I have just finished reading “Eat Dirt” written by Dr. Josh Axe. He talks about how our preoccupation with sanitizing has actually put us at a higher risk for developing chronic disease. At the root is leaky gut syndrome, which originates, in part, by our overuse of antibiotics, chronic processed food intake, stress, chemicals in our environment and working life, plus our need for fast living and the price of convenience, in the end, on our health. He talks about how all health starts in the gut and this is not a new concept by any means. I see this in my clinical testing that is done on the gut; for instance, testing food allergies on patients and seeing a high number of allergens come back makes me start thinking that leaky gut may be at the basis of this individual’s problem.
Treating the gut involves a simple five step program. The first step involves “remove”; removing food allergens that may have shown up in testing. Dairy products and gluten grains and in some cases, all grains, may have to be removed for the gut to fully heal. Sugar, hydrogenated oils including canola, soybean, corn and vegetable oils can also contribute to inflammation. Genetically modified foods and toxic chemicals should also be removed.
The second step is called “reseed” which involves putting beneficial bacteria back into the gut. He likes soil based organisms and emphasizes getting a large diversity of probiotic strains when you are supplementing. Getting exposed to dirt whether through putting your hands in garden soil or riding horses, swimming in lakes and oceans is encouraged as is consuming fermented foods and medicinal mushrooms.
The third step is “restore” instigated by eating gut healing foods like bone broth, raw cultured dairy, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, miso and kimchi. These foods have lactic acid bacteria that help balance the production of stomach acid. Fermented beverages like apple cider vinegar, kvass and kombucha, coconut milk and other coconut foods are very good for gut health. Prebiotic foods such as artichokes,cabbage and chia seeds start off a long list of beneficial high fiber foods which feed and support the growth of good bacteria.
The fourth step is “release” which focuses on releasing stress whether it be emotional or psychological. He makes suggestions like having a lavender bath at the end of your working day, getting a massage, the importance of exercise, listening to music, forest bathing and the need for exposure to nature.
The last step is “reseal” which looks at healing leaky gut and restoring the integrity of your intestinal lining using supplements such as probiotics, digestive enzymes, l-glutamine, licorice root and slippery elm powder to name a few.
Dr. Josh Axe goes on to talk about five gut types that need slightly different approaches depending on the type you are. I highly recommend reading his book if you want to learn more about leaky gut syndrome which is at the root of many chronic health problems. Until next time, be well! Please book an appointment if you want to talk about leaky gut or any other health problem.
Reference: Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe