- Discover why your gut could be at the heart of major conditions
- Severe depression, fibromyalgia and even autism linked to poor digestive function
- Your humble servant may just come to the rescue again – find out why
If it’s not a rude question to pose you – do your guts leak?
Please don’t take offence at my blunt approach, because I’m not actually asking you the question that you think I am.
This has nothing to do with what comes out at the end of the alimentary canal, more about what happens inside you.
You see I’m looking at how the walls of the intestine are able to prevent too many nasties from getting into your bloodstream.
Let me explain where all this is coming from.
Over the past few months several readers have been drawing my attention to something called leaky gut syndrome.
The basic theory says that inflammation within the tissues causes the normally tight junctions between cells to open and allows toxins and pathogens access to the body.
The cause of such inflammation may be from allergic reaction to foods eaten, instability in gut microbial populations or as a direct result of drug use.
Conditions which are linked to problems associated with leaky gut syndrome include inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s), psoriasis, pancreatic disease, liver disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and even, controversially, autism in children.
It was this last link that hit the headlines in 1998 when Dr Andrew Wakefield proposed that the combined vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) caused leaky gut and the subsequent increase in autistic presentations.
You may remember the outcry that followed.
In his report Dr Wakefield cited the work of thirteen other authors to back up his theory – mind you ten of those retracted their data after the media storm saying that he had misrepresented their findings.
But, his terminology of autistic entercolitis won’t go away and many other researchers have worked on the theory of changes to the permeability of the lining of the digestive tract and its links to depression, mood change and altered mental states.
So what does the research say?
In 2008 a paper(1) was published in Belgium which concluded that patients who presented with the symptoms of major depression should be checked for a leaky gut and treated accordingly rather than with high dose anti-depressants.
Five years after Wakefield published his report another research team cited his data and said that whilst there was no evidence that the reduction in bowel efficiency was as a result of the vaccine, there was pathology in the digestive tract of children with autism(2).
The link between leaky gut and fibromyalgia was again explored in a 2008 study by a team from Liverpool University(3) who found that intestinal permeability was increased in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic regional pain syndromes.
I could go on as there are many hundreds of similar powerful bits of scientific material out there.
The big issue is that no one in the medical profession takes any of it seriously.
To the vast majority of our front line doctors any mention of leaky gut will have them running to the hills, or at least giving you a very strange look.
That’s the damage that has been done by the backlash from the MMR episode – and we are probably all suffering as a result of it.
Several books have dealt with the issues, and one of the most widely read is by Elizabeth Lipski who makes the link with inflammatory arthritis as well as several other conditions.
One of the interesting sections discusses how to change your diet to overcome the problems associated with the condition by including more zinc to help the gut repair, aloe vera gel to help restore immune function and other supplements like glutamine to provide an energy boost.
However, I discovered something really interesting and much more to my liking in further research.
Want to know what you can do to make a difference for yourself? Then read on.
One more reason to honour the honest worker
In a paper called ‘Leaky Gut Syndromes: Breaking the Vicious Cycle’ Dr Leo Galland(4) discusses the use of anti-oxidants to help the body defeat damaging free radicals.
What really caught my eye was a section about the role a compound called quercetin plays in shutting down inflammation as well.
Now why should this grab my interest you may ask?
Well it is a naturally occurring substance than is found in abundance in fresh produce like watercress, kale and red onion…but is especially abundant in some types of honey.
Especially that which is rich in tea tree pollens – in other words pure, raw Manuka honey.
Good news like that always gladdens my heart, because I know that our honey is the best of freshest and purest that I have ever come across.
I know a couple of people who lives are blighted by rheumatoid arthritis and another with fibromyalgia so it’s my intention to get a few jars of my personal stock over to them to try.
No doubt there will be many doubters among the allopathic professions about the existence of leaky gut syndrome, let a lone the ability of something safe and natural as honey is to affect it.
But do you know what? If there is any mileage in the theory and part of the cure is to use a bit of honey to help who loses out?
I will be looking further into the whole scenario around this hypothesis and hope to return to it in later letters – but if you have any direct experience please let me know.
Yours, as always
The Good Life Letter
(1)Maes et al; (2008): The gut-brain barrier in major depression:
Intestinal mucosal dysfunction with an increased translocation of LPS from gram negative enterobacteria (leaky gut) plays a role in theinflammatory pathophysiology of depression. Neuroendocrinol Lett 2008; 29(1):117–124
(2)White, J.; (2003): Intestinal Pathophysiology in Autism. Exp Biol Med June 2003 vol. 228 no. 6 639-649
(3)Goebel et al; (2008): Altered intestinal permeability in patients with primary fibromyalgia and in patients with complex regional pain syndrome. Rheumatology (2008) 47 (8): 1223-1227.
(4)Galland, L., (accessed 2013): Leaky Gut Syndromes: Breaking the Vicious Cycle. http://www.mdheal.org/leakygut.htm