The gut controls the health of the entire body — give your patients a once-over gut check challenge
Every year 22 million Americans are rushed to the hospital for immune-related health problems — with 246,000 never to return home. Many are in need of a gut check challenge.
Hippocrates once proclaimed, “All disease begins in the gut.” He also said, “Let your medicine be your food and your food be your medicine.”
Results of an unhealthy gut
Over your lifetime you’ll eat about 60 tons of food, all of which passes through your GI tract. What you may not realize is that your GI tract (gut) is home to a lot more than just what you ate for dinner.
Other than digesting food, 60-70% of your body’s immune system comes from your gut.
In addition, another vital function of the gut is to produce serotonin. An unhealthy gut can severely affect serotonin production and therefore affect mental attitude — depression, anxiety and performance. Often, a gut check challenge and cleaning up the gut biology will increase levels enough to do away with medications. It is estimated that roughly 40% of the adult population in the U.S. is taking some sort of medication for depression or anxiety.
Interestingly enough, about the same number of people suffer with symptoms of constipation, fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, gas and stomach cramps; all are indications of a sick digestive system, which may also be signs of something more severe. Simply covering up symptoms by taking antacids or other stomach remedies is never a good solution. It is important to discover the underlying cause of this upset before it gets out of hand.
If the gut is healthy, generally the body is healthy.
Our digestive system requires trillions of microbes to break down food. Microbes influence digestion, weight, metabolism, immunity and emotions. There are good bacteria, “probiotics,” and there are bad bacteria. When the bad ones outnumber the good ones, digestion is impaired, and we get sick.
Too much bad bacteria can become toxic to our bodies and can cause a huge number of health problems: gas, bloating, pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, leaky gut, weight loss issues, skin conditions (such as adult acne and psoriasis), Candida, and sometimes even Crohn’s disease. Depression, anxiety, brain fog, and/or insomnia, could be due to gut toxicity, the origins of which may come from pesticides and herbicides, or from an overgrowth of bad microbes/bacteria.
Other disorders can include slow metabolism, migraine headaches, metabolic syndrome, difficulty losing weight, itchy eyes, acne and rosacea, arthritis, liver disease and dozens of other conditions. Any of these can arise when bad microbes kill off the helpful probiotics in your GI tract. Our bodies actually do best with a healthy balance of 85% good biotics.
Gut check challenge: probiotics
The key is to a healthy gut is quite simple — by ingesting good (pro) biotics, you automatically get rid of the bad biotics.
Probiotic supplements can be found in many places, however, all probiotic supplements are not created equal. Some work better than others, and some don’t work at all. Yogurt is a perfect example; lots of advertising and name recognition, but loaded with sugar and weak probiotics, the gain is small. Probiotic supplements are the best solution.
One of the most common bad biotics is Candida albicans, which is a fungus or yeast infection.
When Candida proliferates, it disrupts the 85/15 balance, creating gas and bloating, and can spread throughout the body to cause a number of problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is an unstable bowel with alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, stomach cramps, and severe pain. It is estimated that over 70 million people suffer with this condition.
More often than not, Candida is the source for upset. A quick look at the tongue can reveal a white coating, which is a prime indicator of the presence of Candida. Nothing feeds Candida in your gut faster than eating too much sugar. Additionally, many antibiotics cause massive growth in Candida — orally, vaginally and systemically.
Sugar promotes yeast, poor health
Candida and other toxic microbes love sugar because it allows them to multiply and grow very rapidly.
In addition to dramatically promoting or increasing Type 2 diabetes, the first proactive step you can take to reduce the growth of bad microbes and candida in your body is to greatly reduce sugar in your diet. Most people are aware that soda has up to 6-7 teaspoons of sugar in each can. Unfortunately, diet soda is just as bad in that it contains artificial sweeteners that are toxic and carcinogenic. Many studies have shown that two diet sodas per day doubles the chance of a heart attack.
All artificial sweeteners have toxic ingredients, not to mention the fact that they actually increase fat deposits and increase the appetite by increasing ghrelin, the hunger hormone; the more your intake, the hungrier you become, which leads to craving and eating more junk food — a vicious circle. There may be an exception for Stevia and Agave.
Approximately 60-70% of your body’s immune system is located in your gut, so when you have a healthy balance of 85% probiotics to 15% bad microbes, your immune system is at its peak efficiency, giving you energy and better immunity (health) throughout the rest of the body.
However, when toxins from food and toxic microbes like Candida and C. diff (also known as Clostridioides difficile or C. difficile) overload your gut, your immune system breaks down, making you more susceptible to all kind of bad germs, colds, flu, COVID, etc.
