10 Important Gut Health Facts
You are probably seeing more and more articles in health magazines and on other media outlets about how important your gut health, or microbiome is in relation to your overall health. Dr. Dennis has been advising his patients for years and years on the importance of having healthy gut flora in order to combat the ill effects of fungal allergies.
To highlight a few of the more important facts about your gut:
- Some doctors and scientists believe that the gut is home to 80% of the cells responsible for your immune system. CLEARLY this one fact alone should drive home the importance of keeping good gut flora balance. It is believed that an ideal ratio of good –to-bad flora is 85:15.
- The dark side of antibiotics. Whenever you take a course of antibiotics – such as the popular ‘Z-Pak’ or Amoxicillin most of your gut flora – both good and bad is killed off. It is easy for bad flora to flourish when this occurs, since having a healthy amount of good flora keeps the bad in check. DURING and AFTER your course of antibiotics it is prudent to take a good probiotic for the next two weeks to re-establish good flora.
- Antibiotics get into our diet here in the US when we eat meats or drink milk that is not certified organic. Livestock are usually fed antibiotics with their food, to the tune of 55% of all the antibiotics used in the USA, which is good for the farmer’s bottom line but not for our health. This is the reason the EU has banned importing meats raised this way.
- What is bad flora you ask? Fast-growing Candida is the #1 bad flora and we all have it in our small intestine. When your gut is out of balance it can overgrow and cause Candidiasis. This causes swelling and inflammation in the gut which allows more and larger food particles to pass through the lining (aka Leaky Gut which increases food ‘allergies’. FYI Candida LOVES sugar and refined carbohydrates that convert to sugar like white flour, refined grains and alcohol. YES – this is one of the reasons you are told NOT to drink alcohol when taking antibiotics. Candida has three structures on its cell wall that make it cause disease in at least 20% of people who have the gene that causes an elevated inflammatory reaction to fungus.
– A sugar receptor that causes Candida to change its physical shape from a harmless yeast form to an invasive hyphal form which has thousands of “roots” (some as long as 3 feet!) that grow into surrounding tissue causing intense inflammation and tissue destruction especially in connective tissue like joints, muscles, gut, vessels, and the brain.
– A Candida cell wall has the same amino acid sequence as gluten and can cause a person who is Candida sensitive, but may not test positive to gluten to still react to gluten. Bottom line, it is a good idea to stay away from gluten while you are dealing with a Candida overgrowth.
– Candida cell walls have the same basic structure as all fungi: a 1-3 Beta Glucan structure, so that breathing fungus in the air can activate Candida in the gut and cause gut symptoms such as gut discomfort, bloating, gas, diarrhea, food allergies, and acid reflux. So having a low mold level in the indoor air is important. A level of 0-4 mold colonies on a 1 hr mold plate exposure for people with mild sensitivity and 0-2 for those with moderate to severe mold sensitivity.
- The gut flora ratio is also disturbed when we eat too much processed, pasteurized or sterilized foods. (see # 2 and 3)
- Another fact is that your stomach is highly acidic (hydrochloric and pepcin to a ph4 level). This is good and serves to kill the harmful bacteria we ingest with food. Unfortunately acid levels reduce as we age and many notice an increase in indigestion, heartburn, GERD, etc. Others for a variety of reasons have low stomach acidity. Supplementing with a Betaine HCI product could help before resorting to PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitor drugs) (Zantec, Priolsec, Nexium, etc) or surgery. These may actually worsen the problem as they reduce stomach acid. Many doctors do not look for LOW stomach acid and a simple test run on your part could answer that question for you.
- How can mold affect your gut? Well, when you are allergic to mold (fungus) and you are in an environment where you are constantly being exposed, your immune system simply can’t keep up. Inflammation and swelling spread from your sinuses into your gut. Your sinuses might be thought of as a first line of defense for your gut. Just like your nose and sinuses swelling, your gut does too. The major reasons why people get Candidiasis are antibiotics, drinking chlorinated water (it kills all the good flora), eating sugar (like bread, rice , potatoes, and sweets and soft drinks), having a low or low normal thyroid hormone level with a low iodine as thyroid controls the rate at which oxygen and iodine circulate through each cell, both of which are anti fungal and bacterial, heavy metal toxicity, air borne fungus, and immune suppression.
- Chlorine and fluoride, commonly found in US tap water, also kill good gut bacteria. Water is good for you but filtered water is better. We like the easy use of the Zero water filter water bottles, removes chlorine and does not contribute to landfills like plastic water bottles. NOTE: when you are really sick or super allergic to fungus this is more important for you to pay attention to drinking clean water.
- STRESS can cause your gut to become unbalanced. Our system releases the hormone Cortisol in stressful situations which depresses the immune system and raises blood sugar levels creating an environment rich for Candida, our resident opportunistic bad guy. Prolonged stress also taxes the adrenal gland which again is supposed to keep a number of body functions in check. The chief symptom is chronic fatigue, not to mention gas, indigestion and bloating. Drinking too much coffee to keep you going during the day? Try probiotics and Complete Thymic Formula vitamins instead.
- Your gut has its own nervous system – the Enteric Nervous System– and has more neurons than the spinal system. Neurons here work just like the ones in our brains and in fact produce 90% of the body’s serotonin which controls our sense of well-being. Half of our body’s dopamine – the reward & pleasure sense– is created in our gut as well! [ It sort of sheds a new light on the term “Gut instinct” doesn’t it?] A sick, out of balance gut can be a contributing factor to a sick brain. Yes, Brain Fog is a thing and is common in many Chronic Sinusitis sufferers.