Chapter 1-2 of Healing Foods by Walter Last
Diseases tend to start in the bowels and that is where holistic healing should start as well. It is not possible to become healthy when we are constipated and our intestines are full of putrefying wastes and overgrown with harmful microbes. This environment allows toxins to be absorbed into the blood, and pathogenic microbes to demolish our immune system and invade various parts of the body.
While there are many contributing factors, such as bottle-feeding babies and basing our diet on more or less unhealthy foods, presently the main factors are antibiotics and other medical drugs that destroy our healthy intestinal flora. The result is an epidemic of Candida overgrowth with the aggressive hyphal form hiding inside the intestinal wall causing inflammation and making it permeable for toxins and microbes to enter the blood. Initially the main Candida problem is its production of acetaldehyde which blocks oxidative energy production wherever there is some pre-existing weakness. This can cause health problems anywhere in the body but mainly in the brain, leading to a wide variety of mental and emotional disturbances. This is also the main cause of most of our modern diseases. For more details about this process see Managing the Immune System.
In addition we need to clean out the bowels and remove years of accumulated wastes stagnating in bowel pockets, and sometimes covering the intestinal walls with hard crusts. Such cleansing also helps to remove most of the harmful microbes and allows the gastro-intestinal tract to be repopulated with probiotic microbes. A recommended method is a 5-day Psyllium Cleanse as explained in Fasting and Cleansing. Finally we avoid being constipated ever again, and when it appears necessary to use antibiotics, take strong fungicides as well.
The Antimicrobial Flush
In order to re-establish a beneficial intestinal flora it is preferable to eliminate accumulated waste matter as well as harmful bacteria and fungi beforehand. Initially this may be done with an antimicrobial flush to clean out the whole length of the intestinal tract. This reduces any unpleasant reactions such as headaches, nausea and other gastro-intestinal discomfort. This flush may on subsequent days be replaced with a milder acting psyllium drink. A flush should not be used if you have ‘loose bowels’, in this case start immediately with psyllium.
An effective flush is with a tablespoon of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) or magnesium chloride in a large glass of water. Drink some more water afterwards. As microbicide you may add chopped raw garlic, turmeric, ginger or a combination of these or other microbicides. To make it less bitter you may refrigerate the dissolved magnesium salts overnight. In the morning you add the microbicide and drink something with a more pleasant taste afterwards.
Instead of magnesium salts you may also use an isotonic salt solution. Water with the same salt concentration as blood is called isotonic. It is not normally absorbed but passes through the whole of the intestinal tract. An isotonic solution has a salt content of about 0.9 %, or approximately 1 heaped teaspoonful in 1 liter of water. Mix this with your preferred microbicide and drink within about 10 minutes.
Unpleasant symptoms due to die-off of Candida and other microbes (Herxheimer reaction) will be minimized with a flush, as the dead microbes are washed out of the body. If, for some reason, the flush does not come out at the other end within a few hours, and you start feeling uncomfortable, then take either another tablespoon of magnesium salt or try an enema.
The antimicrobial flush is followed 30 to 60 minutes by a probiotic culture as described below. You may minimize garlic odor by crushing cloves while they are submerged in lemon juice.
Women with fungal or bacterial overgrowth should also use a vaginal microbicide when sanitizing the intestinal tract. This may be done by inserting a capsule filled with borax for one or two weeks at bedtime. After finishing the borax course introduce lactic acid probiotics into the vagina as well (see Banana Ferment below).
You may also use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash and gargle with it instead of using toothpaste. With serious diseases you may infuse diluted peroxide rectally. Immune cells produce hydrogen peroxide naturally to destroy pathogenic microbes. Do not use antioxidants close to internal hydrogen peroxide. See also related information in Hydrotherapy.
Psyllium is most recommended for long-term use. If you are not overweight or constipated you may also start the Intestinal Sanitation this way instead of using first magnesium salts. Psyllium is especially effective for removing endotoxins from the intestines and reducing allergic and autoimmune reactions.
In a large glass of water add a rounded teaspoon each of sodium bicarbonate and psyllium hulls as well as some microbicide. Stir and drink immediately followed by more water. If you suspect intestinal parasites use gum turpentine, wormwood, ground cloves or oregano oils as microbicide. Possibly in addition to others, such as garlic, ginger or turmeric paste.
Another possibility is temporarily to alternate taking psyllium with 1 tablespoon of diatomaceous earth (D.E.) which also is good to absorb toxins and microbes. I do not recommend taking D.E. every day as it can accumulate and clog up the intestines.
