Butyrate for Leaky Gut and Brain Health

Lots of changes going on with supplements currently, which is making life a little challenging! Some of you may have noticed that ARG ButyrEn, which I recommend all the time for leaky gut, has been out of stock at Natural Dispensary for ages.

However, Christine and I have been tracking down alternative supplies for you. You can still get the exact same product as the retail brand, Nutricology, rather than the professional brand Allergy Research and you will find that at YHB:  (please use Micki Rose when ordering as usual EVERY time you order with YHB, thanks). And you can still get the ARG brand at Amrita: https://www.amritanutrition.co.uk/arg-003,

Hopefully, that one will stay available; we’ll keep our eye on it and do let us know if it disappears!

Meantime, here is a little more about the importance of butyrate. On the DD CSAP gut test, I see a low butyrate score in a lot of your results. Butyrate is the main food for the intestinal cells so it is crucial to have enough if you want to prevent or repair a leaky gut. It is pretty simple to correct using products like the one above and by consuming the right foods.

It may be low because most people I deal with are dairy free and much of our dietary butyric acid comes from dairy. But it also comes from fermentable fibres – prebiotics, if you like. It has an impact on the inflammation level in our bodies so low levels can signify higher than normal inflammation, especially in the gut and neurological system.

I like Dr Axe’s pictorial summaries and he’s done one on butyric acid so here it is for you, and do read his summary of butyrate and its uses and effects too – weight loss, IBS, digestive disorders etc:

What you need to know about butyric acid - Dr. Axe

On a more scientific note, here is an illustration for you of the brain and neurological effects of butyrate too, which I have been looking at a bit recently. You can read a study summary about it below:

The proposed mechanisms for the neuroprotective effects of butyrate and the…


Butyrate, neuroepigenetics and the gut microbiome: Can a high fiber diet improve brain health?

In other words: get the right fibres into your diet and supplement/boost with the right foods if yours is low on testing!

Menopause Brain: Is It a Lack of Testosterone?

We all have those moments where we just can’t find the right words, let alone recall what we walked into a room for, but from perimenopause onward (which can be up to several years before actual menopause), many women (and men) find brain fog and cognitive skills get even worse. As a PCOS sufferer all my life, I hope to goodness mine don’t get any worse; my memory and brain fog have been terrible since my teens!

The general thought is that ‘menopause brain’ is because of reducing oestrogen or progesterone, but actually some experts think it is more likely testosterone. That’s perfectly possible, I reckon, because clinically I often see low DHEA on adrenal tests and consequently low testosterone levels as you make testosterone partly out of DHEA (It’s much more complicated than that, we are talking hormones here, of course, but lack of DHEA = reduction in testosterone particularly.

The answer in these cases is not to rush to the doctor for testosterone pills – in effect a form of HRT – but to boost waning adrenal function. Most people just think of having hormone tests, which is of course the obvious thing to do, but don’t forget your adrenals.

You make much more of your steroid or ‘sex’ hormones from your adrenals after about forty, and most of us with stressy lifestyles are pounding away at our poor adrenals expecting them to cope and, Bob’s your uncle: not only do you feel less able to cope with life as you used to as your adrenal output starts to drop (so-called adrenal fatigue), you also start to get ‘hormone deficiency’ type symptoms.

Moral of the story: look after your adrenals after your 40s, men and women. You can read much more about adrenal fatigue here, testing hormones here and testing adrenals specifically here.

Also, here is the article that sparked that post for you:

Brain fog: is it a real side effect of menopause?

Five Healing Mistakes Everyone Makes

Brain iconI really found myself nodding enthusiastically through a recent blog post from Jordan and Steve at SCD Lifestyle. They acknowledge that everyone makes some common ‘mistakes’ (I hesitate to use that word myself, actually) when they are trying to heal. They focus here on healing gut issues as that’s what they had themselves, but you can apply these five to any kind of healing, I think.

