Tag Archives: leaky gut

Reader submitted story: How I healed my son’s leaky gut

Mother together with the son. Tenderness, love and care.Today’s blog entry comes courtesy of one of my readers, Deb Strauss.  Deb is a terrific person and works in the alternative health space, which is probably what saved her son from going down a very sickly path for the rest of his life.  I give major props to people like Deb, who didn’t listen to what her pediatricians told her when they said “your son’s blood work looks normal.  Nothing is wrong.”.  Mother’s intuition and a deep belief in natural health solutions kept Deb pressing on to find answers…and answers she did find!  Congratulations Deb.  You are what every mother aspires to be for their child!  Read on:   

 

      Joshua’s Story 

By Deb Strauss

My 13-year-old son, Joshua has struggled with mild eczema since the age of 4. Until recently, the eczema was mild enough to manage with a variety of essential oils and occasional Epsom salt baths. All of this changed this past summer as Joshua’s skin began to break out in eczema in places that he never had issues before. In fact, in just a few short weeks, the eczema got so out of control and began to appear on his knees, elbows, neck, face, scalp, ears and ankles. Additionally, Joshua’s breathing became more labored with exercise and activity, he felt lethargic most days, he lost 10 lbs without reducing his caloric intake, his sleep was interrupted and he had difficulty focusing and remembering things.

Joshua’s pediatrician couldn’t explain why these symptoms suddenly appeared, as all of Joshua’s labs and diagnostic test results were normal. Since Joshua struggled with seasonal allergies, one of our visits was with an asthma and allergy specialist. For the first time, Joshua had a positive and allergic reaction to milk, eggs, corn, soy, wheat and gluten. He had no previous food allergies as we had tested him several times in the past. The allergy doctor could not explain this sudden new onset of food allergies, outside of possible hormonal changes due to puberty.

This explanation did not sit well with me and so I began doing my research before returning to our pediatrician for a follow-up appointment. I have always had a passion for nutrition and in my heart, I felt like this might be a gut/nutritional deficiency issue. I had read about “Leaky gut syndrome” and I remembered symptoms including abdominal bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, body aches and pains, lethargy, brain fog as well as some others. When Joshua and I went back to see his pediatrician for a follow-up appointment, I had some questions about leaky gut and to my dismay Joshua’s pediatrician didn’t offer much guidance. He simply said, “Leaky gut syndrome” isn’t a diagnosis taught in medical school. Instead, “leaky gut really means you’ve got a diagnosis that still needs to be made.” Other than that, he continued to recommend the prescription grade cortisone for Joshua’s eczema and for Joshua to avoid his food triggers.

I have read enough to believe that our gut is our biggest immune system organ. Clearly my son’s body was inflamed and there was an auto-immune response via all the eczema and sudden food allergies. I believe that our body is a miracle and when given the correct balance of nutrients healing is possible. For the next several months, Joshua avoided his trigger foods, most carbs and sugars. He ate mostly alkalizing foods and homemade soup broths (GAPS diet recommendation). Additionally, we supplemented with omegas, a whole food vitamin with extra Vitamin D3 and zinc, pre-biotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes and cleanse juice daily.

I am happy to report that all of Joshua’s symptoms slowly lessened until they resolved entirely in about 6 months. Today, Joshua feels and looks 100% better and continues to eat an alkaline rich diet by choice. I am so pleased that a nutritional approach helped Joshua with his symptoms and that we were able to avoid medications, which may have only masked his symptoms.

For those of you who might be reading this and identify with some of the above listed symptoms, please know that “leaky gut” may be the reason for your eczema, chronic fatigue, weakened immunity, unexplained weight loss, respiratory troubles, difficulty with attention and focus, stomach/bowel discomforts, etc. Leaky gut seems to be a medical mystery and although I don’t have a confirmed diagnosis for my son, as a mother who went through this with him, I know that a nutritional approach is what healed my son. I am pretty confident that my son’s weakened immunity was the result of poor gut health, possibly due to over exposure to antibiotics due to recurrent ear infections as a toddler. You would hope that your doctor is a good-enough Sherlock Holmes, but it seems that it is very hard to make a “leaky gut” diagnosis.” I am glad that I trusted myself enough to skip the medications and attempt natural healing via superfood nutrition.

