In a healthy gut, food is well digested and converted to energy. Vitamins and minerals are attached to small carrier proteins and allowed to pass through the intestinal wall to fuel the body. Larger, undigested food particles are eliminated. Healthy bacteria thrive and immunoglobulins defend against infection. But in the unhealthy gut, the story is quite different and the health implications sometimes devastating.
In April of 2002 True Health first reported on Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), a chronic condition in which the intestinal lining has become more permeable than normal. We were not the first publication to address this topic. In 1997 Time magazine ran a major article titled “Gut Reactions,” which identified tiny leaks in the gut as playing a role in diseases like arthritis and asthma. Edgar Cayce identified this problem over 80 years ago, in more than one individual, often in conjunction with psoriasis. One reading began by getting right to the point: “First, in the BLOOD SUPPLY there are the indications of poor eliminations.” (Edgar Cayce)
In short, there are “leaks” between the cells of the gut wall that allow toxins, bacteria, and large food particles to pass through and be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Should You Be Concerned?
Should you be worried about Leaky Gut? The answer is really quite simple. If you are healthy and energetic, with no chronic health concerns, you probably don’t need to be worried about a leaky gut, but you should feel empowered and compelled to prevent it! If you do experience some kind (or kinds) of chronic concerns, especially those categorized as autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and more), then you should consider Leaky Gut Syndrome as a possible cause.
Why Autoimmune Diseases?
An autoimmune disease is one in which the immune system makes anti-bodies against its own tissues. We’ve listed several above but could add to the list – hives, ulcerative colitis, Raynaud’s disease (I suffer from this problem and never thought of Leaky Gut as the cause until I researched this article!), even the elusive and devastating Multiple Sclerosis. What is happening in Leaky Gut Syndrome is that larger than normal protein molecules (from specific foods) are passing through compromised areas of the gut wall (we’ll explain what causes the leaks in a minute). The immune system goes on alert because it sees these molecules as invaders. Antibodies are created to protect the body and destroy the foreign substances. Unfortunately, these substances are, in many cases, quite similar to human tissues. I’ll bet you see where we’re going now. The body’s defense system can now attack healthy tissues because they “look like” the invaders. What’s even worse is that when the foods that first caused the problem are eaten, this can trigger an inflammatory response wherever the antibodies are lodged. If it’s in the joints, it could be rheumatoid arthritis. The lungs, asthma. The gut, colitis.
This view of Leaky Gut is reminiscent of the Cayce reading we shared several years ago: “…were it [the toxicity] to go to the liver, it would be cirrhosis of the liver; were it to go to the spleen, it would be a hardening of one end of it, were it to go to the brain, it would be the softening of the brain….” (Edgar Cayce)
The Problem Compounds Itself
In addition to the chronic problems from LGS, vitamin and mineral deficiencies may develop. Why? Because vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat are carried through the gut lining into the bloodstream on “carrier proteins.” If these proteins pass through in abnormally large particles, they can be identified as enemies, and antibodies are created to fight them. The vitamins and minerals they are transporting become victims of friendly fire, so to speak. One example of how this could affect the body is in the case of fibromyalgia (which we will report on in the next issue). Magnesium deficiency is often present in patients suffering from this debilitating disease – even when their intake of this mineral is high! If LGS is present,the magnesium may well be meeting with a bitter end before it is properly assimilated into the bloodstream.
The causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome are many: antibiotics, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen), highly refined carbohydrates (white bread is bad for lots of reasons), food dyes and preservatives, alcohol, caffeine and more. In short, many (and almost all) substances that can irritate the bowel or dramatically upset the delicate balance of healthy bacteria can lead to this debilitating syndrome.
The Edgar Cayce Therapy for Leaky Gut Syndrome
Since Edgar Cayce identified the physiological phenomena of Leaky Gut Syndrome decades before modern medicine pinpointed its many effects, it is very logical to ask, What did he recommended a person do about it? His suggestions are in line with what modern holistic practitioners suggest – he focuses on diet, recommending an alkalizing diet as the cornerstone of treatment. In addition, Cayce provides some very unique, natural therapies that so often characterize this health philosophy.
Cayce indicated that bringing the conditions in the intestines back to normalcy will “require time, and will of necessity require persistence and consistent effort on the part of the body, yet the disturbance may be eliminated or eradicated entirely from the system.” (Edgar Cayce)
Cayce Suggests . . .
- Three times a day take small quantities of Olive Oil (a quarter to a half teaspoon). It will add to the elasticity and the functioning of the intestinal tract and provide nutritive value.
- Three to five times a day enjoy mild Saffron Tea, which will assimilate and coordinate with the gastric juices of the digestive system in such a way as to eliminate the poisons that sap vitality of the muco-membranes of the digestive and intestinal system.
- Add a pinch of ground elm bark to all drinking water.
- Avoid foods that can produce alcohol, or that are of an alcoholic nature.
- Avoid spicy foods.
Neither Cayce nor modern practitioners suggest that Leaky Gut can be reversed overnight. However, six to eight months of persistent and consistent healing therapies can work wonders. And, remember,prevention is always preferable to cure. Watch your diet, be good to your digestive tract, and you may never have to face Leaky Gut Syndrome in your life – or your family’s.
January 2005 © True Health Newsletter