The G.I. system and illness

The human body is a wonderful machine, designed to work seemingly miraculously. Our digestive system for instance is designed to break down food, absorb nutrients, keep out harmful substances that enter our mouths and excrete them with careful discrimination. This is accomplished through secretions of stomach acid, release of digestive enzymes, hormones that dictate certain parts of our alimentary canal to increase and decrease function, and a selectively permeable intestinal barrier, all working with certain timing. A wondrous machine.

However the body was not originally evolved to handle certain chemical insults and powerful antibiotics. Sometimes the delicate balance of important probiotics and enzymes can be eventually degraded, resulting in complex changes in pH, enzyme function, and permeability of the intestinal wall, meaning particles that were not meant to enter the blood stream do so. This is what is called leaky gut syndrome (LGS).

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) can have wide reaching effects in the body, causing many disorders. Some of these are chronic diarrhea or constipation, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, IBS, gastritis, food allergies, but others would seem to have no connection to the GI system, yet do, such as sinus allergies, asthma, urticaria/hives, eczema, fibromyalgia, joint pain, headaches/migraines, adrenal stress disorders, recurrent ear infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic yeast infections, autoimmune disorders and even neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimers.

How and why can all this happen? Sometimes a food allergy will damage the intestinal border, leading to excess permeability. Other times antibiotic use, vaccine chemicals, and other chemical insults change the all important microflora in our intestines. These microflora provide a healthy acidic intestinal environment. When the beneficial bacteria are killed, bad bacteria grow, changing the pH, allowing for yeasts and other pathogenic microbes to grow. This alters the normally tight junctions in the intestinal lumen, allowing absorption of undigested proteins, and foreign particles that would have been “screened” by a healthy intestine. These enter the blood stream, where they form antigen-antibody complexes, which can confuse the immune system, leading to autoimmune system disorders such as RA, MS, Crohn’s or ankylosing spondylitis. This is because antigens that trigger an inflammatory response create a vicious circle- antigens trigger inflammation, which triggers release of cytokines and histamines, which triggers other immune agents of impending danger. However chronic inflammation (continuously coming from the leaky gut) affects many parts of the body. In the brain, microglial cells hear this message and release inflammatory agents and nitric acid which destroys tissue, leading to neurotransmitter damage, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, ADHD.

There are many more far reaching effects of LGS. For instance, the chronic toxic overload coming from the GI system overwhelms the liver, lowering the CYP450 enzymes used in phase 1 detoxification. This increases CRP, which will damage blood vessels. Chronic stress response in the body from toxin overload can increase blood pressure. Another issue is thyroid function- T3 hormone gets activated in the intestines by GI enzymes. Leaky gut decrease these enzymes, causing low T3, low thyroid function. It is important to realize a person may have LGS health disorders without feeling a particular “gut” problem. There can also be difficulty losing fat- gut inflammation releases inflammatory cytokines that inhibit fat cell breakdown and encourage fat cell production.

When someone has a history of antibiotic use, as well as multiple health issues mentioned above, or even just one serious one such as multiple sclerosis (MS), it is important to be evaluated for the deep, internal root cause. At Tampa Bay Acu Health and Spine, we work with lab companies and can test patients for food allergies, enzyme production, infectious agents such as yeast and bacteria, and antibodies that can be used to find a treatment plan best for the patient.  If you suffer from chronic illnesses and/or autoimmune illnesses, understand that there is an answer.  We will get information about you that may never have been tested.  In time most problems can be helped no matter how daunting they seem.  Call us to get started.