Do this Intestinal Flush for several days or weeks before starting with the Ultimate Microbial Cleanse to reduce the intestinal load of microbes and toxins. You may continue taking psyllium and sodium bicarbonate until you feel well again.
This leads us to the next step: replacing the decimated pathogenic microbes with desirable or "friendly" lactobacilli. This is best done in a high dose 30-60 minutes after a flush or strong antimicrobial remedy; to prevent unwanted microbes from growing back after the next meal. Commonly probiotics contain mainly acidophilus and other lacto-bacteria in addition to bifido-bacteria.
Most bacterial cultures should be refrigerated. Preferably buy milk-free cultures, especially with Type 1 diabetes and allergies, and look for a wide range of different strains of lactobacilli. More recently soil-based microbes have become available such as Prescript Assist and Effective Microorganisms or EM. These have been shown to be beneficial with several intestinal disorders, especially with inflammations of the large intestines.
However, dried cultures are dormant and relatively inactive as compared to microbes in liquid and especially fresh ferments. You may buy fermented sauerkraut or lactic acid fermented foods from health shops, but generally it is preferable to make your own ferment as shown below. Commonly it is better to repopulate the intestines with microbes grown on vegetables, lentils/legumes, grains and fruit rather than on milk. While mung beans ferment well, larger beans seem to develop an unpleasant smell during fermentation.
It is good to use some fermented food as part of a healthy diet, but this is usually not enough to sanitise the intestinal tract of individuals who have dysbiosis. Presently this applies to most of us. This means that everyone starting on the path to better health should initially focus on intestinal sanitation, otherwise specific remedies or even a good diet may not help much. Maintain a high intake of properly fermented foods for a long time during your health improvement efforts and then continue indefinitely with lower maintenance amounts.
Some ferments, such as kombucha, are rather acidic and may cause problems for sensitive individuals. In this case dilute with water or partly neutralise with dolomite or sodium bicarbonate. Also protect your teeth from acid corrosion. Do not keep metal surfaces in prolonged contact with strongly acidic liquids.
For individuals with yeast and fungal problems it is preferable to ferment at raised temperatures in a yoghurt maker as yeast fermentation increases with lower temperatures. Strongly Candida affected individuals must be cautious with all yeast fermented products. Presently my favourite yoghurt maker is the Luvele Pure as it allows specific temperature settings at 36, 38 and 40°C and also has a 24 hour timer.
Generally take ferments and other probiotics separately from microbicides. Try ferment/probiotics before a meal, and microbicidal foods, such as garlic, ginger or turmeric with it. Other antimicrobials can generally be taken after the meal.
Kefir used in sufficiently high amounts can sanitise the intestines. It contains a wide range of protective microbes and works at room temperature. Kefir grains can be used to ferment not only milk but also vegetables. For an excellent information site see users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html. I do not recommend using commercial yogurt to sanitise the intestinal tract because of the high content of mucus-forming lactose, widespread allergy to A1 casein, and limited strains of lactic acid bacteria. Even well-fermented kefir may still be too high in lactose for some individuals, and continued use may cause problems. There is now a trend to use kefir for fermenting coconut milk. However, the kefir grains periodically need to be regenerated in milk as they need lactose. Coconut milk can also be fermented with acidophilus and other lacto-bacteria at raised temperature.
Kombucha also works at room temperature and in sufficient quantities is effective in sanitising the intestinal tract. It is made from sugar and black or green tea but needs a solidified mother culture, called a SCOBY, as starter, and in addition also some ferment from a previous batch. The yeasts produce alcohol which is mostly converted to vinegar but about 0.5 to 1% may remain in the finished product. With short fermentation times quite a lot of sugar may still remain, preferably let it ferment for 2 to 3 weeks. Because of action by health authorities many commercial kombucha drinks are now pasteurised and so without much health benefit.
Banana Ferment: This is one of my favourites. Initially buy a probiotic culture based mainly on acidophilus and other lacto-bacteria with a variety of strains. For a daily ferment use several ripe bananas. You may puree them with water in a blender, mesh with a fork, cut into thin slices or chop into small pieces. Even blended organic banana skins can be fermented. You may also experiment with adding pollen powder (best cell-broken), carob or cocoa powder, molasses, and pulped fruit and fruit juices. Add sufficient water, liquid from the previous ferment, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of brown or raw sugar for each 500 ml of water.
Keep in a yoghurt maker or another warm place for 8 to 24 hours. Fermentation with lactobacilli works best around 35 to 40°C, while at room temperature there is much more yeast fermentation. Strain to separate the solids from the liquid and refrigerate. One can eat the solids on their own or mixed with other food, and the drink tastes pleasantly refreshing.
