Top 3 {hidden} Gut Issues + Why Food Sensitivity Testing isn’t Helpful

 

 

If I had to pick THE number one topic that people ask me about, it would be gut health.

 

The reason for that is everyone has gut issues, these days… at least if you’re following me, you probably do.

 

Why?

 

Well…

 

There are AT LEAST a million reasons.

 

I’m going to focus on the top 3 {hidden} gut issues, today, though.

 

First things, first

 

Let’s talk about symptoms. Do you have any?

 

What are they?

 

Seriously, just think about that for a second.

 

I’m willing to be money your mind went to something directly related to digestion… but gut health symptoms are so much more widespread and systemic than JUST digestive symptoms.

 

We’ll get into that in a second.

 

Did you know the 3rdmost Googled health-related search term for 2018 was “diarrhea”?

 

Ohhhh yea… diarrhea.

 

Whenever I see that word I actually hear a friend of mine in my head pronouncing it dee-ah-rrray-ah… like the Spanish pronunciation.

 

It was an inside joke, but also just kind of a way to make light of a taboo topic that no one really wanted to talk about.

 

The thing is, we need to be talking about it if it’s in the top 3 most searched health-related terms in THE WORLD (cancer and diabetes are the only two more often searched than diarrhea).

 

So, there’s diarrhea. What other digestive symptoms might you experience?

 

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Constipation

 

Is this a Pepto commercial?

 

Those are the main digestive symptoms, but what about the rest of the body?

 

Other symptoms that can be related to poor gut health include:

 

  • Rashes
  • Female hair-loss
  • Dry skin
  • Frequent colds
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Foggy thinking (also known as brain fog)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Migraines

 

… the list goes on.

 

You may be thinking, “Hold up, now. It sounds like you’re blaming everything on poor gut health.”

 

To be fair, the nasal microbiome is just as important as the gut microbiome… but if you want to read more about that go here or here. This article will stick to gut health, only.

 

We are made up of more bacteria than we are DNA

 

In fact, our gut (and sinus) bacteria’s DNA affects us more, day-to-day, than our own DNA.

 

Our gut (and sinus) microbiomes are filled with many different species of bacteria that modulateour gene expression1.

 

That means that our bacteria determine whether we develop disease, to a large extent.

 

Our bacteria are also in charge of synthesizing neurotransmitters, as well as, things that can go on to be converted into neurotransmitters2.

 

For instance, GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) is a calming neurotransmitter. It’s made from butyric acid.

 

Butyric acid is made from butyrate.

 

Butyrate is found in butter. That’s actually where butter got its name.

 

Butyrate is one of 3 short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) that have been the focus of several research studies.

 

One study found that autistic boys had much higher proportions of propionate than any other SCFA. We don’t exactly understand why that is, yet, but it’s an important finding3.

 

SCFA’s are not only used to make neurotransmitters, but also used by the cells of your colon (colonocytes) as fuel. Without butyrate, colon cells start to die4.

 

Moreover, your gut bacteria have the ability to manufacture SCFA’s like butyrate through fermentation of certain nutrients in the colon.

 

… well, some of your gut bacteria, at least.

 

That’s the importance of having the RIGHT gut bacteria.

 

What else?

 

Depending on the types of gut bacteria present in your colon, your gut either efficiently breaks down a compound found in food called histamineor it doesn’t.

 

What’s more is that gut bacteria can also produce histamine during the process of respiration… that means that as your bacteria carry out their basic functions needed for life, they produce histamine the way we produce carbon monoxide and other waste products5.

 

That leads me to one of The Top 3 Hidden Gut Issues (in no specific order).

 

So, let’s get down to business…

 

  1. Histamine Intolerance

 

This can be a result of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, and it can be compounded by genetic factors.

 

Diamine Oxidase (DAO) is an enzyme coded for by the DAO gene, which breaks down histamine from food6.

 

Histamine containing foods include:

 

  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Cheese
  • Alcohol
  • Fermented foods
    • Natto
    • Sauerkraut
    • Kim chi
    • … and others
  • Shellfish
  • Smoked meats
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Chocolate
  • Chickpeas
  • Vinegar

 

There are also foods that are considered histamine “liberators” that help to release histamine from other foods, even if they are low in histamine, themselves.

 

That list includes:

 

  • Most citrus fruits
  • Papaya
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat germ
  • Some additives like sulfites (found in wine), nitrates, and glutamate (think, MSG)

 

What are the symptoms of a histamine reaction to food?

 

The symptoms are very similar to an allergic reaction, because an allergic reaction also involves histamine.

 

However, with histamine intolerance, you’re not actually allergic to the food.

 

Symptoms may include:

 

  • Flushing, commonly cheeks, neck, and chest (sometimes ears and lips)
  • Runny nose
  • Loose stools and diarrhea
  • “bubbly” feeling in your intestines
  • Racing heart
  • Anxiety
  • Migraines
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

 

Those are the big ones, at least.

