Be Good to Your GutsHelke Ferrie September 1, 2011
Nutritional Strategies for Recovery from Candida and Gut Dysbiosis
Introduction by Helke Ferrie
Over the past two decades, I have met several doctors who lost their licences or came under intense, hostile scrutiny from regulatory bodies for suggesting the existence of Candidiasis and treating Gut Dysbiosis (intestinal imbalance). The reasons include Big Pharma conflicts of interests and just plain block-headedness, what I refer to as PP & FF: Pride and Power, Fame and Fortune-fortification. Mainstream medical research has now proven that the gut (intestinal tract) is key to the regulation of infection, proper immune and central nervous system functioning, and the health of the brain. So important has gut health become that the U.S. government initiated the Human Microbiome Project this year.
FEATURE BY DEBORAH DRAKE
The outside world passes through your gut daily: here all shipping and receiving is processed by workers called enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and immunological defenses which coordinate cellular transport. The gut is lined with lymph nodes which emit light, and neurotransmitter messengers which flash signals and direct traffic through nerves and lymph nodes, twinkling like a holiday tree strung with lights down a spiral tunnel. The more light energy, the more energy exchange, the better your health. The less light, the less healthy you are.
The goal for everyone is good health through optimal digestion. Keeping the plumbing, electrical, and drainage systems working is the key to prevention of many degenerative inflammatory diseases. Gut Dysbiosis affects approximately 45% of people in North America.
The gut is one of several primary filtration systems of the body and uses a large surface area of small bowel for absorption and digestion; the large intestine, or colon, excretes indigestible food, toxins, and fiber. If the bowel becomes damaged, it will act like a sprinkler instead of a hose (a condition known as ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’), a state in which fluids and nutrition leak in unintended directions because the bowel is compromised. The body then absorbs toxins and heavy metals, and the gut is unable to prevent food poisoning and parasitic infections and may succumb to yeast overgrowth.
The gut promotes antibody formation which works to differentiate nutrients from poisons. When the gut ceases to protect us, autoimmune problems can be triggered by its network of cellular communication channels and lymph nodes which respond to food allergens – especially wheat gluten and milk allergens like casein. Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, poor motility, and trapped gas can all lead to obesity, elevated cholesterol, diverticulitis, pancreatic insufficiency, and cellulite. Even ulcers, polyps, or cancer may result if digestion works improperly.
Once the filtration integrity of the bowel wall is damaged, improper proteins, fats, or sugars can begin to enter circulation, triggering abnormal immune reactions. These overloaded bowel filters can cause problems such as increasing the cholesterol and triglyceride content in the blood, or elevating platelet count causing high blood viscosity – much like dirty oil in a car. Body fluids can only handle a limited toxic load, and once saturated your pipes become clogged. This could even cause heart and brain problems from blocked bile and stones, intestinal obstruction, and cellulite on the trunk because toxins are stored buffered in fat. The cumulative effect is heightened cancer risk through increased weight, or increased risk of heart attack and stroke from clogged coronary and cerebral arteries. Increased disease risk may also be caused by undigested proteins which produce stickier mucous development in the nose, lung, colon, and the lymph system.
The less attention that is paid to the body’s filtration systems, the worse the elevation of cellular debris and toxicity gets, which leads to high cholesterol and circulatory clogging, thrush, and infection overgrowth – all made even worse by sugar- and gluten-rich diets. The result is gut dysbiosis. The normally acidic gut has a pH 5-6 and now can become alkaline at a pH 7.5-8, setting the stage for cancers.
Good gut health is a matter of balance between acid and base (alkaline) pH conditions. Balance refers to optimal oxygen delivery to retard the overgrowth of pathogens and to avoid the oxidation effects of heavy metal toxicity.
CAUSES OF GUT DYSBIOSIS
Dysbiosis is promoted by hidden food allergies, gluten, environmental toxins, undigested proteins, the use of antacids and antibiotics, EMF pollution, and processed pesticide-laden foods lacking in essential minerals, vitamins, and probiotics. The result is impaired excretion of fecal matter and an increased toxic body burden. This manifests as symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, cramps, bloating, backaches, flatulence, hemorrhoids, inflammatory irritable bowel, colitis, diverticulitis, appendicitis, Crohn’s disease, polyps and eventually cancer. Cellulite and edema cause obesity, gout, diabetes, arthritis and many other illnesses. Prevention requires lifelong ingestion of probiotics, fibre, and water.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF GUT DYSBIOSIS
The colon absorbs water like a radiator, so proper water intake is essential. The large intestine is a muscular three to five foot long tube working in serotonin-rich lymph nodes; it also evacuates excrement and causes water re-absorption. This process of peristalsis is driven by stretching and contraction ending in the anus. This tube is supplied with nerves which are coated in myelin-fatty insulation and which require B vitamins (Phosphatidyl choline/lecithin and phosphatidyl serine) to function.
