We are what we eat! Not only what we eat, but how our intestinal tract works matters. Our intestinal tract starts from our mouth chewing the food, then the food moves into our stomach for digestion, the small intestine further digests the food and absorbs the nutrients, the large intestine absorbs the water and the fibers we eat are fermented by the bacteria in the large intestine. produce nutrients for the intestine cells. Not only that, but the healthy bacteria also form a biofilm that serves as a barrier to prevent toxins and large undigested food molecules to enter our bodies.
80% of immune cells are located in the intestine tract, serving as our first line of defense, and 90% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes us happy, is secreted by the intestine cells. Our intestine tract not only serves as the portal for us to get nutrients to sustain our life, but it also is our defense against toxins and foreign invaders, it is our second brain. This is why our intestine tract is so important for our health, and if we can heal our gut, we can get rid of most diseases.
Four Common Intestinal Issues
Acid reflux, reflux esophagitis, or GERD
One of the most popular over-the-counter medicines sold is antacids, starting from Tums to Zantac to prescription proton pump inhibitors such as Protonix. The real reason is we eat too many processed foods without the enzyme from raw food to help digestion, and we ate too much. The stomach needs to be very acidic to digest the protein and kill the pathogens, when we eat too much, or when we get older and not secreting as much enzyme or HCL, we can’t digest the food so it sits in the stomach and comes back up, we call it acid reflux or reflux esophagitis. Yes, reducing the acidity in the stomach reduces heartburn, but at the price of not digesting the food, getting the nutrient, or killing the harmful bacteria we ingested. The other problem with protein pump inhibitors is we don’t have the acidity to absorb certain nutrients, such as B12. Also reducing the acidity in the intestine reduces the healthy bacteria growth in the intestine tract and increases the growth of bad bacteria or candida.
The simple solution is chewing more, eating slower and smaller meals, eating a healthy diet such as a paleo diet, and avoiding processed foods, acidic food, coffee, and alcohol. If you still have a problem with reflux, take a digestive enzyme such as digest EZ right before a meal.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Remember our gut has a biofilm to prevent toxins and large undigested food to enter our body? When this biofilm is damaged, or the intestine lining junction is inflamed and not tight anymore, undigested food can enter our body. Undigested proteins, especially gluten are foreign invaders, so our body recognizes them as enemies and produces antibodies to destroy them. Unfortunately, these antibodies can turn against us, attacking our own organs and tissue, thus leading to auto-immune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Other symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, sinus congestion, skin rash, eczema, and food sensitivities.
I always do a food allergy test when patients present with autoimmune diseases. Simply by not eating the food you are allergic to, we can stop antibody production and prevent or reverse autoimmune diseases.
Another important issue is rebuilding the biofilm. How the biofilm is being damaged? Remember the biofilm is made of healthy bacteria, which we called probiotics. They feed on fiber, not sugar. The SAD diet, the standard American diet, is full of processed food containing sugar or high glycemic carbohydrate that turns into sugar quickly. This leads to unhealthy bacteria or fungus overgrowth. Another reason is many grains contain lectin, which can poke holes in our intestine cells. Chronic use of antibiotics, NSAID medicine such as Motrin, Advil or prescription pain meds, or protein pump inhibitors are all reasons that damage the biofilm.
To repair the leaky gut, eating a healthy diet, such as a paleo diet, is essential. Also, remember the 4 “R’s”:
- Remove – remove the foods we are allergic to, remove the toxins from our diet, and remove the pathogenic organisms, such as candida or harmful bacteria and parasite.
- Replace – digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid. DigestEZ has both.
- Re-inoculate – this is done by introducing healthy bacteria, such as wellbiotics sp
- Repair – Inflamdetox powder has herbs to reduce inflammation and glutamine and vitamin D to repair the intestine lining.
Candida exists in our environment and normally does not cause harm. But when it starts to overgrow, it can invade the intestine lining and cause inflammation of the intestine tract, which can lead to a leaky gut, and a whole host of problems. To treat candida, the most important part is not to feed it with sugar. A diet low in sugar and processed carbohydrates is essential, which is hard for a lot of people to follow. But you don’t have to be perfect all the time, stick to a paleo diet with fruits like strawberry and blueberry, not drink alcohol too often and take your supplements regularly, you will be able to beat it!
1. Digestive enzymes such as DigestEZ will reduce fermentable sugar to feed the candida.
2. ProSpore IgG which has a spore form of probiotics that are able to survive stomach acidity, get to the intestine more effectively to suppress candida growth, also immunoglobulin to neutralize the toxins and repair the gut lining
3. Yeasty Beauty which has oregano, caprylate acid, and berberine creates a hostile environment to inhibit the yeast form of candida from converting to a more aggressive fungal form. It also has ginger, biotin, rosemary, and cinnamon to give the intestine tract potent antioxidant support and ensure microbial balance.
4. Chelated Magnesium or Nature calm which helps with constipation.
SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth)
Healthy bacteria usually grow in the large intestine, but not so much in the small intestine. But when the intestine motility is slower, or the ileocecal valve between the small and large intestine is not closed tightly, the bacteria can move to the small intestine. Those bacteria can ferment fiber or undigested carbs, and produce either methane or hydrogen. Methane can cause constipation, hydrogen can cause diarrhea, and both cause burping and bloating. Those are typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, More severe SIBO causes small intestine inflammation, and leads to malabsorption, Celiac disease, and autoimmune diseases. Often SIBO is combined with fungal candida overgrowth, called SIFO.
The treatment of SIBO is similar to candida, which is a diet of low sugar and carbohydrate, but the difference is SIBO diet also need to avoid fiber, especially water-soluble fiber which can be fermented. This kind of diet is called a low FODMAP ( fermentable oligosaccharides disaccharides monosaccharides and polyols) diet, oligosaccharides mean short-chain carbohydrates, which means a few sugars together, those foods include wheat, rye, onions, garlic, lentil, beans, chickpeas, and soybeans. Disaccharides means two sugars, which include sucrose from fruits and lactose from milk. monosaccharides means one sugar, which is fructose and glucose. Polyols are sugar alcohols, such as xylitol in sugar-free diet products. The Internet is a good source to find food with low FODMAP to eat or high FODMAP to avoid.
It’s hard to stick to a low FODMAP diet, but the good news is you can see results pretty soon, usually within a month, if you combine it with supplements.
- Digestive enzymes such as DigestEZ, which help to digest food and reduce fermentation in the small intestine
- Motility pro which helps to restore gastric and small intestine motility.
- Chelated magnesium or nature calm to reduce constipation.
- Yeasty beauty to treat candida, which usually co-exists with SIBO.
- Don’t take probiotics or eat fermented food until the SIBO is treated.