|EHP Sept 2013 (Modified)
The Environment Within: Exploring the Role of the Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease
Step #5. Exercise low-moderate intensity one hour daily continuously (10,000 steps) to move the gut/peristalsis and overcome broken myenteric musculo-neuro junctions
1. Fermented veggies made the ancient way with organic dirt-covered vegetables, ex. kraut, kvass, kim chee, kefir, etc. Read Sandor Katz.
2. Ancient heirloom potatoes, tubers, roots that are low glycemic index (or high if good insulin sensitivity) and ancient heirloom grains, legumes, lentils/dal that are low glycemic index (or high if good insulin sensitivity), prepared the ancient way (soaked, fermented, etc)
3. Soil-based probiotic 1-2 daily if not severely immune compromised (Bacillus licheniformis, Clostridium butyricum, etc)
4. Two versions of ‘bionic fiber’ to heal the gut…
VERSION A: Green banana flour 1-3 Tbs + Raw PS (potato starch) + high ORAC green powder in 2 cups water
Guest Post: Tim Steele (aka Tatertot)
While Grace is off touring Europe and no doubt eating some very good food [JUST RETURNED, FOOD AND FERMENTED DISHES ALL AWESOME] , I figured I’d get a jump on steps 5 and 6 so she would have something to do between unpacking her suitcase and rounding up the kids and kittens.
Step #5: WALK
Now, where have we heard that before. Sounds a lot like the Primal Blueprint! If anyone here doesn’t know who Mark Sisson and Grok are, now is the time to meet them. Mark Sisson came up with his Primal Blueprint as a way for the average person to implement a paleo diet in a personalized way that works for anyone from beginner to elite athlete. One of the first things you will learn when you start reading the Primal Blueprint is that you don’t need to kill yourself running mile after mile. Walking steadily at a slow pace is the much preferred route to health and happiness.
Grace says to walk 10,000 steps and then recommends you do it in an hour . . . hmmmmm. I think her pedometer was broken that day or she was buzzing on lattes, because 10,000 steps is 5 miles by most accounts! But that’s OK, we’ll give her that one! The takeaway is that you need to get up and get moving. Walk as much as you can. Don’t have an hour to spare, take four 15 minute walks, three 20 minute walks, heck–take 10 six-minute walks! Just get walking. Walking is a great way to keep your intestines limber and healthy. If you have a sedentary desk job, it’s even more important that you get up during the day and WALK. Tell your boss you took up smoking, then follow the smokers to the smoke shack and do laps around the parking lot while they shorten their lives.
According to this article, “As far back as the late 1950s, a study found that people with sedentary jobs (bus drivers) were twice as likely as those with active jobs (mailmen) to develop cardiovascular disease. More recently, extended daily TV watching and time on the computer-which, like desk jobs, involve long periods of time sitting still-have been linked to a greater risk of metabolic syndrome, a constellation of health problems that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.”
Here is a great website for all things walking related if you need some motivation to get started, but seriously, just walk. Get some comfortable shoes and walk. If you are a busy mom chasing kids or a factory worker who is on your feet all day, you probably have the walking part covered, but still, a nice leisurely stroll can be very relaxing and a great way to get outside.
Wasn’t that easy!
GRACE: Are you wondering what is peristalsis and myenteric musculo-neuro junctions? Let me expand….
AWESOME Tim~!! I think you are a MASTER ENGINEER for gut health. Thank you for all that you do.
10,000 steps isn’t that far is it??! For the geeks out there, check out the iPhone/Android app Moves, Activity Tracker for UDS$1.99 (Hat tip: W).
There are two main ways that food and mucus material in the small intestines move along the gut (1) peristalsis and (2) MMC, myenteric migrating complex. Peristalsis is the weak, wiggly movement propagated by the smooth muscle lining the intestinal tract. The myenteric migrating complex on the other hand is powerful and strong, starting from the stomach and vibrating like a heart beat or pacemaker through the small intestines in pulses throughout the day every 90 to 120 minutes. These are known as ‘housekeeping waves’. It is also described as ‘a band of neural excitation that travels slowly across the stomach and intestines.’ The movement quickly shuttles along the contents, mucous, bacteria and fungi out of the small intestines to the large intestines when we are fasting and through out the day. Usually the MMC rhythmic contractions are painless and unnoticed, but for those with IBS or other bowel inflammation, sometimes these are uncomfortable or painful.
The presence of food actually temporarily decreases the MMC propulsive action because the gut needs to slow down for food to be thoroughly digested and absorbed in the small intestine, no? So it is no wonder that high-bolus insulin doses (which mimic eating) will stop the MMC. Guess what subgroup has poor functioning guts, SIBO and MMC? Type 2 diabetes and obese individuals where the MMC is less functional secondary to high insulin levels. Additionally when the BG (blood glucoses) have been pathologically elevated for decades, damage to the nerves that regulate the small intestines can happen and this is known as autonomic neuropathy. The result is abnormal peristalsis, spontaneous contractions, and reduced tightness of the sphincters which grip and prevent intestinal contents from escaping to places they shouldn’t (like backward in heartburn/stomach contents or with feces). Part of the charm of exercise is that all of these gut motility issues can be improved or even reversed with routine, regular exercise which improves insulin sensitivity, strengthens smooth muscle, improves the pacemakers of all of organs and calms the nervous system that regulates every organ.
Did you know our small intestines are innervated by 100 million neurons, as many as the spinal cord (Gershon ‘The Second Brain‘)? Therefore innervations to the small intestines can become ‘broken’ from various conditions which will lead to higher degrees of small intestinal bacterial/fungal overgrowth (aka SIBO/SIFO — hat tip Keith Bell). Additionally hormone changes and structural tissue damage may also ‘break’ the sweeping motions that naturally occur in the small intestines leading to pseudoobstructions and SIBO (see HERE for complete list including hypothyroidism, diabetes, autoimmune diseases (celiac), viral damage (CMV, Epstein Barr, herpes zoster), drugs (verapamil, diltiazem)).
Exercise may not entirely erase damage to our second brain in the our guts but it can potently improve inflammation at the intestinal level and condition and strengthen the smooth muscle that control the contractions of the gut (peristalsis, MMC).
When I had CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and nearly bed-bound, I couldn’t walk a block, let alone 5 miles. If you haven’t the capability to walk or jog far, start low and go slow. Consider starting with hydrotherapy or swimming (no gravity) gently at first for only 10 minutes daily and gradually build to tolerance.
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