The small and large intestines, with the help of enzymes from the liver and pancreas and gallbladder, process food emerging from the stomach (by this time a sludge-like substance known as chyme) into a form that creates available energy for the body to use, whilst also screening for and eliminating toxic substances from the body.
The small intestine plays a significant role in absorbing nutrients from the food we eat then the residue is pushed into the ascending colon ( large intestine, about 6 feet long) where water and some vitamins are absorbed, and a stool gradually forms to be removed in sections through the rectum. A healthy colon is vital for a healthy body. When the colon is working properly, peristalsis moves food through the system, drawing out liquid and eliminating toxic and unwanted substances (faecal matter) within 16-24 hours of eating.
Our digestive system provides a magnificent and near perfect system for exploiting nutritional value from food and effectively protecting us from damaging toxins. However, things can go wrong, and the result is dire. One consequence, leaky gut, is seen as a serious threat to good health and a leading cause of an array of health problems such as autoimmune disease, IBS, arthritis, fibromyalgia and MS to name but a few).
Leaky Gut Syndrome literally means that the gut lining instead of doing its essential job of screening is no longer functioning as it should. “Holes” develop that allow large molecules of not fully digested food, bowel toxins such as yeast, to enter the bloodstream. It is now thought that this leads to a crisis where the liver and lymphatic system becomes overloaded and no longer copes well: dysbiosis is created and the body starts to attack itself, creating an autoimmune response.
“Factors that cause dysbiosis include antibiotic use and consumption of livestock in which antibiotics have been used; obesity; over-hygiene; stress; pathogenic bacteria and a typical Western diet. When in dysbiosis, the microbiome instead causes inflammation, cancer and autoimmunity.” Dr David Perlmutter
The sort of conditions commonly associated with dysbiosis are asthma, food allergies, sinusitis, eczema, migraine, irritable bowel, candida overgrowth, obesity, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, PMT, fibroids etc.
The overuse of antibiotics is thought to be at the top of the list of culprits, with anti-inflammatory drugs, poor diet and lack of exercise seen as very damaging also.
Antibiotics cause problems by destroying beneficial bacteria. These bacteria have a necessary and symbiotic relationship with humans and perform hundreds of functions that are essential to our developing a balanced and healthy immune response.
For example, as well as being essential to the digestive process, gut bacteria secrete enzymes that remove microbes, toxic debris, chemical wastes, along with providing a strong opposition to viral and bacterial invaders.
Unfortunately, while we have many things to thank antibiotics for, the fact is that they mostly destroy bacteria indiscriminately. And worse, some bacteria survive and thrive, and overgrowth of pathogens in the gut can cause illness. MRSA and Clostridium Diff. can create lasting, severe problems, not limited to diarrhoea and vomiting. As a result, doctors and Health Care professionals throughout the world are rethinking how and when we should use antibiotics.
“More studies are finding that increased intestinal permeability or 'leaky gut' has a role in the development of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders,” said Wahls in an interview with Healthline. “Healing the gut, restoring normal intestinal permeability, will require increased attention to diet quality and food choices.” Dr Terry Wahls
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