Learning about Health – Day 25

Countryside near the TVA site of the Douglas dam, Tenn. (LOC)
A Simpler Time.

If you are new to this site and wondering what this is about, I’ve given myself a 100-day health challenge. I’m using Dr. Junger’s book, Clean – Remove Restore Rejuvenate to guide me through his three-week detoxification program.

I write what I learn from each chapter as I go through Dr. Junger’s book. Hopefully, it will help me to stay committed to completing the detoxification plan. If this sounds like something that interests you, I highly recommend purchasing Dr. Junger’s book (just so you know, I don’t receive a commission should you decide to purchase).

The title for chapter six is, “The Common Root of Dysfunction: Digging for Answers.” Sounds like we’re getting somewhere.

“When the leaves of a plant start looking sick, wise gardeners will dig out the root to take a look.”

Dr. Junger writes that healthy leaves come from healthy nutrient rich soil. By studying other traditions of healing he learned the concept that health and disease start in the intestines.”

Dr. Junger compares the human gastrointestinal system to that of plant roots. The intestines absorb nutrients from our food that function as building blocks that make our bodies.  He states that every single organ or function in the body has a direct link to the intestines.”

Up to eighty percent of our immune system is found in the intestines.

In this chapter, Dr. Junger discusses the four major constituents of the gut system.

The first is the intestinal flora. A healthy intestine contains about two pounds of helpful bacteria.”

The system malfunctions  when nutrient depletion results from inadequate intestinal flora. The helpful bacteria protect us from infections and disease-causing bacteria. Beneficial flora, neutralizes toxins before they get into the bloodstream and keep the bowels regularly moving toxins out of the body.

Modern living creates an imbalance in the gut with things like toxic chemicals, medications, especially antibiotics, alcohol, caffeine and stress.

Yeast is one organism that over-grows when intestinal flora is out of balance. Yeast thrives on sweet foods and dairy products and makes us bloated and gassy by irritating the intestinal lining.

Restoring the intestinal flora is part of the Clean program.

The second major constituent is the intestinal wall. The intestinal lining acts as a barrier to unwanted substances from getting inside and to bacteria, toxins and undigested food from getting out into the bloodstream.

When the intestinal wall cells are smooth, this is known as a healthy intestine. Sometimes cracks occur due to lower healthy bacteria levels caused by inflammation, food sensitivity, excessive alcohol, coffee, preservatives, certain types of medications, and other irritants.

When cracks occur the intestines become permeable. This condition is called Leaky Gut Syndrome.

The third major constituent is the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). The GALT is the system that mounts the attack against toxic bacteria and chemicals in food and when undigested pieces cross the intestinal-wall barrier, the immune system goes full force.

Dr. Junger states, “Simply from exposure to the standard American diet, our GALT tends to live in a high state of alert, constantly initiating immune responses.”

“Healthy intestinal flora is key to healthy immunity, including ordinary defense against all kinds of colds and bugs.”

The fourth major constituent is nerve cells. Around the intestines and GALT are almost as many nerves cells as in the brain. You know those “gut instincts” you have. The ones that are usually right, but pushed aside when your brain knows better.

It’s because of these nerve cells that the intestines can control their own functions independent of the brain. Apparently, the intestinal nerve cells communicate just like brain neurons — with neurotransmitters.

In fact, Dr. Junger discovered that 80 to 90 percent of the bodies serotonin is made by the intestinal nerve cells. Serotonin is responsible for producing feelings of happiness and well-being.  Isn’t that really interesting?

An equally interesting topic discussed is on gene expression. Things that affect whether a gene is turned on or turned off are; food, emotions, thoughts, accumulated toxins and environmental influences such as heat, light, sound, radiation, etc.

The science of nutrigenomics studies how our food affects gene expression. Researchers at John Hopkins University discovered “sulforaphane” found in the seeds of broccoli, “toned down the expression of certain cancer genes.” Now we know, genes do not equal destiny.

On a personal note, it’s very clear to me where I need to focus my efforts in healing from RA; a healthy intestinal eco-system.

Next post will explore chapter seven, “The Clean Program“.

To read a summary of chapter five, click here.

A journey is always more fun with company and so I thank each and every one from the bottom of my heart for accompanying me on this learning about health experience.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat symptoms or medical conditions. Always consult a qualified medical professional.

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11 thoughts on “Learning about Health – Day 25

  1. Marianne I am following your blog with great interest. The state of the intestinal flora has never been a conversation that I have heard from any person working in allopathic medicine and yet it obviously is HUGE in the ability to remain healthy. As well it seems that all of the research that I am doing into autism also comes back to the gut…children whose digestive systems have been so compromised that they are unable to process nutrients and the toxins literally plug up their neurological systems. So much to talk about on this issue! Our society is also groomed to believe that talking about bowel health is not “polite”. Well maybe we should start a new mantra….”Have you had a massive, well formed poop today?”….Thanks for your sharing!

    • LOL! You’re funny, Jan. Dr. Junger’s says a healthy bowel has a poop after each meal. If everyone did that, I think we could have an increase in environmental problems.lol! I think this is a very interesting topic as well because, although I didn’t write much about it, Dr. Junger’s book talks in detail about the connection between autoimmune diseases and unhealthy gastrointestinal system. It’s too bad that the mainstream medical is so heavily influenced by big pharma. As Dr. Junger mentions in his book they barely touched on nutrition in medical school. Of course, there is no money in treating illness through diet. Oh well, time will eventually change all that (I think).

    • You are welcome, Nancy. And, yes, if this stuff interests you definitely get the book. There is much more in the book than I could write here. It’s also good to use as a reference book. As I mentioned, I read the book when I bought it several months ago and now that I’m reading it a second time more things are popping out at me. Thanks very much for reading and commenting, Nancy. Hope you are doing well. 🙂

  2. I just started reading the book. I remember hearing about a study that came out sometime over the last few years about the normal flora in the intestinal tract, and how we each have over 400 different strains of bacteria in our guts. Even more fascinating is that the strains vary from person to person, as if they were personalized.

    • That IS fascinating, Robin. My friend is reading, Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”. Natasha healed her son of autism through helping his “gut” to establish a healthy system. I’m paying more attention to this idea now. Maybe it is what I need for my own healing. Thanks for reading and commenting, Robin. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Sunday signage, wind, and flurries « Life in the Bogs

  4. Pingback: Learning about Health – Day 51 | The Meaning for my Life

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