You would think that here in the UK, in the 21st century, nutrient deficiencies would be impossible to contemplate. After all, just look at the abundance of food on offer in our shops, supermarkets, cafes and restaurants, not to mention all the cookery programmes on TV, demonstrating how to prepare and cook the most delicious looking meals.
Over the years, and all too often in my natural health clinic, I’ve seen people who are overwhelmed by food choices, no longer knowing what to eat because just about everything they do eat causes bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion and heartburn, and they haven’t a clue why. They just think that all of a sudden they’ve developed food intolerances. But people don’t just develop food intolerances. There is a very good reason why a few years ago they were able to eat a varied diet, with no digestive or gut problems, but now are verging on developing malnutrition because of their limited and restricted diet. It becomes an awful obsession for some people, trying different foods, different supplements, different therapies and treatments in an attempt to get some answers.
It’s important to see your GP and get tested for coeliac disease (an allergy to gluten), especially if you get painful bloating, diarrhoea/constipation after eating anything that contains gluten, but if your test results for coeliac disease are negative, you won’t find the NHS of much help to you, and this is in no way a criticism of the NHS. It’s a simple fact that they are ill equipped, both in terms of time, resources and knowledge how to help the tens of thousands of people with ‘food intolerances’. Let’s face it, food intolerances are not going to kill you. Food intolerances have also turned into a multi-million pound industry, with tests, supplements, foods, self-help books, recipe books to help sufferers find a solution to what is causing their symptoms.
How is it then that so many people are suffering with food intolerances? Why are there people with a diet that is becoming more and more restricted, to the point where they are eating a very limited diet, thus suffering with nutrient deficiencies?
Let’s turn the clock back a while, and dig a little deeper to consider why someone may have developed a food intolerance in the first place. Let’s not concentrate on the symptoms as is very often the case. Let’s look at when the intolerances and symptoms began, and work backwards. Let’s look at a time when the person with the intolerances was symptom-free, they could eat more or less what they wanted and they didn’t get bloated, constipated, etc; they didn’t have any of the secondary symptoms of not eating properly and not absorbing nutrients, i.e. fatigue, hormone related issues – lack of periods in women, a ‘bad’ menopause, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, skin problems. After all, no-one is born with food intolerances, just as no-one is born with IBS, but that is a subject we can discuss another time.
When I begin my detective work and look back into my patient’s past, especially their health history, I’m looking at what could have affected the status of their gut bacteria, because when it comes to food intolerances, many are caused simply by not having enough ‘friendly’ gut bacteria, coupled with eating dead, devitalised processed foods. Gut bacteria help to digest our food, they help in the absorption and assimilation of nutrients from our food, they manufacture important hormones and vitamins, as well as ensure we have a strong immune system.
So, in looking back, those antibiotics you had as a teenager for the acne, or that food poisoning you had in Thailand, that diet of pizza and coke at university, or the fact that you’ve been taking antacids for several years, could be the reason you now have multiple food intolerances.
It makes sense, therefore, to put back what is missing – the bugs! Put back the bacteria that help digest your food, that help with absorption and assimilation of nutrients, that help ensure you have a strong immune system, healthy hormones, and a happy brain, that help ‘crowd out’ the pathogenic bacteria and yeasts, and that help maintain homeostasis in your digestive system and gut, so that there’s no bloating, no abdominal cramps, no constipation, no diarrhoea.
The easiest way to do this is to take a daily live bacteria probiotic capsule before meals, preferably one that contains a species of bacteria that has been found to help reduce the symptoms of food intolerances (painful bloating and irregular bowels).
In my quest to help more people struggling with these symptoms, I developed my own probiotic and called it ‘Live Bacteria’. You can purchase a pot of 60 capsules from my Just For Tummies website for just £20; please do read the many wonderful reviews I’ve received on this product, both on the shop page and on Just For Tummies facebook page.
The key to good digestive health and overall wellbeing is to work from the inside out – maintain a healthy bacterial balance inside the gut, and the rest of the body will take care of itself.