Deb Strauss has been in the health and wellness industry for the last 20 years with a background in Physical Therapy and most recently as a wellness and nutritional cleansing coach with Isagenix International. Visit Deb’s website by clicking here.  

Feel free to comment in the comments section below ↓ but keep it clean and respectful.  🙂

 

That’s all for today, folks.

Thanks,

Rick

 

Rick Gold, Functional Wellness, FDN Practitioner
Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.

Website: www.GoldFunctionalWellness.com

Book a consult: http://www.snapappointments.com/listing/38C

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GoldFunctionalWellness

Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP

Email: Rick@GoldFunctionalWellness.com

 

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

Think twice before reaching for that “harmless” OTC pain killer!

We’ve seen this all too often haven’t we?  Many of us are likely guilty of doing it.  We have a headache and reach for the Exedrin.  We have a backache and reach for the Aleve.  We have a fever and reach for the Tylenol.  We are hung over and reach for the Advil.  Maybe a little more for our arthritis and other joint pains.  Oh, and let’s not forget that they help relieve soreness after a tough workout!

We pop them like candy.

In a world where a premium is placed on total comfort and numbing pain, pharmaceutical companies have led us to believe that these “harmless” over the counter NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are the answer to all of our problems and are totally safe to use.  They run commercial after commercial showing people with huge smiles talking about how the usage of this or that NSAID allows them to live life to the fullest.  To make matters worse, pharma companies have also convinced our doctors to recommend NSAID usage to patients who experience pain (a brilliant move, since everyone tends to trust their doctors).

But are NSAIDs really safe?  Moreover, do they really do what they purport to do (reduce inflammation)?  As it turns out, no…not so much!

Chronic and even casual usage of NSAIDs contribute to increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut.  Why does that matter?  Because leaky gut allows undigested food, toxins, bacteria, mold, and even feces into your bloodstream and is a prominent cause of inflammation in your body.  Leaky gut is also directly linked to autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, MS, crohns, eczema, IBS, and ulcerative colitis.  It’s also associated with NAFLD (Non-Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease),  as well as allergies and food sensitivities to commonly eaten and usually benign foods like chicken, beef, or certain vegetables.

This study shows that increased intestinal permeability is a PRECURSOR to type 1 diabetes, lending credence to the postulation that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition.

This study shows leaky gut is associated with kidney damage.

Finally, here is a study that shows leaky gut is linked to MOF (Multiple Organ Failure).

Do I have your attention yet?

While NSAIDs are efficient at short-term relief of inflammation and pain, consistent usage of them actually INCREASES inflammation in your body, damages your intestinal tract, compromises your immune system, makes you more susceptible to heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, and allergies.  Below are several studies that confirm this:

This study found that NSAIDs “disrupt intestinal barrier function” (aka cause leaky gut)

This study concluded that NSAIDs usage is “associated with significant morbidity and occasionally mortality”

This study confirms that NSAIDs actually cause INCREASED inflammation in your body.  One of the many paradoxes of modern medicine.

Another study confirming that NSAIDs cause leaky gut.

This study shows that NSAIDs, which are commonly taken to alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, actually make RA conditions WORSEN.

So what’s the takeaway here?  

  • Avoid pain killers like the plague.
  • Use other natural ways to alleviate inflammation and pain such as taking turmeric, quercetin, and ashwagandha supplements.
  • Consider eating a more anti-inflammatory diet.
  • Drink plenty of fresh, clean water every day.
  • Most importantly, move away from the habit of “masking” your pain and inflammation with the usage of NSAIDs.  Start thinking about finding the root causes of your pain and inflammation and work to correct those.  If you are interested in getting to the root of your pain to eliminate it you can schedule a free 20 minute consultation with me to discuss.