The one, as you know, that I am focused on myself in our TGF world is number 5.

Mistake #5 – Thinking This Isn’t Also Psychological

As S & J say in their post, many of us resist this idea – not least because we have had ‘it’s all in your head’ shoved down our throats enough times! However, I wish I had accepted this idea a lot sooner than I have – it took me about 8 years, oops! – because I now believe that healing has to come from both physiological and psychological sides combined. Of course, I knew that on one level but I never really did much about it in any formalised or consistent way.

Too often, we are so focused on the biology and pathology of our illness that we lose sight of the psychological side. Sure, we know we feel anxious and depressed because of how we feel – but have we considered the, often hidden, psychological causes underpinning some of our chronic symptoms? Have we considered the impact of thoughts and beliefs in our illness? Can we turn our attention to the illness, accept it and stop fearing it so much, thus calming the amygdala down and, ironically helping to calm symptoms?

It’s tough to do, I know, but it has to be a part of the healing ‘journey’ in my view. It takes time, commitment and determination to do – this is no walk in the park with a few ‘positive’ thoughts here and there. This is consistent, calming and brain changing neuroplasticity encouragement.

In fact, on that point, there is a fascinating documentary based on the work of Norman Doidge, he who wrote The Brain That Changes Itself. If you need more knowledge or trust in this area of why brain work is so important, do watch it: it will truly blow your mind! It’s a bit over-produced for my liking as a staid Brit (!), but the message it gives you is very hopeful and, for me, that message was game-changing.

I realised, for the first time, that my brain patterns and reactions were not set in stone. If I could somehow get my brain to see food as non-threatening again, or simply calm my reactivity down somehow, that had to be helpful in healing. That’s what I am working on anyway. Who knows if it will work – this is not a short job I am discovering! But, as I write, I have had no migraine reactions for almost 2 months, which is astounding – that’s gone from about 2-3 a month. Sure, I’ve got other symptoms going on but that is a big one. I SO hope it is a positive sign of healing and I have everything crossed!

Here’s the video for you:

Anyway, do have a read of the post here and do read my Healing Series (from the oldest to newest post preferably) if you haven’t already. I promise: at some point, you will need some of this advice – when you’re ready for it. And I hope it takes fewer than 8 years for you!

Top 5 Gut Healing Mistakes (everyone makes at least one)

SCD Lifestyle are one of my TGF Resource faves for you. They have some very useful stuff including a Free Guide and the great value Surviving To Thriving ebook and audio package.

Is Food Affecting Your Brain? Part 2

For those of you following this three-part series, Part 2 is now out. Here is part one if you missed it, makes fascinating reading.

You can visit Dr O’s blog to get the second part – just use the search box if it’s not on the first page any more.

This time I note the reference to several studies all using elimination and challenge diets (happy coincidence since I released my Elimination and Challenge Factsheet only yesterday!).

Allergies Cause a Multitude of Symptoms

These studies are prime examples of how problems created by allergies often produce a multitude of physical and mental symptoms and affect many body symptoms. They not only can affect the central nervous system and the brain, but also usually affect the whole body in various ways. Furthermore these allergies are very specific for each individual, i.e. the same foods/chemicals hardly ever produce the same symptoms in different people. Therefore the diagnosis can only be made individually by using a so-called elimination and challenge diet, where specific foods and/or chemicals are first eliminated for a period of time and then carefully re-introduced.

I also like the inclusion of pyroluria in here, which many people have never even heard of:

Most patients with food allergies also tend to have pyroluria, a stress phenomenon associated with excess pyrroles in the urine which bind vitamin B6 and zinc.

Several vitamins are noted for their effectiveness in reducing allergic symptoms. Vitamins C and B6 are probably the most effective. Dr. William Philpott has used both of these vitamins intravenously to turn off allergic symptoms provoked by testing for allergies. the patient on adequate vitamin C will have fewer allergic symptoms. B6 should be given to the point of nightly dream recall and the minerals calcium and potassium should be in plentiful supply in the diet. Zinc and manganese are also needed by the allergic patient. 