 

  1. Toxins (especially biotoxins)

 

When I discovered how commonly searched the term “diarrhea” (Spanish pronunciation) was, my first thought was “biotoxin illness”.

 

If you have the kind of diarrhea that is unrelenting and maybe gets worse after a high-fat meal, your body may be responding to the need to flush biotoxins from your system.

 

Biotoxins are poisonous substances produced by living organisms.

 

Examples:

 

  • Mycotoxins, produced by mold
  • Toxins produced by Lyme and co-infections
  • Pfiesteria, produced by toxic algae
  • Ciguatera, also produced by toxic algae
  • Toxins produced by red tide*
  • … and others

 

I ear-marked red tide because it’s a HUGE issue in the gulf of Florida, right now, where I live.

 

You can turn on the news and every 15 minutes red tide and its potential health effects are a headline.

 

The funny thing (it’s not funny at all) is that the news correspondents always make mention that researchers are receiving new grant money to research the extent of the health effects of red tide on humans.

 

The reason that’s of note is that most people think red tide only affects the respiratory system, and only temporarily.

 

No, no, no, my friends.

 

Red tide causes systemic, chronic inflammation, in genetically susceptible people7.

 

In fact, it has a name- chronic inflammatory response syndrome, AKA biotoxin illness8.

 

Mycotoxins from mold are probably the biggest example of digestion-disrupting, systemic inflammation-causing biotoxins, though.

 

Why?

 

Because:

 

  1. Mold growth from water damage, indoors, is at pandemic levels (we’ll briefly discuss why)
  2. Some mycotoxins produced by mold are considered the MOST carcinogenic substances known to main (that means that cause cancer)
  3. You can’t kill a mycotoxin (or any biotoxin, for that matter)

 

When building supplies and building codes began to change in the 1970’s to reflect an interest in environmental concerns, buildings became more easily afflicted by mold-growth.

 

The types of building materials used, now, are made using chemicals that are supposed to by fungicides9.

 

Buildings are also made to be “tighter” so that less outside air gets in; therefore, the building is more energy efficient.

 

When you mess with manufactured fungicides, just like with pesticides and antibiotics, all you’re doing is accelerating the evolution of the fungus and bacteria to be more virulent.

 

Think, antibiotic resistant staph (MRSA and MARCoNS).

 

Yep. That happens with mold growing on these building materials.

 

Furthermore, when you decrease airflow inside you create a sterile environment void of beneficial species of microbes that can keep the harmful molds and bacteria in check… just like with your gut microbiome.

 

In fact, in rodent studies, when mice have the GI tract sterilized, they become more susceptible to obesity and disease10.

 

The research explains this phenomenon is a result of pathogenic species of bacteria colonizing the colon in absence of other more beneficial types of bacteria balancing them out.

 

Long story short, that happens in your home, too.

 

Remember the China Study?

 

Albeit poorly done, this “study” (if you can call it that) showed that Aflatoxin from moldy peanuts was causing cancer among a population in China11.

 

If you Google “most carcinogenic substance known” the result is pages and pages of “aflatoxin” hits.

 

Though aflatoxin is more commonly found in the food supply than growing in your home, there are other extremely poisonous mycotoxins produced by other types of mold, such as “black mold” or stachybotrys that love to grow inside.

 

Why is it such a problem? Just kill the mold, right?

 

Remember how I said you can’t kill mycotoxins?

 

Well… killing the mold doesn’t kill the actual problem, because the problem isn’t the mold, it’s the mycotoxins it produces and those can’t be killed.

 

In fact, when you kill mold, the mold releases even more mycotoxins into the environment that it did during its normal living process (remember histamine-producing gut bacteria… like that, kind of).

 

You have to think of mycotoxins kind of like how we think of radiation. You can’t see them, you can’t smell them, you need special tools to detect them, and you can just throw some bleach on it an expect anything good to happen.

 

Mycotoxins can be somewhat neutralized.

 

Only by about 30 – 45%, max, though12.

 

The most effective way is with ozone.

 

At any rate.

 

If you have histamine reactions (see, above list of symptoms) or chronic diarrhea, food may not ultimately be the culprit.

 

It may be that you’re exposed to mold at home or work and it’s making you chronically ill.

 

In my opinion, the number one cause of chronic diarrhea is probably biotoxin illness.

 

  1. Gluten and Lectins

 

If you just gave me an eyeroll when you read the term “gluten”, you might want to leave this page, because this is not the site for you.

 

… or stay and read, but only with an open mind.

Gluten and lectins are both glycoproteins found in plant-derived foods.

 

Glycoproteins stick together like glue making them resistant to stomach acid and hard to digest.

 

Therefore, these proteins irritate the lining of the gut.

 

The evidence on lectin sensitivity actually dates back at least 3 decades, so it’s nothing new13.

 

Your gut lining is ONE CELL THICK and those cells are held together by tight junctions.

 

It’s actually not that hard to loosen those tight junctions.