Do you know anyone who pops NSAIDs like candy?  If so, please pass this article on to them.  You may well just save a life!

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments section below!

Rick Gold

Rick Gold, Functional Wellness Practitioner
Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.
Website: www.GoldFunctionalWellness.com

Book a consult: http://www.snapappointments.com/listing/38C

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GoldFunctionalWellness

Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP

e: Rick@GoldFunctionalWellness.com

 

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

Is that bread REALLY gluten-free? Perhaps not!

gluten_free_foodsMost people, including doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians, will tell you that only the following grains have gluten in them:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Spelt

This is simply not correct.  Let’s get this out-of-the-way right off the bat: ALL GRAINS CONTAIN GLUTEN.  Even Corn.  Even Rice.  Huh?  Scratching your head a little bit yet?  Keep reading:

What is Gluten? 

Grains are seeds that come from grass.  For example wheat grass sprouts wheat seeds (don’t worry, wheat grass itself without the seeds does not contain gluten.  Only the seeds do).  The purpose of a seed is to propagate the species (i.e. to start a new plant).  Gluten is a protein that is found in the seed of every single grain and it is used to feed the germ of the seed so that it sprouts a new grain or blade of grass.  Without gluten, EVERY grain would become extinct because they would not be able to propagate.  That includes ALL of the well-known “gluten-free” grains such as rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, etc.

So if you are being told that the only gluten containing foods are wheat, rye, barley, and spelt you are being (most likely unknowingly) misled.  Here is the truth: There are thousands of different gluten proteins, most of which have never even been studied yet to see if they can be attributed to health risks such as gut irritation, inflammation in the body, and autoimmune diseases.   The specific gluten protein that is in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt is called gliadin.  If you have celiac disease or even a slight intolerance to gliadin, you definitely need to eliminate any and all foods that have even a hint of gliadin in them.  Fortunately, this means getting rid of most of the food that makes people fat (bread, pasta, cereal, croissants, pizza, cake, cookies, etc) as well as just about every processed food on the shelves in your grocery store.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine.  There are an estimated 3 million people suffering from celiac disease in the United States (including undiagnosed).  In celiac, the gliadin protein is actually causing the immune system to attack the tissues in your body.  It is a genetic inability to digest gliadin properly (tTG is used by the body to digest gliadin in a non-celiac individual.  In celiac, tissue transglutaminase (tTG) reacts with gliadin to produce antibodies called anti-tTGA which triggers inflammation of the gut.  Once this happens chain reactions cause damage to the small intestine.  The breakdown of gut function cascades into other serious health conditions.

Celiac disease is what made the gliadin protein in wheat so popular.  It was discovered in the 1940’s by a German doctor during World War II.  At that time there was a shortage of grain so grain was not available to most people in Germany.  There were kids in a hospital with Celiac disease and once the grain was removed from their diets their conditions improved, effectively going into remission.  When the war ended and grains were reintroduced into their diets, the kids became sick again.  The doctor noted this correlation and that marked the discovery of the relationship between gluten and Celiac.  That is why even still today, when people think of gluten, they think of wheat, barley, and rye.

What happens in my body if I have a sensitivity to gliadin?

Gluten sensitivity is very different from celiac disease.  It is not a genetic or autoimmune disorder.  However, gliadin sensitivity is also very dangerous and must be addressed.  It is estimated that millions of Americans have sensitivity to gliadin and are undiagnosed because the symptoms of gliadin sensitivity are so broad.  If you have a sensitivity to gliadin (or ANY gluten proteins, for that matter) it will cause inflammation in the small intestine and it will cause increased intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”.

What is leaky gut?

Without getting too technical, as I’d likely lose half of my audience, the role of your small intestine is to let nutrients through and into your bloodstream and to keep undigested food particles, toxins, bacteria, stool and any other substances that have no business being in your bloodstream out.  The nutrients pass through the gut barrier through “tight junctions” and into your bloodstream where they can be transported to the cells of your body and provide nutrition.  In a healthy gut, everything else passes through your small intestine and out through your stool.

