Welcome Guest, Give the Gift of Health to Your Loved Ones
Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2015-07-30
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
PCM forum Index
of WB Blog articles. There are any number of later blog posts, and a variety of Inner Circle resources, that expand on the insights here.
I’ve previously expressed my reluctance
to dwell very much on the issue of constipation, but this common issue is
one of the defining problems with wheat and grains, despite widespread
conventional advice that they are healthy sources of fiber.
Here’s an excerpt from chapter 4 of Wheat Belly Total Health, Your Bowels Have Been
Fouled: Intestinal Indignities From Grains:
“A condition as pedestrian as constipation
serves to perfectly illustrate many of the ways in which grains mess with normal
body functions, as well as just how wrong conventional ‘solutions’
can be. Constipation remedies are like the Keystone Kops of health, stumbling,
fumbling, and bumping into each other, but never quite putting out the fire.
“Drop a rock from the top of a building and it
predictably hits the ground—not sometimes, not half the time, but every time.
That’s how the bowels are programmed to work, as well: Put food in your mouth,
and it should come out the other end, preferably that same day and certainly no
later than tomorrow. People living primitive lives without grains, sugars, and
soft drinks enjoy such predictable bowel behavior: Eat some turtle, fish,
clams, mushrooms, coconut, or mongongo nuts for breakfast, and out it all comes
that afternoon or evening—large, steamy, filled with undigested remains and
prolific quantities of bacteria, no straining, laxatives, or stack of magazines
required. Live a modern life and have pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast,
instead. You’ll be lucky to pass that out by tomorrow or the next day. Or
perhaps you will be constipated, not passing out your pancakes and syrup for
days, passing it incompletely in hard, painful bits and pieces. In
constipation’s most extreme forms, the remains of pancakes can stay in your
colon for weeks. The combined effects of impaired CCK signaling, reduced bile
release, insufficient pancreatic enzymes, and changes in bowel flora disrupt
the orderly passage of digested foods.
“We are given advice to include more fiber, especially
insoluble cellulose (wood) fibers from grains, in our diets. We then eat breakfast
cereals or other grain-based foods rich in cellulose fibers and, lo and behold, it
does work for some, as indigestible cellulose fibers, undigested by our own
digestive apparatus as well as undigested by bowel flora, yield bulk that people
mistake for a healthy bowel movement. Never mind that all of the other disruptions
of digestion, from your mouth on down, are not addressed by loading up your diet
with wood fibers. What if sluggish bowel movements prove unresponsive to such
fibers? That’s when health care comes to the rescue with laxatives in a variety
of forms, some irritative (phenolphthalein and senna), some lubricating (dioctyl
sodium sulfosuccinate), some osmotic (polyethylene glycol), some no different
than spraying you down with a hose (enemas).”
We know that opiate drugs such as Oxycontin and morphine
are commonly constipating. There’s even a new drug being widely advertised
to “treat” the constipation side-effect of opiates, Relistor,
or methylnaltrexone, an opiate-blocker that requires injection and costs around
$700 per month. Recall that the gliadin protein of wheat and related proteins in
other grains (e.g., secalin in rye) are partially digested to peptides that have
opiate (“opioid”) properties, including binding to the opiate
receptors in the human intestine. Wheat and grains therefore contain a disrupter
of intestinal motility, partially solved by the bulk of cellulose fiber.
Remove wheat and grains and constipation, even obstipation,
can be relieved within days because you have removed the opiates that slow
intestinal passage of food. You will have removed a source of cellulose fiber,
as well as the modest content of prebiotic fibers from grains, namely amylose
and arabinoxylan, but these are easily replaced. This is part of the reason why
I urge everyone to add sources of prebiotic fibers to their
post-wheat/grain-removal regimen, as well as the fact that the majority of
people begin this process with substantially disrupted bowel flora.
If there were a near foolproof approach to
constipation/obstipation, it would contain:
You can see that the Wheat Belly approach does not
rely on artificial means of reversing constipation and restoring normal gut
motility. It does not load up on unnatural quantities of cellulose fiber, as
you would by eating bran cereals and muffins, nor does it rely on intestinal
irritants, softening agents, or opiate-blocking drugs. The Wheat Belly
approach is to remove all disrupters of intestinal motility, restore bowel
flora, and encourage the consumption of foods that naturally support bowel
health. Doesn’t that make better sense?