Acidophilus and many other probiotics cannot break down starches or fibres, they grow mainly on sugars. The finished ferment should have a pleasant acidic flavour and odour. The more sugar is being added and the longer the fermentation lasts, the more acidic it becomes. Generally, the less sweet and the more acidic, the healthier are these ferments. After 8 hours the ferment may taste better because it has still a fair amount of sugar while after 24 hours it is rather acidic but better for individuals who are very sensitive and low in energy. The main benefit comes from the microbes in the liquid rather than from eating the fermented food. If the ferment tastes or smells bad then discard it.
Lentil Ferment: Fermented lentils and possibly peas can provide good microbes for sanitising the bowels or large intestines. This may be temporarily tried for bowel problems. The microbes in this ferment are able to break down the starches of legumes and do not need any sugar. Any anti-nutrients are removed with soaking and fermenting. Do not ferment mung beans or any other beans.
Use equal parts of brown and red lentils but also other types of lentils may be used. Soak overnight. Change the water and blend it all up. Fill in a large glass jar or crock and keep for 12 to 24 hours in a warm place around 30 degrees C and then refrigerate. No starter is needed but a small amount from the previous batch may help. As with all fermentation, keep plenty of head space in the container as the ferment may bubble up. Also keep it covered but not airtight. Slowly increase to several tablespoons before meals best mixed with other ferments to improve the taste. In addition you may also start mixing it with other food as part of a meal. If any problems arise, then stop or reduce intake and temporarily use only the strained liquid. You may also use lentil ferment, perhaps with added rice or rolled oats, to make dosa-type pancakes.
Turmeric: This is a powerful microbicide and antioxidant. Its main active component is Curcumin, but turmeric paste is about as effective as extracted curcumin in capsules. The active ingredients are fat-soluble. Further, black pepper contains piperine which inhibits an enzyme in the liver and intestinal wall that rapidly breaks down the active ingredients in turmeric. Therefore, turmeric paste is commonly prepared with the addition of coconut or olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Turmeric has been shown to improve or cure a very wide range of diseases, including all cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and countless others. I believe that the main curative effect comes from its strong antimicrobial and especially fungicidal properties. Indications are that it does not harm but rather improve our beneficial microbes, even at levels that can cure bowel cancer in animals. I recommend using turmeric paste as a main part of your Health Improvement Program.
Turmeric Paste may be prepared from turmeric powder or from blended fresh turmeric.
· Stir half a cup of turmeric powder into 1 to 1.5 cups of warm water
· Add 1.5 teaspoons or 7.5 ml of freshly ground or frozen black pepper
· Add about 70 ml of Coconut oil or extra virgin Olive oil and stir
· If you prefer the paste to remain liquid add coconut oil only at mealtime
· May be refrigerated for a week or two, or frozen for much longer
· For intensive treatment use several tablespoons per day with meals
· For maintenance use according to taste preference
· Start with a low dose and increase gradually
Prebiotics or the food that we provide for our intestinal flora may be even more important than the probiotics that we can supply as supplements. These nutrients determine which microbial species will thrive and which ones will not do well. The easily digestible carbohydrates from sugar and grain products favour Candida and other yeasts but can also lead to overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the small intestines.
Commercially available soluble but indigestible fibre, called FOS or fructosoligosaccharides, helps to stimulate the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria. FOS is mainly composed of several fructose molecules linked together. Some commercial FOS in processed foods is made by a fungus, and yeast sensitive individuals may react to it. The better type of FOS is produced by splitting the long fructose chains of inulin derived from vegetable sources.
Generally inulin powder is the better supplement to use for stimulating growth of bifido-bacteria in the colon, and this is one of the more effective ways of keeping harmful microbes in the colon under control. Inulin is a fine white powder with a slightly sweet taste and is more pleasant to eat and more beneficial than bran.
The recommended intake of inulin is from 5 to10 grams or 1 to 2 teaspoons daily, best divided. Increase the amount only gradually as it may cause loose bowel motions and wind or flatulence. This cannot be entirely avoided but experiment to keep it in acceptable limits.
Here are some data for the inulin content in foods: Chicory roots 15-20%, Jerusalem artichokes 14-19%, garlic 9-16%, dandelion leaves 12-15%, onions 2-6%, leeks 3-10%, artichoke leaves 3-10%, and bananas 0.3-0.7%.
Legumes are high in a type of soluble fibre, raffinose, that is only broken down in the large intestines. It is another excellent food for bifido-bacteria. Raffinose is a tri-saccharide with the simple sugars galactose, fructose, and glucose joined together. It is a soluble fibre and can be found in legumes, members of the cabbage family, asparagus and other vegetables.
