MOTHER Nature's Remedies
By Carol Schneider
What does what happens in your “gut” or digestive system have to do with the health of your brain? A great deal, according to Dr. David Perlmutter.
Brain disorders are increasing dramatically in the U.S. and costing hundreds of millions in research for conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, mood and anxiety disorders and premature, as well as elderly loss of memory and cognition.
Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, whom Dr. Joseph Mercola calls “the leading natural medicine neurologist in the US,” ventured into a subject not taught in medical school—nutrition—and from his clinical experience has written Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life.”
Most doctors still ascribe to the old notion of reductionism—where the body is reduced to its individual parts and each treated as unrelated to the whole.
"Completely nonsensical and grossly flawed," says Perlmutter of this approach. “Every system in your body interrelates...and in a way that ultimately causes either health or disease.” The mix of bacteria in our gut has enormous influence on our brain. The right diet upregulates, modifies, and improves the quality of the gut microbiome, resulting in a healthy brain.
The hundred trillion bacteria that live within your gut— and make up 90% of the cells of your entire body—are intimately involved with your brain chemistry, manufacturing neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin and substances that keep your brain tissue healthy. They also maintain the integrity of the gut lining, protecting its structure so it doesn’t become porous and allow toxic molecules to leak into the bloodstream, to find their way to vulnerable body organs and the brain. This permeability or leakiness of the gut causes inflammation through-out the body, which is the cornerstone of virtually all brain disorders, from Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis to Parkinson's and autism.
The permeability of your gut lining can be measured by looking at a chemical called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) found in certain groups of bacteria in your gut. If your blood levels test high for antibodies against LPS, it's a marker of leaky gut which could dramatically increase inflammation throughout your body, including your brain. Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease are both correlated with dramatically elevated levels of LPS.
Perlmutter explains that many factors that affect permeability of the blood-brain barrier are similar to those that affect the gut, which is why leaky gut can lead to neurological diseases as easily as it can manifest as some other form of autoimmune disorder.
In his book, Dr. Perlmutter describes how some of his clients healed when they applied his recommendations. He noticed that Multiple Sclerosis patients almost always were either born by C-section, not breast-fed, or were treated with antibiotics for some illness early in life. (Infants born vaginally are exposed to beneficial microbes in the birth canal. Breast-feeding provides a natural protection against abnormal gut flora, and exposure to the mother’s beneficial bacteria, while antibiotics interfere with helpful flora.)
Perlmutter’s experience is that the risk of MS is reduced by 42 percent in people who were breast-fed. One of Permutter’s patients, Carlos M, was not. At 40 he had MS and walked with two canes. He embarked on a program of probiotic enemas; two weeks later he no longer needed both canes. He was made aware of a new procedure, available only in England, developed by Dr. Max Nieuwdorp for Type 2 Diabetes. Called fecal microbial transplantation, the process reversed diabetes in 250 study participants. Carlos went to England for treatments and returned home walking so well one would never have suspected he had MS.
Let’s look at more of Dr. Perlmutter’s case histories: Lizzie C and her sister, feared developing the familial early onset Alzheimer’s that took their mother’s life at forty and their aunt shortly after. They suffered migraines, stomach problems and constant fatigue. After reading Perlmutter’s earlier book, Grain Brain, they stopped all gluten and followed his diet to the letter. The fatigue left overnight, they lost weight, had no more migraines, and reported a year later that they were perfectly healthy young women, now unafraid to have children and pass along the “family scourge.”
At 63, Gabrielle traded joint and muscle aches, fatigue, acid reflux, severe depression, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and lack of sleep for Perlmutter’s diet and in twelve days, had none of the above and was fully functioning.
The Human Genome Project discovered that genetics account for only 10% of human disease, with the remaining 90% due to environmental factors. Now we know that the “bugs” that live within us are changing our inner environment’s expression moment to moment, as we expose ourselves to substances such as chemicals in our food, air and water, artificial sweeteners and food colorings, chlorine in the water, sugary and gluten containing foods, antibiotics and other drugs. These changes affect our own DNA and can facilitate the disease process. So how can we have a microbiome that supports the health of our entire brain and body?
(1) Prebiotics: digestible fiber which nourishes and enhances the growth of good bacteria. It is what the bacteria eat. Our hunter-gatherer forbears ate 135 grams of this daily. It’s found in chicory, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onion, leeks, jicama yams, among other foods.
(2) Probiotics: the beneficial bacteria—found in fermented foods, such as cultured yoghurt, sauerkraut, pickles, fermented vegetables, miso, kimchi, kombucha tea; also probiotic supplements containing the five Core Species: Lactobaccilus plantarum, -acidophilus, and –brevis; Bifidobacterium-lactis and –longum (Mercola’s Complete Probiotics contain the above and more in great quantity).
(3) Eat real food i.e. fruits, vegetables (raw, organic and minimally cooked), nuts, seeds, legumes, pasture-fed meat, filtered water: Keep a low-carb diet, eliminating processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, breads and pastries made with white flour. These preferentially increase growth of pathogenic disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and yeast, so limiting them is a key dietary principle for gut health. Avoid artificial sweeteners and other chemical poisons, heavy metals and GMO’s.
(4) Use healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, butter and coconut oil (raw or when cooking at high temperatures).
(5) Exercise restraint in using antibiotics: Only use against bacteria in life-threatening conditions, i.e. don’t use for a cold (viral) but do if your MD prescribes them for bronchitis (bacterial). Note: the over- use of antibiotics is making microbes resistant to them, furthermore, they cause brain dysfunction, cancer, and obesity. This last is why factory farms use them to fatten their animals. Avoid antibacterial soaps.
(6) Avoid gluten, the protein in wheat, barley and rye, as it causes gut permeability in even “normal” people as well as the very sensitive celiac sufferers. Many people put on low gluten diets have been relieved of skin conditions, fatigue and migraine headaches.
(7) Avoid a Caesarian section, as a C-section triples risk for ADHD and doubles risk for autism in your child. There is also the risk your child will struggle with obesity, Type 1 Diabetes and allergies—inflammatory issues dramatically increased in children born via Caesarian. If a C-section is required, a procedure developed at Yale may be used. An organic gauze sponge is placed in the birth canal before the mother is given IV antibiotics. The sponge is then placed over the baby's face as soon as it is born, inoculating the child with its mother's bacteria for its own biome.
(8) Breastfeeding: Affects the newborn’s microbiome via bacterial transfer during nursing.
Edgar Cayce’s timeless material addressed the importance of colon health to your entire system decades ahead of modern medicine—which is only now beginning to realize the connection between the large intestine’s health and the health of the rest of the body.
Every organ, gland, and cell in your body is affected by the condition of your colon. Clearing your colon of years of toxic build-up is the first and most important step to more physical energy, mental clarity, and relief and prevention of illness.
Breastfeeding Image courtesy of Jomphong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net