Leaky gut syndrome
When Candida and/or other bad microbes take over your digestive system, it may create little holes in the delicately-thin lining of your digestive system, creating a condition called leaky gut syndrome.
These holes create opportunities for toxic microbes, bacteria, and even tiny particles of food to leak out into your blood stream where they do not belong, affecting your internal organs, muscles, joints and brain tissue. This can set off a toxic inflammatory response almost anywhere in the body. It is very often the cause for chronic inflammation, pain in joints, organs, headaches and other neurological problems.
Along with the reduced levels of serotonin from the dysbiosis, one could exhibit headaches or a myriad of psychological and/or nerve-related disorders, all from a leaky gut. These conditions can become chronic and very resistant to common remedies since you’re treating the symptom rather than the cause.
The sugar fix
When your GI tract is healthy, just about every part of the body is healthier. Improved gut health means vastly improved nutritional uptake, decreasing bloat, heartburn, and gas. Better nutritional uptake allows for consumption of healthier food, decreased cravings and probable weight loss.
We all know that fast food — Twinkies, chips, soda, many desserts, etc. — are not good for us. Essentially, they have little-to-no vitamins, minerals, or fiber — just sugar, flour, salt and carbohydrates. However, they taste so good that we keep eating them. Billions of dollars of marketing go into the promotion of those products so that psychologically we are brain-washed into wanting and “needing” them. They fill up the stomach and clog up the rest of the GI tract, leaving little-to-no room for good food and poor absorption.
A steady diet of junk food creates a poor environment for good bacteria. The poor-quality food actually creates more hunger due to a lack of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that the body needs and wants, so it turns on the hunger hormone called ghrelin. Oddly enough, the more junk food you consume, the less nutrition you get, the more ghrelin is produced, and the hungrier you get — a vicious, health-defeating, life-challenging conundrum.
The solution is obvious, right? A patient gut check challenge to read labels, eat more veggies and fruit, and less sugar and salt.
Toxins on fruits and vegetables
While fruits and vegetables are the healthiest things you can eat, there is a danger with many of the fruits and vegetables that you buy. Many are coated with invisible toxic (sometimes carcinogenic) herbicides and pesticides that can make you sick, tired, bloated, and may lead to Candida and other digestive problems like IBS, chronic constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps.
Pesticides and chemicals are found on an estimated 70% of our store-bought fruits and veggies (Environmental Working Group). This is a serious and widespread problem, most of it due to the massive importation from countries outside the U.S. that do not share the USDA regulations for non-toxic foods.
Fresh fruits and vegetables deserve a major place in every healthy diet, so we recommend you buy organic when possible — that way you should get the nutrition you need without toxic chemicals. However, it is still a great idea to wash them off (especially with alkaline water) before eating them. Canned and frozen fruits and veggies have lots of added sugar, salt, and preservatives in them, so they are not nearly as good as fresh, but still better than nothing – so eat fresh whenever possible.
Other essential elements for good gut health are called prebiotics which consist of fiber and digestive enzymes.
“Pre” meaning “before” refers to the good nutrition that goes into the stomach which aids in digestion of all food. Digestive enzymes are produced in the stomach, pancreas, small intestine and liver; along with stomach acid they break down your food into essential elements like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and amino acids.
While most digestive enzymes are created and released from within the body, some come from the (good) food we eat. Fiber is essential for digestion, and it comes from plants, i.e., fruits and vegetables. Soluble fibers break down, releasing lots of beneficial oils, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Other insoluble fibers only break colon cleaner by scrubbing built-up debris from the walls. These fibers keep the GI system free flowing down partially with similar lower nutritional release, leaving behind essential fiber (roughage), keeping the bowel and, which is essential to both absorption and transit of waste (fecal) material.
Clogged bowels and weight gain
Patients who are overweight very often have bowels that are very clogged, and upon autopsy doctors find as much as 10-40 pounds of caked-up fecal material stuck to the walls of the intestines.
This condition greatly impairs the absorption of all nutrients, often rendering the patient in a state of malnutrition, because the good stuff can’t get through the intestines and then into the blood stream. These people are always hungry, mainly from a lack of good nutrition getting to the parts of the body where it is needed.
However, once they get a gut check challenge from their doctor to start eating correctly and getting the fiber they need, over a period of time their bowel should rid itself of much of the harmful caking and clogging on its walls and begin absorbing the nutrients breaking down therein.
MICHAEL J. KOCH, DC, BS, CTTP, ND, is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. He practiced for over 30 years and opened a dozen practices. He has consulted with hundreds of holistic doctors during his professional life for advanced services and improved outcomes. He is a pioneer in the utilization of legal CBD (hemp oil) for a myriad of neurological and immunological health problems. For more information go to holisticteledoc.com.