Legumes, like all seeds, have enzyme inhibitors. As a side-effect legumes tend to produce wind or flatulence which can be reduced by sprouting these legumes, or by soaking them overnight and replacing the water before cooking. This also greatly improves the absorption of minerals by reducing the amount of phytic acid in the seeds. Lentils, peas and chickpeas usually cause fewer problems than beans.
Organic leaf and root vegetables as a salad or pureed in a high-speed blender after only minimal cleaning provide good microbes and also the prebiotics that they need to multiply. Resistant starch (RS) is very good to feed the microbes in the colon, and helps to prevent or treat inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer.
You get RS by adding a small raw potato (avoid any with green skins) when blending vegetables. To make isolated RS blend some peeled potatoes and refrigerate. After a short time RS granules accumulate at the bottom and you can pour off the liquid. 100g of raw potato provides a recommended daily amount of 25g RS.
For a good article on RS see Resistant-Starch. Increased wind may also be a drawback with RS. This can be minimized by only slowly increasing the amounts of prebiotics, and using psyllium before breakfast and possibly other meals. Psyllium reduces wind by removing toxins and excess microbes. In addition greatly reduce easily digestible carbohydrates, especially sugar and flour products.
Problems with Probiotics and Prebiotics
While probiotics and prebiotics are very helpful for most individuals, there are also some who may deteriorate when using them. A main problem is a high production of microbial lactic acid in the form of D-lactate to which some individuals can be very sensitive. The body can better handle L-lactate as produced by overworked muscles. Probiotic microbes may produce only L-lactate, only D-lactate or a mixture of both. Normally the body can easily metabolise or excrete the intestinally produced D-lactate, but it can cause problems if too much is being absorbed into the blood. This may be due to strong microbial activity from a diet high in carbohydrates and cause small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). In the presence of leaky gut syndrome more D-lactate may enter the blood than the liver can metabolise.
A contributing factor is high lactate production inside the body from microbial infestations, such as with systemic candidiasis, advanced cancer, or fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Symptoms of CFS such as anxiety and other mood changes, cognitive dysfunction with impaired memory, aggression and myalgia are very similar to those caused by overproduction of D-lactate. Other toxic metabolites that have similar brain effects are acetaldehyde produced by Candida and other fungi, and hydrogen sulfide produced in the colon of some individuals with a high intake of protein, especially meat. Sulfide also damages the cells of the intestinal wall and is implicated in contributing to ulcerative colitis and leaky gut syndrome; it also produces very smelly wind. I assume that sulfide problems can be avoided by acidifying the stomach content and taking bromelain with cooked proteins.
Therefore, observe what is happening when you start using and increasing probiotic ferments. However, it may not be easy to decide if any reactions are due to cleansing and die-off of bad microbes or to something like SIBO generating too much D-lactate. As a general rule, beneficial reactions, such as microbial die-off, tend to last only for days and then start improving, while problems caused by Candida, SIBO and D-lactate tend to remain or get worse unless you remove the cause. This means stop using your probiotic or ferment and also minimize carbohydrates until things have quietened down, then gradually increase intake of ferments again.
If you believe that oversensitivity to D-lactate may be the problem then experiment with probiotics that do not produce D-lactose or only small amounts. Here is a compilation of the type of lactic acid or lactate that some Lactobacilli produce (L. means Lactobacillus).
D-lactate only or predominantly is produced by strains of L. delbrueckii, widely used in the dairy industry as for making yoghurt, e.g. the strain L. bulgaricus; other D-lactate producers are L. jensenii and L. vitulinus.
Racemate (50% D-lactate and 50% L-lactate) is produced by L. acidophilus, L. brevis, L. fermentum, L. helveticus, L. plantarum, L. reuteri, L. amylovorus, L. aviaries, L. buchneri, L. crispatus, L. curvatus, L. gasseri, L. graminis, L. hamster, L. homohiochii, L. pentosus, L. sakei.
L-lactate only is produced by L. casei, L. paracasei, L. salivarius, L. rhamnosus, L. agilis, L. amylophilus, L. animalis, L. bavaricus, L. mali, L. maltaromicus, L. murinus, L. ruminis, L. sharpeae.
For additional useful microbes see the ingredients of D-lactate free probiotics. Streptococcus thermophilus and Saccharomyces boulardii produce only L-lactate, also Bifidobacteria are safe and do not produce D-lactate. However, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly used in baking and brewing, is best avoided as many people react to it. There are also some brands of soil-based organisms (SBO's) that contain no lactobacilli or d-lactate producing organisms.
