Tag Archives: irritable bowel syndrome

Paleo Diet and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Are Emulsifiers to Blame?

We are often asked whether a Paleo diet can be a promising agent for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. Impaired mucosal immunity in the gastrointestinal tract has been shown to lead to this debilitating condition.1 New data suggests that common food additives, called emulsifiers, could be contributing to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases, including colitis, by disturbing the composition of intestinal microbiota.2 This research has the ability to improve the health of 1-2 million people who suffer from ulcerative colitis,3 a major risk factor for colorectal cancer.4  Let’s take a closer look of how this research could impact Paleo dieters.

What role does intestinal microbiota play in reducing inflammatory conditions?

Gut microbiota is considered to be an organ within an organ,5 and provides many important benefits, especially in metabolism and immunity. In healthy individuals, the intestines are protected via multi-layered mucus structures that cover the intestinal surface, to keep a barrier between the epithelial cells that line the intestine and both healthy and pathogenic bacteria.6  Dysfunction of the relationship between the mucosal lining and bacteria results in low-grade inflammation that has been linked to promoting adiposity and contributing to negative metabolic effects,7 which can account for the increase in obesity and metabolic syndrome rates worldwide.8,9

Are emulsifiers sneaking their way into your Paleo Diet?

Emulsifiers are common food additives that impart creaminess, improve texture, extend shelf life, and emulsify oils in many processed foods. Emulsifiers and 1600 other food additives have been considered by the FDA to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). It is alarming that there are this many processed substances are added to foods regularly consumed by Americans, without fully understanding the implications of these additives.10

Current research suggest emulsifiers in particular are in fact causing physical harm.11,12,13 They are often described to be like detergent – where the molecules lead to massive bacterial overgrowth,14 damage the mucosal lining, transport bacteria across epithelial tissue,15 and are cancer promoting.16 Hopefully, this evidence will encourage the FDA to perform further analysis and alter the criteria that has previously been used to evaluate food safety. Until then, further scientific evidence indicates it is best to avoid such processed foods as they contribute to the rise of modern diseases.

Although processed foods are not a part of a true Paleo Diet, many Paleo eaters still incorporate convenience foods containing them into their diet. These foods may include chocolate, mayonnaise, coconut and almond milk products, grain-free baked goods, protein powders, as well as many personal hygiene products like toothpastes and mouthwashes. To minimize the impact on your intestinal health and overall inflammation levels, avoid the following emulsifiers in any product you buy: xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan, cellulose gum, polysorbate 80, and (soy) lecithin.

In addition to being void of artificial emulsifiers, the foods eaten by traditional hunter-gathers are typically lower in carbohydrate than modern diets, and have also been linked to lower levels of inflammation of the gastrointestinal microbiota. Following a Paleo diet may lead to a microbiota that is more consistent with our evolutionary ancestors, and less likely to be impacted by the chronic inflammatory conditions linked to modern diets.17

Eat like our ancestors. Eat Paleo.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Middendorp, S., and E. E. S. Nieuwenhuis. “NKT cells in mucosal immunity.”Mucosal immunology 2.5 (2009): 393-402.

[2] Chassaing, Benoit, et al. “Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome.” Nature 519.7541 (2015): 92-96.

[3] Colitis–Pathophysiology, Ulcerative. “Inflammatory bowel disease part I: ulcerative colitis–pathophysiology and conventional and alternative treatment options.” Alternative medicine review 8.3 (2003): 247-283.

[4] Eaden JA, Abrams KR, Mayberry JF. The risk of colorectal cancer in ulcerative colitis: a meta-analysis.Gut. 2001;48:526–535.

[5] O’Hara, Ann M., and Fergus Shanahan. “The gut flora as a forgotten organ.”EMBO reports 7.7 (2006): 688-693.

[6] Johansson, M. E. et al. The inner of the two Muc2 mucin-dependent mucus layers in colon is devoid of bacteria. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 15064–15069 (2008)

[7] Bäckhed, Fredrik, et al. “The gut microbiota as an environmental factor that regulates fat storage.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101.44 (2004): 15718-15723.

