Low Hydrochloric Acid & Leaky Gut Syndrome
Those of you who have read Listen To Your Gut, know that I don’t think too highly of Peter D’Adamo’s book, Eat Right 4 Your Type. Well, I recently came across this brilliant review of D’Adamo’s book that fully outlines why the science in his book is a just a tad “hinky”.
But the real bonus contained in this book review by Sally Euclaire Osborne MS, is the excellent information she imparts on:
- How to resolve hydrochloric acid (HCL) deficiency
- Allergies and Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Gelatin’s amazing ability to heal the intestinal lining
Those of you who have my book, The IBD Remission Diet, know that bone broths (which contain very high levels of gelatin) are a crucial component of the Diet. When I write the 2nd edition of The IBD Remission Diet I will include an entire section on exactly why and how bone broths (and gelatin) contribute to healing the gut and the whole body.
But for now, here are the really pertinent excerpts from Osborne’s book review article on gelatin, HCL deficiency and Leaky Gut Syndrome:
Why are people so short of HCl? For the body to manufacture HCl, it needs ample supplies of protein and zinc, ingredients that are in short supply in the popular low protein/high carbohydrate vegetarian and near vegetarian diets so popular today. Low HCl levels lead people to eat less meat (because they have trouble digesting it), which, in turn, leads to still lower HCl production. Once this cycle is set in motion, declining health is inevitable.
The problem colloquially known as “leaky gut” syndrome occurs when the mucus membranes of the intestinal tract are damaged and no longer provide an effective barrier to pathogenic gut bacteria and macro food molecules such as undigested or partially digested large proteins.
Once these macromolecules “leak” into the system, they are either attacked as foreign antigens or join “immune complexes” that lodge elsewhere in the body, causing havoc. When food and other antigens are allowed to enter the system in excessive amounts — as is always the case in individuals with leaky gut syndrome — sensitization of the immune system occurs, contributing to, if not actually causing, auto-immune diseases.
As might be expected, permeability of the intestinal lining correlates with numerous disorders, including food and environmental allergies; bowel problems such as IBS, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease; inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis; dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, and many forms of cancer.
First determine if you have “leaky gut” syndrome. One diagnostic tool is the intestinal permeability test available through Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory in Asheville, N.C. For healing, what’s generally required is the elimination of wheat and other gluten-containing grain products — as well as other problematic foods such as dairy and soy — for a period of four months to a year, depending on severity of the condition. Although diet alone can sometime heal a wounded GI tract, healing is facilitated with an appropriate supplement plan.
Scientific studies dating back to the turn of the century suggest that gelatin improves the digestion of grains, beans, meat and dairy products and that it can normalize cases of hydrochloric acid deficiency. In addition, gelatin can soothe, protect and nourish the intestinal lining. As Erich Cohn of the Medical Polyclinic of the University of Bonn wrote back in 1905, “Gelatin lines the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract and guards against further injurious action on the part of the ingesta.”
Further support of gelatin came in 1937 when Francis Pottenger noted, “Even foods to which individuals may be definitely sensitive, as proven by the leucopenic index and elimination diets, frequently may be tolerated with slight discomfort or none at all if gelatin is made part of the diet.”
Again, those of you who have read Listen To Your Gut, know that I warn against supplementing with Betaine HCL (a common remedy for low hydrochloric acid production) as it can trigger bleeding in susceptible individuals. So if you have trouble digesting protein, or you suspect you suffer from reduced HCL, or you are over age 50, then just start consuming gelatin-rich bone broths several times a week and this should soon remedy your problem.
You can drink the broths straight, or use them as a soup base for wide variety of noodle and vegetable soups, or meat and vegetable stews. Use them as a base for sauces and gravy. Or cook rice or cous-cous in broth rather than water. Work them in wherever you can as you can never eat too much of this rejuvenating food.