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Healing the Gut and Working with Food Allergies
From the Book – Is your child’s brain starving?
The GI tract has an enormous influence over both the immune system and the brain. Over_ the cells in the immune system are located in and around the GI tract.
Leaky Gut Syndrome – The lining of the small intestine is nearly leak proof and onlyfully digested food molecules are permitted to pass thought this lining into thebloodstream and lymph vessels. The stomach and intestines are full of hostile elements:Hcl, digestive enzymes, undigested food material and trillions of microorganisms. Toinject even a small amount of the contents of the digestive tract into the bloodstreamwould be very unhealthy. This leak proof lining is only one cell layer thick and can beeasily damaged. The cells of this lining live only 3 days. They have an extremely highmetabolic activity and intense nutritional demands.
When enough of these cells are damaged there are more and more gaps in the intestinallining allowing large quantities of molecular debris – undigested and partially digestedprotein, carbohydrates and fat as well as fragments from microorganisms to pollute theblood and lymph of the intestinal tract. Some gets transported to the liver which has toprocess it, other ends up circulating through the body – all of this puts a great strain onthe immune system, the liver and virtually every other organ and system of the body.
Leaky gut syndrome has also been found in cases of autism and research that Dr Lyonshas done shows that most children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder sufferfrom a leaky gut.
A medical test known as the lactulose-mannitol intestinal permeability test can be doneby a nutrionally oriented medical doctor. The test is relatively inexpensive but usually notcovered by insurance providers.
What causes a leaky gut?Severe emotional stress or trauma, drug use especially anti-biotic and anti-inflammatorydrugs, alcohol abuse, GI tract parasites, intestinal bacterial infections or overgrowth,ingestion of junk foods - especially deep fried foods made with hydrogenated vegetableoils, excessive consumption of starchy or sugary foods and food allergies. One majorjunk foods binge or a single course of anti-biotics can create a condition of leaky gut inhours. If the diet doesn’t contain enough nutrients to repair the leaky gut it can become apersistent problem.
Food is informationBioflavanoids instruct the brain to produce more neurotransmittersOmega 3 fatty acids encourage cells to cool off inflammation.
Natural whole foods have ways of communicating with the brain –junk foods doesn’tLeaky Gut Syndrome may also cause a flood of wrong messages to be communicatedfrom the digestive system to the body.
Wheat protein contains gluten and Milk protein contains casein - these can havemorphine like properties in the brain called exorphins. These exorphins can accumulateand cause undesirable drug-like or toxic effects upon the brain.
The Probiotic-ADHD Connection –Research Dr.Lyon did on 75 children with ADHD showed that the majority of these kidshad little or no friendly (probiotic) gut bacteria, but all had high amounts of potentiallyharmful (pathogenic) bacteria in their bodies. About 1/3 had colonies of pathogenic yeastand nearly _ had one or more intestinal parasite. Some kids had as many as 5 differentspecies of intestinal parasites. His research also indicated that more than 80% of childrenwith behavioral or cognitive problems identified specific immune system weaknesses inthem.
3 steps to take are:
1) Heal the leaky gut2) Re-establish healthy gut bacteria3) Take care of the nutritional inadequacies.
The importance of Probiotics
– these flora help us to digest food, generate importantnutrients, stimulate the immune system, diminish allergic reactivity and prevent thereproduction and colonization of undesirable microbes as well neutralize toxins in the gutand stimulate gut wall healing in those with a leaky gut. Breast fed infants have higheramounts of bifidobacteria in their gut. Research now suggests that children with adequatequantities of bifidobacteria are less likely to develop allergic diseases such as asthma. Ofthe many strains of probiotics few can establish themselves well in the GI tract. Eatingyogurt is beneficial because the transient bacteria still help. Lactobacillus rhamnosus
is aspecies that contains some of the most impressive strains of scientifically validatedprobiotics. LactoBacillus rhamnosus can markedly diminish symptoms in those with foodallergies. Another strain taken from Swiss Cheese is called Propionibacteriumfreudenreichii which stimulates the growth of various strains of bifidobacteria primarilyfor stimulating the gastrointestinal immune system. Propionibacterium generates abyproduct known as propionic acid. This is a very potent but non-toxic yeast suppressingsubstance.