To prevent constipation, the nerves and muscles use the neurotransmitter Acetyl Choline (Ach). It causes contraction of the smooth muscle causing propulsion. Dietary fat is necessary for this key messenger’s function, so avoid a completely fat-free diet, and instead use oils rich in choline and inositol. Ach is the key signal between all nerves and muscles and is especially important for the heart’s electrical system, the brain, and the gut-brain.
Ach also promotes many synapses in the brain and peripheral nerves and muscles. For example, Ach powers the largest nerve in the body, the long Vagus nerve (cranial nerve 10), travelling from head to toe; it is responsible for autonomic nervous system control, which is key for digestion. It also helps trigger the excretion of enzymes, and operates muscular gates for sphincter control in the bladder and sweat glands. It promotes memory, mood, concentration; whereas impaired Vagus nerve activity promotes depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, or anxiety. Specifically, Ach is vital for appetite and hormone regulation, so its imbalance may lead to food cravings and addiction cycles.
The saying that “a way to a man’s happiness is through his stomach” is true because the ascending colon warehouses 95% of the body stores of serotonin which is made from foods like turkey, mozzarella and foods containing vitamin 5 HTP (Hydroxy-tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin). Serotonin also provides immune protection by identifying food allergens and invaders, and helps maintain lymph node integrity. (Note that the small intestine is paired with the heart, and the large intestine with the lungs.)
Above all, the gut needs fibre like psyllium, oats, fruit, pectin, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates to clean out the debris. Due to its important role in immunity, propulsion, and excretion, we focus here on the three to five foot long large intestine and its job of excreting toxins. If the fire exit is blocked, then evacuation cannot occur. The colon is the fire exit, and it must be kept clear for proper evacuation. This is achieved through a diet high in fiber, low in fermentation and sugar, high in minerals, and rich in water to prevent impairment of the acid base protection and subsequent dysbiosis which then taxes the lymphatic system.
To avoid the promoters of gut dysbiosis, one must restore the gut flora (especially after using antibiotics), get rid of parasites, avoid gluten and sugar-rich foods, and increase raw foods and enzyme-rich live whole foods. One must also avoid antacids and proton pump inhibitor medication to prevent indigestion and ulcers. Other causes of dysbiosis include stress or trauma, diseases of the gut (celiac, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, Ascaris roundworm, amoeba, food poisoning, H.pylori), anesthetics, and heavy metal toxicity – all of which shift the bioterrain to an oxidized state.
Further, the use of synthetic hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, infertility medications, or immuno-suppressing medication all serve to promote Candida, yeast, or fungus – especially if the gut is not cleaned.
KEY FOODS FOR RESTORING BOWEL HEALTH
Unchecked, Candida robs you of energy and compromises weight regulation and the absorption of B vitamins and minerals. This leads to sticky platelets and clot-prone blood, along with decreasing some white blood cells important for good immune responses. Yeast and fungus boost intestinal fermentation, which thereby poisons the cells in the pancreas responsible for manufacturing insulin for blood sugar regulation. The central nervous system is also affected by yeast overgrowth which causes fatigue, depression, irritability, “brain fog,” and memory loss.
We must choose foods that improve colon cleansing and retard Gut Dysbiosis, Candida, and fungus infections, so the body is not robbed of essential nutrients. We need “Sour Power” foods (grapefruit, sour cherry, apricot), along with those that contain healing sulphur (garlic, onions, mustard, curry, ginger, apricot, eggs, asafoetida), and foods rich in lymph and mood-supporting serotonin and zinc (turkey, lamb, flaxseed, sunflower seed, fish oil, bitter chocolate). We also need high fibre gluten-free grains (quinoa, psyllium, flax, oats, wild rice). Also beneficial are low glycemic index vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, cucumber, swiss chard), high antiparasitic foods (zucchini, garlic, pumpkin seed), and peroxidase-rich foods (horseradish, parsnips, pears) that support the restoration of endocrine and immune recovery. In addition, sufferers of gut dysbiosis should avoid refined wheat, MSG, chicken, canola oil, and hydrogenated fats such as margarine.
