If you are living with digestive issues ranging from simple indigestion to Irritable Bowel Disease like Chron’s or colitis, I bet you’re wondering if living a normal life free of gas, constipation, bloating, pain, diarrhea is possible. Yes, it is possible and if you are a reader of my blog, you will know that there are many things you can do as far as lifestyle, diet and supplements go to help you get back to living a normal life again. Today, I’d like to talk about how to restore gut health. There is a formula so let’s begin!
Why Does My Stomach Hurt?
They say good health starts in the gut and researchers are understanding more and more every day that this is true. When we are born, we come into this world with a sterile microbiome. As we interact with the environment, our gut starts the process of forming colonies of bacteria also known as our microbiome or gut bacteria. The very first bacteria formed is lactobacillus Johnsonii which is the bacteria needed to digest mother’s breast milk. So as you can see, an infant cannot digest mother’s milk, but the gut bacteria can. We are almost 90 percent microbial! We used to think that these bacteria were there to harm us, but in fact, gut bacteria is in us to help us survive.
As we get older, our environment shapes the colonies of gut bacteria and the more diverse our bacteria the healthier we are as individuals. Medicine, antibiotics, vaccines can all disrupt the diverse and complex microbiome and set us up for all kinds of illnesses in the future.
Researchers have discovered about ten thousand species of gut bacteria and they have no idea what all of them are needed for. Thankfully we do understand more and more every year. In fact, we acquire other people’s bacteria from casual contact because our microbiome is dynamic and changing all the time. Within 24 hours there can be a major shift in the diversity of your microbiome.
Irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s) are two very different diagnoses. IBS is nowhere near the inflammation markers of an IBD sufferer, but many of the symptoms overlap. According to studies, they do share a common thread and that is the diversity of their microbiome is reduced. When bad bacteria overtake the good in your digestive system, your symptoms will be constipation, gas, bad breath, diarrhea and stomach pain. Learning how to improve the diversity of your gut bacteria is critical to start feeling better and improving your digestive health.
How to Restore Gut Health
Dr. Raphael Kellman, MD, and author of Microbiome suggests a four-point plan to achieve a healthy microbiome. When looking to balance the microbiome it’s critical to Remove that which is compromising healthy gut bacteria. Replace that which the gut needs to digest food properly. Reinoculate with healthy bacteria. Repair the lining of the intestinal wall.
This all sounds so easy, just 4 things to do to get healthy! Nothing is easy, but it is very simple. Do them and within months you will be feeling so much better and on your way to vibrant living again.
Let’s look at them in detail.
1) Remove You’ll need to remove from your diet anything that can compromise healthy digestion or increase bad bacteria. Removal of parasites is also included in this process. This means absolutely NO sugar, gluten, eggs, dairy, soy or any food made with these foods. No unhealthy fats like trans fats. No preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, no artificial sweeteners and the avoidance of environmental toxins like household cleaners. For a more detailed list, click here. Removing parasites involves the use of oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, garlic, wormwood, and berberine. Learn how to kill parasites with natural essential oils here.
Once these foods are removed, you are on your way to balancing your gut. Sugar, gluten, eggs, dairy, and soy feed bad bacteria resulting in more bad bacteria than good. When this happens, inflammation occurs making the lining of the gut more permeable resulting in fat storage, gas, bloating and other symptoms.
2) Replace now it’s important to replace the stomach acid, enzymes, and friendly bacteria to restore healthy digestion. If you’re suffering from GERD or reflux/heartburn, you’re probably asking yourself right now, why on earth would I replace stomach acid? Most people who have these GERD or reflux/heartburn are suffering from low stomach acid, not too much stomach acid.
To replace stomach acid, hydrochloric acid tablets are used until relief is felt. Hydrochloric acid also helps keep unfriendly bacteria at bay. Next, enzymes are needed to break food down in the stomach. Enzymes are found in fresh whole fruits and vegetables which people do not eat in abundance anymore. Bromelain is one of the beneficial enzymes needed for digestion. Enzymes need to be taken with every meal to aid in digestion to also heal the gut. Read more about how probiotics can help your stomach issues here.
3) Reinoculate Now we have to reinoculate the gut with probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics are what good bacteria eat to thrive and gain in abundance. When probiotics and prebiotics are added together, the good bacteria will feed on the prebiotics and increase in number and diversity. It is very important to take them together. Probiotics can be taken in pill form to get the standardized dose or can be eaten in the form of fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchee, and other fermented foods. Read more about fermented foods here. Prebiotics can also be taken in capsule form or you can eat them. Asparagus, carrots, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, onions, and radishes are rich in prebiotics because of the special fiber they contain.
4) Repair If you are experiencing IBS, IBD, gas, bloating, Sibo, Leaky gut, diarrhea, constipation, and pain there is a level of inflammation and damage to the lining of the gut. Now it’s time to repair it. To reduce inflammation in the gut there are foods and supplements that can be eaten and taken to relieve and heal. Quercitin and curcumin (turmeric) help reduce inflammation. Here’s an easy recipe for Golden Milk which contains turmeric. L-glutamine has been shown in studies to heal the lining of the gut and is a very important supplement to take. The prebiotic foods listed above are also healing to the gut as well. So while you’re reinoculating with prebiotics, you are also repairing the lining of the intestinal wall as well.
As you can see, restoring gut health is as simple as remove, replace, reinoculate and repair. However putting this simple formula into practice can be daunting. I suggest working with an expert in gut health, like myself, to get on a good program. You can work with me one on one and finally feel better. Sign up here and I’ll get you more information:
One on One Gut Health Coaching