Not Just Your Food, But Your Gut

As we have already learned food is the #1 cause of inflammation in the body.  Food can be your friend or your enemy.  But it is not just food but also your gut health that is involved in every single system in your body.  By now you have probably already heard that “All disease begins in the gut.”

In 2011, researcher Alessio Fasano, M.D. published a paper “Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease”, where he suggests that prevention and reversal of autoimmune disease is possible. 

For autoimmunity to occur in the body there needs to develop a perfect storm of three factors:

1. A genetic predisposition to autoimmunity

2. Gut health

3. An exposure to an environmental trigger (such as the foods we eat, plastic we use, house cleaning products, personal care products, etc.)

We can do nothing about our genes because we inherit those, but it is only 1/3 of the problem.  However we can do something about #2 and #3.

It is important to understand that the health of the gut affects many if not all the organs in the body.  You can’t address depression without looking at the gut.  You can’t address cancer without looking at the gut.  You can’t address thyroid health without looking at the gut.  You can’t address MS or any other autoimmune conditions without looking at the gut.  That is why I mention in my first video that I wouldn’t be able to heal my RA even if I removed all the food triggers from my diet until I healed my gut.  It is important to note that I didn’t even have any digestive symptoms while I struggled with RA. 

Diet along won’t do it you need to heal your digestive organs.   Yes, the food is important but even more important is not what you eat, but what your body can do with what you eat. Because only through digestion are you able to absorb your nutrients, to thrive, repair and heal.   It is the foods that we eat and how we process what we eat that affects how we feel.

Repairing your gut health will be an important step in calming your overactive immune system.  Our gut is also the home of our immune system.  Since most of the immune system is in the GI tract (70% -80%), poor gut health is a significant factor in triggering all autoimmune diseases, including RA.

How and why do diseases begin in the digestive tract?  There are many things that can disrupt the functionality of our digestive system – antibiotics, contraceptive pills, stress, exposer to toxins, fluoride and chlorine, prescription medical drugs, processed foods, sugar and food intolerance.

This is confusing and many of you will ask what does my gut have to do with my joints being on fire?  We’ll discuss that next time but for now I want to teach you the same way how I was taught by my mentors with an easy everyday life example. 

Take for example eating a chicken sandwich for lunch and what happens afterwards inside our bodies?  As simple as it may sound, this is a really good way to understand the anatomy that is key to our digestion.    

We take a bite of the chicken sandwich:

oral cavity.jpg

Step 1. The food enters the oral cavity in the mouth.

Step 2. The salivary glands release saliva into the cavity.  The saliva lubricates the food as we chew the sandwich, this is a mechanical process.  We release the enzyme amylase that helps to break down the food which is a chemical process.  Both the mechanical and chemical process helps to break down the food.

Step 3. Once the food is broken down it travels through a long tube called the esophagus for about 6 minutes.  This is the place responsible for your heartburn, even though it has nothing to do with your heart.

Step 4.  Once the food approaches the stomach, there’s a little doorway it needs to pass through, and that doorway is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).  That LES is very important in the treatment of heartburn and acid reflux.  Once the food passes through the LES, it enters the stomach. 

The stomach releases highly acidic gastric secretions to destroy any bacteria or parasites that may have entered the body with the food.  The stomach enzyme pepsin and acidic gastric both are responsible for breaking down foods into even smaller parts.   A healthy stomach should work like a high-speed blender. 

For this reason the stomach should be incredibly acidic.  In our modern times most of the people don’t have enough stomach acid we’ll experience heartburn, acid reflux, belching and gas, fatigue, headaches, bad breath, indigestion, stomach pain and distress, unexplained hunger, weakened hair, nails and skins, including anemia.  We take over-the-counter antacids drugs to calm down the symptoms, but all we are doing is depleting our stomach acid that’s already deficient.  Remember if we don’t have enough acid in our stomachs we can’t breakdown our foods properly. 

The stomach is the major powerhouse of digestion, because it’s responsible for the most effective breakdown of food particles and the destruction of pathogens in our entire body.

Step 5. Food mixed with the gastro juices exit the stomach through the pyloric sphincter and enter the small intestine. The place where your GUT is located.   Here pancreatic enzymes and bile from the gallbladder, help to digest fats.

The small intestine or your gut is the place where digestion and absorption of your sandwich happens.  This is the place where micronutrients bypass the small intestine walls making their way into your bloodstream, to every cell in your body, to the mitochondria – the power houses of energy.

Your gut is pretty much the most important organ for nutritional healing.  Can you see now the importance of the breaking down of the food we eat?  From starting with chewing to producing enzymes to the acidity in the stomach and we oversee all of this.  

And the truth is that this is where so much of the game happens.

Step 6. The stuff we don’t need moves out of the small intestine to the large intestine or the colon.   If an impaired colon does not allow the food to exit the body in a timely manner (constipation), then the food becomes toxic and this can lead to a whole array of health problems.

Step 7. The destination for what is left of your sandwich is the rectum, anus and toilet bowl.

How does digestions affect RA?  Directly when these undigested nutrients leak into the bloodstream causing inflammation which makes the immune system react and causes osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, lupus, MS and so many more.