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Last modified 2014-03-16 17:32

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Leaky Gut Syndrome (Food Intolerance)

, and are the three main conditions one of whose root causes appears to be a condition with the rather graphic name of leaky gut syndrome. We do not know the exact causes of leaky gut syndrome but it has been suggested that the use of antibiotics in early life, and alcohol and anti-inflammatory drugs in later life are potential causes. However evidence is emerging that it could be caused by baby food containing foods that their bodies were not designed to handle.

Early Development of Leaky Gut Syndrome

If we compare the diet of an average modern newborn baby with that of his earliest ancestor we find that the ancestor will have had breast milk for some months after birth (at least until he had enough teeth to cause difficulty with breast feeding and sufficient control over the coordination of his hands and vision to be able to pull his food apart). Thereafter his food would have been the same as the rest of his family group, so he would have eaten fruit, tubers and roots with the occasional helping of meat if the hunters had been successful. If that is compared with the modern baby's diet, then nonhuman milk is likely to be the first deviation from the ancestral model. Modern babies are fed eggs, and yeast in the form of baby foods and vitamin supplements, very early, well before the appearance of their teeth.

Up to that point their intestines are not mature enough to cope with these foods. When a baby is newborn it is not fully developed and it is reasonable to assume that the immature intestine would be best fed those foods for which it is designed (breast milk and nothing else). It is not difficult to see that the immature intestine can become damaged by the modern kind of diet that deviates so much from that basic plan and it seems that the prime mover could well be non-human milk.

This is difficult to demonstrate scientifically, as this would mean taking tissue samples from the intestines of babies. That would be unethical unless doing so would directly benefit that baby. This is an unlikely scenario but there is, however, plenty of evidence for the flipside of that coin; that breastfed babies have a lower incidence of immune problems, such as less colds and ear infections, and less difficulties with digestion. If this theory is correct then non-human milk contains something that causes some damage to the layer of mucus that protects the cells that line the intestine. Non-human milk will also clearly lack the specific immune molecules from the baby's mother that also help to protect the intestinal lining.

Intestinal Damage

This damage to the mucus layer reduces the protection that the mucus gives to the corrosive effects of the intestinal juices, whose function is to digest tough plant and animal foods.

These juices would rapidly digest the intestinal wall if that wall did not have efficient protective mechanisms. The reduced protection leads to shrinkage of the cells of the intestinal lining. This causes gaps to appear between the cells of the lining of the intestine that allow abnormally large molecules to get through the intestine's wall and into the circulation.

Food Intolerance Testing

The results from food intolerance testing (also known as food allergy or food sensitivity) show that the top three offending foods are: - cow's milk (giving a positive test in 7 out of 10 people with food intolerances); yeast (positive in 4 out of 10 of these people); and egg white (positive in 2 out of 10). The next three are almond, cashew nuts and wheat and these top 6 items account for all those foods that affect more than 1 person in 10 who have food intolerances. Interestingly egg yolk gives a positive in only about one person in 20 and the first grain to appear is wheat in about one in ten people.

It is one or more of the proteins in these foods leaking through the gut wall that indirectly causes the irritable bowel syndrome, migraine or eczema.

Although artificial baby milk may not contain any of the foods or their derivatives mentioned above more recent work suggests that a person's sensitivity to the milk of one animal is likely to apply across the board so that goat or sheep milk is are as likely to be culprits as cows milk or ordinary dairy products. There is a lot of confusion about allergies and although leaky gut syndrome is technically an allergic response, it is not as dangerous or rapid in onset as the classical allergy associated with nuts such as peanut. It is important to understand that leaky gut syndrome is a different kind of allergy.

Classical Allergy

Classical allergy uses a different pathway for its effects and these appear immediately after exposure to the offending food and cause a rapid release of histamine and histamine like molecules. The effect of this can produce difficulty breathing, swelling of tissues and perhaps circulatory collapse and death. Classical Allergy is a medical emergency and does not cause irritable bowel syndrome, migraine or eczema. If you think that you have a classical allergy you must discuss this fully with your doctor, as the problem needs proper investigation and treatment.