Dr Lyons found that 1/3 of kids with ADD had an overgrowth of yeast.
Help the Brain: the ANT PIE program:ABSTAIN: Leave off the most obvious gut offenders: Junk food, fast food, deep-fried,overcooked, over-processed and most canned foods. Avoid products containinghydrogenated vegetable oils. Reduce the amounts of dietary fat, sugar or starches.
Replace coffee, sugary soft drinks and fruit juices with water, green tea or herbal tea.Learning Factors Smoothie Mix makes a great alternative to a meal or snack
NOURISH – Intestinal cells have high nutritional demands. Get a foundation of wholefoods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits, good quality protein, vitamins, minerals,trace elements, essential fatty acids, fiber and a variety of phytochemicals. L-Glutamineis a key intestinal nutrient that needs to be included in any gut rehabilitation program.
Zinc, anti-oxidants- (grape seed extract, milk thistle extract and green tea extract, Vit C,E and carotenes), water soluble fiber such as guar gum, lecithin and omega-3 fatty acidsfrom fish and flax oil. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium and chromium.
Finally digestive enzymes are often recommended by nutritonal professionals in improvedigestive function.
TOXINS – Exercise promotes good digestion and helps effective detoxification. Certainnutrients can help the liver and gut efficiently dispose of toxins. The amino acids glycine,taurine, N-acetyl cysteine, and L-Glutamine are key liver detoxification nutrients along
with inorganic sulfate. Milk Thistle extract, Green Tea and Turmeric help withdetoxification activities as well as vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Finally bothsoluble and insoluble dietary fiber activate liver detoxification systems and can act as anatural “broom” sweeping toxins out of the body.
PROBIOTICS – Are especially important during and after anti-biotic use, but are bestused on a regular basis throughout life. They should always be used with Pre-biotics suchas FOS, Inulin, oat bran, legume fiber or guar gum.
IDENTIFY – People with brain-related problems often have persistent adverse foodreactions that need to be identified and dealt with. Identifying and properly managingfood allergies or intolerances can bring about dramatic improvements in cognitiveperformance, behavior and overall health. Dr Lyons has found it amazing how many kidswith brain –related difficulties have intestinal parasites. Identifying and then eliminatingthem can often bring about very clear benefits. Stool Testing can be ordered from GreatSmokies Labs in Asheville, NC 828-252-9833ELIMINATE – 1) Allergic or intolerant foods. If problematic foods are eliminated for afew months while the gut is being supported, these problematic foods can be graduallyreintroduced and eaten again, at least on an infrequent basis. 2) Intestinal parasites orother undesirable gut microbes. In the western world, most parasites found on stoolexamination are single-celled animals known as protozoa’s. Renew Life Products have anumber of excellent products designed to help the body eliminate parasites.
The war within: food allergies and the brainTrue Food Allergies: Only affect 1-5% of adults and 3-7% of children, which involveallergic reactions usually occurring immediately after exposure to food allergens. Theyare caused by the release of the chemical histamine and other inflammatory compoundsfrom specific immune cells. They can cause symptoms such as swollen lips, hives,difficulty breathing, itchy eyes or stuffy nose or anaphylaxis.
Food Intolerances: A far higher percentage of people, perhaps as many as 75%experience other adverse reactions to food. These can be classified as either foodintolerances or food hypersensitivities. Food intolerances generally refer to non-immunological reactions to foods such as those that occur when food is improperlydigested. A common example of this is lactose intolerance with gas bloating or diarrheaor headaches and flushing experienced by people eating MSGSee handout sheet – food additives to avoid
- for common chemicals in food that causesintolerance.
Food Hypersensitivities: Food hypersensitivity is known as immediate Type 1 reactionssuch as swollen lips or breathing difficulties – more common are delayed hypersensitivityreactions known as Type III – these occur in people primarily with leaky gut problems.
Most people with delayed hypersensitivity reactions are unaware that they are reacting –instead they often suffer with a variety of vague complaints such as fatigue, anxiety andmuscle pain. It is quite common to crave the foods that are causing their adverse foodreactions.
