SJH

Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.

July 16, 2023 | Max Jenkinson

Fixing Your Gut - Fixing Your Cells - Fixing You

A new understanding of disease has emerged.

A holistic one.

In 2022 Harvard Professor of Psychiatry Dr Chris Palmer released the book Brain Energy.

The book goes over the theory that metabolic disorders are the root cause of all mental illnesses.

(Metabolic disorder means a lack of energy production.)

In 2016, he helped a patient with schizoaffective disorder lose weight.

The impact of diet on the patient was profound.

He could not believe that a change in diet would stop the chronic auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions.

Into the rabbit hole, Dr Palmer went.

People with labels such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can put their illnesses into remission, they can heal, and they can recover

Dr Chris Palmer

Diet can transform your mental health.

But, does anyone tell you this?

Energy production, or lack thereof, is the root cause of (almost) all dysfunction in the body.

If it occurs in the brain we can develop mental problems we might think are normal:

  • low motivation

  • increased worry

  • increased anxiety

  • feelings of meaningless

If the lack of energy in the brain occurs for long enough we can develop mental illnesses like:

  • general anxiety disorder (GAD)

  • bipolar disorder

  • schizophrenia

  • depression

If how our mind works determines how we experience the world.

And, how we experience the world determines our well-being.

Then shouldn’t we do what we can in order to create a highly functional brain?

Lack of energy production creates dysfunctional cells.

Dysfunctional cells create a dysfunctional organism, you.

If you want to be happy you need to take your health seriously.

You need to understand what creates functional cells and live in a way that proves that you want your cells to be happy.

Because you are your cells. There is no distinction.

How well your cells function determines how well you function.

How well you function determines how well you feel.

And, how you feel is all you are. You are your experience over time.

Let’s improve that. Let’s make it as good as possible during your short time here on Earth.

If not for you, do it for your loved ones.

If not for them, do it for every single ancestor that worked so hard to give you a better life than they had.

If not for them, do it to leave the world a better place than when you popped out of your mother.

You have the opportunity to make the most of your life.

And it starts with being healthy first.

You don’t need to be obsessively improving your health.

But, you need to define a standard and maintain it.

If you don’t, your health (and thus well-being) is in the hands of fate.

And fate today is not kind.

The majority of people are suffering from chronic diseases.

Mental health issues are rising, fast.

You are not an exception. Unless you make yourself one.

Doing what is normal will lead to average results.

Average today is unhealthy and unhappy.

Be the change.

 

For people that have gone down any rabbit hole you know they always go deeper.

My goal is to teach you an entire framework to conceptualise not only diet but what health is (applied to all aspects).

This is why it is so important to get a grasp of what energy production is and what impacts it.

We’re still on the topic of diet.

This will build on what we discussed last week.

Eating for energy production.

We’ll go over how common foods relate to energy production.

So that you can get a sense of what to do given your current situation.

If any of these topics interest you, read on:

  • fibre

  • probiotics

  • microbiome

  • carbohydrates

  • leaky gut (grains, alcohol & seed oils)

  • antibiotics (natural & pharmaceutical)

  • Plant defence chemicals (anti-nutrients)

 

Let’s recap some parts of the digestive system.

After the stomach, we get into the small intestine where most of the absorption takes place.

Here is where most of the macro- and micronutrients are absorbed.

Before they are absorbed they are broken down (digested) into a form that can be transported into the bloodstream.

After the small intestine comes the large intestine.

Here is where the majority of the bacteria living in and on you reside.

These small organisms help us digest what we can not.

Things like fibre.

The large intestine helps absorb water and minerals, and, produces and absorbs vitamins from so-called waste material.

Any impairment in the small- or large intestine will cause problems with digestion and absorption.

The small intestine should be relatively sterile while the large intestine should be full of bacteria, at least 30 trillion (or 1.4kg).

We know that the distribution of different types of bacteria impacts health.

When the bacterial distribution gets out of whack we call it dysbiosis.

However, we are not entirely sure what a good distribution is or how to fix a bad one.

Because of what we eat and how we live, I assume that most people have some sort of gut dysbiosis.

This can cause bacteria to climb up into the small intestine interfering with both digestion and absorption.

Before we look at what foods impact the small intestine we need to remind ourselves of the chemicals plants produce to defend themselves.

Plants create defence chemicals because they are immobile.

They can’t run away from predators so instead they create chemicals to stop them from being eaten.

A large category of these are anti-nutrients, the most famous being gluten.

Some of these inhibit the breakdown of the food we eat.

Some inhibit absorption by binding to minerals.

Others are toxic.

And some, including gluten, cause something called leaky gut.

As you read in the last post, fruits are the least defended parts of plants (thus making them easy to digest).

In plants, these anti-nutrients are:

  • the highest in the seeds (nuts, legumes & grains)

  • lower in the roots, stems and leaves

  • & the lowest in the fruits

So, for digestion in the small intestine to work properly we need to eat foods that are easy to digest.

