a chronic intolerance to gluten. The body responds to gluten as if it were an antigen and launches a full-scale immune system attack in the intestines. The intestine response is damage to the villi (the tiny hairlike projections on the walls) which in turns impairs the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients. Malabsorption becomes a big problem: loss of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and loss of calories despite an adequate diet. Diarrhea compounds the problem. But other symptoms add to a very poor quality of life and celiac disease can be at the root of many problems. The list of signs and symptoms reads like a horror story: diarrhea, weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, nausea, abdominal swelling, foul-smelling stools, depression , fatigue, irritability, muscle cramps, joint and/or bone pain, intense burning of the skin, itchy rashes, gas, anemia, ulcers, bone disease, central and peripheral nervous system impairment, seizures, internal hemorrhaging, infertility, miscarriages and the possibility of developing intestinal lymphoma or other malignancies. But wait, there are also autoimmune disorders associated with celiac disease including kidney disease, sarcoidosis or the formation of lesions in the lungs, bones, skin, etc., insulin-dependent diabetes, hepatitis, thyroid disease, myastenia gravis, Addison’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and Sjogren’s syndrome!
Celiac disease is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases and due to the fact that symptoms are so diverse, some people with celiac disease don’t show obvious symptoms and go a long time being diagnosed incorrectly. Such a case is the connection between epilepsy and celiac disease. A report in the British medical journal The Lancet published a possible connection between celiac disease and epilepsy. One theory is that celiac disease increases intestinal permeability which in turns allows the absorption of substances that may affect brain chemistry (leaky gut syndrome). Schizophrenia has been observed to occur more often in those with celiac disease. Plus the problem is also linked to childhood disorders such as ADHD and autism.
As many as 1 in 8 people in the United States are affected. It is estimated that only about 12.5% of patients have clinically overt celiac disease but 87.5% have silent celiac disease, undiagnosed and may even have normal test results. Why is there so much gluten sensitivity now? Some of the factors leading to increased prevalence are linked to genetically modified foods, gluten storage in bins for long periods of time leading to toxin contamination, chronic stress, poor nutrition and enzyme insufficiency. There is no known cure but it can be controlled be lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. And the use of alternative medicine is a big help in repairing the intestines and reducing symptoms. The first step is to change the diet. This means adopting a food plan that avoids any and all foods that contain gluten. These include:
A person with celiac disease can eat a varied, well-balanced diet including fresh vegetables and fruit as well as legumes such as lentils, beans and peas. Then a plan needs to include those additions that will bring down the inflammation, increase absorption, take care of missing nutrients, and in general make the system work well and the patient symptom-free.
Individuals may feel worse and even develop new symptoms when starting a gluten-free diet. The symptoms may last a few days to several weeks, but the end results will be well worth the effort. Foods that should be questioned along with gluten are:
Plus there are other reactive foods and food sensitivities:
A repair program is two parts: first is foods to avoid and foods to eat
Foods to avoid are:
Foods to eat are:
The second part is the repair process. Brush border enzymes - amylase, cellulase, invertase, and lactase - are recommended to digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats without causing irritation and breakdown of the intestinal walls in people with compromised malabsorption. Flavonoids are essential to counteract the severe inflammatory cascade promoted by the gluten response. Several key antioxidant flavonoids such as quercetin and lycoene have been shown to be specific in quenching this response. Probiotics are another necessity which will support healthy intestinal immunity through maintaining a healthy intestinal environment. Vitamin D plays a role in the healthy function of regulatory T-cells and numerous papers have been published linking the nutritional status of vitamin D to many autoimmune conditions.
Other supplements provide a broad healing approach. First, essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 are needed for the villi in the intestines and for their anti-inflammatory effects. If the problem is long-standing, an amino acid complex will supply the protein needed for the body; extra of the amino acid glutathione needs to be added for its immune enhancement. A B complex and extra B12, B6 and folic acid is an essential component of the plan since these vitamins have not been metabolized by food intake and are normally deficient in most gut problems. Vitamin K is another nutrient often deficient and may lead to a lack of clotting factors in the blood. One form of vitamin K is manufactured by the good bacteria in the intestines and another by certain foods such as leafy greens and particularly alfalfa. Vitamin C with flavonoids is necessary to boost immune function but also to bring down inflammation. Vitamin D3 will stimulate the replacement of the missing calcium so often deficient in celiac problems.
