Digestion and disease
by Colin Byrne
1 August 2011
I’m writing this article because many people I talk to have not made the connection between digestion and disease. In fact, many have been so enlightened to find the connection, that it has enabled them to take natural remedial action and find relief from a large number of ailments. Many simply do not believe me, yet the Royal society of medicine of Great Britain says,”90% of all chronic disease is caused by an unhealthy intestinal tract.”
So what is the connection and how does it work?
Over the last 50 years or so we have seen the raise of a large number of autoimmune diseases, and it appears that we have become victims of our own evolution, and I had a “gut feel”, if you’ll excuse the pun, about what the connection between digestion and diseases was, but I had no proof. Recent research has confirmed, not only that this is so, but has figured out how it works, and I really excited to have found out too.
In the “good old days” most people had healthy digestive tracts, but since then, the widespread use of antibiotics, unhealthy medicines (like the pill), sanitising foods, and unhealthy nutritional behaviour, has reduced the micro flora in people’s intestinal tracts to unhealthy toxins.
Microflora in the intestinal tract are the microscopic bacterial population that help to “break down” foods, and assist digestion. Recent research in Scandinavia suggest that 90% of the cells and genetic material in our bodies are our own gut flora, so that gives you some idea of how important they are to our overall health. I will also explain where we get our gut bacteria from.
Microflora contain both “good” and “bad” bacteria. There are approximately 400 different types of microflora in our digestive system. Digestion consists of pre-digestion (chewing or fletcherising), digestion, and post-digestion. During this process the body secretes a number of enzymes and secretions to assist the digestive process.
If there are sufficient number in the gut, the “good” bacteria keep the “bad” bacteria under control. However if the “good” bacteria (because of the reasons mentioned above), are insufficient, the “bad” bacteria begins to outnumber the “good” bacteria. The good bacteria is commonly called probiotics, and are often found in fermented foods.
When the “bad” bacteria outnumbers the “good” bacteria, these toxic villains are spread throughout the body, and most significantly to neurons in the brain.
So where does it start?
The accumulation of microflora begins at birth
As far as science knows, the baby inside the mother’s womb during nine months of gestation is sterile. The baby’s gut is sterile. The baby acquires its gut flora at the time of birth, when the baby goes through the birth canal of the mother. So whatever lives in mom’s birth canal becomes the baby’s gut flora. The vaginal flora comes from the bowel. So if the mother has abnormal gut flora, she will have abnormal flora in her birth canal.
It is the birth process that produces an hereditary microflora.
Over successive generations, because grandmother was subjected to antibiotics, she passed on her decreased probiotics, to her daughter, who was also subjected to antibiotics, and when she gives birth, she risks passing this onto her child, possibly causing autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia.
In a recent study, it was shown that 100% of mothers with autistic children had unnatural microflora in the their intestines. A large number of the grandmothers had unnatural microflora, or reduced probiotics in their intestines.
What happens to a baby after birth when they are born with unnatural microflora?
Normally, mother’s breast milk contains sufficient microflora to ensure her baby’s immunity to the unnatural microflora, but if she is deficient in probiotics, the baby is exposed to serious toxins that could harm their health FOR THE REST of their lives unless they become aware of their condition, and take sufficient remedial action. Often these toxins contaminate neurons that lead to brain impairment or dysfunctions.
This condition is, in my view (and it is only my view, but many medical scientists share this view), the reason why this generation is producing more children with autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, schizophrenia and the condition known as bi-polar disease. It is also my view that this condition has also led to the increase in autoimmune-type diseases.
If not treated at birth, or soon thereafter, the immune system of the child will become severely impaired and the condition will grow worse with age. Many adults today, suffer from a lack of probiotics, and become gluten resistant, and develop a large number of allergies, and digestive problems.
What I can do to find out if I suffer with this condition?
There are a large number of laboratories that offer non-invasive and inexpensive tests (called a dysbiosis test or comprehensive digestive stool analysis ) to determine the content of microflora in intestines. Particular attention should be paid to levels of pathogens, particularly E-Coli, but the tests are quite comprehensive.
This test is normally only prescribed and considered necessary for people with intestinal tract infections or digestive problems. This is because the connection between digestion and disease is not widely know, and / or accepted.
What do I do if I have this condition?
In children between the age of birth and 5 years, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride has written an excellent book called, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, in which she explains this condition and outlines the all natural and inexpensive procedures to take to remedy the situation (I highly recommend that everyone read it).
In adults, impaired microflora is not a “quick-fix”.
Whatever you do, do not subject yourself to any toxic treatments or toxic foods, or vaccines of any kind, or let any of your children be exposed until tested.
What one has to do, is re-seed the gut with beneficial microflora. These are mainly contained in fermented foods, like yoghurt, but I strongly suggest adding the Japanese food, natto, but be warned it has been described as smelling like “old socks” and can be challenging to eat. Here is a U tube video that offers alternative ways to eat it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KSZMQ66FLk ). (I prefer the pasta, but don’t cook the natto. I add it, chopped, only after I have cooked the pasta and I let the pasta warm the natto. I add organic cherry tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chilli, and parmesan cheese, but use a form of self-hypnosis to eat it). One has to experiment and find what works for you, but it is the best form of fermented food you can eat.
Just as gorgonzola cheese is an acquired taste so is natto. It is packed with vitamin K2, and is extremely beneficial to microflora.
Natto is made from fermented soy (the only type of soy one should eat, the rest is not beneficial to microflora. Mothers – don’t feed your babies soya substitutes). You can, as an alternative use natto kinase (a powdered form), but it it not as beneficial to microflora as the raw food.
Fucoidan and arabinogalactin have both been shown to improve levels of microflora in clinical trials on animals. Both these ingredients are included in the health supplement I produce, Glyco-Boost. http://www.glycopyc.com/about_pycnogenal.php
“Immunomodulating activity of arabinogalactan and fucoidan in vitro”
J Med Food. 2005 Winter;8(4):446-53.
“Department of Biotechnology & Bioproducts Research Center, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
Many polysaccharides obtained from natural sources are considered to be biological response modifiers and have been shown to enhance various immune responses. Data suggest that arabinogalactan and fucoidan are activators of lymphocytes and macrophages. This property may contribute to their effectiveness in the immunoprevention of cancer.”
Besides fucoidan and arabinogalactin, Glyco-Boost includes gum ghatti, an emulsifier that assists in binding stools, and thus removing toxins and pathogens from the bowel.
I hope I have made you aware, if not convinced you, that the connection between digestion and disease is critical to maintaining good health and that the cure does not involve expensive drugs, but rather patience, persistence and common sense.
The basis of good health is a healthy digestive tract. It influences our thoughts, moods, emotions and logic. In a sense, it is a second brain, but in my view, it is the “first” brain. “Gut feel” (intuition) is only developed through healthy microflora in the gut.