Simple right?

Again we look to evolution to determine what this is.

We evolved on a heavy red meat diet, high in animal fats.

They should thus be easy to digest, which is what the research I’ve read suggests.

The complexity comes when we talk about carbohydrates (which come entirely from plants).

Carbohydrates come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Yet, they are all broken down into single molecules of sugar before absorption.

The logic then follows that the more complex a carbohydrate is the harder it is to digest.

You read that correctly.

Simple sugars, such as fruit, honey and table sugar are the easiest to digest carbohydrates.

We do not want bacteria to migrate up into the small intestine.

This occurs when there is a slow passage of food creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

Either we have disrupted digestion, or we eat too many hard-to-digest foods.

Eating too many hard-to-digest foods will impair digestion over time creating the perfect environment for bacteria to migrate.

Another reason to eat more fruits and fewer grains.

So, the first thing to create a functional small intestine is to eat easy-to-digest foods.

But, remember that gluten (an anti-nutrient found in wheat) can cause a leaky gut.

A leaky gut disrupts the selective uptake of nutrients in the small intestine.

It allows things to get into the bloodstream that shouldn’t.

Among these are the highly toxic bacterial product known as endotoxin.

Endotoxin is very stressful for the cells (thus lowering energy production).

It impairs metabolism on multiple levels.

We thus want to keep our gut sealed.

There are three main culprits of leaky gut today:

  1. Grains

  2. Alcohol

  3. & Seed oils

If you have any digestive issues, avoid these categories as best you can.

Digestive issues include:

  • Bloating

  • Loose stool

  • Gas (farting)

  • Constipation

  • & Low energy after eating

We all have digestive issues to some degree.

Eat for digestion and avoid things that disrupt it.

We want a sterile small intestine.

So, if we have any digestive issues we might want to try to sterilise it.

We do this by either starving the bacteria (by not feeding it) or by killing it using antibiotics.

Bacteria in our guts mainly live off of fibre, probiotics from fermented products (vegetables & milk) or in supplement form.

Unless we know what bacteria we are feeding I suggest we should be wary of feeding them.

If we have any dysbiosis which, let’s assume we do, then we should not feed it.

So, we might as well kill it?

Well maybe.

At least in the small intestine where bacteria shouldn’t be.

We can try to do this by using natural anti-bacterial compounds found in things like coconut oil, oregano oil, and raw carrots.

Or we could take it one step further and use antibiotics.

Here, however, I suggest you read up on the research and try to determine if you have a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Seemingly, antibiotics are powerful agents that can help with random ailments such as obesity, headaches and low energy.

Most likely these symptoms were caused by an impairment in digestion due to an overgrowth of bacteria.

Gut health is more important than you think.

Understanding some basics about issues with the small- and large intestine can help us test things that should work.

Do we want to kill off the bacteria or feed it?

Well, it depends on our symptoms.

For me killing them off has done wonders.

For you, it might not.

 

It all comes down to energy production.

And energy production is directly linked to digestion and absorption.

Creating a highly functional digestive system will create more energy at the cellular level.

Keeping a sterile small intestine while simultaneously keeping the small intestine intact (not leaky) creates optimal digestion.

This might then cause you to view foods that are generally viewed as healthy in a new light.

Fibre, probiotics, complex carbohydrates and grains all help feed bacteria or create a leaky gut.

Don’t trust my word for it. Try it out.

Limit fibre, grains, probiotics, seed oils and alcohol for a while.

Eat more red meat, white rice, fruits, and honey and see if you get any improvements.

Look at these for indications if what you are doing works.

  • sleep quality

  • motivation to move (exercise)

  • inflammation (joint pain, skin quality)

  • stool quality (can you get that elusive ghost shit?)

  • & bowel movements (times per day, at least once per day is good)


Until next Sunday, do what makes your future self proud.

Why Life Has To Be Hard

Has anything worthwhile ever been easy? If not, why are we constantly searching for the easy way...

The Final Diet Boss: Intuitive Eating

Here's how you eat what you want, when you want, to get and maintain the body you want...

Eating More Protein Could Fix It All

Eating more quality protein could fix most of your health issues. Is it really that simple? Let's...

Grow Up & Eat Real Food

Let's gain a firm grip on why eating real food matters. To do so we need to, of all things, turn to...

Why You Might Want To Quit Social Media For Good

There is a reason why social media is messing with our minds and it's not what you think...

Turning The Food Pyramid Upside Down

Eat the opposite of what you've been told and you'll become a super human...

How To Be Healthy

The Minimal Effective Dose For Health...

Making Food Make Sense

Our bodies are not perfect, but, they're trying their very best at keeping us healthy. Eating a diet...

Your Body Is Confused By What You’re Eating

Food is information. If your body cannot understand what the food coming in is it will make...

Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.