Sunday, September 9, 2012

Demanding body, cellular strength, LGS: Are we what we eat?

The old saying “We are what we eat,” still holds true, but the benefit versus consequences ratio is much lower than it once was. 

Our bodies rely on food for cellular and brain metabolism.  Leaky gut syndrome (LGS), has been strongly linked to autoimmune disorders.  Autoimmune disorders, where the body’s immune system manufactures antibodies against its own tissue, are on the rise, almost at epidemic levels.

Some autoimmune disorders known to cluster with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) include rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Lupus (SLE), Sjögren’s, thyroiditis, Raynaud’s disease, autoimmune dysautonomia, interstitial cystitis, chronic Lyme disease, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, and possibly others depending on the individual. 

Leaky Gut Syndrome ©

The purposes of the bowel are to break down food into nutrients and eliminate waste or unwanted products. Leaky gut syndrome (LGS) causes body-wide symptoms because of holes in the intestinal barrier. Due to this breakdown, the bowel does not function normally and does not filter out some harmful substances, such as bacteria, toxic waste products, food additives, infectious agents, and inflammatory substances. These irritants initiate an immune response, causing inflammation. With this disruption to normal bowel function, the immune system leaves the gut open to infections and yeast overgrowth, causing not only gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, but other feelings of ill health......

Book excerpt (Cooper and Miller, 2010)

So how do we minimize the chance of developing Leaky Gut or treat it?

There are specific tests to confirm LGS so discuss your symptoms with your doctor.  Take precautions by eliminating known irritants to the bowel, including certain foods, (Gluten if you are known to be intolerant or have Celiac disease), medications such as NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (when possible), and alcohol. 

According to Sharecare health expert Dr. Leo Galland, , we should adopt an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern. The principles are simple to understand:
  • Avoid foods with added sugar and refined starches made from white flour.
  • Decrease consumption of saturated fat and most vegetable oils, using extra-virgin olive oil instead. Eat at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Eat at least 4 servings of fish per week.
He also says there are dietary supplements that help the small intestine heal and restore its functional integrity, which are readily available in health food stores. The most important of these are:
  • Amino acid L-glutamine and
  • Amino sugar N-acetyl-glucosamine
It is difficult to find preservative free foods these days, and even fresh vegetables can be toxic because of pesticides.  (see 9 foods likely to have pesticides at )  There are consequences for everyone, but especially to those of us who already have a dampened or dysfunctional immune or endocrine system.  Many of the chemicals used to preserve our food, artificial flavoring and color are toxic. When in doubt, eat fresh, preferably organic.  Not everyone can afford organic, so here is a link on how to clean vegetables and fruit.

Today the industry is big business because we need to feed the massive amount of people in the world today.  For this reason we must advocate for the food industry to find or revert to safer methods of preserving our food.  In a world where so many have nothing to eat, it is a bitter sweet reality.

Deirdre Rawlings, ND, and PhD in nutrition asked me to write a contributing chapter to her E book, Fibromyalgia Insider Secrets: 10 Top Experts.  She is extremely educated in these matters and she reports on the plethora of information regarding nutrition and why we should be more concerned about eating healthy to fight the rise in autoimmune disorders.

This blog can also be found at Sharecare,

All blogs, posts and answers are based on the work in Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Celeste Cooper, RN, and Jeff Miller, PhD. 2010, Vermont: Healing Arts press and are not meant to replace medical advice.


Unknown said...

Leaky gut syndrome also creates a long list of mineral deficiencies because the various carrier proteins present in the gastrointestinal tract that are needed to transport minerals to the blood are damaged by the inflammation process.
Leaky Gut Syndrome

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