Digestive System

As we embarked on our Hunter’s healing journey back in December 2012, we were shocked to learn the extensive health issues our son had, including the condition of his digestive system. As we shared with you on the home page, we were never led by any healthcare professional for testing to determine the condition of Hunter’s digestive system at birth, nor when his neurological development delays became apparent, nor when he was officially diagnosed as presenting an Autism Spectrum Disorder by a neurodevelopmental practice with 30 years of experience with Autism.
When we first noticed signs of Hunter’s neurological delays, we were solely focused on removing the “toxic garbage” from our son’s body, including vaccination ingredients. We were “in the dark” entirely about the digestive system contributing to this affliction and we didn’t understand or even entertain a “gut-brain” connection.  As Linda humbly shared in her book, it was a year into Hunter’s journey when we realized that healing his digestive system is the key to him obtaining optimal health.

What is the digestive system?

The digestive system is home to trillions of micro-organisms colonizing the gut making an amazing ecosystem all living together in harmony called the gut flora. A healthy adult has about 2kg of these bacteria in the gut. All these bacteria live in a highly organized micro-world with certain species predominating and controlling others. They play a number of vital roles in the body and without them we probably would not survive. The more modern day science advances, the more we learn about human health.
It is absolutely imperative that we take care of our gut flora, as an abnormal or damaged gut flora is the main root cause of all disease today. By taking care of our gut flora we may prevent or even reverse diseases like: heart disease, auto immune diseases, allergies or even cancer to name but a few.
Essential or beneficial flora: These bacteria are referred to as our indigenous friendly bacteria. The main members of this group are: Bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium bifidum), Lactobacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus), Propionobacteria, Peptostreptococci and Enterococci. Beneficial flora is made up of beneficial or good bacteria also called probiotic. They are the housekeepers of the gut, without them your gut cannot be healthy. These bacteria fulfil a myriad of vital functions in the body. The whole surface of the digestive system in a healthy gut flora is covered and dominated by beneficial bacteria. In a healthy body these beneficial bacteria predominate and control all other microbes. The beneficial bacteria provide a natural barrier and protects us against all sorts of invaders, bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses, toxins etc. that are in our food and drink that we ingest every day.
Apart from providing us with a physical barrier the beneficial bacteria produce antibiotic like substances that are anti-fungal, anti-viral that dissolve viruses and ‘bad’ bacteria. They also reduce pH near the wall of the gut making it uninhabitable for the ‘bad’ bacteria to colonize.
Opportunistic flora: This is a large group of various microbes these are: Bacteriods, Peptococci, Staphylococci, Streptococci, Bacilli, Clostridia, Yeasts, Enterobacteria, Fuzobacteria, Eubacteria, catenobacteria, and many others. There are around 500 various species of microbes known to science so far, which can be found in the gut. In a healthy person their numbers are limited and are tightly controlled by the beneficial flora. Each of these microbes is capable of causing various health problems if they get out of control.
Transitional flora: These are various microbes, which we daily swallow with food and drink. When the gut is well protected by the beneficial bacteria, this group of microbes pass through our digestive tract without doing any harm, but if the population of the beneficial flora is damaged and not functioning well this group of microbes can cause disease.
The beneficial bacteria take part in our digestion and absorption of our food, they produce a number of enzymes that break down proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and fats. They produce various substances that transport vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from our food that we eat and maybe supplements that we take, through the gut wall that is then absorbed into our blood stream to nourish our body. Some nutrients are short lived in the body so for this reason they can actively synthesize a number of nutrients that are essential for us: vitamin k2 (menaquinone), B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid and some amino acids. So without a good healthy gut flora your body will be deficient in nutrients, they will simply not be made or absorbed properly.
The beneficial gut flora plays a crucial role in our immune system, by keeping the body’s immunity active and up to its job. Around 83% of our immunity is located in the gut wall. Nearly all disease can be traced back to a damaged or an abnormal gut flora. The gut flora keeps two arms in the immune system in balance and encourages the immune system to respond appropriately to ‘bad’ microbes.

ENVIRONMENT & FOOD TOXICITIES:

The first arm of our immune system is responsible for what we are exposed to in our environment. The air that we breathe has a number of things like chemicals, dust, pollen, animal hair etc. that settles on our mucus membrane and passes on into the gut and also the chemicals and bad bacteria in the foods. So when the gut flora is damaged, the microbes (the ‘bad’ bacteria) are able to break through the gut wall, it becomes what is known as leaky gut syndrome. The immune system becomes less efficient and starts letting in unwanted microbes and toxins through the gut wall then into our bodies.

ALLERGIES & AUTOIMMUNINE DISEASES:

The second arm of our immune system will try and compensate for the first arm and will become hyperactive. The second arm of your immune system is responsible for allergic type reactions. So a person’s body starts reacting in an allergic way, asthma, hay fever, allergies to dust, animals, and to food and so on. It is also the root cause of autoimmune diseases. The most common examples include: Coeliac disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Graves’ disease, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and so on. The body cannot thrive without a well-functioning gut flora. It is essential that we take care of our gut as it holds the roots to our health.
http://www.purenewyou.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=162
In our son’s case, we were devastated to learn that Hunter did indeed have an imbalanced gut flora, leaky gut syndrome, yeast overgrowth as well as indications that he was nutritionally deficient in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, just to name a few. How and when this happened we do not know. Again, not one of our healthcare professionals ever mentioned the digestive system as a possible cause of Hunter’s sudden neurological difficulties. With that being said, Hunter’s neurological development delays began to surface after receiving his MMR vaccine at 15 months of age.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride reviews the studies found by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, and his colleagues at the Royal Free Hospital in London, who had done endoscopies, biopsies and lots of other tests on a group of autistic children where they found a pathology which is now named Autistic Enterocolitis.
In the gut of autistic children they found chronic ongoing inflammation with erosions, blisters, abscesses filled with pus, degeneration of normal structure of the gut mucosa and compaction with large amounts of stool and undigested food particles, which are literary glued to the walls of the bowel. Whatever stool comes out of these children is an overspill, which seeps through a narrow channel in the bowel between large masses of compacted faeces. These compactions provide a wonderful environment for all sorts of parasites, worms, bacteria, fungi, viruses to thrive in and to produce large amounts of various toxins, which get absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed around the body.
As a result the child becomes toxic. Our digestive systems are the roots of our health. A child with sick digestive system is not going to thrive and develop normally either. The digestive system in an autistic child instead of being a source of nourishment, as it is supposed to be, becomes a major source of toxicity.
So Mom and Dad, what do we do about the toxicities in our child’s digestive system?
Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride explains, “The first and most obvious thing to do is to remove the main source of toxicity, which means cleaning up and healing the gut”. The diet and beneficial bacteria in a probiotic such as Bio-Kult help to break down and eliminate compacted putrefaction from the child’s digestive system, re-establish appropriate gut flora and heal the gut lining. 

http://www.dietarysupport.com/detox%28art%29.html

In closing, Dr. Campbell-McBride comments that she is convinced that autistic children are in fact born with perfectly normal brains and perfectly normal sensory organs.
“What happens in these children [is that] they do not develop normal gut flora from birth…” she says.” Gut flora is a hugely important part of our human physiology.  Recent research in Scandinavia has demonstrated that 90 percent of all cells and all genetic material in a human body is our own gut flora. We are just a shell… a habitat for this mass of microbes inside us. We ignore them at our own peril. …As a result, their digestive system — instead of being a source of nourishment for these children — becomes a major source of toxicity. These pathogenic microbes inside their digestive tract damage the integrity of the gut wall. So all sort of toxins and microbes flood into the bloodstream of the child, and get into the brain of the child. That usually happens in the second year of life in children who were breast fed because breastfeeding provides a protection against this abnormal gut flora. In children who were not breastfed, I see the symptoms of autism developing in the first year of life. So breastfeeding is crucial to protect these children.”
Brain Toxicity Leads to Symptoms of Autism

Children use all of their sensory organs to collect information from their environment, which is then passed to the brain for processing. This is a fundamental part of learning. However, in children with Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), the toxicity flowing from their gut throughout their bodies and into their brains, clogs the brain with toxicity, preventing it from performing its normal function and process sensory information…

“Sensory information turns into this mush; into a noise in the child’s brain, and from this noise the child cannot learn. They cannot decipher anything useful,” she explains. “That’s why they don’t learn how to communicate. They don’t learn how to understand language, how to use language, how to develop all the natural instinctive behaviors and coping behaviors that normal children develop. The second year of life is crucial in the maturation of the brain of the baby. That’s when communication skills develop and how instinctive behaviors develop and play skills develop in children and coping behaviors develop. If the child’s brain is clogged with toxicity, the child misses that window of opportunity of learning and starts developing autism depending on the mixture of toxins, depending on how severe the whole condition is, and how severely abnormal the gut flora is in the child.”(read more…)
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/31/dr-natasha-campbell-mcbride-on-gaps-nutritional-program.aspx

“GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION”

The enteric nervous system is a network of neurons, which are nerve cells; chemical messengers called neurotransmitters; and special proteins located throughout the gastrointestinal system. It is sometimes referred to as the nervous system of the gut, or the “brain” or “mind” of the gut, but because it actually runs from the beginning to the end of the gastrointestinal system, it is not really confined to the gut area. Neurons and the neurotransmitters by which neurons are influenced are located not only in the brain, which belongs to the central nervous system, but also in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Observations of the effects of treatments and drugs on the gastrointestinal system have prompted some neurologists and other healthcare providers to think of the enteric nervous system as a second “brain” that actually communicates with and affects the primary brain.
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-enteric-nervous-system.htm
Today, as Hunter’s healing journey continues, “our eyes” are focused on his digestive system as well as bringing his cellular vitality to optimal health.

 

Please watch this 6 minute overview of the importance of a healthy gut flora by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

 For an in-depth understanding about Immunity and Gut Flora, please watch this 1:11 presentation between Dr. Mercola and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

We encourage you to visit the following websites:

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride at:

http://www.doctor-natasha.com/

Dr. Joseph Mercola at:

http://www.mercola.com/