The role of nutrition in health and well being

In 390 BC Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food’. Edison in the early twentieth century said, ‘The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and the cause and prevention of disease’. Dr Linus Pauling, twice nobel prize winner coined the phrase ‘orthomolecular medicine’ he asserted ‘by giving the body the right (orthro) molecules, most disease would be eradicated.’ He said ‘optimum nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow’ There is a lot of evidence available now to support the fact that eating poor quality food can make you ill, while eating fresh, wholesome food gives you a much better chance of staying fit and healthy. Eating a healthy diet can:- Improve your energy, increase concentration, enhance mood/alleviate depression and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as eczema, asthma, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease Physical disturbances in the digestive system due to a poor diet of processed food and sugar, taking lots of antibiotics and medicines can cause a disruption to many other systems in the body including the brain. Hippocrates also said ‘All disease begins in the gut’ Let’s look at the gut brain connection for example:- Most people fail to realize that your gut is quite literally your second brain, and actually has the ability to significantly influence your: Mind  Mood  Behavior So while modern psychiatry still falsely claims that psychological problems such as depression are caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain, researchers keep finding that depression and a variety of behavioral problems actually appear to be linked to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut!
When you consider the fact that the gut-brain connection is recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, and that there's no shortage of evidence of gastrointestinal involvement in a variety of neurologica l diseases, it's easy to see how the balance of gut bacteria can play a significant role in your psychology and behavior as well.

With this in mind, it should also be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important, because in a very real sense you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut, and each needs its own vital nourishment. Interestingly, these two organs are actually created out of the same type of tissue. During foetal development , one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system.

These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. This is what connects your two brains together, and explains such phenomena as getting butterflies in your stomach when you're nervous, for example. What is Leaky Gut? Our gut / digestive system is like a long tube, if spread out it would cover the area of an entire tennis court. It is covered with a layer of bacteria which protects it from everything that comes in with food and drink However due to poor eating habits and modern lifestyle this layer can become damaged What damages gut flora? Antibiotics– the usual broad spectrum antibiotics kill alot of different microbes in the body – the bad and the good. But they have no effect on Candida for example. So, after every course of antibiotics Candida is left without anything to control it so it grows and thrives Poor diet– apart from antibiotics another factor in our modern world plays a major role in the overgrowth of Candida and other pathogenic species – our diet. Candida and pathogenic micro-organisms flourishes on sugar and processed carbohydrates and these are the foods, which nowadays dominate our western eating habits Medicines, steroids, contraceptive pill – all cause damage to the gut flora As a result pathogenic species start to multiply and take over They attack the gut lining.

The gut lining starts to deteoriate/breakdown and becomes like a sieve. This is what we describe as ‘leaky gut’ Undigested food particles and various toxins etc start to enter the bloodstream and are carried in the bloodstream to all parts of the body What happens when these substances reach the brain? Interestingly the structure of the blood brain barrier is very similar to that of the gut lining so toxins attack this barrier and get through into the brain So there is a river of toxicity constantly flowing from the gut to the brain – microbial toxins, partially digested food and various other things flood into the brain and the rest of the nervous system through the damaged blood brain barrier and as a result we get the impaired brain function which leads to impaired learning, behaviour, social skills, perception and epileptic seizures This is also the toxicity which is probably making many children and adults autistic, schizophrenic, hyperactive, dyspraxic, dyslexic, psychotic, depressed, obsessed etc Food Allergies and intolerances Partially digested foods gets through this leaky gut wall into the bloodstream, where the immune system recognises them as foreign and attacks them as follows - The immune system sends an antibody (also called an immunoglobulin IgA, IgG) to bind with the undigested foreign protein (antigen, ), a process which produces the chemicals of allergic response This is how food allergies or intolerances develop. What is happening is that foods do not get a chance to be digested properly before they are absorbed through the damaged gut wall. In many cases, when the gut wall is healed food allergies disappear Children with autism and other childhood conditions frequently suffer from food allergies or intolerances due to the poor state of their digestive systems What to look out for in your children/patients Congestion of the nose, sinuses and throat.

Infection may accompany chronic congestion  Gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, gas, heartburn, burping, ulcers, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea or vomiting Watery, glassy eyes puffiness around the eyes, dark circles under the eyes or a horizontal crease just under the eyes Perspiration for no apparent reason or night sweats Ear infections, triggered by congestion or red warm ear lobes  Dizziness, vertigo or poor balance Headaches migraines or tension in the neck and shoulders  Eczema skin rash or canker sores Swelling of the hands, feet, face or other areas Coughing, sneezing, wheezing, asthmatic symptoms or tightness in the chest  Muscle aches, leg cramps or twitchy legs  Cognitive problems, including poor focus, poor memory or brain fog  Emotional problems, including depression, anxiety or anger  Lethargy or low stamina Insomnia, restless sleep, feelings of distress while trying to sleep, or chronic bed wetting Excess salivation, spitting during speech, or drooling Negative behavioural symptoms associated with autism and ADHD, including hyperactivity,  disassociative behaviour, stemming or tantrums Your gut and brain work in tandem, each influencing the other.

This is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. Lactose intolerance It is a well known-fact that a lot of people are lactose intolerant, which means that they cannot digest milk. The explanation offered by science so far is that many of us lack an enzyme called lactase to digest lactose. If we are not meant to digest lactose then why do some people seem to manage it perfectly well? The answer is that these people have the right bacteria in their gut. One of the major lactose digesting bacteria in the human gut is E. coli. It comes as a surprise to many people that physiological strains of E coli are essential inhabitants of a healthy digestive tract. They appear in the gut of a healthy baby from the first days after birth in huge numbers and stay in these same numbers throughout life, providing that they do not get destroyed by antibiotics and other environmental influences. If a person does not have healthy gut flora then lactose, a double sugar and other double sugars such as sucrose and maltose cannot be split into mono sugars and hence cannot be absorbed. Instead they stay in the gut becoming major food for pathogenic bacteria, viruses, Candida and other fungi, getting converted into a river of toxic substances which further damage the gut wall and poison the whole body How other diseases develop What is autoimmunity?

Autoimmunity is when the body starts attacking its own tissues and it starts doing that because of molecular mimicry, also known as antibody cross reactivity.. It is caused by the absorption of undigested protein and peptide complexes through the damaged gut wall. The immune system will then produce antibodies against these ‘foreign proteins’. There is a huge similarity between these proteins and certain It should be obvious then that your diet is closely linked to your mental health and to the health of all body systems. Furthermore, it requires almost no stretch of the imagination to see how lack of nutrition can have an adverse effect on your mood and subsequently your behavior and that an unhealthy digestive system/ damaged gut wall can be the starting point for a whole host of health problems Olive Skelly, Nutritional Therapist and Health Course Tutor BSc, HDip in Ed, Dip NT (Nutritional Therapy), Dip in Counseling Tel:0872872835 Email:

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