We Were Born to be Healthy:
Part 5 of 7

evolution rThis is installment 5. Part 1 is HERE; Part 2 is HERE, Part 3 is HERE, Part 4 is HERE.


Leaky gut


Undigested proteins from grains, ingested toxins, and unhealthy levels of microbes can damage the one-cell-layer-thick lining of the intestines, creating small holes in the lining. This is called intestinal permeability or leaky gut. With constant exposure to indigestible peptides, toxins, and unhealthy bacteria, damage to the gut lining becomes more serious. Just like tears in cheesecloth, an opening or pathway is created for unwanted stuff to leak into the blood system.


Damage to the gut lining sets up a critical scenario.


Specific biological insults could occur:

  • Undigested peptides from grains and other undigested food particles could leak through these holes into the bloodstream.
  • Toxins and Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) that are very irritating could leak through these holes creating severe systemic inflammation.


The results:


Our immune system would react to these insults by creating a cascade of inflammatory reactions within the lumen of the intestines as well as within the bloodstream and throughout the rest of the body.


Complicating this process, some of these invading peptides might look like normal proteins in other tissues of our body. After enough insult to our body through this leaky gut, our immune system could become confused and begin attacking the normal cells of various organs that looked like these invading peptides (called molecular mimicry). Those tissues and organs that had the weakest genetic predisposition could become affected – possibly the Beta cells in the pancreas resulting in type 1 diabetes; possibly the skin cells resulting in psoriasis; possibly the thyroid cells resulting in hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; possibly the joint cells resulting in rheumatic arthritis; or possibly the periodontal tissues resulting in periodontitis.


We are more bacteria than human


Our human body is made up of 10 trillion human cells. However, our body is host to 100 trillion microbial cells. Most of these live within our digestive system, and the far majority of them reside in the colon. We are healthy when these microbes are in a state of homeostasis. We are unhealthy when this delicate balance goes astray.


There are probably 35,000 or more microbial species in our gut, most of which cannot be cultured through normal means. Gut bacteria affect our entire body including our mouths.


Studies have shown that patients with inflammatory bowel disease have unhealthy bacterial changes in their saliva. Research also has shown that species of gut bacteria have been able to become dormant, live intracellularly in red blood cells without detection, and then migrate to distant organs of the body, resulting in infections of apparently unknown origin. Healthy bacteria in fermented foods have been shown to improve the bacterial components in dental plaque in a randomized controlled trial involving a population of school children. All this research demonstrates how bacteria from the gut influence our entire body.


By returning the gut bacteria to a healthy balance is proving promising for various diseases. Some cutting-edge procedures like Fecal Microbiota Transplants (FMT) (Here, Here) have replaced bad bacteria in the gut successfully with healthy populations to cure Clostridium difficile, an otherwise difficult infection to treat. These procedures currently are being investigated for the treatment of obesity, Alzheimer’s, autism, multiple sclerosis, and even ALS – all of which have been shown to have chronic inflammation as the underlying cause.


Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, which may very well respond to reestablishment of healthy gut bacteria.

We Were Born to be Healthy:
Part 4 of 7

evolution rThis is installment 4. Part 1 is HERE; Part 2 is HERE, Part 3 is HERE.


Studies (Here, Here, Here) have shown that a Paleo-type diet embraces those nutrients that allow our individual cells to survive and thrive, and has been the way of eating through the course of human evolution. I will go into a full description of this way of eating in a future installment, but first I will discuss the connections and underlying causes of chronic inflammation and chronic disease?


Here is the connection – the vicious cycle.


What goes into our mouths affects our good bacteria and our overall health. Our gut bacteria are the major players in health and disease.


Our guts never evolved to deal with acellular carbohydrates effectively. These acellular carbohydrates changed the gut bacteria (known as the gut microbiome) and increased the harmful types of microbes. Harmful bacteria and lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are cell membrane remnants of dead gram-negative bacteria, began to proliferate in the gut causing irritation and imbalance of bacteria. This is an unhealthy development.




I have created this diagram to help you visualize the damaging part of gram-negative bacteria.


LPS for Website


My diagram is a make-believe bacterium, half of which represents a gram-positive bacterium and the other half represents a gram-negative bacterium. The left half is the gram-positive part and the right half is the gram-negative part. The cytoplasm (the liquid center of the cell) is noted in the center and the cell membrane is identified with white arrows.


The most distinguishing feature telling the two bacteria apart is the outer layer of their cell membranes. The outer layer of the cell membrane of the gram-positive bacterium is relatively smooth; the outer layer of the cell membrane of the gram-negative bacterium is extremely jagged. This rough layer is known as the Lipopolysaccharide outer shell, and it only occurs on gram-negative types.


After gram-negative bacteria die, the LPS remnants can act like spurs. They become serious problems if they get into the bloodstream.


An accumulation of unhealthy bacteria in our gut is not the only problem. Ingested toxins also can irritate the intestinal lining. In addition, our digestive system never evolved to completely breakdown the proteins in grains.


In the next installment I will describe how LPS, toxins, and undigested proteins get into the bloodstream to cause havoc.