[8] Furet, Jean-Pierre, et al. “Differential Adaptation of Human Gut Microbiota to Bariatric Surgery–Induced Weight Loss Links With Metabolic and Low-Grade Inflammation Markers.” Diabetes 59.12 (2010): 3049-3057.

[9] Alberti, K. G. M. M., et al. “Harmonizing the Metabolic Syndrome A Joint Interim Statement of the International Diabetes Federation Task Force on Epidemiology and Prevention; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; American Heart Association; World Heart Federation; International Atherosclerosis Society; and International Association for the Study of Obesity.” Circulation 120.16 (2009): 1640-1645.

[10] Winter, Ruth. A consumer’s dictionary of food additives: Descriptions in plain English of more than 12,000 ingredients both harmful and desirable found in foods. Crown Archetype, 2009.

[11] Chassaing, Benoit, et al. “Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome.” Nature 519.7541 (2015): 92-96.

[12] Tobacman, Joanne K. “Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments.” Environmental health perspectives 109.10 (2001): 983.

[13] Watt, J., and R. Marcus. “Harmful effects of carrageenan fed to animals.”Cancer detection and prevention 4.1-4 (1980): 129-134.

[14] Swidsinski, Alexander, et al. “Bacterial overgrowth and inflammation of small intestine after carboxymethylcellulose ingestion in genetically susceptible mice.”Inflammatory bowel diseases 15.3 (2009): 359-364.

[15] Roberts, C. L. et al. Translocation of Crohn’s disease Escherichia coli across M-cells: contrasting effects of soluble plant fibres and emulsifiers. Gut 59, 1331–1339 (2010)

[16] Tobacman, Joanne K. “Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments.” Environmental health perspectives 109.10 (2001): 983.

[17] Spreadbury, Ian. “Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity.” Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy 5 (2012): 175.

Probiotics, Paleo, and Gut Health | The Paleo Diet

The gastrointestinal tract is home to some 500 different species of microorganisms. Collectively known as the gut microbiome, these microorganisms confer an array of benefits, including assisting with digestion, warding off pathogenic bacteria, training the immune system to respond only to pathogens, and synthesizing various vitamins.

The Paleo lifestyle promotes a healthy gut microbiome, but certain medical conditions warrant additional support, including natural probiotic supplements and cultured foods. The Paleo diet eliminates some cultured foods, like fermented dairy and salt-brine-pickled vegetables, but not all of them. So how can natural probiotics and cultured foods fit into a Paleo lifestyle? Which foods and supplements are most appropriate?

It is unusual to need additional support when following a Paleo regime and consuming lots of veggies, as they are the biggest fiber source. Conditions that might warrant natural probiotic supplementation include:

The strongest evidence for probiotic efficacy is for treating diarrhea, particularly among children. At least four large meta-analyses have been published regarding probiotic treatments for children suffering acute, infectious diarrhea. Despite differing probiotics being tested, different doses, and different lengths of treatments, each study shows that probiotics, along with standard rehydration therapy, decrease diarrhea symptoms.1

Regarding irritable bowel disease (IBD), the evidence for probiotic efficacy is less conclusive, but is nevertheless promising. A 2013 review published in Current Opinions in Gastroenterology determined that probiotics demonstrate considerable potential for treating IBD, but better-designed, longer-term studies are necessary.2 Furthermore, IBD probiotic treatments appear to be strain specific. In other words, certain strains are likely to be effective for certain conditions, but ineffective for others. Of the various IBD conditions, pouchitis and ulcerative colitis have thus far shown the best potential with respect to probiotic treatments, whereas the current evidence for Crohn’s disease is less promising.

The global probiotics market is expected to reach $42 billion by 2016.3 But not all probiotics are created equal. Some have been shown to be ineffective or even counterproductive.4 Viable natural probiotics should demonstrate the ability to survive transit through the gastrointestinal tract, to colonize the intestines, and should have a long shelf life.

