Leaky Gut Syndrome
National CFIDS Association, 1(2), Fall 1997
Why do we have to boost the metabolism and/or feed our systems larger-than-normal amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc?
Because, it would seem, we're compensating for a leaky gut. Despite the research which shows that increased intestinal permeability problems are the cause of or complicates the lives of people with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, and/or AIDS, we seem to think our intestines are made of steel.
Any one of the following can cause a leaky gut:
In addition to the creation of food allergies by the leaky gut, the bloodstream is invaded by bacteria, fungi and parasites that, in the healthy state, would not penetrate the protective barrier of the gut. These microbes and their toxins, if present in large enough amounts, can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. This results in symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, brain fog or facial swelling when the individual is exposed to a perfume or to cigarette smoke that he or she had no adverse reactions to prior to the development of the leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome also creates a long list of mineral deficiencies because the various carrier proteins present in the gastrointestinal tract that are needed to transport minerals from the intestine to the blood are damaged by the inflammation process. For example, magnesium deficiency (low red blood cell magnesium) is quite a common finding in conditions like fibromyalgia despite a high magnesium intake through the diet and supplementation. If the carrier protein for magnesium is damaged, magnesium deficiency develops as a result of malabsorption. Muscle pain and spasms can occur as a result. Similarly, zinc deficiency due to malabsorption can result in hair loss or baldness as occurs in alopecia areata. Copper deficiency can occur in an identical way leading to high blood cholesterol levels and osteoarthritis. Further, bone problems develop as a result of the malabsorption of calcium, boron, silicon and manganese. (from the web page of Dr. Zoltan Rona, Toronto, Ontario).
Dr. Allen Tyler from Thorne Research states that both the central and autonomic nervous systems are involved and there is a physiological change in the connective tissue. Muscle pain creates physical inactivity, resulting in muscle weakness. Hypersensitivity to pain can result from chemical changes taking place in localized tissue. Increased norepinephrine, along with reduced serotonin and endorphins, amplifies pain messages to the brain. Headaches often result from muscle tension, while temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) joint pain is also common. Even numbness with no neurological impairment can be part of this problem.
It is very easy to plunge into hopelessness and helplessness when one is suffering from intense pain and ineffective treatments. Yet, there are answers to this dilemma. The most important is that of lifestyle change, which includes stress management, bodywork, nutritional support, stretching exercises, yoga or tai chi, and one's outlook on life.
Working with affirmations, self-empowering tapes, books or counselors helps the psyche's will to succeed and heal. This moves the sufferer from victim into choice. Enhancing the circulation by applying heat, saunas, rubs and massage help relax tight twisted muscles. Bodywork of any kind including chiropractic care is helpful. Chiropractic adjustment and cranial work allows the cerebral-spinal fluid to flow, thus releasing neuro-toxins and relieving headaches, as well as relaxing the nervous system.
Specific nutrients are needed to relax, detoxify, build and repair the body. Various herbal remedies relax the body and soothe the nerves. For example, kava kava (piper methysticum) comes from the South Pacific islands and Australia. It not only enhances mental activity but relaxes tension and anxiety without addictive side effects. Passiflora, valerian, cramp bark and black haw are herbs with antispasmodic and relaxing effects. Important calming nutrients nourish the brain, regulate blood sugar and act as forerunners. These include calcium, magnesium, B-complex and vitamin B, which boosts normal nerve conduction and nerve function. The adrenal glands play a very important role in the body's reaction to stress, creating anxiety or fatigue. Vitamin C and pantothenic acid (a B-complex vitamin) are used in great amounts by the adrenals in stress situations and, therefore, need to be replaced. Royal jelly and adrenal glandular are possible adrenal supports.
Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium What are they?
How do they help?
Magnesium citratemalate is a form of magnesium most effective for muscle spasm, fibromyalgia and insomnia. Malic acid is found in apples. Maganese and vitamin B6 work together and need zinc to be absorbed. Bromelaine enzymes from pineapple helps control possible inflammation in the muscles. Homeopathic remedies can also be very effective and need to be individualized by a practitioner.
People with fibromyalgia can experience the condition in different ways. Thus, it is important to work with a health professional who considers individual needs and knows how to test accurately for food sensitivities (using applied kinesiology or energy testing with machines). You can overcome fibromyalgia. To do so requires a balanced lifestyle, feeling good about oneself, being positive about life, dreams and hopes for the future, and perseverance.
Bios of Authors
Billie J Sahley, Ph.D., has been a practicing clinician for fifteen years in the field of pain management and has successfully treated many people with fibromyalgia. Nutrient deficiencies of malic acid, magnesium and manganese are corrected. The hormone melatonin is used for sleep disturbances. (Supplementing with pineal glandular produces the best source of melatonin.) In conjunction with nutrition, Dr. Sahley's treatment includes various forms of body work, which help with the painful trigger points.
Part of The National CFIDS Foundation, Inc. disclaimer: "The National Forum is published quarterly by the National CFIDS Foundation, Inc. The contents are © 1997 by the National CFIDS Foundation, Inc. Articles may be reproduced by other not-for-profit publications as long as copyright notices are included and items are clearly attributed to The National Forum.
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