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Chronic Illness Begins With Breakdown In Your Gut

Good overall health begins with a healthy gut. Chronic illness begins with breakdown in the gut.

This is where I typically start with clients looking to address any health challenge.

If you're looking for lasting improvement in any area of your health, it's best not to think of your body parts as being independent compartments. Every cell communicates with every other cell, not always directly, but via the fluids, hormones, and neurotransmitters that travel through the vast network of blood vessels and nerves that course through every part of you. And it all starts with your gut.

Think of your digestive tract as your first physical line of defense against all chronic, degenerative illness.

From your mouth to your large colon, the lining of your digestive tract is continuous with the skin that covers your body. Both your digestive tract lining and your skin act as barriers that protect your blood and inner tissues against undesirable substances.

When you were a baby, if you were breastfed by a relatively healthy mother, your gut had plenty of health-enhancing organisms (lactic acid gram-positive non-motile organisms). Often called "friendly" bacteria, these organisms line the walls of your small and large intestines and serve several functions, some of the most important ones being:

  • Enhancement of natural immunity via production of natural antibiotics

  • Production of organic acids that help regulate pH levels throughout your gut

  • Inhibition of growth of potentially harmful microorganisms like gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and even parasites

The reality is that potentially harmful microorganisms make their way into your intestines on an everyday basis - they just aren't able to flourish to a degree where they can colonize your intestinal walls if you have enough friendly organisms there to compete for space and resources.

What if you don't have sufficient colonies of friendly, health-enhancing organisms in your gut? The bad guys will find spaces along your gut lining where they can take root and form colonies that aren't easily washed away. This is called dysbiosis, which leads to leaky gut syndrome.

As more unfriendly bacteria, invasive fungi, and even parasites dig into your gut lining, your gut can actually begin to "leak" incompletely digested protein and man-made toxins that make their way into your body. As these foreign substances enter your bloodstream through your damaged gut lining, your immune system will begin manufacturing antibodies to combat them, which can lead to chronic inflammation anywhere in your body via "antigen-antibody complexes" getting deposited in your tissues as they circulate through your blood - this is a root cause of a plethora of common health conditions, including but not limited to eczema, psoriasis, alopecia (hair loss), ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, endometriosis, cystitis, and even psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia.

Dysbiosis and leaky gut syndrome are not readily recognized by conventional medicine as health conditions, most likely because there are no patented prescription drugs or surgical procedures that can justifiably be prescribed for them.

In general, you can safely assume that you have some degree of dysbiosis and leaky gut syndrome if you regularly experience one or more of the following symptoms of digestive tract dysfunction:

  • Excessive, foul-smelling gas production

  • Ill-defined discomfort in your abdomen following meals or even during meals

  • Chronic constipation and/or diarrhea

The most common causes of deterioration of gut ecology that allows for dysbiosis and leaky gut to develop are:

  • Overuse of prescription antibiotics

  • Regular intake of foods that are rich in sugar and/or highly refined carbohydrates i.e. white flour products

  • Overconsumption of alcohol

  • Overeating

  • Eating while stressed

  • Not chewing well

So how do you go about preventing and reversing dysbiosis and leaky gut?

Adopt Eating Habits that Facilitate Optimal Digestion

Perhaps the single most important eating habit that you can adopt to facilitate healing of your digestive tract is to chew your foods thoroughly.

Ideally, you want to chew your foods until liquid. When you chew well, you allow your digestive tract to efficiently break down small particles of food into micronutrients that can pass through the wall of your small intestine into your blood.

Your teeth are designed to mechanically break down food, while the rest of your digestive tract and organs are designed to chemically break down your food. Whenever you don't chew well, your digestive tract and organs take on the burden of trying to accomplish what is much easier for your teeth to take care of.

If you have dental or jaw problems that make it difficult to chew well, consider blending your foods in a blender or a food processor.

Chewing your foods and liquids well allows your saliva and digestive enzymes to mix in with your foods and liquids, which begins the process of digestion right in your mouth.

Chewing well encourages physical and emotional rest while eating. And being emotionally balanced and at rest while you eat allows your body to send a rich supply of blood to your digestive organs during a meal, which helps optimize every step of digestion.

