Ugh I’ve done it again! Over the last two months my stomach has become increasingly hostile. It all started with severe bloating after meals, which I’m pretty sure came from gluten contamination dinning out one evening. I knew something was totally out of wack with my system, but I decided to ride it out and see how my system would recover on its own. Hmm ….well I should know better then that by now, but I’m kind of hard headed at times. Needless to say the opposite of recovery transpired over the following weeks and my stomach went from bad to worse. The post meal bloat was nothing compared to the abdominal pain and chronic constipation I’m now experiencing along with it.
P.S. I hope you're all comfortable talking/reading about elimination habits because as a girl with stomach issues it will surely be a recurring topic on the blog.
So, yea I did it again. The signs were all there and I blatantly ignored them. I really have no one else to blame but myself for the sad state of affairs that my stomach is in. There are some upsides to my debacle …..
1) It will take time, but I can fix this. A little reset is always good, but next time I should do it preventively versus being reactionary. Pretty much a good motto to go by with everything in life.
2) My stomach woes and hard headedness make for a great lesson on healthy mucosa. What the hell is mucosa? Don’t worry I’m getting to that. Basically, it gave me the inspiration for this week's post.
3) My trip to the local vitamin pusher has lead me to discover a new (not actually new, but new to me) product to aid in my recovery.
What the Hell is mucosa????
Mucosa membranes line your digestive, respiratory, and reproductive tracts and are the primary barrier between the external world and the interior of the body. It plays a HUGE role in our health, but for today we are focusing in on how exactly it plays a role in our digestion. The inner surface of the stomach is lined by a mucous membrane known as the gastric mucosa. This membrane is a crazy important protective barrier.
"The intestinal mucosal barrier is said to be the body’s second skin. From the mouth to the anus, there is a mucosal barrier, which serves as the first line of defense against pathogens. The mucosal barrier also shows the body how to deal with food antigens, which may cause allergies and sensitivities(Metabolilchealing.com).”
Another important feature of the mucosa are the tiny fingerlike projections called microvilli. The villi play an important role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients and vitamins by enlarging the absorbing surface by approximately 25 times.
3 major causes of mucosa damage
1) Food Allergies & Sensitivities .....If you do have celiacs then you probably understand that eating gluten literally flattens out the villi and destroys it. Other food sensitivities will cause a heightened immune response within the body that can ultimately lead to damage of the mucosa.
2)Toxins & Heavy Metals.... Exposure to heavy metals is no Bueno!
3) Inadequate Diet....Good fats come into play once again! Diets that lack tissue building protein, fats and fat soluble nutrients can contribute to the breakdown of intestinal function.
For someone such as myself, who suffers from celiacs, eating a gluten contaminated meal is a quick way of f*cking shit up in my intestinal environment. If you have caused major havoc in your intestinal tract then you need to restore and repair. You can take all the probiotics in the world to try and help your intestinal discomfort but they won’t do shit if the environment you are putting them is in total disarray.
"Even if you recommend the best probiotics in the world, theres’ no way for them to stick and colonize if the glycocalyx is eroded," Dr. Skilton explained. "You can actually exaggerate the GI symptoms by giving probiotics, if the there's loss of ability to produce glycocalyx (HolisticPrimaryCare)."
So before you go dropping a ton of cash on and expensive probiotic you may want to slow your roll and focus on Repairing your Mucosa first.
Enter the wonderful amino acid L- Glutamine
L -Glutamine plays a major role in our health. It is one of the 20 amino acids necessary for the health of our bodies and brains. It is a non-essential meaning our bodies can make it from other amino acids, at the same time it is considered conditionally essential specifically for muscle recovery, immune function and gastrointestinal health. L-Glutamine is an anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine acts as a great protector of your cells by coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants. (NutritionCPR)
Glutamine is the most important nutrient that you can give to your body to support the repair of the intestinal lining. It is the preferred fuel and nitrogen source for the small intestine. Studies have shown that glutamine supports the regeneration and repair of the intestinal epithelia. I know, I know keep throwing all these weird words at you. Epithelium are the cellular building blocks of the villi. New epithelium is generated every 3-6 days. Therefore, providing proper nourishment to the cells of the small intestine is essential when healing the lining of the gut. Feeding your gut L-Glutamine = the restoration of any villi that has been destroyed (Body Ecology).
To sum that all up L-Glutamine is a fatty acid that can actually be made by our own bodies. It is absolutely essential for our over all health. In addition to cell protection, this kickass amino plays a huge role in gut health and repair. Oh and it gets even more bonus points for being an anti-inflammatory. I always love a good anti-inflammatory!
Here Are The Other Ways L-Glutamine Kicks Ass
Increases athletic performance and increases recovery time
Increases muscle growth
Improves tissue healing
Improves mental focus and concentration
Improves cellular detoxification and metabolism
Reduces toxicity from chemotherapy
Improves blood sugar
So, yea basically this non-essential fatty acid kicks ass and seems pretty damn essential to me!
So How Much Do You Take?
Here is a a great protocol that I found on SCDLifestyle that safely introduces a higher dosage of L-Glutamine over a two week period.
The dosage you are trying to build up to is 10g to 40g a day. I’ve even done protocols, and seen others do them, of up to 100g a day.
But the sweet spot for really solid results seems to be around 20g to 40g a day.
And the way to do this is to slowly work your way up to these ranges – always pausing or stopping if you notice any negative reactions.
Taken from the SCDlifestyle.com
So back to me and my current scenario of stomach disarray and how the hell I plan on fixing it ….
I headed to my local health food store this week to pick up some items, mainly L-Gluatmine and Saccharmoyces boulardi (I can’t wait to teach you babes all about this super yeast), to support and restore my intestinal lining. Well, my quest lead me into a conversation with the owner of the store, who recommended a great intestinal support product by Renew Life called, IntestiNew.
This powder has an all-star line up of gut health nutrients. Let’s meet our key players...
L-Glutamine : No brainer. We have established this amino as key nutrient for the repair of your intestinal lining
NAG: Best known for supporting the body’s creation of a healthy mucus layer in the gut. This normal mucus layer protects our cells from damage by enzymes, acids, bacterial toxins, and more.
Gamma Oryzanol: Basically studies have Gamma supplementation can help elevate bloating and gas
Cranesbill Root (geranium root): I love this purple flower and the root of this plant is used in herbal medicine to treat all sorts of digestive alignments from
(IBS), to diarrhea ,to ulcers, and colitis.
Ginger Root: I think most of us know this by now but I will say it anyway. Ginger is a killer digestive aid that helps to settle and upset stomach.
Marigold Extract: Not just another pretty flower. It Helps in soothing the symptoms of IBS, gastritis, acid reflux, and ulcers
Marshmallow Root: This slimy herb soothes and coats the stomach lining and benefits people suffering from certain digestive and intestinal problems like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, indigestion, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, bloating, flatulence and Crohn’s disease.
IntestiNew comes in both pill and powder form. I get that some people hate powders but I’m a huge proponent of powders of pills. I have found that most products that off both options tend to deliver a more potent dosage in the powder form. In the case of this product the powder is way more bang for your buck.
I'm following the L-Glutamine protocol using Intestinew for a the next month. Once I am finished with the protocol I will add a strong probiotic into my daily supplement routine. Remember if you have damage to your intestinal lining a probiotic can only do so much without a healthy environment to flourish in. If your experiencing digestive woes think about adding an L-Glutasmine supplement into your own routine.