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Gut Health Equals Great Health
Improve your gut health, and improve your over-
all health. A healthy gut, full of beneficial bacteria,
is one of the most important keys to great health.
At first blush it makes little sense what a bunch of
microbes and the intestine have to do with how
we feel, or why we have certain diseases, but it¡¯s
true that the interaction of a healthy gut with our
immune system is the cause, and the cure, for many
common ailments.
Bacteria and Immune Function
There are over 100 trillion bacteria that live in our
intestinal tract - more than the 10 trillion cells in our
body. Humans have about 23 thousand genes, while
the intestinal bacteria altogether harbor about 3 mil-
lion genes.
These bacteria are not parasitic passengers, but
rather symbiotic participants in our overall health.
They depend on certain nutrients and behaviors
that have been forged over thousands of years. If we
do right by them, they will support and modulate
our immune system, defend against infections, help
break down our food, generate essential vitamins,
metabolize hormones and bile acids, supply the
intestine with energy, and stimulate the normal
motility of the intestine.
Did you know the largest part of the immune sys-
tem surrounds the gut? The ¡®gut associated lym-
phoid tissue¡¯ provides about 80% of the infection
fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes. This
lymphocyte arsenal includes immune system con-
trollers called T cells, antibody producing B cells,
and stealth defenders called natural killer cells.
The normal functioning gut wall ¡®teaches¡¯ the im-
mune system how to behave, starting at birth with
the ¡®inoculation¡¯ of bacteria during passage through
the birth canal and furthered by breast-feeding.
During the first few years of life the ingestion of
bacteria on food, dirt, and other ¡®normal¡¯ things
continue to instruct, balance and support the im-
constantly activated
and dumps inflam-
matory chemicals
that wreak havoc
throughout the body.
Symptoms such as
fatigue, brain fog,
anxiety, and depres-
sion are common with
leaky gut. Weight loss
is nearly impossible if
one has leaky gut due
to disrupted hormone
systems caused by
the inflammation. The
immune system imbal-
ances can lead to dis-
eases associated with
impaired defenses (e.g.
bronchitis, sinusitis) or
mune system. Throughout life it is profoundly
influenced by what is in the gut and what gets
through the gut wall. A normal, balanced immune
system relies on a normal gut.
Dysbiosis is a ¡®microbial imbalance¡¯ in which the
normal healthy population of intestinal bacteria
is disturbed, and it can be just as devastating to
our health as any other unhealthy organ, perhaps
in more subtle ways. Unhealthy diet, antibiotics,
chlorinated water, toxins, and more can cause
dysbiosis. The immediate result of dysbiosis may
be nutrient deficiencies, toxin accumulation, bowel
irregularities, inflammation, pathologic microbial
infections, immune system imbalances, and as
defined next, a leaky gut.
Leaky Gut
With a total surface area of about 500 square yards,
the intestine forms the largest interface between
our internal system and the outside world. The gut
lining is in constant contact with potential immune
stimulators such as foodstuffs, toxins, microbes,
parasites and allergens. Every single substance that
passes through the gut wall is carefully ¡®presented¡¯
to the immune system and undergoes a thorough
identification process.
The lining of the intestine is covered with a ¡®bio-
film¡¯ of mucus and beneficial bacteria, much like
a screen filter, providing a first line of defense
against abnormal invaders. Below this filter lie
block-shaped cells that are bound together by
¡®tight junctions¡¯ providing very specific regulation
of what is allowed to pass between the cells. Below
these cells are the circulation and the immune
The term ¡°leaky gut¡± refers to damaged tight junc-
tions that allow substances inside the gut to pass
freely between the cells into the circulation where
the immune system is then activated. Many things,
such as dysbiosis, infections, medications, toxins,
nicotine, alcohol, stress and even foods, can cause
leaky gut. Certain beneficial bacteria protect and
repair the tight junctions.
In the case of leaky gut, the immune system is
2014 May
Pg 6 - The Sunshine Express
Health & Nurturing
In Harmony
by Scott Rollins, M.D.
defenses (e.g. allergies, asthma, hives, autoim-
Healing the Gut
The good news is that the gut can be analyzed and
healed. A combination of simple tests can uncover
problems in the gut interior, gut wall, and the
immune system. Stool tests reveal the status of
enzymes, good and bad bacteria, parasites, diges-
tive residues, and inflammatory markers. A simple
urine test can detect leaky gut. Blood tests can
show immune system activation and diagnose im-
mediate or delayed food allergies.
Probiotics (pro + life) are live microorganisms,
which can be put into our system to confer a health
benefit. We are learning that the hundreds of dif-
ferent species of beneficial bacteria do very differ-
ent things in the body and because of the variation
in specific effects from specific probiotics, it is
important to get a broad spectrum of bacteria.
Prebiotics are non-digestible nutrients that nour-
ish and support the beneficial bacteria. Sometimes
known as fermentable fiber, prebiotics include
short or long chains of carbohydrates. The main
types are inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS),
found in foods such as Jerusalem artichoke, onion,
garlic, bananas and asparagus. For healing leaky
gut we use amino acid based formulas containing
With a holistic view of the intestine-immune inter-
action, disturbances in the various communication
systems can be identified and repaired. Welsh poet
George Herbert said it well, ¡°Take all that is given,
whether wealth, love or language, nothing comes
by mistake and with good digestion all can be
turned to health.¡±
(Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the
American Board of Family Practice and the
American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative
Medicine. He specializes in Bioidentical Hormone
Replacement for men and women, thyroid and
adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia, weight loss and
other complex medical conditions. He is founder
and medical director of the Integrative Medicine
Center of Western Colorado ( and
Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (
Call 970.245.6911 for an appointment or more
The Wise and the Foolish
Bounia¡¯s panties would be tied in knots if she
weren¡¯t spinning in her grave. What difference did
World War II make, what price of the loss of two
sons, how many Memorial Days did she spend
mourning the loss of these precious ones? Her fa-
ther sent her to America to wed one of his friend¡¯s
sons. She was spared the danger of the Cossack
invasions of her small village in Ukraine. She made
the best of her opportunity to live and raise a fam-
ily in luxury in New England, USA.
Oh, it was right uptown! Gege and Bounia lived
on Lincoln Street in a second floor apartment. It in-
cluded running water and electricity, when it came
down the street. The family that lived in the
by Sandy Lauzon