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I¡¯ve Got A Gut Feeling
¡°What does your gut tell you?¡± Hmmm... ¡°I¡¯ve got a
gut feeling¡± this is going to be a great article. Do you
get ¡°butterflies in your stomach¡± when you are ner-
vous or upset? Then you¡¯d better ¡°go with your gut¡±
and read on!
These colloquialisms are truer than simple literary
comments imply. The connection between the gut and
the mind is very real and very much influences the
way we think and feel.
Gut - Brain Connections
From the earliest stages of development the gut and
the brain share a common source. As a developing
embryo about the size of a walnut, the ridge called
the ¡®neural crest¡¯ is the earliest formation of our
nervous system. At a later point in development, the
neural crest literally divides into separate pieces, with
one part becoming the brain and spinal cord while
the other joins the gut, henceforth being called the
¡®enteric nervous system¡¯ or the second brain.
These two ¡®brains¡¯ are forever linked by the vagus
nerve with most of the information traveling from
the gut toward the brain. The gut has 100 million
neurons - more than are found in the spinal column
or the entire peripheral nervous system. As much as
95% of the ¡®feel good¡¯ brain chemical called serotonin
and about 30 other neurotransmitters are produced
in the gut. How the gut ¡®feels¡¯ has a direct impact on
the brain and a healthy, happy gut leads to a healthy,
happy mind.
The gut-associated lymph tissue (GALT) surrounds
the gut and produces most of our infection fighting
white blood cells called lymphocytes. Everything that
passes through the gut wall immediately encounters
the GALT, which is vital in keeping toxins and micro-
bial invaders from passing undetected out of the gut
into the general circulation. If gut absorption and
processing is not running smoothly then the immune
system is excessively triggered, causing the release
of inflammatory chemicals, which have far reaching
effects throughout the body, including the brain.
There are several known conditions in which an un-
healthy gut will provoke the GALT. ¡®Leaky gut¡¯ refers
to a damaged gut lining, with literal gaps in the gut
wall. An imbalance or deficiency of the beneficial gut
bacteria is known as ¡®dysbiosis¡¯. Both leaky gut and
dysbiosis can lead to inappropriate triggering of the
GALT. Delayed food allergies are also common, af-
fecting most of us to some degree, with certain foods
provoking an immune reaction 12 to 72 hours after
eating. Even healthy foods
such as whole wheat can
be stoking the immune
system causing decades of
¡®simmering¡¯ inflammation.
Science is recognizing the
profound impact that in-
flammatory chemicals have
on brain function, detailing
the minute connections
that link inflammation and
mood disorders. Inflam-
mation changes brain
chemistry, and perhaps
most symptoms of brain
neurotransmitter imbal-
ance, such as depression,
anxiety and attention-
deficit are ultimately linked
to underlying immune dys-
function, which is so often
triggered from the gut.
We routinely find impaired
gut function as the ¡®root
cause¡¯ of cognitive and
mood disorders. Symp-
toms such as difficulty con-
2015 April
Pg 6 - The Sunshine Express
Health & Nurturing
by Sandy Lauzon
Happy Easter from Bounia
My nose remembers Easter at Bounia¡¯s house. Eas-
ter had a significant aroma beginning about a week
before the Holy day. It began with bringing up the
horseradish and beet relish from the cellar and the
smoked ham and kielbasa from the smoke shed. She
had to have everything ready before Holy Saturday
morning when the food was brought to the church to
be blessed.
The first task was fun for me, my brother and the
cousins. That was when we all were allowed to deco-
rate hard boiled eggs. They were not the fancy ones
that would decorate the Easter table, but the ones
that would be baked into the Easter bread. Once the
clean up was completed, Bounia said a prayer and
carried the eggs to the back kitchen refrigerator to
await the bread baking.
Next was the task that filled the whole house with
aroma that would taunt a person¡¯s belly until Easter
dinner. Two breads would be baked. The first, a
sweet bread (Paska) with sprinkles on the top to be
served as soon as the families returned from Mass
on Easter morning. It was served with coffee for the
adults and coffee milk for the youngsters.
