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Gut Health- IBS, IBD, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, and Celiac

Food and Gut Health
According to Elaine Gottschall, author of the book 'Food and the Gut Reaction', and subsequent later editions, different gastro intestinal (GI) problems can almost always be helped by the same “natural prescription”. E. Gottschall has had success by modifying the diet- eliminating white sugar, lactose, and all other sweeteners, except for honey. Grains and starchy foods are also eliminated, to aid intestinal recovery. Healthy fats, proteins, and all fruits are allowed.

Her dietary therapy works because the human gut's ability to digest starches and disaccharides, like table sugar, is the first thing to go, when there is a disturbance.

When the gut function is in any way compromised, it has trouble digesting lactose and sucrose (both disaccharides), and starches (polysaccharides).
Feeding these substances to a compromised gut can further irritate the gut, adding to pathogenic germ growth, called gut disbiosis, and gut irritation.

Friendly Germs

As Dr Jordan Rubin discovered when his gut problems almost caused him to waste away to his death, at the age of 19 (before becoming a doctor), friendly germs are essential to the health of the gut.

Jordan had been treated by many experts, in the fields of western and complimentary medicine. And still, he continued to waste away. When he finally discovered the right probiotics (friendly germs) for him, he started to recover, and within one year, went from scarcely over 100 lbs and fighting for his life, to a robust and healthy 180lbs. Of course, Jordan also followed the healthiest diet he knew how, as well. Today he is still very well, and managing his own supplement company, as a Naturopathic Doctor (ND).

The importance of good bacteria in the gut (probiotics), was well recognised, starting about 100 years ago. There is much research, by the likes of pioneers like Dr. John Harvey Kellog, who championed the use of probiotics and a healthy colon in the early 1900's. unfortunately, today all most of us know of him is his cereal company legacy, which sells breakfast junk food, in his name.

Bacterial Know How

Taking probiotics is a good idea for anyone interested in health, and especially those with a GI health issue. I recommend eating raw saurkraut, if you can find it- a wonderful source of good bacteria, like acidophilus. In the health store, there are a number of good probiotic supplements. Particularly good are anything by DDS, Bio-K (which is a tasty liquid), the New Roots probiotics line, and finally Reuteri, by Nature's Way. High end (expensive), good products are Primal Defense, and Kyo- Dophilus. Personally, I recommend trying a few or all of them, to see what is best for you. I often recommend rotating different products, as well.


From a good probiotic, expect better gut function and health. Less odourous stools and gas (flatulence). Improved well-being. More regular bowel movements. Clearer skin, and better breath. For those with severe gut health symptoms, expect improvement, or even recovery. Keep in mind that severe gut issues are likely to need probiotics, a low allergen, low starch and low sugar diet, and nutrient supplementation.

The Easy Stuff

Dr. Harvey W. Kellogg has stated, “Of the 22,000 operations I personally performed, I never found a single normal colon.”
According to Dr Kellog, who performed thousands of autopsies so long ago, a healthy gut was a rarity. Considering that our diets and activity levels have worsened since then, assume the situation to be worse now. How can your gut be one of the few healthy ones? Let us start with the easy stuff.


Eat plenty of fibre- from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Find foods that you like on that list, and eat them frequently. Maybe apples and pears. others might enjoy raw almonds or hazelnuts. Others might enjoy steamed caulifower or kale. Raw carrots, anyone? Oatmeal and barley are wonderful sources of fibre for gut health, for those who do well with grains. One of the easiest and highest sources of fibre on the planet isd flax meal- slam down 2-3 tablespoons a day, which are equal to choking down 1/2 cup of wheat bran. Flax meal is also loaded with omega 3 fats, and lignans, which help prevent cancer. Flax is the max!Wheat bran I would not recommend, since wheat is part of the problem for


A healthy GI tract depends on a plentiful water intake. Drink 2-3 litres a day of pure water (like, from a reusable large spring water jug, or a good purifier). If you do not like water, try herbal tea. Or natural soup. I like dissolving a teaspoon of miso paste (see the fridge section of your health store) into hot water, for an all natural, low cost, delicious instant soup

Vitamins, Nutrients

Keeping the gut healthy requires vitamin A, Zinc, and B vitamins, in particular, even though all nutrients are needed by the GI tract. If there is a gut issue like IBS, IBD, or other gut pathologies, I recommend 20 000iu of vitamin A, 100mg of the B's, 30mg of Zinc (with food), and 10grams of Glutamine powder, which directly nourishes intestinal cells, in addition to a high dose multivitamin- mineral.

Enzymes; Essential

Enzymes are very likely to help. Expirement with taking different doses of pancreatin, up to 20 tabs per day, to strengthen digestion, and reduce inflammation. Pancreatin is an animal product, which may be substituted with the much weaker combination of bromelain (from pineapple), and papain (from papaya). I like the combination made by Trophic vitamins.
Pancreatin is the healthiest, strongest natural anti inflammatory I know- in my practice I have seen people go off high doses of prednisone, and on to pancreatin, getting the same effectiveness, without side effects! The ‘side effects’ of pancreatin are improved immune function and digestion!

Limit common allergens, like cow’s milk, and wheat products, to one or two days per week, or less. Test yourself for other foods, keeping in mind that sdensitivities may be delayed up to 3 days, and may fluctuate with time.

Mental stress can cause or worsen gut problems. So, stress
reduction can improve them. Conversely, gut problems can directly make us feel anxious, stressed, and depressed. The relationship definitely works both ways.


Flax tea is a potentially very helpful idea for all kinds of gut problems, from ulcers, to IBS, IBD, and the like.
Flax Tea Directions
Simply simmer 1-2 tablespoons of flax seeds in water, until thickened, and drink. The texture is strange (like runny egg whites), but it has been miraculously helpful in different gut conditions. In Jamaica, flax tea is consumed as a general tonic, and it is felt to increase male sexual prowess. The latter benefit has not been reported to me as of yet, but the gut benefit is well proven. Flax tea makes a wonderful substitute for eggs in baking- provides more moisture and cohesion (less crumbling and breaking) than actually using eggs.

Glutamine is very helpful in helping to heal the gut, and support intestinal function even in healthy guts(1,2, 3).
It can work wonders, especially for those who have the patience to consume a teaspoon, 2-4 times per day, every day.

1. G.K. Savy, Glutamine supplementation. Heal the gut, help the patient. Journal of Infusion Nursing, 25 (2002), pp. 65–69.

2. S. Ikeda, B.L. Zarzaur, C.D. Johnson et al., Total parenteral nutrition supplementation with glutamine improves survival after gut ischemia/reperfusion. Journal Of Parenteral And Enteral Nutrition, 26 (2002), pp. 169–173.

3. G.S. Sacks, Glutamine supplementation in catabolic patients. The Annals Of Pharmacotherapy. 33 (1999), pp. 348–354.

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