Gut and Degenerative Diseases

I’ve been reading an extremely interesting book – Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell. Although I do not think her suggested diet to repair a leaky gut is adequate for people with MS due to its high saturated fat content (see here for more info on why saturated fats are dangerous for people with MS) the detailed explanation she provides of how intestinal disorders lead to many illnesses ranging from autism to schizophrenia and autoimmune diseases is very interesting and well worth a read for anyone who has any type of digestive issue.

We are all aware that intestinal flora is important. Dr Campbell’s book highlights the importance of the balance between beneficial flora and opportunistic flora in the gut. In a healthy person, the microbes that make up the latter are kept under tight control by the presence of beneficial flora. The beneficial bacteria are of extreme importance. They protect the gut wall from invaders, parasites, toxins and undigested food. It produces organic acid, reducing the pH of the gut; making it uncomfortable for pathogenic microbes. They are able to absorb many carcinogenic substances so that they become inactive. They also suppress hyperplastic processes in the gut which Dr Campbell explains are the basis of all cancer formation.

In healthy individuals there is a thick band of good bacteria attached to the mucosa of the gut protecting it from invaders. Without this well-functioning gut flora pathogens can reach the gut wall and even penetrate its cells. So with an unhealthy balance of good and bad bacteria, infections from vaccines or parasites are left to really damage the gut lining. Eventually the gut wall is breached by bits of undigested food which cross the blood brain barrier and cause numerous allergies. Wheat and milk proteins are particularly difficult to digest with a compromised gut because of the steps involved in their digestion. For more information about wheat and milk intolerances click here. This supports the theory that MS is brought on by milk proteins – undigested and leaking into the blood stream, some of them have been shown to mimic part of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, the part of myelin thought to start the autoimmune reaction in MS. The immune cells of people with MS have been shown to attack some of these cow milk proteins. Tests which involve injecting them into animals has caused lesions to appear in their central nervous systems.

When the beneficial bacteria are damaged, not only is the gut left defenceless against invaders, which are free to cause disease; but it also becomes malnourished. Normal gut flora provide ample nourishment for the cells lining the digestive tract. The good bacteria that live on the gut epithelium (which live on the villi on the surface of the intestines) digest the food which arrives turning it into nourishment for the gut lining. In the absence of this normal gut flora, the digestive wall is damaged through mal-nourishment as well as the presence of bad bacteria. The villi degenerate and are no longer able to digest and absorb food correctly. The unhealthy and malnourished enterocytes can no longer do their work – their surface, the brush border, produces disaccharides (enzymes which break down double sugars so that they can be absorbed). As they can no longer produce these enzymes, double sugars such as sucrose, lactose and starch products will not be absorbed, nor will starch. Instead they hang around the gut and feed pathogenic bacteria like the fungus Candida as well as other fungi, all of which grows and poisons the whole body. To fix this, we need to remove these double sugars from our diet to kill of pathogenic bacteria and give the villi the time they need to get rid of sick enterocytes and build new and healthy ones. To do this follow the Anti-Candida Diet and GFCG Diet.

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Without beneficial flora, other foods also cannot be digested at all; dietary fiber for example. Fiber is something which beneficial bacteria feed on in the gut. They use it to absorb toxins as well as a whole range of other important jobs, but when the intestinal flora is not working properly, this fiber becomes dangerous. It acts as a habitat for bad bacteria, worsening inflammation in the gut wall. So fiber is good for us, but only when we have a healthy gut. This is why the patients of gastroenterologists are put on a diet low in fibre.

All of this further impairs the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients. Moreover, a damaged gut is unable to digest most supplements correctly, so it is often difficult to remedy vitamin deficiencies, as the body is unable to absorb them from either food or supplements. The immune system cannot work without constant nourishment, this is impossible with abnormal gut flora.

Eventually all of this leads to MS, Autism, Schizophrenia, Dementia and much more. Dr Kazudzo Nishi, a Japanese professor estimated that 1/10 of psychiatric conditions is caused by self-intoxication originating from the bowel for example.

But let’s not dwell on what is past; what can we do to fix a leaky gut? Well, If you do not have MS or difficulty digesting fats, I would read Natasha Campbell’s book and follow the diet she suggests. If you do have MS, I suggest you click here in order to learn how to clean up the digestive system so it can heal and become a source of nourishment instead of one of toxicity.

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