Jan 21, 2008

Final Problems

What I have learned over the last few years is that the symptoms of my inflammation problems disappear when I follow my anti-itis diet, making no exceptions whatsoever.

I eat only fruit, vegetables, roots, and gourds. I exclude from my diet (1) all animal products and (2) all plant foods made from seeds (beans, peas, nuts, grains, and conventional seeds such sunflower).

1. Causes? What I don't understand is what those two groups have in common, if anything.

a. Thanks in part to DianeR in the McDougall Discussion forums, I have uncovered one possibility, but remember that I have no scientific training, so I am flying blind here. Apparently, what the two groups of foods have in common, that might also be a cause of leaky-gut symptoms, is that they both contain a high level of either of two amino acids: cysteine and methioline. Both of these amino acids apparently are high in sulfur. I do not know if the problem is the sulfur as an element or the particular sulfur-laden amino acid molecules as a whole.

b. Further, if my problem is truly a "leaky-gut," then does that mean that these two amino acids appear to my immune system to be an invading virus, which my immune system then attacks, thereby setting off a chain-reaction of effects leading to inflammation symptoms? I do not know.

c. Last, seemingly many of the foods I can eat (such as fruits, vegetables, roots, and gourds) are generally low in fiber compared to plant foods I cannot eat (such as grains, legumes, and nuts). Is that general (but not invariable) pattern a coincidence? Or does the fiber in acid-producing plant foods (grains, legumes, nuts) add to or accompany other elements that cause an immune system reaction? The fiber discussed here is, I understand, technically called "dietary fiber," a misnomer that actually names fiber which normally passes all the way through the gut and is not digested. Could it, in my case, be partly passing through the holes in my intestine and triggering a reaction? I do not know.

2. Cure? The second major question I have not been able to answer is whether leaky-gut syndrome can be cured. I know that careful diet management can practically eliminate symptoms. What I would love to do is solve the problem. Can that be done? I do not know.

Specifically, do the holes in the intestine gradually close up by themselves as time passes? I do not know.

When my budget allows, my next step will be to hire a physician, physiologist, or other researcher to help me find answers (if there are any).

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/