“The gut is not like Las Vegas: what happens in the gut does not stay in the gut!”
Interesting facts about the gut:
1. The lining of the gut is the largest interface where genes and environment interplay.
2. We host approximately 1.5 kilograms of bacteria in the gut. The gut bacteria have an important role in our genetic expression.
3. Healthy gut bacteria is involved in the body detoxification, vitamin synthesis, body defence
4. Abnormal gut bacteria is associated with obesity and cardio-metabolic diseases
5. After 1 course of antibiotics it can take over six months for the gut bacteria to re-balance.
6. The loss of integrity of the lining of the gut (“leaky gut”, increased intestinal permeability)) is associated with auto-immune diseases: celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes.
7. Cancer has been associated with increased intestinal permeability
8. Alzheimer’s disease, autism and psychiatric conditions have been associated with abnormal gut bacteria and increased intestinal permeability.
9. Causes of increased intestinal permeability:
· Drugs(antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids) and xenobiotics
· Advanced glycation products(insulin resistance and diabetes)
· Pesticides and herbicides
10. Ingested gluten causes red blood cells to release a protein called zonulin which loosens the tight junctions between the gut cells causing an increase in the intestinal permeability. In turn this allows undigested substances and bacteria to cross the gut membrane and trigger inflammation in the whole body. Serious diseases are linked to gut associated inflammation
· Obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
· Altered hippocampal neurogenesis. Hippocampus is the area of brain involved in learning, memory and mood control. Altered h ippocampus can cause behavioural changes,cognitive impairment and depression.
Given the strong association between the gut health and serious morbidity, Dr Bitlan places very strong emphasis in the diagnosis and the treatment of gut problems.
Comprehensive gut testing is particularly recommended for patients with:
· IBS, IBD, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, blood or mucus
· Parasites in stool, anal itching
· Belching, bloating, indigestion, cramping
· Ulcers, skin conditions(acne, eczema, rosacea)
· Food allergies, bad breath, food intolerances
· Anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances
· Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia
· All the auto-immune diseases
We perform or refer our patients for conventional testing: targeted blood tests,stool analysis, colonoscopies, gut transit studies, celiac disease screening etc.
In addition we do functional testing such as: comprehensive digestive stool analysis, intestinal permeability, zonulin levels, calprotectin, organic acids, secretory IgA.