Leaky: Bone Broth for Leaky Gut and Leaky Brain
There are many ways to react to a diagnosis as big as ALS. Having a decent sense of self-efficacy, I chose to find ways to intervene in the disease process. Re-watching a TED Talk by Dr. Terry Wahls reminded me how important diet can be to health and healing so this is where I began.
I started by eating the Wahl’s Way as described in her book Minding My Mitochondria, which, at it’s simplest, involves 3 cups of greens, 3 cups of colorful fruits/veggies and 3 cups of sulphur veggies daily. Then, not satisfied that I was doing all that my body might need, I moved to the Gerson Method, which is naturally high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, micro-nutrients, and extremely low in sodium, fats, and proteins. In essence, it involves 13 fruit/veggie juices per day, soup and baked potatoes, but it is cancer focused so I eventually decided there were limits to it’s value to my neurodegenerative-self.
Along the way I learned about leaky gut and leaky brain. As described by Dr. Andrew Weil,
Leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream.
While I did not think of myself as someone with a lot of stomach complaints, I was realizing that I had issues with milk, which I had been consuming my entire life. Could this constant exposure to an irritant have disrupted my stomach lining homeostasis? I had also spent many years as a junk food junky with a penchant for sweets. Did I have an imbalance of sugar loving yeasts in my gut that was contributing to leakiness? There is also a growing body of evidence pointing to the harmfulness of GMOs to our bodies and gut with this one on pig stomach lining disruption by a GMO diet being the most recent. And if I did have a leaky gut, what nutrients weren’t being absorbed or metabolized and what molecules were crossing into my wider system that should have been kept out?
Food sensitivities and Leaky Gut Syndrome lead to systemic inflammation. Once the entire body reacts and enters a state of inflammatory response, a multitude of additional symptoms may be observed…
…inflammation due to pro-inflammatory cytokines attracts molecules which have receptors on the blood-brain barrier. Slowly, these molecules end up in the brain compartment and cause destruction of nerve cells. This entire process starts in the gut and results in a neuroimmune disorder including autoimmunity to the brain.
I certainly have a history of inflammatory issues spanning the entirety of my life. I had stomach issues as a baby, eczema during childhood that resolved and returned in adulthood, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and more. Could I have been challenging my gut and brain barriers my whole life? Could healing those barriers stem the tide of inflammation and give my body a chance to heal? I was willing to do the work to find out.
Enter bone broth.
Bone broth is so full of minerals and nutrients as to support a number health issues including healing the gut. The nourished kitchen website writes:
Bone broths are a good source of amino acids – particularly arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the bodies detoxification process and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other naturally-occurring chemicals within the body. Glycine also supports digestion and the secretion of gastric acids. Proline, especially when paired with vitamin C, supports good skin health. Bone broths are also rich in gelatin which improves collagen status, thus supporting skin health. Gelatin also support digestive health which is why it plays a critical role in the GAPS diet. And, lastly, if you’ve ever wondering why chicken soup is good for a cold, there’s science behind that, too. Chicken stock inhibits neutrophil migration; that is, it helps mitigate the side effects of colds, flus and upper respiratory infections.
So, if you have issues with inflammation, leaky gut and leaky brain, consider learning to make and drink bone broth on a regular basis.