 

Two things that can do that are glutens and lectins.

 

Not only can they weaken the lining of your gut making it more permeable, but once those proteins make it past your gut lining into your blood stream, your body initiates an attack response.

 

What is your body attacking?

 

Proteins.

 

Which proteins?

 

Your body has no effing clue, to be honest.

 

Your body’s immune cells can start attacking your own body’s proteins, essentially.

 

Mind you, this doesn’t happen to everyone… you have to be genetically predisposed for this reaction to take place. Same with biotoxin illness.

 

That’s why not everyone who is exposed to histamine-rich foods, biotoxins, or glutens and lectins develops issues.

 

Disease is usually a combination of genetics + environment.

 

Likewise, not everyone with the susceptible gene variants will experience autoimmunity or biotoxin illness… you need the environmental trigger.

 

As Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, the leading biotoxin illness researcher and clinician, says: “Your genetics loads the gun, but environment pulls the trigger”.

 

 

Gluten-containing foods include:

 

  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Breads
  • Crackers
  • Baked goods
  • Cereal
  • Granola
  • Breaded foods

 

High-lectin foods include:

 

  • Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Squash
  • Nightshade veggies (eggplant, peppers, potatoes, etc.)
  • Grains
  • Many fruits
  • seeds

 

Symptoms of lectin sensitivity are similar to gluten sensitivity and include:

 

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Reflux
  • Rashes (esp. psoriasis)
  • Dry skin
  • Swollen and inflamed joints
  • Water retention
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight-gain
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Depression*

 

So… that’s kind of a big deal.

 

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, and where there’s one autoimmune disorder, there are usually more. According to one study, at least 25% of people with one autoimmune disorder will develop at least one additional autoimmune disorder14.

 

I used to have guttate psoriasis, lupus, and Reynaud’s Phenomenon (that one’s really not as cool as it sounds).

 

Ask yourself…

 

“Do I have any of these symptoms?”

 

“Do I eat any of these foods on a daily basis?”

 

Ok, there you go.

 

I reversed my autoimmune disorder by avoiding high-lectin, high-histamine foods and biotoxins, such as mold.

 

EVERY SINGLE TIME I get exposed to any of those three things for a long period of time, my health problems return.

 

As I become more and more resilient, it takes longer time in exposure for my symptoms return.

 

However, if you’re susceptible, and you expose your body to gluten, lectins, or biotoxins long-term your body will start the immune reaction.

 

This is partly why food sensitivity testing is not helpful

 

If the lining of your gut becomes permeable, you become sensitive to whatever foods you eat regularly, because those are the proteins your body has a chance to target.

 

Therefore, you can find elevations of antibodies specific to those foods, but eliminating the foods your sensitive to becomes a moving target.

 

Eliminating high-lectin and gluten foods (as well as high-histamine foods and exposure to mold) should be the target of your efforts.

 

Not forever, necessarily, but for long enough to let your gut repair itself.

 

At least 3 months.

 

If you can find a way to test lipopolysaccharide in the blood, that is the best blood test to determine if you have gut permeability, and food sensitivities.

 

That’s all you need to know- whether your lipopolysaccharide is elevated.

 

The only problem is that Labcorp doesn’t run this test and I don’t know who does.

 

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an endotoxin(like a biotoxin, but it’s something produced within your own body) if it makes it into your bloodstream from your digestive tract.

 

It’s what causes the inflammation found in people with small intestinal bacteria overgrowth(SIBO), other infections, and leaky gut.

 

It causes an increase of inflammatory cytokines (AKA inflammation), which has been linked to all kinds of disease, including depression.

 

In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers injected mice with LPS to study the immune-brain pathway as it relates to symptoms of depression.

 

LPS induced low-grade inflammation (increased cytokine production) and depressive symptoms.

 

So, yea…

 

Add all of the symptoms to depression to the above list.

 

Have I made my case?

 

There you have it.

 

The Top 3 {hidden} Gut Issues + why food sensitivity testing isn’t helpful.

 

To recap:

 

  • Histamine-containing foods, histamine-producing gut bacteria, and histamine-releasing foods may be the cause of your racing heart, loose stools, headaches, and hives after eating
  • Mold exposure (or red tide) are common causes of chronic diarrhea, bloating, and a whole host of other things
  • Decreasing gluten-containing food and high-lectin foods may help you heal autoimmune disease, depression, as well as help you lose weight
  • Food sensitivity testing only creates a moving target and false hope

 

If you’re thinking, “gosh, where do I start?”, think no more.

 

As per usual, I got you!

 

Click the link at the top of this page window to download my (hella detailed) FREE Keto, Low-lectin, Histamine-balance Smoothie Guide!

 

 

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02651-5
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259177/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5408485/
  4. https://gut.bmj.com/content/gutjnl/35/1_Suppl/S35.full.pdf
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28923468
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30022117
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30096904
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25889530
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27104493
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22688187
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Study
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29279049
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115436/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150011/

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