During a recent podcast with Dr. Tom O’Bryan, who is a world-recognized expert in gluten and its effects on our health and author of The Autoimmune Fix, I had the pleasure of talking with him about chronic illness, what contributes to it, and how to heal from it. Dr. O’Bryan discussed the five pillars that contribute to chronic diseases, like Lyme, and how we can be aware of them and combat them to live a healthier life. His focus is on educating people that treating chronic disease requires a paradigm shift and a stepping away from the belief that we need “instant relief .” As someone fighting a chronic illness, understanding these pillars has been crucial to understanding the proper road to healing.
PILLAR ONE: GUT PERMEABILITY AKA LEAKY GUT
Leaky gut is a condition caused by dysbiosis where the lining and the gut itself become inflamed, leading to gaps in the intestinal lining and toxins leaking into the bloodstream. Much of western medicine and the medical community do not support LGS. Still, it is starting to be recognized as a real issue causing many people discomfort and a gateway to more severe illnesses. As the toxins and amino acids from various foods leak into your bloodstream, your body’s immune system begins to fight them, causing an allergic-type response. Our gut is the second brain communicating with the brain all day. So as soon as our gut is compromised, a platform for chronic disease has been created.
PILLAR TWO: YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM’S RESPONSE TO THE LEAKY GUT
As mentioned in pillar one, when the gut lining begins to leak amino acids and toxins into the bloodstream, the immune system goes into overdrive to protect the body. Why is this bad? When the immune system begins attacking these amino acids, it searches for them in every part of the body, including organs and systems that need them to function correctly. As the immune system responds to the leaky gut (which can take place over years and years), it begins to break down proper thyroid function and liver function and joints, etc. This leads to killing off more cells than your body can produce, eventually leading to molecular mimicry and the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.
PILLAR THREE: THE MICROBIOTA
The microbiota is the good and bad bacteria in your gut; these include everything from good gut bacteria to viruses and fungi. A healthy balance of this bacteria is vital for the proper function in absorbing nutrition, immune strength, and brain function. When the microbiome is disturbed or out of, balance is when diseases and chronic illnesses can appear. Because the gut biome contains over 3 million genes, it is incredibly unique to each individual, explaining why every person fights and is affected by disease differently.
PILLAR FOUR: GENETICS
Your genetics are the deck of cards you have been dealt with by life – there is pretty much nothing you can do, but it is essential to be aware of our genetics because they point to our weaknesses. We need to remember that just because we have a particular set of genes does not mean we are getting a specific disease – it merely means we are vulnerable to getting that disease gene turned ON. Dr. O’Bryan says all this to make the point that if we are aware of our genetic weak link, we can make sure we don’t “pull” on it too hard and activate it.
PILLAR FIVE: ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS
These are the triggers around us that can turn our genes on and off – leading to diseases and chronic inflammation. There are many triggers all around us, from the air we breathe to the water we drink, but the one that has the most impact is what is on the end of our forks. Our food consumption directly affects the ratio of good and bad bacteria in your gut, also known as the microbiome.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan is a world-recognized expert in gluten and its effects on our health, author of The Autoimmune Fix, and creator of The Gluten Summit – he is also a former Heal podcast guest that I had the pleasure of talking with about the chronic illness, what contributes to it, and how to heal from it. Dr. O’Bryan talks about the five pillars that contribute to chronic diseases, like Lyme and the ways in which we can be aware of them and combat to live a healthier life.
His focus is on educating people that treating chronic disease requires a paradigm shift and a stepping away from the belief that we require “instant relief”. As someone fighting a chronic disease, understanding these pillars has been crucial to understanding the map of my organism and the proper road I need to be on to fight and heal.