Effects of Damaged Gut Lining

Cows milk and cows milk products such as casein and whey powder, yeast and egg white are common constituents of baby foods and vitamin supplements and it seems that the original damage is probably done by nonhuman milk causing shrinkage of the cells and the formation of abnormally large gaps between the cells. Because of this damage toxic molecules that are parts of the other foods are able to squeeze through the abnormal gaps between the cells and pass through the intestinal wall where they circulate in the blood stream until they reach their target organs - in the case of migraine the blood vessels of the neck or in abdominal migraine the blood vessels in the abdomen.

As time goes by the baby's diet widens but the so-called staples of non-human milk, eggs and yeast are fairly certain to play a major and permanent part in the baby's diet. Whenever these offending substances are eaten they will attack the leaky intestine and if they are eaten every day, which is most likely, its lining will never have time to recover. Later on in the baby's development more unusual foods will be eaten and some of these will maintain the leakiness of the intestine, so by the time the baby is an adult there will be an average of five food intolerances which, by and large, will include at least one and usually one or two of the troublesome three. The leakiness of the intestine is sustained by the daily consumption of these foods but also by the inappropriate use of antibiotics.

Harmful Effects of Antibiotics

In the past doctors were guilty of using antibiotics in an uncontrolled way to treat infections, usually caused by viruses that would get better on their own accord, without medical interference. Ear infections are a case in point. There are many helpful bacteria in the intestine that help the absorption of vitamins and play an important role in controlling the numbers of harmful bacteria that also live in the intestine. Antibiotics would kill both harmful and helpful bacteria and that would lead to imbalances in the types of those bacteria that live in the intestine. The result would be an increase in harmful bacteria and fungus such as candida because these tend to be more resistant to antibiotics than the helpful bacteria. This would maintain the damage to the protective mucus layer and according to some experts allow the filaments of candida to keep open the gaps between the cells that line the intestine.

Harmful Effects of Liver Damage

Alcohol affects the mucus lining of the intestine and irritates the underlying cells. It is, in excess, a potent cause of intestinal and stomach damage. Alcohol also has a damaging effect on the liver, which is an added problem because the blood from the leaky intestine, which is full of the larger toxic molecules, passes straight to the liver. In a normal liver any toxic molecules that managed to penetrate the defences would be easily mopped up and destroyed and the blood made safe before it went on its way around the rest of the body. However if the liver is damaged due to overwork dealing with the flood of toxic molecules pouring through the leaky intestinal wall it cannot deal efficiently with all these toxic molecules and becomes overloaded. The toxic molecules then overflow the liver and pass into the rest of the body and back to the arteries in your head to cause migraine, or to your skin to cause eczema.

Harmful Effects of Some Drugs

The other major cause of continued leaky intestine is the use of irritant drugs and it is ironic that one of the favoured modern medical treatments for pain of any sort including that due to migraine is a drug called Ibuprofen. This drug is effective for the headache of migraine but is a cause of irritation of the intestine as is that old favourite, aspirin.

It is a salutary thought that although these drugs may be relieving the symptoms they are making their cause worse. There are other dietary causes that seem to be related to the direct effects of the food eaten rather than any food intolerance. These will be detailed in the help section.

Last Thoughts

As a final thought on the subject of milk, our animal companions and we humans are the only species (other than cats) that regularly and consistently consume the milk of other species and the only species that eat milk products of any sort after weaning and continue to do so lifelong. Regrettably it would appear that by doing this we might be doing ourselves and our pets harm, as even household pets can suffer from food intolerances.

As you will read later on the good news is that we may be able to abstain for some time but then go back to our favourite cheeses without problems.

Index Helping Stress in Migraine Helping Leaky Gut Syndrome in Migraine Heredity in Migraine Herbal Remedies in Migraine The FISH Regime in One Place


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