Absolutely right. I have pyroluria myself and it doesn’t matter how much you try and get the zinc and B6 by diet, it is very difficult to keep levels up high enough. I am sure sometimes that’s at the heart of my super-sensitivity as I can’t tolerate the supplements to get them up enough! Chicken and egg. You can read more about pyroluria and testing for it here.

One thing I don’t agree with necessarily is with the recommendation of a rotation diet for treatment of sensitivities. In people where the allergen is causing or related to an inflammatory or autoimmune process (eg gluten, dairy), continued eating of an allergen would continue that process, even on rotation and I wouldn’t advise that level of risk. Rotation could be used successfully to help people avoid building more sensitivities though. My treatment approach is a bit different. Find the allergens, repair the broken or leaky barriers like blood-brain and gut, dampen down inflammation and turn off autoimmunity. Much easier said than done, of course!

Finally, two important messages to pick out. First:

The ultimate outcome of careful diagnosis and treatment of the allergic patient with cerebral symptoms may be excellent. The patient must, however, watch for new allergies and follow the carefully prescribed diets and routines of avoidance.

In other words, don’t mess about with your diet and be strict and keep your eye out for new ones. I would go further and say take steps to heal the leaky gut etc to stop them developing. And, second:

Evidence is accumulating which links various psychiatric disturbances with malabsorption caused by cereal grains

Put another way: cut down or out the grains and at least look after your nutrient levels with a welbeing protocol using grain free supplements (see the TGF Supplements Master List).

Remember those two nuggets and you can’t fail to help any behavioural, mental or mood symptoms. Ok, part 3 in a bit. I think it is already there but, of curse, I can’t resist commenting on it for you! Back soon.

Brain: Use It Or Lose It, Official!

A recent study has shown that our old belief that our brains slow down as we age is nonsense. If we use them, our neural pathways will continue to develop and strengthen for life, no matter what age we are.

Here’s the summary for you from WDDTY.com.

Memory loss and forgetfulness aren’t an inevitable consequence of getting older—your brain’s ‘white matter’, or neural pathways, continues to change and develop even into old age.

Scientists thought that white matter changes slowed or even stopped as we get older, but a new study has discovered the process continues all our lives. 

This makes it even more important for older people to engage in mental activities that ‘stretch the brain’, say researchers from Zucker Hillside Hospital, who made the discovery. 

They made their discovery after they  set a series of mental tests for a group of 296 healthy volunteers aged from eight to 68 to assess their mental speed, attention, memory and learning capabilities, while monitoring their brains at the same time. 

(Source: Biological Psychiatry, 2014; 75: 248)

You can also see a report from Science Daily here on it.

Yay: hope for us all, get those crossword puzzle books out!

Teenage Exams Coming Up? Start Now With Omega 3

Exams coming up? Start supplementing with omega-3

If you have a teenager facing major exams in the next 12 months, start dosing him or her up with omega-3 supplements now.  The fatty acids have a powerful effect on the working memories of the young in particular.

The good effects seem to happen after taking a supplement every day for around six months, new research has found.

Young people aged from 18 to 25 years show a dramatic improvement in their memory, cognitive skills and mood after they had taken a standard 4g omega-3 supplement every day. (Ed: I like this one which is 1g per capsule and produced toxin free. If your teen is vegetarian, they can try linseed instead.)

The participants were tested before they started taking the supplements and again afterwards.  The researchers from the University of Pittsburgh were impressed by the noticeable improvement in young people who were already healthy.

It was the first study into the impact of omega-3s on the young.  Previous trials had focussed on the elderly and how the supplements helped ward off dementia.

(Source: PLoS One, 2012; published online, October 25, 2012, WDDTY enews Oct 12).