If possible, strive to combine the habit of chewing well with a steady focus on being grateful for your food and other blessings. Just as the connection between your mind and body can cause you to sweat when you are nervous, being grateful while you chew can help your digestive organs break down your food and assimilate nutrients into your blood.

The goal is to prevent incompletely digested foods from sitting in your digestive tract longer than they should, as this promotes breeding of potentially pathogenic microorganisms.

Minimize Intake of Substances that Harm Gut Ecology

The big ones are prescription antibiotics, sugary foods, white flour products, and alcohol.

Ensure Adequate Physical Rest

Simply put, the more you rest, the more energy your body can devote to repairing damaged areas, including your digestive tract.

It's during deep, restful sleep that your body produces large quantities of growth hormone, testosterone, and erythropoietin - all of these hormones are needed in optimal supply to keep your gut lining healthy.

Consider Taking a Quality Probiotic

You can nourish your gut with health-enhancing bacteria via traditionally fermented foods, but if you have a long history of symptoms of dysbiosis and leaky gut, you can likely benefit from taking a professional grade probiotic formula. The one that I have my clients use can be found here:

Synbiotic Plus - A Professional Grade Intestinal Cleansing Probiotic

So there you have it, a primer on dysbiosis and leaky gut. If you have any questions on this topic, please use the comments section below. Thank you.


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Thank you !!!
Best newsletter EVER !

Hiya Dr Kim!
I suffer from Ulcerative colitis and its basically through bad food choices, fast foods and incredible crazy intolerable stress.
I was on mesalasine and tried taking lactobacillus acidophilus cut out sugar for manuka honey and exchanged cow dairy for goat and soya. No more wheat either. Unless it was Turkish bread which didn't hurt to digest for some reason.
Heres the thing. I was still very ill and had to increase mesalazine dosage x 3. I was getting bruising as a result from any small thump.
Enter Green smoothies. Cabbage carrots cucumber ginger parsley celery kale spinach blueberries apples pears even seaweed [Sushi wraps]. After one drink I noticed the difference. Let me say no peculating volcanic belly anymore. No embarrassing gas, and by day 5 I felt 10 years younger.
One in the morning one at night. done. Still keeping to the other dietary things but no more mesalasine required. NONE! Love the new belly! Less swollen and gassy!!! Must have gone down a dress size!

Get a juicer, coat your stomach before brekkie and before bed. Probiotics in the morning. DONE.
And for those that crave cheddar try replacing with Spanish manchegno.
p.s: add tiny bit of lemon too!

The post from Shafattack caught my eye as my 13 year old daughter has ulcerative colitis which she was diagnosed with alittle over a year ago. Can you please let me know exactly what you put in your green smoothie? Are you still on meds? I can't stand her taking meds and would love to get her off of them. Willing to try anything even go to a functional medical practioner. Thanks!!
Grateful Mom

Please inform your readers of the hazards of GMO 's and the leaky gut syndrome. I recommend that you look at the Gut and Psychology Diet as a possible cure. Please also inform your readers that most major grain crops in the USA. Are sprayed with glyphosate (roundup) prior to harvest and the toxicity of Roundup.

This was an informing and excellent article. I am concerned because I have tried two different kinds of probiotics, one in capsule form and the other the Pearl form and both have caused me more trouble in the form of cramps and bloating. Any recommendations?
Thank you so much.

Hi Linda
I too find any and all probiotics gas forming. My toddler does too!
The best solution I have personally found is Kefir.
I have not used milk kefir as we are lactose intolerant but will be very slowly introducing it next week to see if it can heal these problems. Instead I purchased fresh water kefir online and I make it myself. I started with a shotglass of water kefir daily. No side effects! I increased it till I was was able to drink 1 cup. No gas and more living probiotics than any product. Hope this helps!!

