Crohn’s disease (regional ileitis, regional enteritis), IBS, ulcerative colitis, leaky gut syndrome, helicobacter pylori, false appendicitis pain, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, dysbiosis, reflux, constipation, malabsorption syndrome (coeliac disease), etc.
More and more people over the past fifty years have been suffering from a number of complaints affecting the entire length of the digestive system, from mouth and throat ailments, down to the stomach, and all the way through that serpentine piping to haemorrhoids around their afterburner. Some of these disorders are mild, others are extremely serious and will need addressing without delay. The main cause of these problems, it goes without saying IS WHAT WE EAT AND DRINK!! In the documentary Food Matters, the chief causes of metabolic disease are covered, and the conditions listed above all fall squarely into that category. I am lumping this group together as Digestive Disorders since the remedies for them are essentially the same. Once one appreciates why these conditions occur, the answers become straightforward enough to implement.
CROHN’S DISEASE (REGIONAL ENTERITIS)
Pain in the lower right abdomen, malabsorption of nutrients, low-grade fever, weight-loss, flatulence. Crohn’s is a condition where segments of the colon (large intestine) become inflamed, thickened and ulcerated. Traditional treatments will include corticosteroids, antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs and dietary changes. Crohn’s can cause partial blockage of the large intestine, causing pain and bouts of diarrhoea. The same condition occurring in the small intestine is known as regional enteritis, the chronic form of which may also create fistulae (unnatural joinings) between adjacent loops of the intestines or between bowel tissue and the bladder, vagina or skin.
Inflammation of the colon lining. Symptoms are pain, with blood and/or mucus in the faeces.
LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
Where damage to the small intestine wall can increase gut permeability to undigested food particles which enter the bloodstream and begin causing ‘allergic’ reactions. Dr Leo Galland, Director of Medicine at the Foundation for Integrated Medicine, states:
“Leaky gut syndrome is a group of clinical disorders associated with increased intestinal permeability. They include inflammatory and infectious bowel diseases, chronic inflammatory arthritides, cryptogenic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and dermatitis herpetiformis, many diseases triggered by food allergy or specific food intolerance, including eczema, urticaria, and irritable bowel syndrome, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndromes, chronic hepatitis, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and pancreatic carcinoma. Hyper-permeability may play a primary, etiologic role in the evolution of each disease, or may be a secondary consequence of it which causes immune activation, hepatic dysfunction, and pancreatic insufficiency, creating a vicious cycle. Unless specifically investigated, the role of altered intestinal permeability in patients with leaky gut syndrome often goes unrecognised.” 1
Sacs may appear in weak sections of the intestinal tract, caused by pressure from the inner lining (pulsion diverticula) or from pressure exerted without (traction diverticula). Diverticulosis describes the passive existence of diverticula. Diverticulitis describes the condition when these sacs become perforated, inflamed or impacted.
The human digestive system contains over four hundred species of microflora (bacteria, yeast, fungi, protozoa, etc.) weighing over three pounds. Usually, in a properly pH-adjusted, harmonious alimentary tract, they live together in peace and balance (homeostasis). When, through our choices of food and lifestyle, we upset this balance, dysbiosis occurs, a term coined by Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff, who maintained that toxic compounds produced by the aberrant breakdown of food by these bacteria caused many of the degenerative conditions, especially since this toxicity was carried to other parts of the body via the bloodstream and lymph.
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)
A general condition, thought to affect over 15% of the western populations, describing generalised abdominal pain, usually accompanied by diarrhoea and constipation, which leads to dysfunctional contractions in the intestine. Officially (according to orthodox medicine, unwilling to accept its existence as a separate disorder) the cause of IBS is unknown. In reality, IBS is yet another manifestation of what happens when 21st century processed food is put through the human digestive system.
A condition in which the small intestine fails to digest and absorb food. Usually due to gluten/gliaden damage, which atrophies the nutrient-absorptive villi lining of the intestine. Symptoms include stunted growth, distended abdomen and pale, frothy, foul-smelling stools.
