Gut Dysbiosis

| January 24, 2013

digestive_sysA properly functioning gut is populated by billions, perhaps even trillions of different strains of symbiotic cultures of bacteria and other microbes that perform at least three very important functions. In a healthy body these microorganisms:

  1. Help to break down and assimilate the food we eat into a size and form that can be readily assimilated and absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by the body.

  2. Synthesize various vitamins and nutrients.

  3. Form a protective filtration barrier between the external world (which is actually within the tube connecting mouth to anus) and the insides of our bodies (which is where our blood flows and our vital organs are located.)

Even though it seems as if when we put something in our mouths and swallow it that it’s inside of us, it’s not actually truly fully incorporated into our system until it passes through the lining of our intestines and is absorbed into our bloodstream.

To get a better idea of what this means, imagine an inflated tire inner tube. Our alimentary canal is like the hole in the middle of it, which is still technically ‘outside’ the inner tube. And our true ‘insides,’ where our blood flows and our internal organs are located, is within the inner tube where the air has inflated the rubber.

Our body, when we’re healthy and it’s working as it was meant to, has a phenomenal innate wisdom, and is designed to do everything possible to keep us healthy by protecting us from potentially harmful substances in our environment that might possibly enter our systems.

But what’s often happening with people who are exhibiting symptoms of chronic illness, is that the protective microbial barrier composed of healthy, symbiotic friendly flora which lines the gut has become compromised to the point where it is no longer capable of properly performing its functions of helping to digest the food we eat and protecting us systemically. When the balance of beneficial microbes is knocked out of kilter, this is known as dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis can be caused by a number of things, particularly including oral antibiotics, poor nutrition, lack of being breast fed as a baby, regular use of birth control pills, and an overload of noxious environmental and/or dietary contaminants.

Dysbiosis can result in what’s known as a leaky gut which is a condition that allows substances to pass into our bloodstream from the digestive tract that a healthy, properly functioning gut would not.

A leaky gut allows oversized particles of food, improperly or undigested foods, toxins, pathogens, environmental pollutants, and even heavy metals etc, which should not be passing through the intestinal wall barrier, to continually breach the gut wall and be absorbed into the blood. When this happens, the immune system immediately goes on high alert, and begins attacking what it perceives as substances that do not belong in the body, launching assault after assault, which can manifest in a variety of symptoms.

Our other vital internal organs, particularly the brain, may also be negatively impacted by substances that don’t belong in the bloodstream. This may be one of the most significant and overlooked underlying causative factors for children on the autistic spectrum, as well as adults suffering from chronic depression and/or impaired mental or psychological function.

It seems that more and more kids these days, and adults too, are suffering from compromised gut function which is wreaking havoc on their overall health. Things like candida overgrowth, Crohn’s disease, IBD, IBS, ulcerative colitis, chronic diarrhea and other chronic digestive disorders are all potential manifestations of this fundamental compromise of the integrity of the gut wall, and the bacterial dysbiosis that is almost invariably indicated in such conditions.

Regular consumption of homemade bone broths is one very natural, inexpensive and incredibly healing way to help restore compromised gut function. The addition of fermented foods to the diet is another excellent way to help reestablish healthy colonies of beneficial microbes in the gut, thereby helping to restore symbiosis of our gut flora.

Although there are a number of different approaches to this issue, the protocol outlined by UK physician Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride seens one of the best and most effective. Her approach is called the GAPS diet (GAPS is an acronym for Gut And Psychology Syndrome) and it focuses on the remediation of gut health, the re-establishment of healthy gut flora colonies, and the restoration of systemic homeostasis through the use of specific dietary approaches, particularly including the consumption of nutrient dense and cultured foods.

Information on Dr Campbell McBride’s protocol can be found here:

There’s also an excellent video of Dr. Campbell McBride giving a presentation at the 2010 Weston Price conference in the UK, where she explains in some detail about the importance of gut health and how its compromised functioning can impact and impair our overall health. Here’s a link to that video:

Donna Gates also offers a very effective dietary program designed to restore gut health. Here’s the link to her site:

Another option is the SCD, aka the Specific Carbohydrate Diet created by Elaine Gottschall, which is said to be very helpful for those suffering from gut dysbiosis/leaky gut. Here’s a link with information on that:

And here’s another resource along these same lines:

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Category: Bone Broths | Stocks, Digestive System, Fermented | Cultured Foods, Friendly Flora, Gut Dysbiosis, Gut Symbiosis, Human Health, Microbiome, Nourishment, Nutrient Dense Food

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