Hi Anna, and whoever that reads this thread

I am suffering from eczema that I think comes from my faulty digestive system that is short of good flora. I think I have leaky gut too. It makes sense. Anyway, I have been getting mixed signals from people about kefir. In short: is kefir good at healing the gut and therefore heal eczema? I have kept a strict diet of mainly cooked greens, fresh fruits, plenty of sweet potatoes and drinking down water or clear soup. It works but I don't know if it's a die-off from the candida or another flare-up, but I get returning eczema after say three months of clear. It could be the weather, or the Indian food I ate. I don't know. But every day I would take a probiotic pill that comes with thirteen strains of good bacteria and yeasts, in the afternoon, I sip just one tablespoon of homemade coconut water kefir. In the process of making the coconut water kefir, I have also made some water kefir from coco palm sugar and or with raw white sugar. It's far more controllable situation than it was a year ago though. So I'm wondering if I could continurpe taking water kefir? Some people told me to get milk kefir but I worry about the casein. But if my logic is correct, if I heal my gut first with water kefir, I could proceed to milk kefir. Also, I am trying to introduce fermented vegetable into my diet. Sauerkraut is one of my thoughts here. Don't know about kimchi because it's too spicy but I used to take kimchi irregularly before. But in all, should I just incorporate everything into my diet??

About 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. My rheumatoid factor was an astounding 120. Normal is around 15. Today, my rheumatoid factor has settled in at 16-17. This recovery has been due in part to medications, but mostly due to, after much research and correlative studies into my lifestyle, my doctor and I surmised that I am allergic to .... coffee; not caffeine but the coffee bean.

I felt strongly that coffee somehow disrupted the balance of those micro organisms in my digestive tract. However, I am beginning to think more along the lines of Leaky Gut syndrome which may well trigger the immune system and puts it into overdrive.

I do believe strongly that most of our health issues begin with and can be cured by a healthy diet along with healthy lifestyles. Your newsletters mirror these thoughts. With unhealthy foods and chemicals being force fed us, we must take control and feed ourselves and our families. With GMO's, water fluoridation, fast foods, processed foods, and chemical preservatives, it is no wonder that pharmaceuticals follow our food choices.

Thank you for your newsletters and for sharing your insightful and professional thoughts and findings.

Duane D

I may have this but have a different symptom I am nauseas consistently every day. I have been diagnosed with parasites but also have been diagnosed with kidney stones, gastritis, Gilbert's disease. I'm In my 20's. My doctors cannot clearly tell me what is going on. When they don't know they say i can live with it and lead a normal life which is completely untrue because i am sick all the time. The antibiotics don't seem to have worked. I don't eat the typical standard American diet but probably could improve in some areas. My mom even put me on a no sugar (no fruits) juice/vegetable diet to try and create an environment in my body where parasites couldn't live but to no avail. So I continue day to day sick. Try not to stress and be happy but after so much time it gets really discouraging and expensive. I have an appointment tomorrow with an infectious disease doctor. Maybe things will change for the better. Not going to get my hopes up.

Ashley, you may want to try MSM. It is organic sulfur from plants (do not buy any made from petroleum), that smoothes the lining of the gut, lungs, and nasal passages. This prevents parasites from digging in, and many people report their allergies aren't as severe as the pollens have nothing to stick to either. It is inexpensive and easy to take. I put a teaspoon in 1/4 cup of water and drink it down. It tastes like aspirin. I then drink a glass of water after that. It is much easier than drinking a full glass of water that tastes like aspirin :) A few times a week I drink a 2 TBS of Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother (only kind that has the enzymes still in it) with water. This is loaded with probiotics/enzymes for the gut.

Good luck, I know this is frustrating for you but you will eventually find what you need.

Check to see if you might have Lymes disease. It is hard to diagnose and easily missed in the regular medical assessments.

Hi Ashley,

I had the very same experience in my twenties. My condition worsened to daily regurgitation and all the medications made it even worse. After many diagnoses, surgery, and medications, I stopped everything and started paying attention to my body and diet. I found out, with the help of a naturopath, that my body was extremely acidic, hence the reflux. It took a time of cleansing and an alkaline diet before I began to heal.

I kept a food diary for a while and noted everything that I put in my mouth, the way I felt about 30 minutes later, water intake, number of daily bowel movements (if you're not having them or they are not regular, that can contribute to the nausea.

Hope that may be of help.