The Small Truth That Could Have a Huge Impact on Your Health

 

Strong gut - Dr. Axe

Your intestinal barrier is just one cell-layer thick. (That’s 20–30 nanometers. To put in more relatable terms, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers. So we’re talking 5,000x thinner than that!)

When things are that small, you can’t see them with your eyes or even an ordinary microscope.

But as it turns out, those few nanometers can make or break your health. How?

Your intestinal barrier acts as the “traffic controller” for what gets in or out of your intestines and into your bloodstream. The barrier interacts with incoming nutrients, tiny food particles, bad bacteria, and toxins. It directs every item to the appropriate places. And it’s also responsible for redirecting what shouldn’t be in your gut in the first place.

If, however, the intestinal barrier is compromised by diet, stress and more, then it doesn’t perform as well as it should.

Gut invaders graphic

That’s why it’s important to have a healthy intestinal barrier. It’s key for not only gut health but also overall health. Because, as we know, gut health affects so many other areas of the body.

In fact, over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

He was right, as my friend Jordan Rubin experienced full-force. 

As Jordan will tell you, when your gut is unhealthy it impacts nearly every facet of your overall health and well-being.


Meet My Friend Jordan Rubin

If you look at Jordan today, you’d never know he had a health crisis that nearly cost him his life. But at 19, he began having severe digestive issues and abdominal pains. After consulting with several doctors and trying a variety of alternative and traditional treatments, he found out he had Crohn’s disease.

In case you’ve never heard of  Crohn’s disease, it’s a chronic digestive disorder. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. Treatment varies greatly from person to person. Some can simply change their diet while others need a complex combination of medication, diet and even surgical procedures to repair or remove portions of the GI tract.

Doctors told Jordan there was no known cure, saying,

“You’ll probably be on powerful anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressives for the rest of your life. You could face surgery to remove parts of your small intestine and potentially your entire colon.”

At 19, Jordan didn’t want to jump straight into a surgery with lifelong repercussions without fully understanding his options. So he went on a two-year global search for a better solution.

In the meantime, his 6’1” frame got down to a frighteningly thin 104 pounds.

Jordan Rubin with Crohn's

While he ran across some helpful natural health remedies, he was running out of options and time. Surgery looked like his only out.

Thankfully, just before he underwent the procedure to remove some of his colon, his father heard of a nutritionist in San Diego, California. This man believed he could help Jordan by showing him how to eat the way our bodies were designed to eat.

Combining the Bible’s ancient wisdom with the best of modern science, Jordan began practicing a holistic approach to health. And his life changed forever.

He started eating like our ancestors did: whole, clean nutritious foods that would help nourish his digestive system and his health.

One of the mainstays of Jordan’s diet during this time was fermented foods rich in probiotics, which can help support digestive health.† (Keep reading till the end of this post, and I’ll show you my favorite way to get these healthy bacteria — probiotics — found in fermented foods.)

After just 40 days, Jordan was well on the road back to health! 

Jordan Rubin on beach

And two years later at 180 pounds, Jordan had completely transformed his body — looking athletic and strong.

Of course, I can’t say — and neither does Jordan — that everyone will see results like this.*

Jordan Rubin healthy

Everyone’s different. But one thing is clear: His health transformation started with getting back to clean ways of eating and nourishing his body and gut.

I firmly believe our modern diet is creating many of the health challenges we see today and that our digestive systems, including our intestinal barriers, are struggling because of it.  

*Jordan’s results were extraordinary and based on a broad set of lifestyle choices, not supplements alone. Jordan did not consume SBO Probiotic formula as a part of his recovery. Individual results will vary.

The Truth About GMOs and Other Modern Foods

Think about it. Our diet these days is nothing like the diets of even 100 years ago. Back then, food was medicine. Food helped nourish the body and helped people recover.

But today’s conventionally grown foods couldn’t be further from that reality.

GMOs

In the modern world, unless it’s organic and non-GMO, then it’s most likely a concoction of nonfood-like options — that are potentially even toxic!

Take, for instance, the over one billion tons of pesticides used in conventional farming in our country each year.

Quick note: Keep in mind that pesticides are intended to kill other living organisms. Got any guess what humans are?

These things can’t be good for us or our guts.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have foods that are not really food at all. (Think cheese doodles or Oreos).

These foods are so processed that they barely meet the definition of food. Do you think our ancestors would know what to do with many of the convenience foods that people eat today?

Of course not! But here’s the even crazier part: Even though more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of eating healthy and organic, this modernization of foodstuffs isn’t declining.

