Inflammation and Gut Health

Sub clinical.  If a finding is “sub clinical,” what does that mean?  Essentially, sub clinical means that “you’re not complaining about it right now.”  Something was seen either through imaging (x-ray, CT, etc) or through blood work (elevated cholesterol, low thyroid function, etc) but you don’t “feel” like it’s a problem.  It didn’t alert you that you needed to see your physician.  It’s sub clinical. 

Inflammation is ALWAYS the initiating factor to an eventual diagnosis.  Thermal imaging is a way to monitor for areas of inflammation in the body.  Inflammation indicates an unhealthy situation and potentially, a future diagnosis.  

What about autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, or Dermatomyositis, to name a few?  Did inflammation contribute to this type of diagnosis?

We know for certain that an autoimmune diagnosis has one commonality:  increased intestinal permeability also known as leaky gut.  A leaky gut leads to inflammation and plays a role in the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease*.  Optimizing gut health is crucial to optimizing health.  

In this month’s newsletter we elucidate the role thermography plays in identifying “sub clinical” inflammation, specifically in the GI system.  Inflammation seen in the gut would allow the client to take immediate steps towards reducing inflammatory patterns in an attempt to not only avoid a diagnosis, but to optimize overall health.

* Sarah Ballantyne, PhD.  The Paleo Approach:  Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body contains multiple references

Below we enumerate five components for a healthy and happy gut followed by some thermographic before/after images of clients’ GI systems.

Five (5) components for gut health:

1. Remove gluten (wheat) from your diet

The standard wheat harvest protocol in the US is to drench the fields with the herbicide, Roundup.  The active ingredient of Roundup, glyphosate, is added to a wheat field several days before harvest causing desiccation of the wheat stalk. This practice then allows the entire wheat field to be harvested at the same time, thereby, increasing the yields.  This practice is banned in several countries but has been an acceptable practice in the United States for the past 15 years.  

Note: The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom reports that the use of Roundup as a wheat desiccant “result in Glyphosate residues regularly showing up in bread samples.”

Glyphosate disrupts beneficial gut microbes which are responsible for the synthesis of critical amino acids.  These amino acids help maintain a healthy gut lining.  A disruption of the friendly gut bacteria can lead to increased permeability known as “leaky gut.” 

In essence, Roundup significantly disrupts the functioning of beneficial bacteria in the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall and consequent expression of autoimmune diseases.  Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide and is suggested to be the key contributor to:  obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, infertility, depression, and cancer. 

We encourage you to click this link to read the full, 26-page report of the relationship between the increased use of glyphosate and the increased incidence of certain autoimmune diseases.

clip_image014September 2013 Thermologist Interpretation:
Thermal activity throughout the upper abdomen has intensified compared to 9-19-2011 and is more extensive towards the right. Hepatic dysfunction is a consideration and laboratory assessment is recommended. Hyperthermia involving the lower pelvis R > L has increased and appears to be lymph related. No finding is evident with regards to the pelvic viscera

Diet prior to June 2010 consisted of fast foods and soft drinks; highly processed foods. This client was not restricting wheat/gluten intake. Thermologist interpretation “inspired” this client to make critical dietary changes. Changes were made, but the gut was slow to respond until client began adhering to a more rigid diet removing all gluten and grains from September 2013 – September 2014.

clip_image016September 2014 Thermologist Interpretation:
Upper quadrant thermal activity has decreased compared to 9-27-2013. Residual thermal activity is evident towards the left and may correspond to the spleen or to the splenic flexure region of the large bowel. No current finding is evident with regards to the liver. Pelvic level thermal activity has largely resolved as well. There is no indication as to current visceral dysfunction. Abdominal region thermal activity has likewise decreased and the recent change in diet may have relevance.

Diet since September 2013 – current: Gluten-free and grain-free diet. Client is now following the Auto-Immune Protocol as suggested by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD.

2. Take digestive enzymes

Low stomach acid is a common problem due to increasing age, adrenal fatigue/chronic adrenal stimulation, alcohol consumption, bacterial infection, chronic stress, and certain medications.  Ideally, when food enters the stomach and small intestine, the acidic contents signals the pancreas to release digestive enzymes.  Low stomach acid would cause inadequate release of digestive enzymes resulting in the inadequate breakdown and subsequent malabsorption of micronutrients.  Undigested food in your intestines can then slow the movement of food through your gut leading to inflammation and gut dysbiosis.

3. Add L-Glutamine 

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that’s helpful in healing a damaged gut, and is a key component to helping repair a leaky gut.  Glutamine reduces intestinal permeability and aids in healing the mucosal lining.  In her book, The Paleo Approach:  Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, author Sarah Ballantyne, PhD suggests the use of a non immune-stimulating (non-inflammatory) glutamine supplement called deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) in capsule form. 

Caution: Chewable DGL may contain sugar alcohols or other undesirable ingredients. Capsule form may be a better option.

Search the internet for a good source of DGL or eat glutamine-rich foods such as:

  • Gelatin, unsweetened
  • Grass-fed Bison
  • Sardines and Salmon
  • Spinach, scallions, coconuts and dates

4. Probiotics, probiotics, probiotics

Critical to gut restoration and bringing balance to your GI system requires adequate intake of high-quality probiotics. 
Adding probiotics to your diet can be achieved through supplementation or by adding lacto-fermented vegetables and lacto-fermented drinks to your diet.  Fermenting vegetables was once how food was preserved before refrigeration was available.  The fermentation process allows the growth of favorable Lactobacilli bacteria to flourish and grow.  The process of lacto-fermentation happens when the starches and sugars within the vegetables are converted to lactic acid by the friendly bacteria lactobacilli.  The lactic acid acts not only as a preservative for foods, but also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the GI tract.

If you are interested in making your own lacto fermented vegetables or want to learn how to make other probiotic-rich recipes, click this link to learn more and sign-up for free e-books about fermentation.

5. Relax

Stress is damaging to the GI system, and anyone suffering from a poorly functioning GI tract would benefit from learning various stress-management techniques. This will help get the gut back into better balance.  Meditation, yoga, prayer are a few suggestions but relaxation can also include a walk outdoors, talking to a psychotherapist or developing an appropriate hobby (knitting, reading, etc). 

therm3 therm4 Thermologist Interpretation (March 2011)
There are irregular areas of hyperthermia over the ascending, transverse and descending colons, which suggest inflammation and raise the question of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).These findings may relate to the reported intestinal issues. The thermal findings over the abdomen suggest colon dysfunction.


therm5 therm6 Thermologist Interpretation (June 2011)
The previously-noted irregular areas of hyperthermia over the ascending, transverse and descending colons, which suggest inflammation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), have decreased in intensity.

Although the differences in the images above don’t seem significantly different, this represents only a three-month interval of time after making dietary changes.  

It has been said that 80% of your immunity begins in your GI tract.  Being willing to make dietary changes to optimize gut health is critical to achieving and maintaining overall optimal health.  Eliminating gluten is only the first step.  Restoring your GI system with nutrient-dense foods rich in active enzymes, L-glutamine, and healthy probiotics is also required.  And finally, managing life stressors effectively and healthily is certainly a key component to better overall health, too.
Thermal imaging is a tool that can visualize current GI health and monitor for improved thermal patterns after dietary modifications.  Unmanaged (or sub clinical) inflammation is a precursor to a problem in the future.

In health,

Brenda and Lynda Witt