The colon needs 3-5 litres of water per day for good health. We excrete 2.5 litres daily: 500ml in breath, 500ml in sweat, and 500ml -1.5 L in urine – which must be replenished before any water is even left over for the work the colon performs. Of course, some water comes from fruits and veggies which also provide fibre. Studies show a large reduction in colon cancer and polyps if 30 grams of fiber per day are ingested. About ten helpings of fruits and veggies can usually provide 30 grams of fiber. Adding psyllium, chia seeds, or rice bran can augment this. However, do not use wheat bran (especially for an inflamed, degenerative or celiac disease-prone colon).
The best filtration occurs when the gut is acidic at pH 5-6 and the bloodstream is alkaline at pH 7.4. I suggest the “Sour Power” diet along with high multi-strain probiotics, detox herbal teas, and especially the anti-Candida peroxidase-rich foods like pears, parsnips, horseradish, etc. These peroxidase-rich foods assist the immune system’s white blood cells and spleen in killing Candida, which is often systemic. Such a dietary regime will eventually improve energy, mental clarity, and reduce bloating. Of course, new tastes have to be developed and cravings defeated, but sleep quality, energy levels, and all bodily functions improve once adaptation is achieved in about 3 to 12 weeks. However, such chronic conditions require attention and long-term use of probiotics for life.
The two keys to success are high fiber and adequate fluids to promote bowel movements free from straining and bloody stool. If the feces are greasy, sticky, pale, and float, it may indicate poor gall bladder function; and if they “stink and sink” they may be loaded with toxins. If the feces are bulky, infections may be present. Pencil-thin bloody stools indicate a lack of bile; green stools signal infection. Changes in stool require checking with your doctor to investigate conditions which could obstruct, inflame, degenerate, or narrow the exit of the anus, like hemorrhoids, prostate enlargement, polyps or tumours.
THE ANTI-CANDIDA PROTOCOL
If you suffer from severe bloating, edema, lethargy or cramping, consider the additional Candida diet which requires a temporary period of intense restriction of fermentable simple sugars and gluten such as alcohol, along with avoidance of environmental phenol fumes (from cigarette smoke, disinfectants, car exhaust, mouthwashes, etc), as well as perfumes and mould sources. This includes avoidance of sugar, gluten-containing carbohydrates, cow’s milk and cheese, fermentation-promoting corn, bean sprouts, mushrooms, melon, grapes, strawberries, pistachios and peanuts, along with excessive nitrogen sources high in proteins like pork or chicken and game meats. Learn to substitute raw, gluten-free, sour power foods.
Because gluten glues you up, the best alternatives are low carb, vegetable-rich, rice or oat-based carbohydrates. You can avoid “gluing” up the digestive, endocrine and nervous system with a strict gluten-free diet. Although it is tough to remove bread and pasta which are staples, doing so results in reduced bloating after three weeks off such foods as wheat, chicken, canola oil, teriyaki, and caramel. (See https://www.elpeto.com for gluten-free resources.)
One can expect irritability when sugar craving is denied. Therefore, have high fat snacks such as nut butter (but not almond or peanut butter) to help avoid the tendency to cheat. Paradoxically, blood alcohol levels will initially surge due to alcohol reduction from the release of Candida fermentation byproducts, and it may feel like intoxication, even to the point of a mild headache, flu-like symptoms, or a ‘hangover.’ This can be relieved by increasing water intake (3-5 liters per day cut with lemon, grapefruit, or cherry juice). Avoid vinegars, alcohol, apple and orange juice due to their high sugar content and tendency to ferment.
You can expect mild to moderate detoxification symptoms such as bloating, changes in stool habits, body odour, low energy, skin changes, sleep problems, and mood swings. Sometimes things get worse before improvement. These processes signal that your body is ridding itself of stored toxins. To avoid a “Herxheimer Reaction” (chills, nausea, diarrhea, brain fatigue) from sudden release of toxins, one may benefit from the Ionic Detox Foot Bath, Jeannie Rub, Massage, etc. Using a sulphur-rich diet (garlic, onions, mustard, ginger, curry, turmeric, apricots) also helps the liver, gut and joints detoxify better. Alternatively, assist the flushing of toxins with NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine, 500 mg., twice daily to clean liver and lungs) or MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane, 2-4 grams, 4 times daily, for joint and gut pain).
The best results are achieved through proper planning and scheduling. Keep a shopping list handy. Post the menu on the fridge, so you always know what to eat and when and what substitutes work best. Pre-stock the fridge and cupboards with turkey, dark leafy green veggies, broccoli, oats, organic or wild rice, gluten-free pasta, berries, spices, garlic, grapefruits, cranberry juice, and virgin olive, grapeseed, and coconut oil for cooking. Between meals, avoid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) by remembering to snack and hydrate with a minimum of two to four litres of herbal tea or water, preferably with lemon or grapefruit to lower surface tension and increase hydration. Avoid liquids with meals – they dilute digestive enzymes. Severe bloating requires use of additional digestive enzymes with meals. During an inflammatory crisis, avoid inflammation-promoting foods such as hot spices, red and green peppers, eggplant, tomato, potato, sunflower, corn and safflower oils, as well as oxalate-rich spinach, shellfish, and red meat.
