“All diseases begin in the gut” – Hippocrates
A part of our body that I believe we have all misjudged and under valued for a long time. Not Hippocrates though, the father of medicine. Born in Kos, Greece in 460 BC he believed the key to optimum health, was through our gut.
To me, the gut was simply where my food went to organise itself to make its way out of me. But after discovering my gluten and dairy intolerance and how that was affecting my gut and my overall “gut health” a whole new world of information was opened to me.
Did you know that the gut is home to over 100 trillion organisms that make up ¾ of our immune system? It protects us from infection, supports our metabolism, and promotes healthy digestion and elimination.
And another more interesting fact; If you could with a magic eye, see the process by which a clump of cells becomes a miniature human-being inside of another human-being, this is what you would see, roughly speaking. You would notice 3 “cords”. The first cord runs straight through us and has a knot in the middle and becomes our cardiovascular system, that knot then develops into our heart. The second cord begins with a bubble on the top and then runs parallel along our back. This is our nervous system, the spinal cord attaching to the bubble at the top, our brain! The third tube runs straight through us from end to end. Here you have, the intestinal tube – our gut.
Here’s a fun little way to understand Gut Health..
So most of us are walking around with a burning forest inside that is sending smoke signals through our skin, through a cold, through an infection, trying to tell us that it’s not too good in here!
When we get sick we often simply treat the symptoms, but we never actually venture far enough to understand what is actually causing the sickness. We make excuses and to be honest its hard not to. We are so busy these days, we don’t have time to be sick let alone figure it out. We just want the quick fix! And who is to blame us? All we ever did was listen to the ‘experts’ (doctors, government, etc) and select the options that were given. The same options that your parents, your friends, your friends parents and your parents friends were given. So while it’s your own doing whether or not you have good or bad gut health – it’s not necessarily your fault. And you CAN’T beat yourself up over this. Restoring the the integrity of the gut barrier is one of the most important goals of medicine in the twenty-first century. So consider yourself new to the party that’s just getting started!
There are many factors that cause an un-healthy gut (leaky gut). Anti-biotics, tap water containing high levels of fluoride and chlorine, exposure to toxins, high levels of stress and the food we are eating. Everyone is different, so the cause behind why your gut is un-healthy could very well be completely different from mine. For the purpose of my blog however, I am going to specifically talk about how gluten affected my gut health.
Every time I bring my gluten sensitivity up to someone of the older generation more often than not they tell me how they used to eat all the bread they wanted and never got sick and how everyone these days are saying they are gluten intolerant. And to that I say YES, you are 100% right, you nailed it.
“The hybridisation and recent mass consumption of wheat grain is believed to be one of the main reasons these gluten-induced problems are arising. The wheat we consume today has quite a different composition from the wheat consumed 40 years ago. In the 1970’s the old bread wheat grain was subjected to intensive rounds of hybridisation experiments in order to solve some of the worlds hunger problems. The new genetically altered wheat grain contains far more gluten than the original grain and produces ten times the yield of the Einkorn grain grown in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Sadly, this new form of wheat has made its way into Western agriculture and is the most prevalent form of wheat we eat today.”
So yes, gluten IS different today which is why there are so many cases of people who are becoming gluten intolerant!
There has also been findings from The University of Texas Health Science Centre in Houston that Gut bacteria may hold key to treating autoimmune disease.
One of the findings that really affected me was discovering the link between the gut and mental health. Depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, all these things are slowly but surely being positively linked to an un-healthy gut. It frustrates me to know that I teach, meet, and work with so many people who are constantly under mental pressure and something as simple as knowing what your body can and can’t process could be all the help in the world!
I’ll finish this blog on gut-health with this excerpt from the Huffington post.
“So, what’s the harm in trying?
There’s obviously no guarantee, but the evidence leads us to believe that these problems originate in the gut, and healing the gut (with an anti-inflammatory diet and the protocol below) can lead to dramatic improvements; whether we’re talking about allergies and skin conditions or mental and physical performance.
And sure, not every disease is the result of a leaky gut, and not everyone will develop a leaky gut. But with the evidence we have to-date (over 10,000+ papers) proving that this 100-year old hypothesis is no longer quackery, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing everything you can to improve the integrity of your gut lining, encourage a positive bacterial environment, and optimize the overall function of your gastrointestinal system (digestion, absorption, elimination, etc) going forward”
Person 1: “I don’t know what to do *insert name*, I’m so confused!
Person 2: “Hmm, why don’t you just follow your gut?”