Finding the Culprit - The most effective way to identify food allergies and intolerances,or hypersensitivities is to temporarily restrict the diet, eliminating the foods most likely tobe associated with allergic reactions. If done properly the elimination diet can showobservable improvements in mood, cognitive performance, energy levels, physical
symptoms and general wellbeing within 1 to 4 weeks. In children, improvements inbehavior, attitude, reading abilities and school performance are often clearly observed.
1- The person should complete a diet and symptom diary for one week using the
form provided. Make copies of this document and use one of these forms eachday to record pertinent info. At the end of the week, review the diet and symptomdiary sheets to look for clues that suggest which foods may be causing adverseeffects.
2- The next week the person should begin the elimination of possible offending
foods – this is a strict period of leaving out all possible commonly allergic foodsthis list can seem overwhelming at first. It can take several weeks for some peopleto move into an elimination diet. The first week on the diet is often the mostdifficult. Many people feel and behave worse than they did before the diet for thefirst few days. In some ways this can be likened to an addict in withdrawal. By theend of the 2nd week many children and adults feel better than they have at anyother time in their lives.
3- The food challenge process. This step involves identifying allergic or intolerant
foods by a careful and systematic reintroduction method known as the foodchallenge process. This is done after the 2 to 4 week elimination diet. The mostcommon - dairy and wheat are the 1st foods to be challenged, since they are themost common foods to cause adverse food reactions. Test only 1 food on oneparticular day. The challenged food is eaten at each meal, doubling the quantityeaten with each meal. For example milk would be drunk starting with _ a glass atbreakfast, 1 full glass at lunch and 2 glasses at dinner. If a clear adverse reactionoccurs to the challenged food, it is not necessary to challenge it again atsubsequent meals. Keep a careful record of the foods eaten, the quantityconsumed, the time of day and the symptoms experienced after eating the foods.
Follow the suggested photocopied chart from the book.
4- Food challenges occur on one day and symptoms are observed that day as well as
the following day. Any physical symptoms, bad behaviors, mood swings orcognitive problems experienced by the person during the day are recorded, alongwith the time the symptoms occur. The person should also record the quality ofsleep that night and how the person feels and behaves the next day. Fatigue, badbreath, stuffy nose, headaches, moodiness, aggressiveness or other bad behaviorsthe day after a food challenge should all be recorded. If the person gets sick with acold or ear infection wait until the individual recovers before resuming the foodchallenge.
5- Take the Pulse Test – Before eating a test food, sit quietly and measure the pulse
rate (in heartbeats per minute). Keep the information recorded on the foodchallenge dairy form. After the challenge food is eaten, the person should remainstill and measure the pulse rate after 5 minutes and then after 10 minutes. Foodallergies or intolerances may cause the release of the stress hormone adrenaline,which will increase the pulse rate by about 10 beats per minute or more. Such arise will help confirm the presence of an adverse food reaction.
6- Always have a day of elimination diet between food challenges. This wash out
day is important for accurate observation and recording.
7- For older children and adolescents it is worthwhile to challenge junk foods by
letting the child or teenager to binge on junk foods during one of the challengedays. This will let them experience how dreadful they feel after eating these foodsand may help them to understand why they should avoid them. Be sure to haveadolescents record how they feel after their junk food binge, so later if they aretempted to start eating junk food again they can remember how it made them feel.
This is a difficult process to follow – but it is the best-known system to accuratelydetermine and help eliminate food allergies and intolerances. Many of the most renownedfood allergy clinics in the world rely exclusively on this method. Following a healthy dietcan heal a leaky gut and improve immune function. Over weeks and months, positivedietary changes can reduce sensitivities to previously difficult foods to the point that itmay be possible to eat them again in small quantities without ill effects. Avoiding junkfood and sticking to a diet rich in whole foods, fruits and vegetables and whole grains is alifelong commitment to good health. The prize – a healthy brain, a healthy body and anew positive outlook on life.
The vast majority of the information in this handout was taken from the book – Is yourchild’s brain starving? By Dr. Michael R.Lyon, MD Mind Publishing 2002 ISBN 0-9685168-5-8
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