It takes years to develop leaky gut syndrome, so it may take a while to heal. The Candida yeast-growth cycle of 12 weeks requires a full three months of detox to remove such a destructive colonization. Once gut dysbiosis has been overcome, you will enjoy improved metabolism, weight management, mood control, and hormone stability because you eat right to feel right.
Colon Support, Detox and Maintenance
BASICS: “LIVE” Drink with 33 vegetables and fruits, fibre and enzymes plus 22 probiotics, all in one convenient dehydrated natural breakfast drink.
ADVANCED:A three-phase colon detox protocol
Phase 1: Support Bowel Function
1. Probiotics (Lactobacillus Acidophyllus and Bifidus, multi strain, high potency 15-50 billlion friendly bacteria per cap twice or thrice per day between meals)
2. Liquid Minerals ½ ounce twice per day (instead of coffee which depletes bicarbonate and washes minerals out of body) along with Vitamin D 5000 IU/Day
3. ANTIOXIDANTS ( 1 dose three – four times per day) containing extra Zinc, Vitamin A, C, E, Selenium, Manganese) with water and pre meal or pre exercise.
4. Digestive Enzymes (take 2 caps with each meal) to improve breakdown and assimilation of foods, especially after 50 years old with low stomach acid.
5. Lecithin Nerve Support (1200 mg three times per day with meals) to build nerve endings and memory, lower cholesterol and preserve myelin sheath on nerves.
6. Fibre (Psyllium 1 tbsp with 8 ounces of water at bed) to naturally cleanse the colon wall and reduce cholesterol reabsorption. (Alternative: Gentle Fibres Brand Rice Laxative) (If severe, see Colon cleanse below)
Phase 2: Detoxify Bowel Functions
7. “Clean” Colon Cleanse. Temporarily use more powerful herbal cleanses like Nuriche CLEAN for yeast and parasites, or psyllium ,bentonite, caproil for severe yeast, and use for a one month. Rest two weeks then Repeat Colon Cleanse as necessary over three months to help prevent recurrences (Add probiotics).
8. Add Sulphur MSM 2-4 grams four times per day for spinal discs and gut lining, and in addition, for liver sulphur use N-Acetyl Cysteine (500 mg twice per day for liver cleansing)
9. 5 HTP (Hydroxy tryptophan) (100-200 mg twice per day) supports ascending colon serotonin stores in lymph nodes and assists peristalsis and depression.
10. Tyrosine 1500 mg po 7am and 1000 mg 3 pm used with zinc for adrenaline and dopamine production and endocrine (thyroid ) hormones (TURKEY MEAT)
11. Digestive HerbalTeas (Dandelion Root, Milk Thistle, Golden Seal, Pau D’Arco. For constipation, consider temporary use of Peppermint, fennel seed, cascara, senna leaves, Kava Kava, Buchthorn, and Rice brain oil
12. Zeolite: (13 drops twice per day in water as a mineral known for detoxification properties to remove gut dysbiosis, pH disturbances and acidosis forming residues, especially useful in removing heavy metal toxicity and parasites which grown on metals like yeast)
Phase 3: Colon Maintenance
Whole Food Nutrition, including “LIVE” drink (33 veggies and fruit, 22 probiotics, enzymes, Fibre); Spirulina capsules or smoothie (contains 88 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids in one whole food for complete nutrition); and hemp seed protein.
About the Author
On February 14, 2011, Deborah Drake’s medical license was challenged due to her treatment protocol for intestinal parasites and Gut Dysbiosis with unconventional medicine. She continues to work in the health field as an educator in Aurora, Ontario. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
M. D. Gershon MD, The Second Brain, Harper Perennial 1999
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The National Institutes of health initiated its human microbiome project this year; google Human Microbiome Project or NIH Common Fund; various publications on this project can be found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the search words “microbial fingerprint” and the researcher Dr. Rob Knight.
Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer with a master's degree in physical anthropology. Her specialty lies in investigative research into ethical issues in medicine and the politics of health. She started her investigative journalism career in the mid-1990s, looking at issues of medicine and environment. She has been a regular contributor to Vitality Magazine ever since. Helke has also authored books on various subjects including: "Ending Denial: The Lyme Disease Epidemic", "What Part of No! Don't They Understand: Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse", and "The Earth's Gift to Medicine".