If anything, it’s only becoming more and more common. Over 320,000 processed foods we’re introduced to our food supply in the last decade. And sometimes unintentionally, people gulp them down by the tons.

That’s not an exaggeration either.

American diet graphic

While chemical-intensive and pesticide-rich farming has been around for several decades, GMOs are a more recent (and potentially more dangerous) addition to our diets.

In 1994, the first GMO food was approved by — can you guess who?


Monsanto: A U.S.-Based Company Killing Us Off?
 

Monsanto Logo

Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotech company, introduced a genetically modified bovine growth hormone (BGH) that could be injected into cows to increase milk production.

That should have been our country’s first clue to the fact that a food-tampering experiment was going on.

Then in 1996, Monsanto introduced “Roundup® Ready Soybeans.” These are genetically altered soybeans. And they’re resistant to toxic levels of Roundup (a pesticide) and other glyphosate-containing products.

Why do this? Well, by making the soybeans Roundup-resistant, they could coat the beans in layers of pesticide without risk of losing the entire crop.

This might seem like a nifty feature for the plant, but messing with a plant’s biology like this doesn’t come without consequences.

In 2003, the first GMO-resistant pests materialized. Since then, difficult-to-kill bugs and “superweeds” have populated GMO crops.

These incidences create an even more vicious cycle, where farmers are forced to ramp up pesticide use to keep their crop alive, making more pesticide-resistant bugs, and on and on indefinitely.

Besides the negative impact on the environment and our food supply, the end result of all this is increasing our exposure to pesticides in the process. And we’re paying the price with our health.

Many believe this is a key reason we’re seeing complications and health challenges on the rise.

Diet causing disease

In fact, I’m convinced that our modern-day diets play a huge role in the development of leaky gut syndrome, which has its own host of downstream health challenges.


Bringing Nourishing Foods Back

Thankfully for you and I, many people besides Hippocrates believe that the food we eat determines our health.

One of the pioneers on that front is Ann Wigmore (1909-1994). She was a holistic health practitioner and visionary for the natural health movement. She echoed Hippocrates, saying,

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

I, too, believe that our modern foods — with all their chemicals and toxins — can be create significant health challenges, particularly when it comes to our gut health and integrity.

So how do we get back to foods being medicine?

Eat like our ancestors did (see foods to eliminate and add to your diet here) and shore up your digestive gaps with probiotic-rich and fermented foods — like our ancestors ate.


Lacto-Fermented Foods 

Kimchi - Dr. Axe

Fermented foods are amazing for the gut. They’ve gone through a natural food preservation process called lacto-fermentation. This is a process where beneficial microbes (probiotics) feed on the naturally present protein, sugar and starch in the food.

The byproduct of all this feeding is nutrients, organic acids and other health-promoting compounds. These include beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, beta glucans and omega-3 fatty acids, while preserving nutrients and breaking the food down into a more digestible form.

The “Lacto” part refers to specific species of bacteria called Lactobacilli. Various strains of these bacteria are present on the surface of all plants. They’re particularly prevalent plants that grow close to the ground and in the human digestive system.

Lacto-fermentation benefits - Dr. Axe

Lactobacillus plantarum, found in some fermented foods, can be especially helpful for a healthy intestinal lining.† And this Lactobacillus probiotic is often found in fermented foods.

Here are some of the superstars of lacto-fermented foods: Korean kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and other fermented veggies. These fermented superfoods been getting some extra attention these days.

Here’s why: L. plantarum can thrive in the gut and serve your health, including digestive health. This is just like Lactobacilli probiotics, but L. plantarum also provides a healthy, protective barrier for your colon — aka your intestinal lining.†

But that’s not all. L. plantarum can also support a healthy yeast balance and support healthy levels of vitamins and minerals.†

Other foods our ancestors ate, such as raw fruits and veggies straight from the fertile ground, contained beneficial bacteria called Soil-Based Organisms, or SBOs, for short.

SBOs graphic

Also known as “spore-forming bacteria,” SBOs are able to “seed” the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria that can grow and flourish to support health, including supporting healthy digestion and immune health.†

SBOs are unique organisms, as their very structure is naturally resistant to the harsh environment of the upper digestive tract and stomach. In fact, they have a natural “shell” that keeps the probiotic spore unharmed in both the plant environment and in the gut environment.

As Jordan discovered, and as I believe, too, we need to get back to eating like generations before us did and include plenty of probiotic-packed fermented foods — not only for intestinal lining health but for overall health!†

To see one of my favorite, most convenient ways to get the benefits of fermented foods and SBOs, click here.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.