Supporting Gut Health and Immunity to Help Resolve Chronic Illness

Address gut issues such as leaky gut, uncomfortable symptoms, functionality, dysbiosis, and the gut's connection to immunity

Written by: Ellen Donaldson

Love Your Gut

This is the second in a series of posts about healing from chronic illness. There’s so much information to share, and I want to give you resources, ideas, suggestions, knowledge and empowering information to do the work of healing. I’m honored to partner with my clients as they heal. Once again, I’ll remind you of my mantra, healing from chronic illness is always about ‘Magnets and More’. It’s important to bear in mind that healing is rarely a magic bullet – or magnet!

Remember, take things a step at a time, what feels most right to you to start with now? Do that. Then, as you begin to feel like you’ve got your first step integrated, choose the next one.

The point is, start. Do something. And know that each step you take is progressive, healing, holistic and balancing.

Bad Guts? No Glory!

Are you aware that a dysfunctional gut impedes your ability to heal from chronic illness? Read on for an understanding of how important gut health is to our overall well-being as well as actionable suggestions for restoring a healthy, well functioning gut.

From the tip of the tongue to our daily elimination, the digestive system processes food and eliminates waste. Food is fuel for the body, and like a car, a certain quality of fuel enables optimal functioning. Ideally, the gut transforms and absorbs nutrients from food and water, which provides physical strength, cellular energy, tissue repair and regeneration. But that’s not all!

Within the gut, there are tissues known as GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue), and Peyer’s Patches that keep intestinal flora at appropriate levels and pathogens at bay. On a daily basis they prevent a large number of infections from manifesting in the body. Booyah. We owe a lot to our gut for keeping us healthy.  

However, gut dysfunction can occur with a combination of poor diet, toxin overload, chronic stress, or dysbiosis (an imbalance in the microbial flora in the gut). Secondary problems such as constipation, SIBO, nutritional deficiencies, yeast and fungal overgrowth, brain fog, mood disorders, and leaky gut are common. Beyond that, when the gut is compromised for a long period of time, chronic infections like Lyme and autoimmune diseases are much more likely to anchor in and flourish.

What is Leaky Gut, Anyway?

Leaky gut occurs when the tight junctions of the small intestine’s mucosal membrane get disrupted. When this happens, the body loses the ability to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.

How is leaky gut caused? Food irritants, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, environmental toxins, and prolonged stress can cause the tight junctions to open up. The “bad stuff” then passes into the bloodstream where inflammatory cytokines, the body’s appropriate response to infection, increase inflammation to support healing. Persistent inflammation, however, doesn’t allow the immune system to move into its clean up and regulation phase, leading to a vicious cycle of inflammation, pathogenic overgrowth and weakened immunity. 

Leaky gut is a big deal; healing it is essential to recovering wellbeing.

How Can A Healthy Gut Be Restored?

Magnetic pair therapy is a key component of Lyme treatment.  Successful, long-lasting results are achieved as clients change their diet, cleanse their gut, detox their bodies to support a faster return to health. [See my blog on Cleansing and Detox Practices for strategies.]

While the solutions I’m suggesting below are tied directly to restoring gut health, they have powerful ancillary benefits beyond the gut, including boosting immunity and  improving overall digestive functionality, energy levels, vitality and wellbeing. 

Treating symptoms as you heal your gut

When the gut is compromised, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, indigestion, gas/bloating, nausea and stomach pains are common experiences. Been there? You know that these issues are extremely uncomfortable, and often have a major impact on moving freely through your days. 

These symptoms often resolve as the underlying issues causing the symptoms are addressed. For in-the-moment relief, there are many holistic options. When addressing constipation, or gas and bloating, these are the solutions I most frequently recommend:

  • For constipation, consider colon hydrotherapy, hydration with saturated salt solution, and/or a Mag07 cleanse.
  • When gas/bloating is the issue, taking digestive enzymes can relieve symptoms, as well as adjusting your diet to include more liquid foods, thereby reducing the amount of solid food consumed. Colon hydrotherapy is another great support for reducing gas and bloating. 

Uplevel nutrition and digestibility

No matter your food philosophy, it’s essential to bring nutrition and digestibility to the foreground. Here are my most common and effective suggestions:

  • Eliminate irritants – sugar, alcohol, processed foods, individual food allergens, potentially gluten and dairy.
  • Eat as cleanly as possible – organic, Non-GMO, simple whole foods, Avoid processed, packaged foods and choose meats that are not treated with antibiotics/hormones.
  • Drink filtered water or spring water – consider a Berkey Water Filter. Avoid tap water. Beware of misleading labels on bottled water. My favorite brand is Fiji. 
  • Consume easily digestible meals – practice food combining (grains & vegetables work well together, meats and vegetables are also great. Grains and meat are less compatible as both are harder to digest, and therefore use too much energy), build alkalinity, add liquid foods like soups and stews, utilize digestive enzymes, and consider intermittent fasting.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods – juicing, bone broth, veggie-centric, some raw and fermented foods as tolerated, be judicious about consuming complex carbs.
  • Assist digestion with enzymes

Bowel movements win the day

Healthy elimination is considered to be a minimum of one large bowel movement daily. It releases food stagnation, excess mucus and inflammation, and promotes peristalsis. In other words, get pooping! Colonics and enemas are very useful to speed the removal of waste, and to  exercise and retrain the muscles of the large intestine to function more effectively.

Correct dysbiosis and eliminate gut-based infection

Yeast overgrowth, parasites, biofilm and SIBO are all indicators of dysbiosis and more sources of inflammation in the gut. 

It’s important to clear infection and resolve dysbiosis. Solutions include magnets, antimicrobial foods and herbs, supplements, and accelerating waste removal with colon cleansing and binders. Because each case is unique, I don’t make specific recommendations without working directly with the client.

Address malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies

How’s your stress level? Chronic stress can deplete nutrient stores, weaken the body’s tissues and organ function, including the liver – your body’s largest detox organ, and can amplify adverse reactions to foods, drugs/herbs/supplements.

Before you try to supplement your way out of stress, take a look at your lifestyle. A serious look. If you need help figuring out how to reduce stress, let’s talk about it. 

As you take appropriate actions with your lifestyle, have your doctor test for vitamin and mineral levels so that you can add appropriate supplementation.

Healing the Gut Supports Your Entire Being

The strategies introduced here are interconnected. The Starleaf Wellness mantra, ‘Magnets and More’ refers to a multi-faceted approach to healing, evolution, and a return to wellness. 

As I’ve stated before, you don’t have to tackle all of this today. And, you do need to prepare to look at multiple factors to support your body’s return to balance. 

A healthy gut isn’t the sexiest thing to contemplate, but it’s really hot when it fuels your health and wellness!

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