The New Frontier in Medicine is the trillions of tiny microbes in our guts which determine everything from one’s propensity to gain and hold weight to how our brains function. We hear and see evidence of this New Frontier all around us as science gains understanding of these tiny creatures and their direct links to our health.
In truth, we are more bacteria than we are human. And they inhabit more than just our gut, but for our purposes now, we’ll stick with the gut. And, for the record, we are MAJOR fans of these little guys! The more and diverse, the merrier and the stronger is your immune system. We’ll give you a few hints on pro and pre-biotics later. Keep reading…
YOUR BODY’S FIRST INTERNAL LINE OF DEFENSE
It’s so important at the beginning of our lives to set the stage. How well our health will prosper starts when we are born. And, when this delicate world of the human microbiome is disrupted and damaged, it sets the stage for many illnesses, including depression and most especially damaging forms include Autoimmune illnesses such as MS, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, Alzheimers, Celiac and Crohns Disease… and more.
This short NPR video is an excellent primer on The Gut. And it’s clever! (Click Here)
THE PERFECT STORM, Step 1: Leaky Gut
Yes….this is literal. The gut is damaged by eating something which creates holes in the intestine. Food and other compounds and critters in the intestines — bacteria, any virus, undigested food and processed junk particles, etc.–leak out into the surrounding tissues. They may get into the blood stream or just the local area. They become immune system targets.
THE PERFECT STORM, Step 2: Exposure to Environmental Toxins/Triggers
It’s often an inflammatory protein of some kind which does the deed–such as gliadin in the gluten of wheat or the unusual proteins created by GMO foods. Now with leaky gut , these prime targets escape the intestinal tract are floating around. They can lodge in the joints, the muscles, and even head to the brain and break thru the blood-brain barrier to cause issues in your brain. Your immune system goes into hyper drive. It is attacking something real. Unfortunately, human cells get in the cross-fire as well.
Other sources of environmental triggers include the estrogens all around us…hazardous chemicals–even in our new car upholstery, and certainly in some pharmaceuticals such as hormone replacements and birth control pills, poisons, GMO’s, heavy metals, etc. Don’t forget that maintaining too much body mass in fat– over an extended period of time–creates an inflammatory situation which can also overwhelm your immune system.
See more of the science here. http://realfoodforager.com/autoimmunity-just-one-disease-expressed-in-different-body-parts/
Processed sugar is a toxin too. What was once a rare treat 50+ years ago is now ridiculously present in nearly every processed food. If you take a drop of your blood and look at it under a powerful microscope, you will see the level of activity of your immune system. Now, have a piece of hard candy and do it again. Your immune system will be mostly shut down, as evidenced by your white blood cells who will be shocked and not moving much, if at all. If you drink a can of Coke, the immune cells will be stunned and operate at only about the 10% level. It will take at least 4 hours to recover. And when it wakes up again, your immune system will be employed in carrying out the toxic garbage rather than fighting cell-protection battles for which it is designed and best equipped.
THE PERFECT STORM, Step 3: Genetic Predisposition to Autoimmunity
The increased intestinal permeability, which is part of the leaky gut, allows the environmental trigger to access the rest of the body. This trigger could be the mercury or aluminum from a vaccine or the common-every-day commercial wheat with gluten and Roundup built right in. And now the stage is set to trigger any genetic predisposition one has to Autoimmune conditions. Now the pain and stiffness of arthritis begins to set in. The brain functions begin to express the symptoms of MS. The Fibromyalgia phantom pains begin. The cancer cells begin to grow and flourish….and on and on with the long list of autoimmune conditions.
HEALTH BEGINS FROM THE INSIDE OUT.
When you have an intact immune system and appropriate nutrients, you could be swimming in bugs, and if you are healthy from the inside out, your immune system will protect you. Let’s take a looks at some ideas you can bring online right now for what is arguably the most important aspect of your daily immune life that you control.
TIPS FOR YOUR BEST GUT EVER.
Probiotics are not just taken after you have a round of antibiotics, although it’s a DEFINITE after you’ve slain most of your microbiota. With medical science’s increased awareness of the importance of a healthy and diverse gut flora, many health professionals are now taking/eating them daily… and recommending this protocol to patients as well.
Special Tip: Do not be loyal to any ONE probiotic. What you want is the greatest diversity you can get. So, switch ‘em up! We carry some good ones in capsule form (including some that are TARGETED for Women’s Urogenital, Weight Loss, and Sinus Health), Earth Origins has a multitude of choices, including one of our favorites, “Good Belly”. Even Costco is in the game. Ask for the one at the cooler in the pharmacy.
Prebiotics are getting a good amount of press these days. Wikipedia describes them like this:
A prebiotic is a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-being and health.
Some excellent prebiotics are kimchi, sauerkraut, beans, mother’s milk, dandelion greens, raw & dry garlic and leeks, cacao, and even coffee. Basically, anything that doesn’t break down in your stomach acids can become food for your intestinal flora.
Creating a Happy Bacteria Home
In November of 2010, scientists had fun with a double-blind study using cacao. They found they could significantly grow the population of several types of favorable bacteria by having the study participants consume a High Cacao Flavanol Drink daily. Those little bugs just gobbled it up and multiplied! So, when you have a piece of raw, dark, Medicinal-Grade Chocolate, you are doing your gut–and therefore your immune system–a lot of good! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21068351
Acupuncture Helps Too. As an Acupuncturist, I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you that acupuncture can also boost your immune system. Some effects of acupuncture include reducing stress and inflammation, which gives your immune system the ability to focus on something else besides the inflammation. And it can get your life force moving, busting thru an energetic blockage in the body.
In our next articles we’ll cover your TWO different immune systems, some breathing and special dietary protocols, acupuncture and foods and other natural modalities which can knock the socks off Autoimmune conditions.
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To Your Best Gut Ever,
Dr. David & Deb Martin and Staff