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I Have Gut Inflammation, And I Feel Fine

Not too long ago I attended a functional medicine conference, and the attendees were entitled to receive a free stool analysis.  Although I can’t say I enjoyed the collection process (especially since this required three different stool samples collected on different days), I was curious to see what the comprehensive stool panel results showed.  Fortunately I tested negative for pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and parasites.  And most of the other markers looked great, which of course made me very happy.  However, even though I hadn’t been experiencing any digestive symptoms, I had some positive markers for inflammation.  Fortunately the markers that are commonly high in inflammatory bowel disease looked good, although I was still surprised to see some of the other inflammatory markers on the high side.

You might wonder why I’m sharing this story with you.  Well, the main reason is to demonstrate that it is possible to have inflammation yet not experience any overt symptoms.  Another reason is to demonstrate that I’m not perfect, as while I eat a pretty good diet overall, I admittedly had been indulging more than usual prior to collecting the stool samples.  Not to make excuses, but I traveled a lot in 2015, and I probably gave in to too many temptations. And while it’s a little bit embarrassing to admit this, I thought it was a good idea to share this experience so that you realize that it’s not only a challenge to eat well when trying to restore one’s health when dealing with a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition, but it’s also a challenge to eat well when trying to maintain a state of wellness.

Is It Possible To Eat Too Many Healthy Foods?

When I was a teenager and young adult, there were certain foods I ate on a regular basis that I thought were healthy, but I eventually learned that this wasn’t the case.  A few examples include pasta, whole wheat bread, and soy chicken nuggets.  Of course now I have a pretty good idea of which foods are healthy and unhealthy, but one thing to be aware of is that you can eat too much of a healthy food.  For example, in the second half of 2015 there is no question that I ate too many nuts and too much dark chocolate.  Yes, I did eat some foods worse than these (i.e. pizza), and this probably was a factor as well.  But I don’t want you to overlook the fact that eating an excess of other foods that have some health benefits can also cause problems.

So was overindulging in nuts and dark chocolate a potential factor in my inflammation?  I’m honestly not sure, and I did mention earlier that I ate other foods far worse than nuts and dark chocolate.  For example, I attended my younger sister’s wedding in August of 2015, and Italian food was served.  And while we did put in a request for gluten free pasta, I ate a cannoli that definitely wasn’t gluten free.  Speaking of which, if anyone has a gluten free cannoli recipe please feel free to share it with me in the comment sections below!  I wish I can say that the cannoli was the only bad thing I ate, but the night before I also had some pizza at a Brooklyn pizzeria.  And while I ordered a gluten free pizza, I admittedly was naughty and also had some regular pizza.  Of course even gluten free pizza isn’t considered to be healthy, especially when you consider some of the ingredients used by many restaurants.  But eating pizza is even worse from a health perspective when it’s loaded with gluten (no matter how delicious it might be…and believe me, that Brooklyn pizza tasted amazing).

In last week’s blog post I spoke about gluten, and whether someone should avoid it even if they don’t feel bad upon eating it and/or don’t experience any improvement in their symptoms upon avoiding it.  I usually don’t feel bad when eating foods with gluten, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not having a negative effect on my health.  If you read last week’s blog post, you’ll recall that I mentioned that gluten apparently causes an increase in intestinal permeability (a leaky gut) in everyone, and not just those with Celiac disease or a non-autoimmune gluten sensitivity.

Do YOU Have Gut Inflammation?                                   

After reading this post, I’m sure there are some people who are wondering if they have gut inflammation.  The truth is that many people have gut inflammation and are unaware of it.  You of course can test for some general inflammatory markers through the blood such as high sensitive c-reactive protein (hs-CRP), or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).  Just keep in mind that negative findings don’t necessarily rule out inflammation.  While you can do a comprehensive stool analysis like I did, such testing can be expensive.  If you are eating gluten and/or dairy on a regular basis then this can be problematic.  But even if you are gluten and dairy free but are eating a lot of nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes, then these might cause inflammation when eaten in excess.  And so rather than spend a lot of money on additional testing, it might be best to just minimize your consumption of these foods for awhile and see if your health improves.

What’s the solution to get rid of gut inflammation?  Well, it of course depends on the cause of the inflammation.  If someone is sensitive to gluten and they eat even a small amount of it then this can result in inflammation.  On the other hand, not everyone with gut inflammation is sensitive to gluten.  In fact, some people who avoid gluten still have gut inflammation.  Other foods can cause inflammation, along with other factors such as an infection, and even chronic stress.  Taking certain nutrients and herbs can also help to reduce gut inflammation, such as fish oils, probiotics, and turmeric.  However, if the cause of the inflammation isn’t addressed then these natural anti-inflammatory agents aren’t going to be as effective.

