In this second installment following an introduction to Leaky Gut Syndrome that usually accompanies Rheumatoid Arthritis in earlier post – Your Gut’s Feeling for Rheumatoid Arthritis – The Leaky Gut Syndrome – I’d like to feature a crucial component of tackling Leaky Gut, that is, removing a source of inflammation – parasites, pathogenic bacteria and fungi/yeast.
Our intestines maintain within itself a complex and crowded environment of microbial organisms known as the intestinal flora or gut flora. This environment is one from which our body derives nourishment and one against which our body is protected. The relationship between us (the human host) and these microbes is described by the term symbiosis, otherwise also known as ‘living together’. When symbiosis turns harmful, the condition becomes ‘dysbiosis’. Hence, a healthy intestinal permeability guards the gut against food remnants and other substances, parasites and so forth from passing through its wall in its first line of defence against intestinal toxicity.
Bulk of our intestinal flora is occupied by bacteria, and its number in hundred trillion, in fact, exceeds the number of cells in the human body. Beneficial bacteria makes up a significant portion of the total microflora in a healthy and balance GI tract. These bacteria have many health protecting effects including manufacture of vitamins, fermentation of fibers, digestion of proteins and carbohydrates and degradation of tumor and dietary toxins such as methyl mercury, making them less harmful to our body.
Dysbiotic bacteria consist of known pathogenic bacteria and those that have the potential to cause disease in the GI tract. They can be present due to a number of factors including: consumption of contaminated water or food, exposure to chemicals that are toxic to beneficial bacteria; the use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives or other medications; poor fiber intake and high stress levels.
RA has almost always been linked to abnormal immune responses provoked by intestinal bacteria, which are more harmful than beneficial. The intestinal bacteria, with similarities that mimic human proteins, provokes the immune system to attack itself. Additionally, the dead bacteria remnants may leak through the wall of the GI tract and into the bloodstream (due to increased permeability) and deposit themselves in tissues such as the joints, leading to attack of the joints by our immune system trying to eliminate these foreign substances.
Yeast colonies normally can be found in small quantities in the skin, mouth and GI tract. Co-existing with the bacterial colonies, bacterial colonization prevents yeasts from expanding their colonies. However, with increased and extended use of antibiotics, beneficial bacteria are reduced and the apparent effect will be potential overgrowth of yeast. Local infections are most commonplace. Vaginitis is a good instance of yeast overgrowth. Yeast is notorious for triggering allergic occurrences or aggravation of an existing allergic symptoms. Hence, for RA, it is necessary to investigate the possibility of yeast overgrowth as a potential trigger of the autoimmune condition such that the vicious spiral of increasing allergic response which follows each usage of antibiotics prescribed for RA can be halted accordingly.
When investigating the presence of yeast, culturing and microscopic examination are performed at the same time since yeast does not always survive transit through the GI. As yeast are not uniformly dispersed throughout the stool, it may lead to undetectable or low levels of yeast identified by microscopy, despite a yeast culture. Conversely, microscopic examination may reveal presence of a significant amount of yeast but none cultured.
On top of presence of bacteria and fungi/yeast, most people in this world are also colonized by intestinal parasites. Parasites are organisms that grow, feed and take shelter in human host without serving any useful functions. They create havoc in our GI tract not only by secreting toxins and siphoning off nutrients, but also stimulating allergic reactivity such that parasitic infection increases allergic tendencies. As our body gradually becomes ineffective at eliminating waste toxic substances secreted by the parasites, fecal matters turn mucoid and stick onto colon walls in chronic constipation and diarrhea such that these parasites can feed off for survival.
Typically, the parasites can be grouped into two categories. Firstly, worms – ringworms, roundworms, threadworms, tapeworms, etc – attach to intestinal lining and cause loss of nutrients and bleeding. Usually, symptoms do not always occur in people infected by these worms. Consequently, parasitic infections may not be diagnosed or eradicated. Secondly, protozoa – amoeba – may either directly invade intestinal lining, or enter the circulation and travel to various bodily tissues. Chronic parasitic infections can cause excessive intestinal permeability and permit excess absorption of antigens and microbial fragments from the gut; very often, over-stimulating the immune response, fostering allergy and auto-immunity such as RA.
My Experience – Determining and Removing Pathogenic Causatives of RA Inflammation
An important step (but not the only step) in curing your Leaky Gut is to stop and remove the sources of inflammation that is causing your RA to worsen. These sources of inflammation in particular are made in references to those created by harmful pathogenic bacteria, fungi/yeast/candida and parasites, that perpetuate the internal condition driving Leaky Gut. Hence, it is only effective that a Leaky Gut treatment protocol include a cleanse that gets rid of the harmful pathogens such that good/beneficial ones can take over and keep these bad guys at bay.
To determine pathogenic infections that are affecting your body, you may perform stool testing to investigate any presence of various bacteria, parasites, fungi/yeast. I, too, had ordered lab works on comprehensive parasitology by providing multiple stool samples collected over a series of day. My result came back (see below) and apparently, I was susceptible to a 3+ dysbiosis bacterial flora, which also means that I need treatment with antimicrobial agents since the bacteria presence appears under the dysbiotic category. The consolation part of the stool lab test was that I was tested negative on parasites and fungi/yeast categories.
Natural antibacterial agents – berberine herbs, black walnut, caprylic acid, oregano, uva ursi, grapefruit seed extract, colloidal silver – may be useful for treatment of patients when organisms display in-vitro sensitivity to these agents. The test is performed by using standardized techniques and filter paper disks impregnated with the listed agent. Relative sensitivity is reported for each natural agent based upon the diameter of the zone of inhibition surrounding the disk. Data based on over 5000 individual observations were used to relate the zone size to the activity level of the agent. A scale of relative sensitivity is defined for the natural agents tested.
From the reactivity test of bacterial susceptibilities to a host of natural antibacterials agents below, it is highly suggested that I treat my bacterial dysbiosis with grapefruit seed extract.
In my humble opinion, many natural products will work for remedying dysbiosis level 3+ or below. It is best if your lab work can reveal the sensitivity or susceptibility of the pathogenic bacteria, parasites or fungi/yeast to certain natural antibacterials, antiparasites or antifungal agents. However, bear in mind that it is also necessary that you may want to consider any allergic or intolerant responses to these agents before starting right into it. A good tip is to change these products every month to avoid tolerance or adaptation of your body.
What are some specific effective remedies for removing pathogenic infections from vested inside our body? Find out more in my next post, Dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome of Rheumatoid Arthritis – Specific Remedies for Parasites, Pathogenic Bacteria & Fungi (Part 2).