Have you ever noticed that as you age, more and more foods just don’t agree with you? It’s a very common problem. Dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten, corn, and soy are the usual suspects.
And poor reactions to these foods can really affect your quality of life. They can limit your menu options. They can cause digestive distress. And they can cause your doctor to diagnose you with – and treat you for – a chronic condition you don’t have.
If you’ve received a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or even celiac disease, you need to keep reading. Your digestive woes might be treatable – and you don’t have to avoid your favorite foods for the rest of your life either….
When patients come to me complaining about digestive problems, such as heartburn, gas, bloating, or stomach cramps, I usually start by trying to pinpoint a food sensitivity. If you have a sensitivity, your symptoms usually go away within five days if you stop eating the food. A good way to check if you have food sensitivities is as follows. For one week limit your foods to foods that you never eat more than once a week. Any symptoms due to food sensitivity will usually be dramatically better if that is the problem.
Many people have an all-or-nothing mindset about foods they’re sensitive to. And they think that they can’t bear to give up cheese or bread for the rest of their lives. So they continue to eat these foods and just live with the consequences.
But There’s a Better Way
In most cases, you can get rid of the food sensitivity simply by avoiding the food completely for just three months. That gives your digestive and immune systems enough time to rest and reset. Yes, it can be hard to avoid a favorite food for that long. But it’s better than worrying about it for the rest of your life.
What happens if you reintroduce a food and still have issues, though? First, please note that there’s a big difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy. An abnormal immune system response causes food allergies. While there are ways to treat many of them, some allergies are quite severe and will never go away. These severe allergies can even be life threatening – the most common being a peanut allergy. Of course, no one with a true food allergy should ever try reintroducing such a food to their diet, except under the careful supervision of their doctor.
Another difference between food allergies and sensitivities is the reaction. Most allergies will produce an immune response, which is evident in the sinuses, eyes, throat, and/or lungs. Food sensitivities typically will affect the digestive tract.
However, when your problem isn’t a food sensitivity or an allergy, then the elimination solution may not work. And if eliminating offending foods for a time doesn’t clear up your digestive problems, it’s possible you have a serious health issue. At least, that’s what your doctor will tell you. Many doctors will tell patients who don’t respond to treatment that they have colitis, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or even Crohn’s disease.
The True Cause of Many Cases
While this is true in a few cases, far too many doctors jump to these diagnoses without considering another extremely common cause of discomfort: a yeast infection called Candida albicans. Symptoms of a candida overgrowth include changes in your stool, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, bloating, gas, and stomach or intestinal cramps. And sufferers find they can’t eat certain foods.
These symptoms are similar to symptoms of colitis, IBS, celiac, and Crohn’s disease, so it’s easy to understand why doctors would misdiagnose it. This is particularly true for people who seem to have issues with gluten.
Most people will tell you that celiac disease occurs when your immune system overreacts to the protein gluten. This overreaction can result in all kinds of bowel symptoms. These can include diarrhea, constipation, cramps, and indigestion. But it also can cause autoimmune thyroid disease, rashes, seizures, neuropathy, and depression.
For most people, the “cure” is simple. Just avoid wheat, barley, and rye, the most common sources of gluten. But that’s not really a cure. So we need to keep asking the question “Why?”
Why does someone who has never before reacted to gluten suddenly start reacting? That’s the real question. There has to be something that triggered it.
In my practice, I’ve noticed six different causes of celiac disease (or any other disease for that matter). These include a poor diet, hormone imbalance, toxicity, infection, stress, and a lack of aerobic fitness. Sometimes all six are at work.
One of the most common causes I have found might surprise you. Most patients who developed “celiac disease” did so after repeated exposure to antibiotics. The antibiotics create an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. And this imbalance often leads to a chronic intestinal infection from candida.
I have been able to really cure many patients of celiac disease and other digestive woes simply by treating their intestinal candida infections. And what I’ve found now has some scientific backing. So it’s almost official!
The Evidence Is Powerful
Back in 2003, researchers in the Netherlands published a paper with the provocative title, “Is Candida albicans a trigger in the onset of celiac disease?” The researchers believe that it is. They analyzed a particular protein that candida makes called C. albicans-hyphal wall protein 1 (HWP1).