STOMACH ULCERS, REFLUX AND HP
Pain in the stomach after eating and reflux (‘heartburn’), where hydrochloric acid is driven up the oesophagus, is often caused by excess abdominal fat distorting the ring of muscle at the base of the oesophagus – the oesophageal sphincter – a one-way valve designed to prevent this from happening. Other causes include too much acid, not enough acid, a hiatal hernia, gluten/gliaden aversion, and helicobacter pylori (HP) infection, a troublesome bacterium that can inhabit the mucus of the stomach causing ulcers in the stomach lining and, eventually, stomach cancer.
The top section of the stomach displaces itself by pushing through the gap in the diaphragm. This common complaint is often symptom-free but in other cases, acid reflux is experienced, which can proceed in time to ‘Barrett’s esophagus’, a pre-cancerous condition, and thereafter to esophageal or stomach cancer.
CHRONIC CONSTIPATION AND ITT
Many have up to eight full meals in them at any one time. The proper Intestinal Transit Time (ITT) is ideally around 24 hours. This is the length of time it takes a meal to go from mouth to anus. In many, this period is extended dramatically up to 48-72 hours because of over-consumption of low-fibre meats and grains (breads, pasta, etc.). As you know from your childhood, flour and water make great glue. Dr Dennis Vander Kraats from Australia advises:
“Generally, most of the digestive processes and absorption of beneficial nutrients occur within 12 hours after consuming the food. Therefore, the slower the ITT, the longer the spent toxic waste matter sits in the bowel, putrefying and fermenting. The bowel is a semi-permeable membrane, which means toxins that have built up in the waste matter can filter through the bowel wall and be absorbed into other tissue and the bloodstream.”
In other words, toxins are taken all over the body where the immune system will have to detoxify and eliminate the trouble. The act of the immune system clearing this mess is sometimes mistakenly remarked upon as a ‘disease process’.
Constant straining of a constipated bowel has been linked to colorectal cancer. Certainly, putrefying matter caught in the colon is subjected to bile acids over an extended time, and bile acids in human colons are carcinogenic.
CHIEF CAUSES OF DIGESTIVE DISEASES
- Gluten damage from wheat, barley, rye and oat products. The wheat/bread/grain products you are consuming today bear no relation to those of the ancients. Dr William Davis, in his book Wheat Belly, describes modern semi-dwarf wheat as ‘the perfect, chronic poison’ due to hybridisation and the addition of gliadin, an opiate
- Bacterial and/or mycoplasmic (fungal) infections
- Hiatal hernia
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), brought on by low digestive enzyme output
- Disrupted gut flora producing toxicity that leaks into the bloodstream
- Processed diets
- Lack of proper exercise
- Terror, stress and emotional upsets
- Too much refined sugar and grains (a high percentage of western grains, stored in silos, are contaminated with aspergillus moulds)
- Too little fibre
- Clogged or damaged villi receptors in the intestine preventing inadequate nutrient absorption
- A generally acidic, anaerobic internal environment, resulting in an inadequate immune system response
- Antibiotic abuse ruining gut flora
- General drug abuse
- Coffee, carbonated beverages and alcohol
- Poor water intake
- Poor earthing of the body
In her best-selling book, Internal Cleansing, Dr Linda Berry, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, summarises the symptoms of self-poisoning.
“If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing autointoxication (a process whereby you are poisoned by substances produced by your own body as a result of inadequate digestion and elimination), and therefore you might want to consider some type of internal cleansing program:
Allergy or intolerance to certain foods
Bad breath and foul-smelling gas and stools
Constipation, diarrhoea, sluggish elimination, irregular bowel movements
Frequent congestion, colds, viruses
Flatulence or gas and frequent intestinal disorders
Frequent headaches for no apparent reason
General aches and pains that migrate from one place to another
Intolerance to fatty foods
Low energy; loss of vitality for no apparent reason
Lower back pain
Lowered resistance to infections
Needing to sleep a long time
Pain in your liver or gall bladder
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast soreness, vaginal infections
Skin problems, rashes, boils, pimples, acne”
The problem with bread
An astonishing sub-heading to be sure. Strewth, if we can’t trust bread, what can we trust? Over the past 50 years it has become increasingly obvious something has gone awry with one of the staples of human civilisation. Today’s products such as bread, pasta, muesli and porridge, made from modern wheat, barley and rye, have been causing toxic reactions in around 70% of the population.2 Not good when Jesus described himself as ‘the Bread of Life’, yet the bread we use today would have been unrecognisable nutritionally from the grains consumed by the ancients. Andrew Whitley, baker, researcher and leading authority on bread, writes in his seminal book, Bread Matters:
“Modern bread is different in several respects from all the bread ever consumed by human beings until at least the latter half of the nineteenth century. The grain, the method of milling and the way the flour is turned into bread – all have changed in response to the economic pressures of industrialisation and technological developments in plant breeding, agronomy, milling and baking.
