(Update: I broke up the Gut-Brain blog into 2 sections to make it more readable. Sorry if you already read this in the first blog & got another update in your inbox!)
I have a neuroimmune condition, as do most if not all of the current readers of this blog. It is probably one of the top 3 issues in ME/CFS, but there’s Bells Palsy of the gut in Lyme disease as well as LGS (leaky gut syndrome), LGS in Lupus and other autoimmune conditions and also in MS. Well, we’re all neuroimmune diseases for a reason!
“yes- if you didn’t come into lupus with a leaky gut, you’ll have one by the time they are done treating you!” - http://lupusandhumor.blogspot.com/2012/01/leaky-gut.html
Consistently I’ve heard that the Paleo Diet is the safest for neuroimmune patients with gut dysfunction.
I’ve heard from many chronically ill patients that their intestinal permeability can correlate strongly with how they feel: for example, they may experience sudden clear headed after bowel movements, or they may experience overall improvement in symptoms when they’ve serendipitously been administered IV nutrition (thereby bypassing the gut). Therefore, options to increase gut motility in constipation predominance may make sense.
More recently, the knowledge that our gut uses more serotonin than our brain is leading to therapeutic options. There was a drug called Zelnorm which binded to serotonin receptors and seemed promising for drug motility, but was discontinued due to adverse reactions. GABA is another promising area as a recent study showed that GABA has a significant modulatory role over various gut functions.
Chris Kresser LAc of http://chriskresser.com/ and excellent integrative medical podcast which is ranked #40 on ITunes Health) said that his treatment of gut dysfunction in patients with serotonin precursor 5-HTP and GABA has had very good results. So it seems that finding the right neurotransmitters to influence gut motility will be a promising area, while many patients are already beginning to experiment with using natural supplements.
Kefir: The DIY miracle?
I’ve heard from many patients that say goat milk kefir is nothing short of a miracle for their digestion. Many patients have lactose & casein intolerance, and goat milk yogurt & kefir seem to be mostly well-tolerated here. From what I’ve gathered, Kefir has far more beneficial strains of bacteria than yogurt and is also ridiculously cheap because you can use the same starter grains over and over again, making it a ~$30 one-time fixed cost (and often free from Kefir-based support groups online). A ME/CFS patient that has mostly recovered told me a key step to her recovery was drinking literally a quart of Kefir a day. I looked into SCD legal goat milk yogurt, which involves warming up the goat milk to 180F and incubating it for at least 24 hrs in 100-110F to ensure the hard-to-digest proteins are broken down. Here are a few links to check out:
Personally, I’ve yet to find a commercial goat milk that will actually thicken. I haven’t had the balls to drink the liquid-y coagulant that usually results from my efforts with Myenberg brand, so my lucky grass is getting more nutrition than this guy. Not only is my gut sensitive to dairy, it seems every other part of my body is: I’ve actually puked upon smelling cheese and got harassed by my entire pre-school class (teacher included) for hating cheese, so my courage is limited here.
Now I’ve heard some doctors recommend Redwood Hills Farm goat milk, but I got confirmation from the farm owners that they only incubate for 5-8 hours which is SCD illegal so get outta town! How much incubating it 16 more hours cut into their bottom line?? Let’s get a “punk Redwood Hills into submission” lobbying fund going here. Like most people, I long for convenient, affordable alternatives to having to clean up goopy kitchen messes.
Some other promising therapies (based on communication with other patients):
- just about anything you can ferment (sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, beets)
- Peppermint Oil (interesting in light of this study linking CFS with SIBO), slippery elm, DGL, marshmallow root, mag 07
- maf 314: a yogurt form of gcmaf. GcMaf, which in short increases macrophage activity, seemed to be a very overhyped treatment for ME/CFS & lyme disease patients until it was found to also increase inflammation in patients already suffering from too much inflammation. It still shows promise though. I’ve heard from several chronically ill patients that the yogurt has, however, been beneficial for the gut & even normalized gut biomarkers. Unfortunately, this isn’t widely available in the states right now.
- fresh vegetable juicing
Slight more controversial
- coffee enemas
Far more controversial (and a topic that probably deserves its own blog post!)
- fecal transplantation
If you have (or used to have) gut dysfunction anywhere from gut-mediated mood disorders to motility issues, what have you found to be helpful?
For more on possible causes of nervous gut and treating it like wired brain, go to Part 3: Treating Chronically Sensitive Gut Like A Wired Brain
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.