In general, a plan may contain: a minimum of 1,000 mgs of omega-3 and up to 5000 -8,000 mgs for a chronic problem daily a B complex of 100 mgs of each B family member plus extra mgs. of B12, B6 and folic acid once a day a probiotic mix 15 to 20 minutes before eating at least once, preferably twice a day about 2000-5000 mgs. daily of vitamin C with bioflavonoids about 10,000 units of vitamin D3 amino acids and glutathione use as directed on label
Of course you don’t have to stop there. You can add vitamin A and mixed carotenoids about 15,000 units daily plus vitamin E mixed tocopherols at 400 units a day. The minerals magnesium and calcium to replace deficiencies, 750 mgs. and 1500 mgs. of each. Read labels carefully and use supplements that are wheat-free and yeast-free.
The repair program may need to be conducted for an extended period of time for the more progressed cases. An average program length may need 20 to 30 days. Apex Energetics, has put together a repair program -Repairvite powder which contains key nutrients to help support intestinal barrier integrity, a GI Synergy for candida/yeast balance and possible pathogenic microorganisms and Strengthia probiotics. Put together a program you feel you can stick to.
What is Leaky Gut?
When the tight junctions of the intestinal mucosa are compromised, they become widened and permeable to undigested compounds and toxins. Large compounds of undigested proteins actually leak out into the abdomen where they are reacted to by the immune system. This reaction leads to an exaggerated immune response. A cycle is set up of intestinal inflammation and greater amount of intestinal permeability. The loss of tight junctions and increased permeability play a role in the development of auto-immune diseases. The leaked molecules, primarily protein, are recognized as non-self or antigens and start the antibody response. The problem continues with the immune system unable to shut itself off. Some of the resulting health conditions associated with leaky gut syndrome are chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, chronic inflammatory conditions, chronic pain, inflammatory bowel, multiple food sensitivities, chronic yeast overgrowth and brain fog.
The mucosal wall has to be repaired in order for the digestive tract to return to normal. Known dietary triggers that may cause intestinal inflammation must be avoided; healthy intestinal microflora should be added to support more normal pH, short chain fatty acids, and microbiology. Leaky gut can also include leaky areas in the brain. A traumatic brain injury causes gastrointestinal dysfunction and increased intestinal permeability. Stress may also represent an initial step in the beginning of intestinal mucosa dysfunctioning. It induces low grade inflammation leading to cell abnormalities which in turn allow greater bacterial and fungal overgrowth. Stress also suppresses intestinal immunity preventing regeneration of intestinal cells. Hormone changes are another factor. The lack of thyroid hormone stimulation of stomach and intestinal cells leads to ulceration and permeability. Endoscopic examination of gastric ulcers found low or abnormal levels of thyroid hormones. Low estrogen, a modulator of permeability and tight junction function, is a trigger as well.
Although conventional medicine doesn’t recognize Leaky Gut syndrome, there is growing evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a definite disease-related role in autoimmune diseases. The altered immune system is a major contributor to chronic fatigue syndrome, type 1 diabetes, liver inflammation and associated problems, chronic heart failure, obesity, depression, inflammatory bowel, multiple food sensitivities , chronic yeast overgrowth and more. Leaky gut syndrome is a vicious cycle of malabsorption, malnutrition, bacterial overgrowths, immune activation, dysbiosis, food sensitivities, and intestinal lining degeneration.
A program to repair gut health is based on removing known dietary triggers that may cause inflammation while adding nutritional support for membrane health and microflora. The program for celiac disease and leaky gut is basically the same: the avoidance of sugars, high glycemic fruits, grains, gluten containing foods, dairy, soy, lectins, processed foods, coffee, canned foods, and alcohol. (See above ). Then the addition of vitamin D complex, glutathione (an amino acid), a repair formula of several nutrients such as glutamine, aloe vera, chamomile, etc., and probiotics.If you suspect your chronic health problem is being fed by food triggers, or yeast, fungal, or bacterial overgrowth; if you have intestinal distress such as bloating, gas, food sensitivities, constipation, loose stools; if you are anemic, have gastric ulcers, thyroid disease, sleep disorders, persistent fatigue, a chronic pain condition, or an auto-immune problems, consider the possibility of celiac disease and/or leaky gut syndrome. Repairing gut problems can go a long way in making you feel better.
For supplies and further information consult Marie Cargill.