In summary, many people have gut inflammation but are unaware of it.  And while some people with gut inflammation experience overt symptoms, this isn’t always the case.  Eating foods that contain gluten and dairy causes inflammation in a lot of people, but eating too many healthy foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes might also lead inflammation in some people.  While you can do some testing to confirm or rule out inflammation, regardless of the findings you of course want to eat a healthy diet, try not to overindulge in certain foods, and do a good job of managing your stress.


 

9 Comments

  1. marti black says:

    Loved this dietary confessional. I am not the only person who yields to food temptations, after all.

  2. Marg Balogh says:

    I agree with Dr. Eric. So many think they eat well yet still have inflammation. A great environment for dysbiosis and majority of people I test have some degree of dysbiosis too.

  3. Joanna says:

    After carefully reading the article I cannot resist the conclusion, that no matter what we do, we are doomed.
    If eating at the family member’s wedding (how often this happens???) causes guilt (which = stress which = inflammation), that may mean we under a heavy burden of a food centered religion – which will inevitably cause guilt which = stress, which = inflammation. Vicious circle.
    Maybe inflammation is like cancer cells – we all have them, but our bodies are well trained to fight them off effectively every day.
    Fear of everything, including food, is a MAJOR stressor. It appears to be wise to assume a 80/20 policy and this way protect our well being. Flagging ourselves for minor offenses has only one potential and that is, to harm.
    I am not being a smart alec here; it’s my personal struggle to find a happy medium here, with the accent on “happy”.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Totally agree with the above from Joanna!!
      Think we are far more complex creatures than we realise – and whilst food is a MAJOR influence on our physical welbeiing, our mental and spiritual state are powerful influences also.

    • Charlotte says:

      My first reaction to Joanna was to roll my eyes and judge her, but then I put down my guard and had to agree with her.
      It seems the more I learn about food and my own autoimmune issues the more I have stress and guilt not to mention spending more time researching on this computer with all of it’s wonderful EMF’s, on my butt, researching, learning, copying, pasting…but not living and creating and loving life which i know would be the most healthy thing for me.
      Oh look, the sun is coming up outside! I’m going to go do some gardening… good bye EMF’S! ~ “Thanks Joanna”

  4. jaq says:

    Well said Joanna! I, too, am one who struggles to find that happy place with what I can/should eat. There seems to be so much I should no longer eat that I, like Dr. Eric, have gone overboard on some things – nuts, for instance. As well as seeds, and legumes because of trying to stay away from gluten & dairy to heal a leaky gut. Wondering what you mean though by saying “it appears to be wise to assume a 80/20 policy”

  5. jaq says:

    After posting above, it’s occurred to me you probably, by a 80/20 policy, mean that 80% should be okay for the healthy stuff you eat and the rest you shouldn’t stress about. But Unfortunately, though, inflammation in the gut, from what I hear Dr. Eric saying, depends on the cause of the inflammation. So, you may be feeding inflammation with that other 20% – and that also will cause harm. I know…no easy answers!

  6. Honora says:

    Interesting about the gluten-containing pizza. Our work sometimes provides pizzas for us. They provide GF pizza as well but unfortunately it is more delicious than the ordinary pizza so I have to make sure the greedy ones don’t gobble the GF pizza, leaving me with no pizza option.

  7. Courtney says:

    I was diagnosed in September w/ Hashimotos. I’ve had hypothyroid for 16+ years. I’ve had to do a lot of learning on my own as so many doctors don’t seem to know much about either of these illnesses. Only 2 months ago was I finally switched from levothyroxin to armour after much begging from me. The levo was making me very sick and my doctor didn’t believe me. Now I am trying to figure out how to eat to also heal a leaky gut. Learning how to eat gluten free is so much harder than it sounds. How did some of you learn about this? Where did you turn to? I have a family that I still need to cook for plus make things that I can consume w/ out the upset stomachs.

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Get Your Free Guide Entitled
“The 6 Steps On How To Reverse Graves' Disease & Hashimoto's Through Natural Methods”
You will also receive email
updates on any future webinars
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Free Webinars on
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Natural Treatment Methods:
Graves Disease Treatment
Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Natural Thyroid treatment


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone