Updated: March 2023
Millions of people worldwide suffer chronically from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It’s no secret that obesity rates are skyrocketing as well.
Many people develop digestive problems and since those problems began, they also get Type 2 Diabetes and gain weight.
Weight that is hard to lose. So many try different fad diets with temporary success but long-term failure. Often, people diet, lose a little weight and then put it back on with a few added pounds on top of that.
Where Does IBS Begin?
For many, IBS could have its roots from birth. When a woman has a natural childbirth and delivery, the infant is born with many beneficial good gut flora and healthy bacteria.
In fact, natural childbirth will provide an infant with probiotics similar to the mother’s vagina. If you were born with a C-section, you most likely have gut flora that is similar to the skin of your mother. Breastfed babies will often have less digestive problems as adults (when compared to bottle-fed infants).
How can Antibiotics Affect Gut Flora?
In early childhood, with antibiotic usage, the good and healthy gut flora can be altered. Repeat dosages of antibiotics cause further depletion of our beneficial gut bacteria. As humans, we have 10,000 times the amount of bacterial DNA in our gut than human DNA.
Therefore, we are more bacteria than we are human. The human body is actually a host or carrier for countless microorganisms.
Beneficial gut bacteria are necessary for proper digestion. They have a direct effect on appetite control, vitamin production in the gut, hormone production, digesting fiber, your immune system, aspects of mental health, tissue repair, and many others.
Modern science knows and recognizes the importance of gut health. Much research has been dedicated to this area and it continues to be heavily researched and studied today.
It is understood that the microbiota in your gut is a major contributing factor in what helps you either be healthy or unhealthy. People are told to take antibiotics for infections and sometimes told to take a prebiotic or probiotic as well. However, not all probiotics are created equal.
Are Probiotics Good?
It depends. In general, yes – if you need them. Some probiotics can create more inflammation in the body. Different people can benefit from different probiotics depending on the circumstances.
In my clinical experience, careful analysis of a patient’s health and symptoms is an integral part of deciding what type of probiotic a person should use. Probiotics are definitely not a one size fits all gut health strategy.
An exciting area of discovery and an emerging field of interest is something called “psychobiotics”. Since every neurotransmitter is found in the gut, it stands to reason that gut health can play a critical role in mental health. Remember, the gut is called the “second brain”.
Since proper digestion, your immune system, and overall health are dependent on gut health, it is important to understand how health problems such as IBS, Type II Diabetes and the inability to lose weight could be tied together. The common link = the gut.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes has hit worldwide in epidemic proportions. It’s not coming, it’s here. Children are getting Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune disease like Type I diabetes.
Type I Diabetes is an Autoimmune Disease. With autoimmune diseases, the immune system builds antibodies against self tissues and works to destroy them over time. This is the same for all autoimmune conditions including the increasingly common Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune hypothyroid), Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren’s, Sarcoidosis, etc…
Type 2 diabetes is not autoimmune! People develop Type II diabetes after making lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise and a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars. And guess what? Taking insulin is not the fix.
Is Type 2 Diabetes a Death Sentence?
The beauty of Type 2 Diabetes is that it is a modifiable condition which can be very empowering for those who want to get behind the wheel. You can take control of your own future and health by changing the current state of your body, mind and overall health.
Diabetes is in fact a severe form of insulin resistance. One the hallmark signs of insulin resistance is high triglycerides. That’s why many diabetics have high triglycerides as well and have an increased risk for strokes and heart attacks.
How Are Triglycerides Related?
Understanding triglycerides is very simple. Triglycerides are sugar that the body couldn’t use. A diet high in sugars will cause a buildup of excessive sugar in the bloodstream.
In a healthy person, (without insulin resistance) insulin will go into the insulin receptors on cells. When insulin docks on the receptor, it allows sugars to leave the blood and go into the cells.
This process is how your cells produce energy. The sugar goes into your cells and makes its way to an organelle called the mitochondria. Mitochondria take sugar and turn it into energy.
When you are insulin resistant, your insulin receptors are inflamed and don’t readily accept the insulin. Therefore, sugars don’t go into the cells and instead, stay in the bloodstream.
The liver sees the excess sugar and turns it into triglycerides. This is very common with a Fatty Liver. So, triglycerides are a storage form of sugar. Sugar in this form is pro-inflammatory and unhealthy.
Diabetes and “Systemic Vasculitis”
The problem with insulin resistance and diabetes is that excessive amounts of insulin can be toxic to the blood vessels. There can also be defects or deficiencies in fatty acid synthase and nitric oxide which help protect the inner lining of the blood vessels.
These factors are why diabetics also suffer from a condition called “systemic vasculitis”. The literal meaning of systemic vasculitis is inflammation of every blood vessel from head to toe.
Diabetes is a systemic disease affecting every tissue in the body and that is how diabetes damages and sometimes destroys tissues in your body. The blood vessels get chronically inflamed and become unhealthy.
Diabetes and Blood Vessels
It’s easy to understand once you think about it. What are some of the first organs to be effected by diabetes? The kidneys and eyes. That’s because the filtration of the kidneys is dependent upon the health of the tiny little blood vessels called capillaries.
Capillaries are also what get weak in the eyes with prolonged diabetes. One of the common findings in the eyes with diabetes visual disturbances and decreased eyesight. These can be caused by flame hemorrhages and arteriovenous nicking (AV nicking) due to weakening of the tiny, delicate arteries.
Blood Vessels and Health
When you realize that so much of overall health comes back to the health of the blood vessels, things start to become very real.
Blood vessels carry oxygen rich blood to every vital organ and organ system in the entire body. Health in general is directly related to blood vessel health.
Consider this: Even someone who has normal serum iron levels, normal hemoglobin, and healthy red blood cells could still have the symptoms of someone with anemia. Anemia is defined as not having healthy red blood cells.
When you don’t have healthy red blood cells, you don’t have enough taxi cabs to carry oxygen to all of your body tissues (including your brain). When you don’t have enough oxygen, you become hypoxic.
Common Symptoms of Anemia
- brain fog
- low or no energy
- sleep irregularitities
- pallor (a paleness to the skin or face)
- muscle cramps
- rapid heart beat
- shortness of breath on exertion
So, let’s say that your red blood cells are healthy. Once again, we are saying that everything is perfect with the health of your red blood cells: but, if your arteries are inflamed, riddled with plaques, ballooned out, hard (atherosclerotic), have stenosis, etc… you can’t get enough oxygen rich blood to your tissues and still be hypoxic.
So, even though you may not have the classic “anemia”, you can still suffer and have the same symptoms as someone who has anemia and your tissues can be hypoxic.
What are the two things that your nerves and tissues need more than anything else? Fuel and oxygen. Your tissues can live for a while without fuel. Take oxygen away and what happens? Quick death.
Not trying to sound morbid or anything but the facts are the facts. Another fact is that we are all going to die someday. But, while I am living, I want to have a happy life with good health and I’m assuming that is why you took the time to read this article.
Improving Blood Vessel Health
Ways to Improve Blood Vessel Health
- Vitamin C
- Nitric Oxide
- Regulate Blood Sugar naturally
- Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
I truly enjoy meeting and working with new patients. I get great satisfaction and still get goose bumps on my arms when one of my patients follows my recommendations and gets healthier.
They usually go to their primary care Dr. and their Dr. reduces their insulin or takes them off of their diabetic medications completely. It happens more often than you would believe is possible. In fact, it’s what I’m used to.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
Due to the issue with leaky blood vessels, many diabetics will develop other health problems with digestion such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, IBS and/or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and other gastrointestinal disorders.
With SIBO, the small intestine will have an overgrowth of the type of bacteria that is normally found in the large intestine. However, due to many factors (some of which include chronic antibiotic usage) the small intestine can become overgrown with bacteria.
Common Symptoms of SIBO:
- a feeling of being hungry within 20-30 minutes after eating
- craving sugars and carbs
- poor food decisions
- body aches
- poor mental health
- chronic fatigue
- weight gain
- weight loss
- abdominal pain
These types of health conditions can result in depletion of vitamins and a lack of mineral absorption. Even though this article talks about weight gain and the inability to lose weight, some people can also lose weight due to chronic episodes of constipation, diarrhea and malabsorption/malnutrition.
I enjoy working with diabetics, IBS and SIBO patients as well as people with other gastrointestinal disorders. Most of my patients lose substantial weight, become less inflamed, improve digestion, and dramatically improve their health through the natural and non-invasive methods that I recommend.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie