Get your gut bacteria happy

At last, what you can do if you believe Dr Perlmutter and his theory in his book Brain Maker. As I said at the beginning, there are critics, but, apart from the book itself, he doesn’t point you to buying proprietary brands of anything – instead giving some recipes to make!happy bacteria

Let’s assume you want to make some change: that you want to encourage the correct balance of the bacteria that would be best for your body. How do you do it?

Firstly, the message that has run throughout this book – go gluten free. Or, at the very least, cut your gluten intake to the minimum.

Secondly, Go low carb & embrace high-quality fats. Wherever possible eat organic, grass fed, free-range.

Make sure you include plenty of leafy green vegetables, plus, mushrooms, onions ( and any in the oinion family) ginger, parsley and water-chestnuts.

Low-sugar fruits lemons, limes, and avocado, cucumber, tomato, courgettes, bell-peppers, aubergines.

Eat Fermented Foods. Yoghurt, Pickled (fermented not in vinegar) fruits and vegetables: sauerkraut, kimchi, Fermented meat, fish or eggs.

Healthy Fats: extra-virgin olive oils, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, grass-fed lard, pasture-fed butter, ghee, almond milk, avocado, coconut, olives, nuts, nut butter, cheeses (except blue cheese) and seeds.

Protein: Whole eggs, wild fish, shellfish, molluscs, grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry, pork, wild game.

Herbs, seasonings and condiments: mustard, horseradish, tapenade,  and salsa – as long as they are free from gluten and sugar or soy.

Thirdly, include in your diet the foods that the right bacteria like to feed on – so that these thrive. Perlmutter recommends that you make sure you eat at least 12grams of foods that are these prebiotics a  day – this is easy.. just 12 grams each day – a mixture is fine, just one, all of them – you choose. The easiest of all of these is ONION. Cooked or raw. The others are all RAW: Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, garlic, leek, asparagus, chicory root – plus acacia-gum (gum-arabic)

What all these have in common is that they are fibre-rich non-digestible (by us) though perfect for our gut bacteria to feast on.

Fourthly, drink filtered water (Perlmutter believes that the chlorine added to the water supply to kill pathogenic bacteria – and thereby make the water safe – will also kill off our good bacteria) – so he recommends filtering the water to remove the chlorine before drinking.

Fifthly, enjoy wine, tea, coffee and chocolate.. yes – drinks without sugar or sweetners – and yes – good dark chocolate with high levels of cocoa mass

Sixthly, and lastly – Fast every season. At least four times a year – maybe on the equinox, fast for a day. Do drink water, but avoid caffeine.

Permutter suggest you do this – a one day fast – before you start your change of life-style to one that cares for your gut-biome more.

He also suggest you might like to take a one month course of probiotics (not telling you whose to buy) but listing the five core species of bacteria that need to be in them – and thereafter maintain these colonies and keep them thriving by eating the foods recommended above.

Lactobacillus planatarum – also found in sauerkraut, kimchi other fermented vegetables

Lactobacillus acidophilus – also found in  yoghurt, kefir

Lactobacillus brevis – also found in sauerkraut & fermented vegetables

Bifidobacterium lactis  – also found in yoghurt

Bifidobacterium longum – also found in some yoghurts – fermented vegetables

But as you can see – you could do it the slower way – build up the bacteria required by adding fermented foods to your diet. He lists these on his website here.

Fermented foods were, and are, used in all parts or the world, in all cultures at one time. In many these have been forgotten, overtaken by the quicker dousing in vinegar instead of an anaerobic fermentation that both preserves and grows a community of certain bacteria.

The world of fermented foods, some only bacterial, some a symbiosis between yeasts and bacteria, is fascinating once you start and there is plenty of help to be found on the internet as interest in these old methods of preserving and keeping healthy grows.

A last word on Vitamin D – a hormone really rather than a vitamin, made by your skin when in sufficient sunlight – is required for many of your body functions. When you realise that in the UK we do not have strong enough sun from October to May to make vitamin D we may all need a vitamin D boost (simple tablets) during those months.

Go to Dr Perlmutter’s website for plenty more information…

I continue my nutrition journey – and the more I read the more I believe we need to look back to how people ate before the industrialisation of food.

Does this ring bells with you?

Are you on your own nutritional journey

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

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Gut reaction – inflammation

The book I am going to be interpreting is Brain Maker by Dr David Permutter. This is not a substitute for reading his book – but, I hope an insight that will lead to reading more around this subject.

