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How to Support the Gut: Cheat Sheet

Posted by cleanteam

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Over the last four weeks, I’ve taken you on a journey through the gut. It’s a system of incredible intricacy that requires our care and support. The deeper we explore the connections between the gut and our health, the more we realize that we’re only at the beginning of our understanding.

But what we are clear about is that the health of our gut system is more important than we ever suspected. It’s at the root of almost all chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and autoimmunity.

And it plays a major role in many of the minor health ailments from tiredness, aches and pains, allergies, mood swings, and lack of libido, to bad breath, bloating, gas, eczema, constipation, even premature aging.

Recently, I’ve received some warm messages from community members sharing how they are enjoying the gut newsletters and how they would love a final recap of the big ideas.

So today, I’m going to give you the Gut Support Cheat Sheet. It includes the four parts of the gut, how they are damaged, and what we can do to support them.

What damages the gut?

Today we are facing a serious health problem. Our modern world is not conducive to gut health. Almost everyone is walking around with some degree of gut dysfunction.

So, we need a concerted effort of awareness and common-sense to bring our health back into balance. Let’s start by reminding ourselves of the major causes of gut dysfunction:

  • Antibiotics and medications
  • Chemicals, preservatives and conservatives in food
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • C-sections
  • Inflammation
  • Opportunistic organisms (yeast, fungus, parasites)
  • Toxic food triggers
  • Gluten
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Chlorinated drinking and shower water
  • Lack of sleep

Most of us experience at least of few of these causes on a daily basis, sometimes for many years. Our gut can only take so much damage, and when we hit our tipping point, we can start to experience symptoms that seem to come out of nowhere.

The Gut System

Within the medical community, the word “gut” is a loosely-defined term. It’s more often used as just another way to talk about our intestines.

When I use the word gut, however, I refer to a lot more than just the body’s digestive tube. I mean the living organisms inside the gut, the intestinal flora, and the immune and nervous systems within and around the walls of the intestines.

Let’s run through each of the four parts of the gut with “points to remember” and the tools to support them.


#1 Intestinal Flora

These good bacteria are your body’s tenants and collaborators. They live in the giant folded area called villi along the intestinal wall. These little critters are the first things other organisms encounter in the digestive tube, and they fight to protect their territory and prevent other organisms from taking hold.

Points to Remember

  • Help immune system fight invaders
  • Digest part of our food
  • Make b-vitamins available to be absorbed
  • Key contributor to detoxification

Supportive Tools

  • Probiotics
  • Herbal antimicrobials like berberine
  • Fiber-rich foods 
  • Stress reduction techniques (especially sleep)
  • Shower and water filter


#2 Intestinal Wall

The intestinal wall is the largest and busiest border to the outside world. It lines the digestive tube and is constantly in touch with foreign stuff, namely the food and drinks we consume and all the chemicals added to them. It’s also in touch with foreign organisms such as bacteria, yeast, parasites, and viruses, among others.

Points to Remember

  • Designed to absorb nutrients and export waste into digestive tube
  • Intestinal wall cells look like bricks attached by tight junctions
  • Missing cells or loosening of tight junctions is called hyperpermeability or “leaky gut”
  • L-glutamine is the primary nutrient for cells of intestinal lining
  • Gluten can play a major role in its damage

Supportive Tools

  • L-glutamine
  • Butyrate producing foods (sweet potatoes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and butter)
  • Reduce intake of gluten


#3 GALT

“GALT” stands for the “gut-associated lymphatic tissue”. It’s the gut’s immune system and it works to protect the body from invasion. It’s in charge of detecting and destroying anything that comes into contact with your inside that is not recognized as simple nutrients or as a part of yourself.

Points to Remember

  • GALT makes up larger part of the entire immune system
  • 80% of immune system is deployed in the gut
  • Scans surfaces of food and organisms to see if harmful
  • The more damage to intestinal wall, the more the GALT is overloaded
  • Trigger foods can cause the immune system to react (itching, coughing, sneezing)

Supportive Tools

  • Probiotics
  • Herbal antimicrobials like berberine
  • Reduce Toxic Trigger foods


#4 Our Second Brain

The gut’s nervous system is often referred to as our “second brain”. It’s made up of tiny nerve filaments that touch the intestinal wall cells, muscle cells, and immune cells in the digestive tube. The neurons in your gut orchestrate peristalsis and digestion, and modulate immunity and the hormonal system. Without them, the gut would cease to work.

Points to Remember

  • Second brain helps run your intuition
  • Neurons in your gut form a clump larger than the ones in your head
  • Coordinates every aspect of the gut’s function
  • During leaky gut, our second brain gets overworked leading to symptoms like constipation, brain fog, mood swings, and anxiety

Supportive Tools


Why a Gut Repair Program works best

As you can see above, each part of the gut is supported with different tools but many of them overlap (i.e. probiotics, reduce Toxic Trigger foods). This is because the gut is a holistic system where a change to one area resonates with and supports other parts of the gut.

While each one of the supportive tools is useful, I’ve found in my practice that patients struggle with actually taking action. They may pick up some probiotics here or there, or eat a little more clean this week, but then stress and life happen and things fall apart.

That’s why I recommend putting all of these supportive tools into a program that you do for a concentrated period of time. Knowing that it is for a certain number of days helps you maintain focus and make the changes that are often tough to make in our day to day lives.

I think our Clean Gut Cleanse is one of the best out there for this purpose because it incorporates all the tools above with a clear food list and free access to our Wellness Coaches. And the skills you learn on the program are ones you can take into your daily life all year long.

That’s important. Even though it’s good that a gut repair program is only for a period of time, it’s great to know that what you are doing is not too far off from what can work in your daily life. (This is often the problem with juice cleanses).

Final Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed this five part tour of the gut system. It’s been a lot of fun to put together and I hope it inspires you to give your gut the extra care it deserves.

If you have questions about getting started, reach out to my team at support@cleanprogram.com and we'll get you all set up.

 

Topics: Clean Life

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