HWP1 is a protein that candida uses to help it adhere to the intestinal lining. Without HWP1, your body would sweep the poor little candida away in the bowel movement.
The researchers then discovered something very interesting. They noticed that HWP1 is virtually identical in its chemical makeup to the protein gliadin, which is in gluten. Here’s why that’s a problem.
When someone’s intestinal lining becomes overgrown with candida, for example after a course of antibiotics, the immune system T-cells start attacking the candida. And, in this process, they also start attacking the protein HWP1. But since HWP1 is identical to gliadin, the same immune cells end up also attacking gliadin. This is what sets up the inflammatory reaction that happens every time that person eats something with gluten in it.
According to the researchers’ findings, the origins of gluten sensitivity and hence celiac disease may very likely come from an initial infection with candida.
Is This the Cure?
Whenever a patient sees me with any auto-immune disease, no matter what it is, I always immediately put them on a detoxification program. It’s absolutely amazing how often a cure will result. And now we have a better idea why that happens.
I use this program to treat many patients who have unexplained digestive issues. It is a bit intense. But it’s quick. And it’s a great way to rule out – or eliminate – a candida infection. If it doesn’t work, you may need to explore other diagnoses, such as Crohn’s. But I think a lot of people are walking around thinking they have a chronic condition when they actually have a foreign invader they can eliminate.
Some alternative-minded doctors offer solutions like garlic and caprylic acid. These can work. But they take months. I’ve found a faster way to kill the yeast. In fact, my program can eliminate the infection in two weeks. Then you’ll need to spend some time improving your gut health so the infection doesn’t recur. But that’s a lot easier than spending the rest of your life “managing” a disease you don’t actually have!
The first step is to eliminate all carbohydrates. And I mean literally no starches, sugars, grains, beans, or fruits for the first two weeks. This is tough at first. But you’ll eventually get used to it. And since it’s for only two weeks, most patients can make it.
The second step is to take a prescription antifungal. My favorite is a medication called terbinafine. I recommend terbinafine because I have found that candida has become resistant to the other antifungals.
When you look up the side effect profile of terbinafine, you will find that it can be toxic to the liver. But, this only happens when people use the drug for months on end. When you use it for only a three-week period, there’s no negative effect on the liver, and it’s well tolerated. I have been using this approach for two decades. Most doctors will gladly give you a prescription for terbinafine. The dose is 250 mg once a day for three weeks.
Your final step is to re-promote normal bacteria that will permanently hold the yeast in check. I give people a high-quality, multi-strain lactobacillus supplement. One of my favorites is the Advanced Probiotic Formula offered by Advanced Bionutritionals.
In addition, I tell people to take the capsule form of saccaromyces boulardii, a beneficial yeast. Take four capsules twice a day for six weeks. This three-step program is so effective that any symptoms should completely clear up within two weeks.
Prevention Is Better Than a Cure
Of course, one thing that’s better than curing chronic gastric distress is keeping it from ever happening. And there’s one preventative that works against all the issues I’ve discussed: regular ingestion of coconut oil.
Coconut oil? You may have heard that “tropical oils” are bad for your health because they contain triglycerides.
Well, the truth is that coconut oil contains something called medium-chain triglycerides. These aren’t the same as other triglycerides, which are long-chain fatty acids.
Study after study has proven the health benefits of the medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil.
For example, coconut oil has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. It kills both Candida albicans and Helicobacter pylori. Coconut oil also contributes to healing of the stomach lining.
Worried that your heart may suffer for your stomach’s good? Don’t be. Medium-chain triglycerides lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. And they have no negative impact on cholesterol levels.
In addition to taking some coconut oil, do your best to avoid sugars, junk food, processed foods, GMO foods, and steroids and antibiotics. All of these cause an overgrowth of candida.
So, if you don’t already suffer from stomach trouble, now you know a simple and safe way to prevent it.
But if it’s too late for prevention, there’s still no need to suffer with chronic gastric distress. Relief can be simple, inexpensive, and permanent. You just have to know how to find and treat its root causes.