For too long the western diet has been moving towards an industrialised food content. The average diet (and most studies are done in the USA) contains mostly foods grown under industrial farming methods – not just non-organic – but also reliant on the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides, including the large-scale 365 housing of livestock, requiring more use of antibiotics and ‘growth hormones *in USA’, and industrially grown crops to feed them.  A high percentage of the resulting crops and meat are then made into processed foods of various types. This can be of the ready-made product / meal – or the ready to use ingredient variety. In the processing the industrial makers of food products have also used ‘unusual’ methods (like hydrogenation) to change the chemical structure of food-stuffs to make them ‘work’ in industrial setting. They have also sought to make ‘created foods’ popular by exploiting our in-built love of sweet and of salty things.

The problem with this is that, over the last fifty or so years, food has changed so much that our gut bacteria have changed too. This does not seem a disaster at first – after all, how important can the variety of gut bacteria be? I am sure you have all heard of the ‘good gut bacteria’ that we are encouraged to consume (from tiny bottles laced with sugar) to keep a ‘happy tum’. It is true – we need the ‘good bacteria’ (but preferably not from an industrialised sweetened source) and I will attempt to explain why in simple terms.

A lot of this research Dr Perlmutter is basing his book on has dates between 2010 and 2015 – so much is quite new.

It has been found that it is not just a matter of having the good bacteria in your digestive system – it is about having the right balance of the right bacteria in there to support a healthy gut – even some of the ‘bad’ bacteria are needed in small quantities.

What the bacteria do: The number one thing that the correct bacteria do, when looking at health, is to ensure that our body has a strong defence against the things that should never get into our blood stream. After all, once in our blood stream then, whatever it is, it can travel anywhere in our body.

To understand this you need to know the structure of the thinnest interface between our gut and our blood-stream.  Our ileum (small intestine) is lined with villi – small finger-like projections – making the surface area for the transfer of nutrients into the blood-stream as large as possible, and it is only one cell thick!  The diagram below shows a villus in relation to the blood and lymphatic system.

villus

Now I have seen people argue with this – but they were confusing the ileum (small intestine) with the colon. The villi of the small intestine is the interface. Nutrients from our food get from the ileum into our blood-stream either by diffusing into the absorbtive cell and then out again into the blood stream, or they squeeze through between the cells of the villi.  Normally the junction between these cells is VERY TIGHT. It will only allow some very small molecules to slide between them, molecules our body is made to accept in this way, molecules we need to get into our blood stream and that do no harm while in there. Large molecules like proteins should never get through.

When your gut bacteria are ‘healthy’ (of the right mix and in balance) then this lining of the ileum is protected to a certain degree –  when it is not, then the gut is open to attack on this vital Tight Junction.

So what would attack the tight junctions? With the bacteria defences down our cells are more open to the ‘crowbar effect’. Gluten can do this, and is the most commonly eaten protein that has this effect – components of gluten act as a chemical crowbar forcing open the gap between these cells – allowing large molecules, that have no business being in our blood stream, to slip through – this condition is known as leaky gut.

What would get through and why does it matter? Pathogenic viruses and bacteria that are designed to harm us could now get into our blood-stream – this is an obvious danger – however, now some other large molecules, including proteins, are able to get through – and they can harm us too.

Pathonegenic viruses and bacteria aside – what is the problem here?

The problem is that when larger protein molecules get into the blood stream they begin to cause INFLAMMATION where ever they go as our body’s immune system reacts to their ‘foreign’ presence.

Inflammation is Dr Perlmutter’s BIG concern. In my last but one blog on this subject I said he was a neurologist that ‘jumped ship’. He, as all neurologists, had been taught that the blood/brain barrier prevented any harm coming to the brain by substances carried in the blood. Moreover – that the constituents of the gut had nothing to do with how the brain functioned (after all, the gut – essentially a tube from mouth to anus – was seen as almost ‘outside’ the body anyway)

He / we-the-world, now know different – and he is sure that many of our seemingly brain-centric disorders are, in fact, caused by inflammation of parts of the brain, and that our westernised gut population is causing this to be able to occur.  As he points out, our gut biome is the equivalent to a second brain – containing as many different type of nerve cells as the brain, creating hormones and chemicals that affect not only how our bodies function but also our brain; through our moods, functionality and concentration.

His first take-away message has to be – repopulate your gut with the right bacteria and keep them happy and flourishing by eating the right food for them.

The second take-away message is – avoid gluten. He is not doing this on a ‘fad’ idea – but on the science that shows it is one of the main ways that this ‘tight junction’ is opened up – which  then allows some of the other things that our western diet has brought on to cause more damage.

Does this make sense to you?

Do you have a gut feeling that this is correct?

Do share – you know I love to talk about it…

 

 

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