Another potential problem is with prebiotics and food ingredients that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They then provide food for the microbes in the colon. However, people with microbial overgrowth in the large intestines, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and some other gastrointestinal problems, may get worse with prebiotics, and often improve when prebiotics are restricted. A main problem from microbial overgrowth in any part of the intestinal tract is greatly increased gas production as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. In the colon this tends to generate much wind, but in the small intestine it causes bloating with painful stretching of the intestinal walls. This is commonly centered in the middle of the abdomen around the belly button but may spread out to the sides and press under the ribcage. Often IBS and SIBO are both present.
The main causes are a combination of 3 factors: frequent use of antibiotics or similar drugs leading to overgrowth of Candida and other harmful microbes; constipation or slow bowel transit time, and a high intake of easily digestible carbohydrates. Try correcting these factors with the antimicrobial flush, psyllium cleanse and probiotic ferments. Experiment and observe how you react to different probiotics and ferments.
To improve bowel transit time and heal the intestinal wall, frequently fill the bowels with blended raw green leaf puree. Optionally, for a week or two go on a very strict diet of eating only (organic or grass-fed) minced beef and fish marinated with lemon juice or vinegar in addition to leaf salads. You may also use a series of Colonics at home or professionally.
In the elderly, with chronic degenerative diseases or persistent Candida problems and even young asthmatics, the body frequently loses its ability to produce an adequate amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This leads to malnutrition from incomplete digestion of proteins, and poor absorption of vitamins B1 and B12, as well as minerals. The resulting mineral deficiency may cause fingernails to be soft or the hair may be unhealthy. Hydrochloric acid is also needed to activate pepsin and kill microbes in food.
An inadequate amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach often results in overgrowth of the digestive tract with undesirable and pathogenic bacteria and fungi. This can cause or contribute to malabsorption, intestinal distress, and allergies to bacterial and fungal breakdown products, and in turn will weaken the immune system.
Symptoms associated with insufficient gastric acid can be belching, discomfort after eating, food lying heavy in the stomach, acid reflux, or anemia. Often the body is either over-alkaline or over-acid, and the energy level is low. With suspected lack of hydrochloric acid, obvious mineral deficiencies, and in most cases of pyroluria, candidiasis and chronic degenerative disease, it is beneficial to use hydrochloric acid supplements with all cooked protein meals, which may include meat, fish, eggs, cheese and legumes, but also nuts that have not been soaked.
You may buy hydrochloric acid supplements as Betaine HCl, best with pepsin in capsules rather than tablets. Take one or more during the meal (not at the beginning), the more protein is in the meal the more capsules you may add. More cheaply, you may use diluted hydrochloric acid. Commercial diluted hydrochloric acid is usually 20%. To make a 2% solution that is safe to use, slowly add 1 part of 20% acid to 9 parts of water. You may then dilute the acid with ½ cup of liquid and drink during or after the meal. You may protect your teeth by drinking through a straw.
However, habitually taking mineral acids may make the body too acid. Furthermore, those who do not produce enough stomach acid also do not make enough sodium bicarbonate to neutralize an increased amount of acid in the duodenum. While the stomach content needs to be acid, the content of the small intestines needs to be alkaline; otherwise nutrients are not properly absorbed. Therefore, it is advisable to take a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in liquid in a glass of water before breakfast to increase general alkalinity.
As an alternative to hydrochloric acid supplements you may mix lemon or lime juice, strong kombucha or (cider) vinegar and some magnesium chloride with a protein meal. The food acid reacts with the magnesium chloride to form hydrochloric acid and magnesium citrate, or acetate. In this way you provide all of the key ingredients to activate digestive enzymes: acidity, magnesium and chloride ions. The addition of magnesium chloride is beneficial but not essential. Use about one to two tablespoons of the acid, and half a teaspoon of magnesium chloride solution. As the food acids are metabolized, this does not normally make the body more acidic. You may further stimulate the digestion by drinking half a cupful of a bitter herb tea after the meal. Bitter ingredients are especially helpful for the liver.
Individuals who do not produce enough stomach acid usually also do not produce enough protein-digesting enzymes. Therefore it is advisable to take also bromelain with protein meals. Even some raw proteins can be difficult to digest, mainly because of protein enzyme inhibitors. These are very high in raw egg white, nuts and almonds and other high-protein seeds. Therefore it is best to cook egg white, and soak, sprout or ferment seeds. Alternatively treat these like cooked proteins. Some raw proteins that are easy to digest are egg yolk, marinated fish filets, and minced meat (organic or grass-fed) with added vinegar or lemon juice.