The following are my notes from chapters 1 – 6 of: Gut and Psychology Syndrome: A Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia… by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MMedSci(neurology), MMedSci(nutrition)
“All Disease Begins in the Gut” – Hippocrates, 460-370 AD
- Digestive problems start at weaning time for many
- Start to see: fussy eating, refusing many foods & eating limited diet, usually high in carbs and processed foods (starchy & sweet): cereals, breads, cookies, chips, rice, sweet yogurts etc.
- This is very typical of Autistic children especially
- Gut disbiosis has been linked to Autism spectrum & even Schizophrenia (show signs similar to coeliac)
- Other signs of digestive upset: malnutrition, reflux, “heartburn”, abdominal pain & flatulence.
How Our Digestive System Works:
- Gut is a long tube, open at both ends to the world
- Typical adult has 1.5-2 Kg of bacteria in the gut
- These bacteria form a highly organized micro-world
- Gut bacteria comprised of 3 groups: 1) Essential / beneficial flora; 2) Opportunistic flora; 3) Transitional flora: just pass through when the gut is in good order.
Beneficial Gut Bacteria:
- Line the gut like turf
- Release substances (antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral) to ward off danger
- Keep pH low (4.0-5.0 = acidic) & create inhospitable environment
- Neutralize toxic substances including heavy metals
- Nourish the cells of the gut wall and help with digestion of food
When gut ecology is out of balance “walls of the city” are not protected, and also left unnourished = chain of degeneration
A Healthy Gut :
Lined with villi, coated with enterocytes
- These enterocytes are constantly being renewed, allowing for good digestion
- Enterocytes have long “hair” – microvilli – which complete the digestive process
- This process appears to be very dependent on presence of healthy gut bacteria!
When gut ecology is damaged:
- maturation process of enterocytes is slowed
- some even turn cancerous!
- fewer are created, those that are are unhealthy/abnormal
- structure of gut epithelium changes
- villi degenerate and become unable to digest and absorb properly
- Results: malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies & food intolerances!
Summary: Healthy gut flora important for…
- anatomical integrity of the digestive tract
- functionality of the digestive tract
- ability to adapt and regenerate
- ability to defend itself
- many others
Gut Ecology & Nutrition
- Normal digestion likely not possible without good gut ecology health
- Gut flora is important for:
◦ fiber digestion
◦ lactose digestion (e.coli!)
◦ production of nutrients, including: K2, pantothenic acid, folic acid, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, and others
- Gut bacteria serves as a nutrient factory, both extracting and producing these nutrients from the foods we eat.
- When gut flora is damaged, we experience deficiencies, despite adequate nutrition
- Double whammy: can’t absorb/can’t produce
- Unless we keep a constant stream of supplements coming in throughout the day, become deficient
Note: in some cases supplementation causes more harm than good ex: Iron
- iron loving opportunistic bacteria take iron from food, leaving person anemic
- Person is given iron supplements
- These opportunistic, bad bacteria bloom, making symptoms worse!
- Anemia not resolved, and other problems may arise
Gut Ecology and the Immune System
- Gut comprises 80-85% of our immune system
- Walls of gut jam packed with lymphocytes and other important immune system cells
- When gut ecology damaged, far fewer lymphocytes exist
- Leaves it with much weaker ability to defend itself / gaps in defense
- Leads to susceptibility to bacteria & viruses from environment (or vaccines)
What Can Damage the Gut Flora?
- Antifungal Antibiotics (Nystatin, Amphotericin etc.)
- Other drugs (pain killers, steroids, the Pill, sleeping pills, heartburn pills, antidepressants and so on)
- Diet (high carb, high fiber, formula feeding, prolonged fasting, starvation, overeating)
- Infectious diseases (typhoid, cholera, dysentery, salmonella, & some viruses i.e. Mono?)
- Other factors including…
◦ Physical exertion
◦ old age
◦ exposure to toxic substances
Once damage is done, opportunistic flora can take root. These include:
The Gut Brain Connection
Is there a connection?
– When doctors treat mental health with drugs, the pills go into the digestive system…
Likely many causes of mental health problems:
- Genetics, childhood experiences, trauma, psychological influences.
- But… research suggests at least one in ten is caused by intoxication coming from the bowel. How? Opportunistic bacteria release substances that disrupt brain function, believed to be causing: autism, schizophrenia, hyperactivity, dyspraxica, dyslexia, psychosis, depression, anxiety, addiction, obsession etc. 1) Alcohol damage: Candida & other yeasts break down carbs and produces alcohol, leaving people “drunk” Seems funny, but in fact extremely toxic. Can lead to:
- Reduced stomach acid
- Pancreatic degeneration, impairing digestion
- Gut wall damage, causing malabsorption
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Reduced immune function
- Liver damage
- Poor detox resulting in build up for neurotransmitters & hormones
- Presence of the above can lead to behaviour problems
- Brain damage leading to: lack of self-control, poor coordination, impaired speech development, aggression, loss of memory, impaired mental development, stupor
- Peripheral nerve damage & muscle weakness
- Enhancement of toxicity of other drugs & environmental toxins
- Altered metabolism of proteins, carbs, lipids
- These altered proteins may trigger auto-immune attacks
- Proteins also can’t bind to vital nutrients, leading to deficiencies
- Also happens with thyroid hormones: body can’t uptake leading to thyroid deficiency symptoms despite “normal” blood results (depression, lethargy, fatigue, weight gain, poor body temperature, poor immunity etc.)
2. Opiate damage:
- Recall caso- and gluteomorphins floating around
- Some research is suggestion a strong correlation between the absorption of “beta-casomorpin-7” and autism and schizophrenia
- In some cases, removing diary and gluten from the diet cure the problem
- This is not always true; much more complex than just these two sources of disruption
- Many other toxins being found and studied, but information is still very incomplete.