Diabetes and The Health of the Intestinal Tract
Healing the Gut and its microbiome is the 5th Essential of the Low Carb Diabetes Association.
The intestinal “microbiome” is the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and archea organisms; but, mostly, it’s many different forms of bacteria that by far make up most of the species. A healthy microbiome means there is a great deal of diversity in the organisms and plenty of the ones considered by science to be beneficial to a healthy gut. There are around 300-‐1000 different species and trillions of bacteria in our gut; gut microorganisms make up 60% of dry fecal weight.
Beneficial intestinal bacteria do many things: they help with nutrient breakdown and absorption, can turn food into usable nutrients, produce some nutrients—like Vitamin K, B vitamins, Biotin—on their own, ferment indigestible fibers into short chain fatty acids that feed the lining of the colon. They breakdown and help excrete dietary toxins and carcinogens, prevent the growth of harmful species, and they are associated with helping the rest of the body, as well. A healthy microbiome means a person has a better immune system, less risk of developing an auto-‐immune disease, reduced inflammation, are more insulin sensitive, and perhaps can be happier with less depression and anxiety, since studies do show a “brain-‐gut” connection.
Certain beneficial bacteria are probably familiar to many: Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacteria species, Sacromycces boulardii, as those are commonly in probiotic products. However, the most common phyla in the human gut are Firmicutes, Bacteriodetes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria. Did you know that babies that are breast fed have healthier and different gut organisms than those fed by a bottle, one of many good reasons to strive for breast feeding for at least six months, if possible.
Another concern of the intestine is the problem of intestinal permeability, also known as, “leaky gut.” The epithelial lining of the small intestine, aside from being designed to absorb nutrients along its twenty-‐foot length, has many other actions. The epithelium is supposed to easily discriminate between pathogenic and non-‐pathogenic microorganisms. It contains a rich layer of mucous that contains the largest immune system in the human body. Between small intestine cells are “tight junctions,” spaces that are tightly regulated, with protein gatekeepers that monitor and guard what is allowed through them.
When the small intestine has been exposed to noxious materials for a while, the mucous layer can be decreased, inflammation can set in, and the immune system regulation can become faulty. These may have noxious effect on the intestinal tract: antibiotics, NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription drugs), excess alcohol, other medications, GMO foods, poor diet (refined sugar, refined grains, lack of produce, lack of fiber, over-‐eating, food additives/preservatives). As a result, people may develop food sensitivities, inflammatory conditions, and due to disarray in the tight junctions, bacteria, endotoxins, food antigens might be able to sneak through and cause systemic problems.
A leaky gut is associated with people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and it seems that occurs before the diagnosis. Scientific theories consider that the entrance of food antigens into the systemic body through the tight junctions may cause an auto-‐immune reaction against the beta cells in the pancreas.
Certain foods, such as gluten and dairy, are most associated with that. Once a person is a Type 1 diabetic, healing the gut will not cure the condition, but it may help prevent other auto-‐immune conditions from developing as well.
Celiac Disease is highly associated with Type 1 diabetes (as is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). It was shown that when a child with Celiac disease was diagnosed and gluten was removed, there was essential a zero risk of that child developing Type 1 diabetes. That’s remarkable. The LCDA advocates for all pediatric patients to be tested for Celiac disease by two years old.
Enteroviruses, or viruses found in the small intestine, have also been linked to the development of beta-‐ cell auto-‐immunity.
If the gut is increasing inflammatory markers, and those enter into the body, they are associated with causing insulin resistance and are a leading factor for the development of T2DM. It seems science is also starting to show that gut bacterial populations can either promote or reduce systemic insulin resistance.
What if the best treatment for diabetes hurts the integrity of the gut? Did you know that eating a grain-‐ free low carb diet can be detrimental to your gut microbiome? The lack of grain fiber has been shown to change the gut microbiome into an unhealthy state. So, what does a diabetic patient on a low carb diet do?
The LCDA will go over many ways of increasing the health of the intestinal lining and the microbiome. The LCDA will offer information on probiotics, the value of fiber powder, eating fermented foods (teaching how to make those at home), and avoiding antibiotics and NSAIDs. The LCDA will teach how a medical practitioner specializing in integrative care can treat common infections safely and successfully without using antibiotics. There are also supplements used to heal a leaky gut and ways to test for IgG food sensitivities, to see if avoiding some foods make sense for an individual.
Please JOIN the LCDA so you can learn more about the intestines and how to help them grow healthier. For all people and all patients with diabetes, this is vital Essential.
The “Perfect Storm” for Type 1 Diabetes