Next was the Easter bread (Babka) that you could
smell from down the street. It was yeast bread that
Bounia would pound to death after each rising. She
was tiny, but strong. She placed twelve of the dyed
Easter eggs that we had prepared a few days before
around the edge of the round loaf and one in the
middle to represent the Resurrection. She said a
prayer and placed the bread in the oven. Oh what a
delightful aroma.
Holy Saturday arrived and Bounia, Mom, Aunt Anne
and Aunt Mary placed a sample of the food in a large
basket. Mom, who was the official driver, loaded up
the Chevy with the food basket and her mother-in-
law and sisters-in-law. Fr. Klowan would begin at
9am and continue the blessing ceremony until every
household offering was sprinkled with an adequate
amount of holy water. A small amount of food was
left behind for the poor in the community from each
Easter dinner was a gourmet¡¯s delight. My father,
the eldest of Bounia¡¯s children took the Resurrec-
tion egg from the yeast bread, peeled the shell and
took a small bite, offered a small bite to Bounia and
declared ¡°Christ has risen¡±. This was repeated with
each family member in turn and another egg had to
be peeled.
The children¡¯s table was served first with the delights
of Bounia¡¯s kitchen. The adults ate and lingered with
stories of the old country, Uncle Billy who was killed
in the war and GeGe who had passed away. Tears,
laughter, food, faith and family remembering how
much love had already been shared and what was
ahead. Christ has risen, alleluia.
Beet and Horseradish Relish (Chrein)
This is a traditional Easter relish served with ham,
which Bounia had prepared after the fall harvest.
centrating, irritability, impatience, or being easily dis-
tracted are often linked to gut dysfunction or delayed
food allergies. I routinely observe healing of the gut
and elimination of food allergens leading to resolution
of depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders.
Even autism and schizophrenia have documented con-
nections to impaired gut health.
Great Gut Health
Insuring gut health starts with a healthy diet. Our
ancestors evolved over generations while eating a
Paleolithic diet of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and
wild game. We inherit our family ¡®culture¡¯ of beneficial
gut bacteria and the specific balances of good and bad
bacteria that inhabit our gut depend upon our diet.
Modern diet changes that include excess sugar, grains
and inflammatory fats wreak havoc on our native gut
bacteria. The plethora of food additives and chemicals
in our food and water has an impact on gut ecology.
Medications and antibiotics can destroy the good bacte-
ria that help keep our gut healthy. All these impacts on
gut health can indeed lead to changes in how we think
and feel.
Taking a broad-spectrum probiotic is a simple measure
that supports gut health. An amino acid called L-gluta-
mine can help heal an inflamed leaky gut. My favorite
is a special formulation from Douglas Labs call ¡®Intes-
tamine¡¯, that provides L-glutamine and other nutrients
necessary for gut health.
In Harmony
by Scott Rollins, M.D.
Numerous plant-derived
supplements such as
aloe, mallow, olive leaf
extract and slippery elm
are soothing to the gut.
Testing for delayed food
allergies involves getting
a simple blood test ¨C but
be wary of the results
depending upon the lab
used for testing! I¡¯ve
used 12 different labs
in as many years and
found that not all labs
do food allergy testing
well. We get consistent
reproducible results and
great patient outcomes
from Immunolabs and it
is the only lab I trust for
food allergy testing. A
stool test called ¡®compre-
hensive digestive stool
analysis¡¯ from Genova
Diagnostics is another
great test that provides
information about good
and bad bacteria, patho-
gens, enzymes, inflam-
mation and chemical
processing in the gut.
Sign up for the ¡®Ameri-
can Gut¡¯ project and
for $99 you can get an
analysis of your own gut
bacteria while contribut-
ing to research that is
mapping the gut ecology
of millions of Americans.
For details go to:
Gut health is a founda-
tion for overall health
and I believe we¡¯ll see
the restoration of ben-
eficial gut flora and the
repair of leaky gut as
paramount achievements
in mental health as well
as medicine in general.
To learn more about
testing for food allergies and gut health join me for
our upcoming free seminar.
Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago that ¡°all disease
begins in the gut¡± and modern science is just starting
to realize how very correct he was.
(Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the Ameri-
can Board of Family Practice and the American Board
of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He special-
izes in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement for men
and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromy-
algia, weight loss and other complex medical condi-
tions. He is founder and medical director of the Inte-
grative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www. and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www. Call 970.245.6911 for an appoint-
ment or more information.)