Gut microbiome research is still in its early stages, but as the Human Gut Microbiome project and other research initiatives advance, clearer answers will surely emerge. For now, natural probiotics can effectively treat or ameliorate certain conditions.

If you are making the transition to a Paleo Diet and would like additional gut health support, supplements which improve intestinal integrity and which may reduce intestinal permeability include probiotics, prebiotics, Vitamin D3, fish oil (EPA and DHA), and Zinc.5 Dr. Cordain recommends supplementing with probiotics between 6-9 billion bacteria/day during one month, then cut down to 4-5 billion. You may also consider 4-6 grams prebiotics a day during one month (if you do not improve with 4 grams increase up to 6 grams). Then cut down to 2 grams a day.6 Speak with your qualified health practitioner to determine whether or not probiotics are appropriate for you.

For those who prefer food to supplements, try coconut yogurt, which is becoming increasingly popular. Look for products devoid of added stabilizers or sweeteners. Alternatively, you can easily make your own. Just blend 16 ounces of coconut “meat” (from young coconuts) with about 1 cup of fresh coconut water. Add the contents of two natural probiotic capsules and mix well. Allow the mixture to rest, covered by a kitchen towel or cheesecloth, for 8 to 16 hours (the fermentation goes quicker in warmer environments). Alternatively, a tablespoon of coconut oil a day is not only a good source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids, but added support for your gut.7

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.


Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, .

 

REFERENCES

[1] Pham, M, Lemberg, DA, and Day, AS. (2008). Probiotics: sorting the evidence from the myths. Medical Journal of Australia, 188(5). Retrieved from https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2008/188/5/probiotics-sorting-evidence-myths

[2] Whelan, K and Quigley, EMM. (2013). Probiotics in the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Current Opinions in Gastroenterology, 29(2). Retrieved from //www.medscape.com/viewarticle/779778

[3] Berkley Wellness. (March 2014). Probiotic Pros and Cons. Berkley, University of California. Retrieved from //www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/other-supplements/article/probiotics-pros-and-cons

[4] Gibson, GR and Fuller, R. (2000). Aspects of in vitro and in vivo research approaches directed toward identifying probiotics and prebiotics for human use. Journal of Nutrition, 130(2S Supplement). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10721913

[5] Cordain, Loren, PhD. “Hidradenitis Suppurativa, Autoimmune Disease, and The Paleo Diet.” The Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet, LLC, 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

[6] Cordain, Loren, PhD. “Eating Paleo But Still Constipated | The Paleo Diet | Dr. Cordain.” The Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet, LLC, 01 Dec. 2009. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

[7] Ibid.

Breastfeeding Gluten and Lactose Intolerant Newborns | The Paleo Diet

Dear Dr. Cordain

I am extremely passionate about the Paleo Diet. I have lost 59kg and cured severe depression, my husband has cured his IBS and our son, Joshua, was cured of severe reflux by adopting your recommendations for a Paleo diet.

In the first eight months of his life, we were really struggling with Joshua. He screamed and swallowed constantly, and despite trying various medications, nothing relieved his pain. I had to keep him upright after breastfeeds for at least an hour, no one else could hold him or change his nappy because he would scream in pain if they didn’t hold him in the right way. If I made the mistake of letting him fall asleep after a feed, he would scream when he woke up. He never slept for longer than two hours. I also had a daughter who was only 16 months old when Joshua was born, and it was very difficult to feel like a real mother to my daughter when my son was so demanding. I was beyond exhausted.

At eight months old, the pediatrician told me that I had to give up breastfeeding and put Joshua on a special formula. I had been raised to be very pro breastfeeding, so I wanted another opinion. I contacted the Australian Breastfeeding Association, who put me in contact with a Specialist Dietitian and Lactation Consultant. Under her supervision we tried an elimination diet. By doing this, we identified that I was intolerant to wheat gluten, dairy and eggs, and I was passing this through to my son. We didn’t know how to proceed from there, so we went down the path of gluten free starches and grains, and rice milk. I was concerned about the health implications of this diet because it seemed very unhealthy, so I kept searching.