Leaky gut is representative of those microscopic tight junctions widening just enough to let other substances besides nutrients into your bloodstream, such as undigested food particles, toxins, bacteria, feces, etc.  When this happens, your immune system goes into full-blown attack mode.  Picture a dozen fire trucks racing to put out a 4 alarm fire.  That is what happens in your body between your immune system and the foreign particles that are now in your blood stream.  Your body wants them destroyed and eliminated through your urine or feces.  The immune reaction causes widespread inflammation in your body and serious irritation to your gut lining.  Eventually, the small intestine loses its ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients (see blunted brush border and villous atrophy).  In addition, the systemic low-grade inflammation that occurs in the body and is associated with leaky gut can create a fertile environment for the growth of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and a whole slew of autoimmune diseases (crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, MS, IBS, etc.).

There are many gut irritants that can cause leaky gut.  Gliadin is just one of them.  Others are:

  • Antibiotics (through your own use as well as ingesting meat and milk from animals treated with them).
  • Chemicals such as formaldehyde in our carpets and wood cabinets and from everyday household products.
  • Toxins.
  • Alcohol and drug consumption.
  • Other food sensitivities (soy, cow’s milk, eggs, corn food dyes, etc.)
  • Sugar consumption.
  • Hormonal imbalances.

How do I know if I have a sensitivity to gliadin?  

The best way to find out if you have any sensitivity to gliadin is to use the observation and elimination method:

  1. Spend a few days thinking of all of the symptoms that you may experience that gliadin intolerance is known to cause.  The list is extremely long and broad but it includes: Diarrhea and/or constipation, heartburn, stomach aches, bloating, flatulence, chronic fatigue, brain fog, headaches (including migraines), skin rashes, and/or eczema, and joint pain or stiffness.Again that’s only a partial list of the symptoms that gliadin intolerance can cause.
  2. Use a journal to write down all of the symptoms you feel on a regular basis.
  3. Eliminate all foods that contain gliadin from your diet for at least 2 weeks.
  4. Use the journal to note if any of your typically regular symptoms subside.  If even a few of the symptoms do subside, you very likely have a sensitivity to gliadin, and you should continue to eat gluten-free.

If you would like a more formal method of testing for gliadin sensitivity there are several lab tests that I have access to:

  1. You can run a mucosal barrier function screen (saliva) which will indicate whether you have elevated antibodies to one or all of the 5 generally recognized allergen proteins: gliadin, corn, cow’s milk, soy, and eggs.  This is a useful screen because although it doesn’t 100% narrow down WHICH dietary protein it is that you are reactive to, it can show if your immune system is in high gear and fighting something off as well as whether or not you may have leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability), gut dysbiosis (an imbalance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut), and an overgrowth of yeast in your body.  This is an excellent first step in assessing overall gut function.
  2. You can run a gluten intolerance/celiac screening (blood) which will tell you with a high probability of accuracy whether or not you have elevated antibodies against gliadin.

There are some drawbacks to the testing though, as ALL gluten sensitivity tests screen ONLY for gliadin and no other gluten proteins.  Remember, EVERY grain has gluten.  Gliadin is only ONE gluten protein that has been studied.  The rest of them have yet to be studied and may or may not cause gut irritation.

If you have even the slightest sensitivity to gliadin, I strongly recommend that you not only eat gluten-free, but GRAIN-FREE.  This will ensure that you truly steer clear of ALL gluten, help your small intestine heal, and decrease the inflammation in your body.  

I hope that this helps clear up some of the misinformation out there about gluten.

For more information on the available gliadin tests you can schedule a free 20 minute consultation with me by clicking here.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave questions or comments.

Rick

Rick Gold, Functional Wellness Practitioner

Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.

Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP

e: Rick@GoldFunctionalWellness.com

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.