Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2015-04-25
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
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of WB Blog articles.
The battle for bowel flora
There is no longer any debate: the composition
of bowel flora in the human gastrointestinal tract is a critical
aspect of human health, both bowel health and overall health.
The status of bowel flora can spell the
difference between having an autoimmune condition and not
having an autoimmune condition, being diabetic or not being
diabetic, being emotionally happy or not being happy, and
developing colon cancer or not developing colon cancer. The
composition of bowel flora and their ability to metabolize prebiotic
fibers/resistant starches to butyrate and other fatty acids play
important roles in insulin responses, nourishing and maintaining
intestinal health, and intestinal permeability.
Problem: We are surrounded by factors
that disrupt bowel flora, killing off beneficial species,
reducing species diversity and allowing the proliferation of
undesirable or pathogenic (disease-causing) species. Such
disruptive factors can be in food, medications, and water. Being
aware of such disruptive factors can begin your journey to
regaining control over the health of your bowel flora.
Unfortunately, we cannot eliminate, only
minimize, exposure to such factors. Our efforts to “seed” and
cultivate healthy bowel flora can then have better chances for success.
Wheat and grain consumption–In
addition to grain amylopectins that alter
oral flora, the seeds of grasses contain multiple indigestible or
only partially digestible proteins, such as wheat germ agglutinin and
gliadin, that disrupt bowel health and digestion, thereby setting the
stage for changes
in bowel flora that have evolved over the 300 generations since
humans made took this dietary detour.
Solution: eat no wheat or grains.
Antibiotic residues in factory
farm-raised meats–Tetracycline, doxycycline,
sulfonamides, and other antibiotics, administered to livestock to
accelerate growth and/or treat infections, can be encountered in most
non-organic beef, chicken, and pork if the farmer allows the
animal to be slaughtered before the recommended
waiting period off antibiotics. (There is also the bigger
problem of creating antibiotic resistance with the agents used
as growth accelerants.)
Solution: choose organic, free range meats whenever possible.
water–Despite the widespread addition of halogenated
antibacterials in water, there are no clinical studies examining the
bowel flora consequences of their ingestion. But, given their direct
entry into the gastrointestinal tract and the potent antibacterial
effects of chlorine, the more persistent chloramine, trihalomethanes
that result from chlorine reactions, and fluoride, bowel flora
effects are likely, particularly in the small intestine.
Solution: filter your water or drink water sources
without added chloride and fluoride.
Bt toxin corn–We know that
Bt toxin, a pesticide genetically engineered into corn, is absorbed
by humans, such as pregnant mothers and fetuses and, if ingested,
changes on the ileum. Bt toxin is regarded as among the more
benign pesticides when applied to plants. But almost nothing is known
about the effects of actual direct human ingestion of Bt toxin in
the form of corn genetically modified to express Bt toxin, thereby
yielding ingested pesticide in your sweet corn, grits, and taco shell.
We know that Bt toxin has antimicrobial effects, as well, but
unfortunately the logical and highly likely effects on the bowel
flora of humans ingesting it have not been examined.
Solution: eat no corn.
Glyphosate and other herbicides/pesticides
in food–While glyphosate in herbicides such as Roundup
are promoted as being benign for human health, among the problems that
are showing up in preliminary
research are changes in bowel flora and in liver detoxification of
environmental toxins. Glyphosate appears particularly lethal to
beneficial bacterial species, while permitting proliferation of
undesirable species. Glyphosate and other agricultural chemicals are
ubiquitous, our exposure only reduced by relying on organic foods.
Solution: eat organic vegetables and fruits
whenever possible, or grow them yourself.
obvious connection, antibiotics have been prescribed fairly liberally
for decades. Like many other facets of bowel flora issues, this practice
has not been fully studied, but it is clear that bowel flora do not
return to the their pre-treatment state and can have implications for
a lifetime, such as increased potential for obesity and diabetes
if administered to young children.
Solution: only take antibiotics when absolutely
necessary but continue your probiotic/prebiotic program even while taking them.
common processed food ingredients (such as carboxymethylcellulose) that
keep components from separating, have potential to change bowel flora
and disrupt the protective mucous lining of the intestinal tract. This
research remains preliminary
but one with some very broad and concerning implications. Total
avoidance is, however, not practical, as there are natural
emulsifiers in otherwise healthy foods, such as eggs (due to
lecithin) and mustard can have emulsifying properties.
Solution: minimize (absolute avoidance is tough) exposure to carboxymethylcellulose, polysorbate-80, sodium steroyl lactylate, carrageenan, and others.
reflux drugs and anti-inflammatory NSAIDS
are among the drugs that, by altering intestinal pH, increasing
intestinal permeability, and direct damage to the intestinal lining,
change bowel flora. There are probably plenty of other prescription
drugs that change bowel flora, but this is typically not an issue
that is explored and very little data exist.
Solution: follow the Wheat Belly
wheat/grain-free lifestyle, along with the nutritional supplements
that make up for the deficiencies of modern life, such as
vitamin D, fish oil, and magnesium, and you will
slash your need for drugs.
sweeteners–Specifically aspartame, saccharine, and
bowel flora, helping explain why sugar-free soda drinkers
are no more slender, perhaps heavier, than sugared soda drinkers.
Solution: avoid anything sweetened with
aspartame, saccharine, or sucralose