When I discovered the Paleo Diet, I felt like everything fell in to place. Yes we are intolerant to wheat, gluten and dairy, but so is everyone and they just don’t know it yet. We still cannot reintroduce eggs, because they cause us abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea, but we were suddenly able to live healthily and our health improved dramatically from then on. Joshua’s reflux disappeared as soon as we changed our diet. He was happy, sleeping and there was no more screaming in pain. It was such a dramatic change that nothing but the change in diet could be responsible.

I am so very grateful for what Dr. Cordain‘s research and interest in Paleolithic Nutrition has done for my family. I would like to help spread your message to my community, as I will talk to anyone who will listen about the Paleo diet.  I am certain that other mothers in a similar situations would jump at the chance to do something that could bring relief to their child, because not knowing what you can do is heartbreaking. We have been paleo for 3 years now and will continue to be for the rest of our lives.

Georgia

Ulcerative Colitis Remission | The Paleo Diet

Born into an Italian-American family, it was inevitable that I fall in love with food. Fresh mozzarella, homemade pasta, and a crusty piece of Italian bread were components of an average meal. But my passion for food was not limited to Italian cuisine. I used to pride myself on my pie eating and Twinkie eating contest wins. Then there was that one week I ate nachos for dinner seven days straight. And I could drink craft beer like a disturbingly large German man.

I never had a weight problem and, in fact, I never had a problem period. I thought I had an iron stomach. That was, until March 2013.

One Saturday evening I decided I needed to go to the ER for dehydration and some other alarming digestive symptoms. A grueling week later and a few tests a 25-year-old should never have to endure, I finally had a colonoscopy. My gastroenterologist diagnosed me with severe Ulcerative Colitis (pancolitis).

As soon as I woke up from anesthesia my doctor informed me I had a lifelong autoimmune disease. My colon was basically attacking itself by creating ulcers and making it impossible for me to function properly. After giving me a diagnosis I asked my doctor a question that would change my life.

“Is there anything I should be eating or avoid eating to help aid this disease?”

His response was that there is no scientific proof which links the two but that he’s had a patient go into remission with the help of the Paleo Diet.

Hospital bracelet still on my wrist and groggy from the anesthesia, my amazingly supportive mother drove me to the grocery store. We bought Paleo food and removed all grains, dairy, gluten, legumes, and sugar from my apartment.

My gastroenterologist now has two patients who have stayed in remission with help from the Paleo Diet.

Since then I have devoted myself to the Paleo lifestyle. Although I work full time, my life is consumed with eating clean and inspiring others through my blog . I even recently started CrossFit to take my health to a whole new level.

HOW PALEO HAS CHANGED ME:

  • My skin developed a glow. It also cleared up my Grannuloma Annulare (an autoimmune skin condition) that I have had on my arm for 14 years.
  • My everlasting lower belly fat disappeared.
  • My nails rarely break and are very strong.
  • My hair got shiner and grew longer.
  • A friend also commented on how white and bright my eyes looked.
  • Paleo also gave me more energy which has brought me to join CrossFit Strongtown.
  • I can think clearly and my mood is almost always positive.
  • Most importantly, my Ulcerative Colitis symptoms were tamed. My flare up went into remission with the help of medication, but stayed in remission because of my Paleo lifestyle.

Paleo keeps my Ulcerative Colitis from restricting my life. My restart button is no longer to run straight to the doctor; it’s to cook some bone broth and troubleshoot my digestion with nutrients and paleo food. Once I figured this out I was able to really change my lifestyle to a more comfortable one.

I hope to inspire others with gastrointestinal issues or Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. It is my aim to pave the way for others who are struggling with their health. So, I recently started a blog to help spread awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and eating clean.

Laura

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