Any Brain Related Symptom? Think Something Is Wrong In Your GI Track (Gut-Brain Connection)
The Gut-Brain Connection has been known since Hippocrates (460-370 BC) stated that “all diseases begin in the gut”. The problems that end up presenting as neurological or brain issues, include autism, ADD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and all manners of psychiatric diseases and disorders, learning challenges, developmental delays, language disorders, dyslexia, dyspraxia, schizophrenia, and behavioral issues. We now know that our immune system (hence infections) may be related to the GI track, and allergies, eczema, and asthma, just for starters!
The problems can be the result of the wrong bacteria colonizing the gut and resulting in nutrient deficiencies (some of our key vitamins are made by certain probiotics/good bacteria in our intestines) or toxins produced by the wrong bacteria that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Problems can be due to damage to the stomach lining, reducing the acid that is needed to start the digestive process and the intrinsic factor needed for B-12. In the small intestine, there can be damage to the villi and brush boarder (micro-villi) which results in poor absorption of nutrients, mal-absorption of toxins, partially digested proteins, and foods that then cause food sensitivities or allergies as they interact with the immune system.
For our most severely affected children, with autism for example, most parents know all too well that something is wrong in the GI track, with diarrhea and constipation being common, and foods problematic with children refusing most foods. The gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet has received much attention as it frequently, in up to 40% of the children, will cause a huge improvement for these conditions. Sadly though, the improvement is limited and sometimes not lasting. There’s an important reason for this. While removing gluten and casein will eliminate those proteins and the direct negative effects they have on the brain, it does nothing to repair the damaged lining of the intestinal track, and does nothing to change the bacterial colonies that are a major cause of the problem.
A pediatrician by the name of Dr Sidney Haas, working from the 1920’s to 1950’s, came up with a nutritional program that significantly removes grains, starches, and complex sugars (disaccharide’s and polysaccharides) from the diet. This diet was at that time used primarily for those with celiac disease. This diet was later popularized by biochemist Elaine Gottschall, who wrote the book “Breaking the Vicious cycle”, and who for decades promoted this type of diet to heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD- Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis). Countless families with autistic children or other severe GI issues have benefited from this approach.
I am particularly grateful to Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD., for her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”. Here, the complex reasons most of these brain related disorders start in the gut are explained and she outlines a very straightforward way to get going on the path of healing. This is a must read for anyone who has a child or family member with any of the conditions mentioned-thus for all of us! Blogs to follow on some of those details, but make no mistake; we will have to clean up our diet and take the right supplements and probiotics to get back health the way it is supposed to be. It’s also perhaps a most important read and topic for anyone who is planning to have children, as it is so much easier to prevent gut problems than it is to try to fix them.
While you’re learning, start with eating only organic foods and cut back or completely stop consuming refined flour and sugars. Just use honey for sweetness, and absolutely no artificial sweeteners.