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      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

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      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

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    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

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Leaky Gut in Multiple Sclerosis

Filed in Human Microbiome, Inflammation, Leaky Gut, Multiple Sclerosis | Posted by Brenda Watson on 10/03/2014

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that involves an immune system attack of the protective sheath (myelin sheath) that covers nerves. This destruction has a damaging effect on the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The disease process varies widely per person, ranging from symptoms of weakness, tingling, numbness, blurred vision, muscle stiffness, and difficult thinking to, in some cases, loss of the ability to walk.

Scientists are not entirely sure how MS develops, but a recent study may help explain the early disease process. Published in the Public Library of Sciences ONE journal, researchers from Lund University in Sweden discovered that inflammation and changes in intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut syndrome) occur early in the disease.

“Our studies indicate a leaky gut and increased inflammation in the intestinal mucous membrane and related lymphoid tissue before clinical symptoms of MS are discernible,” noted Shahram Lavasani, PhD, one of the researchers. “It also appears that inflammation increases as the disease develops.”

Previously Dr. Lavasani’s team showed that probiotic bacteria were protective against MS, which is what prompted them to take a closer look at the function of the intestinal lining. They found increases in inflammatory immune cells common in people with inflammatory bowel disease, another autoimmune condition.

“In most cases, we don’t know what triggers autoimmune diseases, but we know that pathogenic cells frequent and disrupt the intestines,” stated Lavasani. “A leaky gut enables harmful bacteria and toxic substances in the body to enter the intestine, which creases even more inflammation. Our findings provide support for the idea that a damaged intestinal barrier can prevent the body ending an autoimmune reaction in the normal manner, leading to a chronic disease such as MS.”

Exactly! This process, which begins with gut bacteria imbalance that triggers inflammation and leads to leaky gut, opening the doorway for inflammation to enter systemic circulation and reach any area of the body, is a central theme of the gut connection, a topic that I have been educating about for years. It’s why I strongly stress the importance of beginning any health journey by optimizing digestive health. It all begins with gut balance and healing the intestinal lining. This study is a great example of a process that occurs in countless chronic diseases.

As I always say, balance your gut, heal your body.