The effect of these changes has been to make the majority of bread consumed in Britain certainly less healthy than it could be for all consumers and actually harmful to some.
Research is revealing that wheat allergies and intolerances affect much larger numbers of people than the 1% or so who are known to be coeliacs.”3
The problem with bread in particular can be summarised:
- A change in the milling process due to industrialisation and the desire to mass-produce bread. Bread from the dawn of time was made from ‘heritage’ (original) wheat which was milled (crushed) between two heavy, rotating millstones. The resultant flour was mostly sieved to remove husks and impurities but still retained the majority of its nutrients. Referred to as ‘stoneground’, this age-old process was replaced by industrial roller-milling in the 1870’s and that’s when the problems started
- The hybridisation and genetic modification of the plant itself for commercial agricultural purposes
- Modern additives and enzymes added to the bread to speed up production, reduce fermentation, and ensure longer shelf life.
- Today’s semi-dwarf hybridised wheat is highly addictive, due to the gliadin (opiate) content, contains up to 50% more gluten to give the product stretchability for today’s myriad uses, and is stuffed full of amylopectin-A, a high-sugar-yielding carbohydrate
A recipe for disaster, one might say. Firstly, roller-milling enabled millers to ‘stream’ the resultant flour, removing the whole grain, bran, wheatgerm, wheatgerm oil and middlings, leaving only the nutrient-depleted white flour to make that vacuous bread so beloved of 19th century society and supermarkets today. Processing grain in this manner causes the vitamin B-1 (thiamine) content to decline by 77%, B-2 by 80%, E by 86%, calcium by 60%, magnesium by 84%, iron by 76% and zinc by 78%.4 That’s the reason why signs are routinely posted around the world’s parks warning visitors not to feed white bread to the ducks and birds because it causes vitamin deficiencies and death. But you old birds carry on eating it.
The next problem with modern bread concerns the increased levels of gluten and gliadin, the squishy, unguent protein fractions that give grain products their structure. Dr Tom O’Bryan has made a detailed study of the scientific literature concerning the effects of the enhanced gluten/gliadin content of modern bread, and it’s pretty apocalyptic. Digestion is supposed to break down such proteins into their component amino acids for reassembly into human cell structure. The problem is, gluten doesn’t conveniently break down into individual peptides or di-peptides. Like smashing a brick wall with a sledge-hammer, you end up with chunks comprising 17 or 33 peptides which atrophy the villi nutrient absorbers in the gut lining and, if able to permeate a leaky gut, create immune system reactions once in the bloodstream. Researchers are increasingly laying, not only gluten/gliadin poisoning at the door of the myriad, modern auto-immune diseases, but also the modern use of fungal enzymes in the bread-making process too. Andrew Whitley comments:
“From the poisons and adulterants of the eighteenth century to the ‘crumb softeners’ of today, bakers have constantly sought to extract more ‘value’ from flour than it seemed prepared to give.
Over the years the list of permitted additives has reduced (as have sales of the bread they modify), each supposedly essential and ‘generally-regarded-as-safe’ agent eventually proving to be a danger to human health. The most recent to go (apart from flour bleaching in 1999) was the oxidising agent (and carcinogen) potassium bromate.
The chemistry set of additives has, over the past fifteen years, been largely replaced by enzymes. You won’t see them listed on bread labels because the law treats them as ‘processing aids’, which do not have to be declared. Enzymes can be allergens and should be identified on labels in the same way as the major allergen groups. Failure to label enzymes prevents people from making informed, ethical choices over what they eat; many enzymes are now genetically modified and at least one listed in a standard work on the subject is derived from the pancreas of pigs.
Most worryingly, recent research indicates that one enzyme quite widely used in the food industry – transglutaminase – can generate in the human gut the epitope of gliadin that is toxic to people with coeliac disease and other intolerances.” 5
In the rush to get the bread out to the stores still warm, fermentation time is cut from 24 hours to virtually zero. This prevents the formation of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) which, Andrew Whitley contends, is where the other chief problem with modern bread toxicity lies:
“LAB can improve the ‘bioavailability’ of minerals, lower glycaemic response (which is good for weight and diabetes control), increase the amount of important vitamins and anti-oxidants and help reduce levels of phytic acid, which can ‘lock up’ certain minerals. But most dramatically, Italian scientists (3) have demonstrated, in vitro and in vivo, that sourdough lactobacilli are capable of neutralising completely the gliadin fractions in wheat flour that are toxic to coeliacs and people with similar sensitivities.
Not only does this open up fruitful opportunities for making wheat breads that can be tolerated by coeliacs, but it raises the possibility that it was the move to fast fermentation using commercial yeast and little or no natural lactic acid bacteria which rendered bread indigestible to certain individuals in the first place.”6
White bread was actually banned by the British Government during World War 2. Seven years later, the Ministry of Food declared that the nation was fitter at the end of the war than at the start. White bread was then re-introduced.
Those suffering digestive problems of any kind should cut these troublesome foods out of the diet, especially all wheat. The first line of research should be identifying which common foods contain wheat, barley, rye and (gluten-contaminated) oats! After just a few weeks of gluten-free living – if gluten and gliadin are the problem – the difference in how the body feels is remarkable. The best book to purchase to get the full story on this is cardiologist Dr William Davis’s masterful Wheat Belly.
Bacteria, yeasts and fungi are generally quite sparse in the upper intestinal tract, but when overgrowths allow them to proliferate in the duodenum and jejunum (the majority portion of the small intestine), they can compete for nutrition with the host. This is where the problems begin. Symptoms describing overgrowths of these critters are well known: abdominal pain and cramps, constipation, diarrhoea, fatigue, fever, flatulence, foul-smelling faeces, skin rashes and hives, leaky gut, indigestion, reflux, low back pain, malabsorption and weight loss. They can cause a corruption and putrefaction of the food chyme (food leaving the stomach for the intestine).
Enzymes ejected from these organisms (known as decarboxylases) work on the chyme, converting the amino acids histadine to histamine (hence ‘allergic’ reactions sometimes treated with ‘anti-histamines’), ornithine to putrescine and lysine to cadaverine. Actions of these products, known as vasoactive amines, will stir up a host of the problems we are examining. These fungi and yeasts are responsible for many apparent food allergies. Proteins, such gluten from wheat and barley and casein from cow’s milk, may also damage intestinal structure, bringing on some conditions.
The importance of balanced gut flora and fermented foods
The health implications of damaged gut flora cannot be overestimated. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD is a neurologist whose clinic in Cambridge, England specialises in treating children and adults with a variety of physical and mental disorders.7 During the course of her research, during which she treated her son off the autistic spectrum using nutrition, Dr Campbell-McBride has come to realise that the condition of a patient’s bowel flora impacts all other systems. She has had remarkable success treating many forms of illness, not least childhood autism, with her GAPS nutritional program.8 Anyone suffering from any illness is well advised to familiarise themselves with the benefits of adding fermented foods to their diet and using a broad spectrum therapeutic-strength probiotic.
This regime should be followed strictly and consistently. Ensure regular meals are taken in small amounts but often
- DIET: Follow the FOOD FOR THOUGHT LIFESTYLE REGIMEN. Depending on the nature of the digestive disorder, commence changing your food intake to include a progressively larger proportion of organic, high water content plant dietary, initially well cooked to soften the fibre. Employ frequent vegetable juices in the regimen. Dr Campbell-McBride recommends using meat stock to form soups with the vegetables to assist is repairing the gut lining (see her website at www.gaps.me). Also include a good range of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, home-made yoghurts, etc. Proper food combining is essential. Do not combine proteins with carbohydrates. In the event of a sore digestive tract – and if steamed vegetables still produce pain – concentrate on the above meat stock soups until pain passes. If suffering cancer or yeast overgrowths in this area, consult the guidelines in the Cancer section of this book. Follow also the Foods to avoid section of THE FOOD FOR THOUGHT LIFESTYLE REGIMEN
- DIET: AVOID ALL SUGAR AND YEAST
- DIET: Avoid all products that readily break down into glucose or have a strong yeast component: e.g. bread, pasta, pastries, sweets, pies, alcoholic beverages (esp. beers!). Avoid all wheat, barley, rye and oats. And search hard – wheat, for instance, is in EVERYTHING
- DIET: After the fat scares of the previous sixty years, we are now told that the body needs fat, but the right kind. Healthy cells can power themselves on fat, cancer cells cannot, so in ketosis – the body’s ability to fuel itself on ketones, or fat units produced in the liver – we have a diet that discriminates against corrupted or damaged cells while nourishing healthy tissue. Ensure consumption of plenty of beneficial fats such as olive, avocado, coconut oil (2-4 tbsps per day), seeds (flax, sunflower, etc.) and nuts (i.e. macadamias, walnuts, etc.), fish, fish oils, especially krill oil. Plant omega 3s are not the same as marine omega 3s.
- TIP: If you have had your gallbladder removed, consult a competent nutritional doctor for advice on improving digestion of fats using bile salts
- DIET: Small meals, consumed 3 – 5 times a day to even out blood sugar and reduce insulin production and inflammation. Carry out intermittent fasting, which means compressing your eating cycle into 7 hours, between noon and 7 pm, to induce autophagy
- DIET: Three glasses of cabbage juice a day have a known destructive effect on Helicobacter pylori and are great for stomach and duodenal ulcers in particular
- HYDRATION: Commence drinking half your own bodyweight in ounces of water per day (i.e. a 160 lb male can drink 80 oz of water a day, which is approximately 10 glasses). A good guide for adults is 2 – 2.5 litres a day. Do NOT drink fluoridated/chlorinated water. Do not drink water out of warm plastic bottles due to the leaching of estrogenic chemicals
- Baking soda: ½ teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate mixed into a glass of water to relieve acid reflux
- REAL SALT: Half a teaspoon (tsp) of Himalayan salt is recommended per 10 glasses of water. Maintain over the long term
- PREVENTION: Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
- PREVENTION: Avoid behavioural and dietary problems that cause the condition (coffee, carbonated drinks, chocolate, etc)
- DETOXIFICATION: Conduct a two-week bowel cleanse with magnesium oxide (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Magnesium oxide)
- DETOXIFICATION: Patients should also consider colon hydrotherapy for extra internal cleanliness
- RESTORING NUTRIENT BALANCE: COMMENCE THE BASIC SUPPLEMENT PROGRAMME
- Include THE ANTI-CANDIDA/FUNGAL SUPPLEMENTATION, ensuring:
- A probiotic supplement to install beneficial flora. Ideally the diet should also include servings of fermented vegetables to install trillions of colony-forming beneficial bacteria
- Optimise vitamin D-3 serum level to 150 nmol/L (see a Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin D-3 before taking)
- Vitamin C complex, 10 – 15 g per day (see a Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin C before taking)
- Take 2-4 tablespoons of raw coconut oil daily, ingested, plus oil pulling three times a day (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Oil pulling)
- Pancreatic (digestive) enzyme capsules, two, three times daily away from food
- BOOSTING IMMUNITY: Indulge in regular and vigorous exercise (unless health problems prevent this) to exercise and pump the lymphatic system, rid the body of waste products and draw in oxygen
- REST: The patient should get plenty of sleep and keep their body clock on time. Potent immune factors are released during deep rest in pitch dark. Maximise melatonin production and boost immunity by reviewing sleeping and lighting arrangements (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Melatonin)
- EARTHING: The patient should spend fifteen minutes a day barefoot on grass or a beach to allow a flow of antioxidant-acting free electrons into the body (see A Guide to Nutritional Supplements: Earthing). A grounding bed-sheet or bed-mat is ideal for earthing purposes during sleep
- TIP: Be consistent!
- TIP: Do not fall prey to sugar cravings. Who really wants to splurge and feed inside you
During the critter-killing process, the body may become clogged with catabolic debris, dead beasties and their resultant toxaemia, including ammonia. You may feel ill as your symptoms apparently worsen. This is known as Herxheimer’s reaction, after the venerable German dermatologist of the same name. It is temporary and will be experienced in proportion to the vehemence with which you apply your attack strategies. Symptoms may be alleviated by commencing the ANTI-CANDIDA DIETARY REGIMEN a full two weeks prior to starting on the anti-fungal/yeast supplements.