If you have a gut problem, you likely want to learn how to heal your gut. The problem is, there are several things working against you.
- The gut is a complex system with many moving parts
- Mainstream medicine approaches isolate and treat symptoms
- Most people put way too much emphasis on elimination diets and supplements
- It’s going to be a lot more work than you think it is
- It takes time, patience, dedication, & determination
And, unfortunately, the promise of low effort quick fixes is soooooooo appealing.
I recently came upon a great podcast with Lucy Mailing, PhD that’s excellent. In this podcast, she lays out a lot of great information that is immediately actionable to most people. At the very least, it will help people get on the right track in finding the right practitioner to help.
In today’s blog we’ll give a brief synopsis of what she discusses, including her wonderful approach to treating gut issues. Which, to be honest, is pretty much what I see to work best for most people as well.
A practical approach to treating gut issues
One of the best things about this podcast is that she lays out her practical approach on how to heal your gut. The first step in her approach is changing behavior.
How to heal your gut step 1: Changing behavior
Let’s face it, changing our behavior is hard. We establish routines in our life because they’re the path of least resistance or they give us joy.
Lucy comes right out of the gate and says up front that changing behavior is the big mover in iproving gut health. I couldn’t agree more.
There are a number of important things to address here. We have circadian rhythms, meal patterns and timing, increasing activity, managing stress, & prioritizing sleep to name a few.
She also chats a bit about stress and how to properly prepare your gut for meals.
This is the part of this treatment paradigm that I prefer to work in. Whether it ‘s helping people one-on- or developing our programs for people to use on their own. You can check our programs out here.
For some people, lifestyle moves the needle enough to feel great. For others, it leads to improvements that need a little more attention. Regardless, this step is essential, not optional.
Sadly when most people come to me for help, they hand me one or more stool tests that they paid a fortune for. At this point, I learn a lot more from my intake form than I learn from any stool test they’ve done.
And, unfortunately, they’ve already spent hundreds of dollars or more.
How to heal your gut step 2: Test for direction
The next step in her protocol is to test for direction. She’s not really that specific in the podcast on this, but chats about some targets, However, she has a great blog on the different types of tests and which ones she prefers. You can check that out here.
So what are the benefits of testing? Testing gives us direction as to the best approach for the individual. Comprehensive stool testing outlines your microbiome as well as some clinical markers like:
- Short chain fatty acids
- Fecal fat
- Secretory IgA
- and much more
With a good comprehensive test, you can really streamline your approach. You can identify diets that aren’t appropriate for the individual, parasites that require treatment, or potential supplements that can steer gut health in the right direction.
But why would you want to change behavior before testing? Changing behavior changes the test results. The human microbiome evolved with us because a healthy lifestyle for us is a healthy lifestyle for them.
Most people have this completely backwards. They think taking probitoics will make their gut health better. But in reality, a healthy gut brings healthy microbes.
As Dr. Mailing implies throughout, a healthy gut is an environment that brings healthy microbes. In return, the healthy microbes help maintain a healthy gut.
I’m familiar with the GI360 test as I’ve created instructional materials for practitioners on it. But, as mentioned in Dr. Mailing’s blog, there are now other options that give other useful data.
How to heal your gut step 3: Further refinement
The best part about an approach like this is that it saves so much time and leads to continual improvement. So many people spend years in a garbage paradigm where they do elimination diet after elimination diet and kill protocol after kill protocol.
As a result, they’re taking dozens of supplements and still working on a problem that started years ago. Dr. Mailing touches on a lot of the finer details that often go missed. It’s great that she puts an emphasis on hydrogen sulfide, which she discuss often.
With the popularity of higher meat diets, there’s an avalanche of people testing out diets that may not be appropriate for them. High sulfate-reducing bacteria indicate that a diet high in animal protein may not be best for you.
With testing, you can avoid wasting time trying to make a diet work for you that simply won’t. But that doesn’t mean further refinement isn’t necessary. A small number of people may need to retest and make adjustments from there.
Other nuggets that will help you learn how to heal your gut
Dr. Mailing and the host, Dr. Adam Rinde, chat a lot about how the gut works. Both are great, and Dr. Rinde is an excellent host.
- The basics of how the gut barrier works
- An easy to understand discussion on the gut immune system
- Factors that increase or decrease intestinal permeability (Leaky gut)
- Why things like gluten don’t universally cause leaky gut
- What happens when things go bad (Autoimmunity, food intolerance, etc.)
If you are interested in gut health and want an easy to understand podcast filled with an excellent gut health paradigm and good tips on improving your gut health, this one’s for you. They also talk about things that protect and damage the intestinal barrier. Check it out:
This is probably the best podcast on intestinal permeability for the layperson, and I can’t recommend it enough!!!