I'd like to summarise the main points from Dr Michael Ruscio's book "Healthy Gut, Healthy You, The Personalized Plan to Transform Your Health from the Inside Out".
This book is very important not only to understand the importance of gut microbiota but also it's impact on diseases such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes and many others.
How Your Gut Affects Every system of Your Body?
The inflamed gut is usually the main cause of the inflammation in your body. This inflammation causes symptoms like: fatigue, depression or anxiety, brain fog, acne and other skin conditions, male hormone imbalances and hypothyroid symptoms.
Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine (SIBO) can cause a problem with the immune system. These problems are usually seen in diseases like hypothyroidism, IBD, Celiac or depression.
A gut imbalance may lead to malabsorption even with a healthy diet. Malabsorption leads to a slowed metabolism, nutrient deficiencies, fatigue and aged skin. Improving the health of Your gut can have a prominent effect on Your body. You can experience improved mood, better blood glucose levels, more energy, better sleep, balanced hormones, better skin and less joint pain.
The Gut as an ecosystem:
Your gut and gut microbiota is an ecosystem. Our ecosystems differ. It can be seen by comparing sterile westernised environment and the African one.
Difference between the Western world and Africans' (more "Paleolytic" people)
Western nations, which try to replicate another culture's microbiota and diet may get sick. The Africans have different gut microbiota. Carbohydrate intake is not a one-size-fits-all. The goal is to find what works best for You. You can't "manipulate" Your gut microbiota.
We need an individualised approach. Western environments deprive us of the bacterial exposure needed to train our immune systems to prevent inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Is early exposure to bacteria good?
It's been well documented that early life exposure to bacteria, animals and outside environment ("dirt") leads to better development of the immune system. The sterile upbringing of children may create problems with gut microbiota and autoimmune conditions later in the life of the child. Breastfeeding, environmental exposure and farm life (contact with animals) are very positive factors in terms of healthy gut microbiota.
SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
The small intestine is responsible for around 56% of our intestinal tract and 90% of caloric absorption. The small intestine has a profound impact on Your health. General health recommendations seem to favour only the large intestine ( feed your gut bacteria, eat lots of fiber, carbohydrates and prebiotics). Unfortunately, by doing this We only create a problem in the small intestine. SIBO can be assessed with a simple breath test.
SIBO and Diseases
SIBO is commonly seen in hypothyroidism, IBS, celiac disease. These people may want to avoid feeding their gut bacteria. Too much fiber and carbohydrates should be avoided.Eating to reduce inflammation is more important that eating to feed gut bacteria.
3 most important concepts :
eating to reduce inflammation
eating to decrease sugar level in the blood
eating to feed the gut bacteria
How can you know which diet is the best for you?
You must eat to reduce inflammation
You must eat to reduce your sugar blood level
You have to determine what will be best for your ecosystem (gut microbiota), as our ecosystems differ. In this way, You will know how much carbohydrates You should eat.
You have to determine what foods are problematic for you (food intolerances). To do it, You should start with an elimination diet and see how you react.
You should eat a diet low in allergens: the Paleo diet, AIP diet or low- FODMAP diet (removes foods that can feed the bacterial overgrowth) diet has to work for you, not the other way round.
Usually, following the restriction diet, You will start improving after the first couple weeks. In this way, You know that diet works for You.
The Gut - Hormone Connection:
Gut bacteria play a role in breaking down hormones.Imbalance in bacteria can lead to problems with estrogen (especially in women), which leads to PMS, irritability, depression, accelerated ageing, less energy and weight gain.
The Gut - Thyroid Connection:
Certain diets limit inflammatory foods and excess carbohydrates, these diets will improve thyroid autoimmunity. There is a piece of evidence proving that treatment for H.Pylori reduces thyroid autoimmunity in Hashimoto's disease.
Hypothyroidism and small intestine:
Research has proven that SIBO is associated with hypothyroidism we can see SIBO in both hyper and hypothyroidism, which suggests that overgrowth is causing the thyroid problems (instead of thyroid disease causing SIBO).
Are antibiotics good for our gut?
Earlier use of antibiotics may lead to problems with the immune system. Antibiotics should be used ONLY if necessary.
What about the children and the use of pre-biotics and pro-biotics?
Pro-biotics are healthy bacteria and pre-biotics are foods that feed these bacteria.The earlier the child takes a pro-biotic supplement, the more helpful it can be. Use a multiple-strain pro-biotic along with pre-biotic in infants and children. It will help in establishing a healthy microbiota.
Is fermented food good for us?
Overconsumption can be problematic. Try to consume small quantities 1-2 tablespoons a day (for example sauerkraut or kimchi).
Should we do an allergic test to know which food we react to?
Food allergy tests are questionable because they only test for IgE. You may be having a food intolerance, which involves also IgA, IgM and IgG antibodies. That's why the best test is simply an elimination diet. Testing is not always accurate. Around 50% of the time the food allergy test says that certain food is ok, even though the patient reacts to it. This is very disappointing after spending 400-700$ on an allergic test.
Why is it important to determine if you have problem with gluten?
- Eliminating gluten from diet may have positive effect on Your gut health, which will improve conditions like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, skin conditions, weight gain, constipation, depression and many others.
- Gluten can be problematic for those who DO NOT have celiac disease (nonceliac gluten sensitivity).
Do you have to eat organic?
- Eating whole food is more important than organic
- Focus on avoiding allergens and regulating you blood glucose level
- Don't be too hard on yourself, start the process to rebalance your life gradually
How important is fiber?
- Dietary fibre is important but its benefits have been exaggerated
-It's best to cyclically experiment with adding fiber, prebiotics and resistant starch to test out an individual reaction
How important is sun and vitamin D?
- Vitamin D can help those with thyroid autoimmunity and IBS
How important is sleep?
-Sleep decreases risk of autoimmune disease, weight gain and obesity
What about the C section?
C-section increases the risk of inflammatory, autoimmune and immune disorders.
How adrenal support may help you to heal your gut?
-Helps to buffer the negative effects of stress and hence may help in gut healing
-Adrenal glandulars seem to be provide some benefits and are safe to use
- Adrenal glandulars provide nutrients for your adrenal glands. Nutrients are needed for repair.
The summary of great 8 steps plan to regain your gut health:
Reset Your diet and lifestyle
Support Your gut with probiotics and digestive enzymes
Remove unwanted gut bacteria with antimicrobial herbs
Rebalance Your gut bacteria
Reintroduce foods that You removed in Step 1, once the gut has got healthier
Feed the good bacteria
Reduce the supplements that You're taking
Maintain Your improvements and enjoy Your new health