Growing numbers of people are experiencing serious gastrointestinal issues every year.
“Functional” in this context means that there is no organ damage but a change in the way an organ functions.
A more serious condition is chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), in which part or all of the digestive tract is in a state of constant inflammation.
Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease Is No Joke
Symptoms of IBD include:
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal bleeding
- Intestinal cramps
- Erratic menses
- Night sweats
More than simple occasional indigestion or stomach ache, IBD doesn’t go away in a short time by itself.
Researchers have become interested and concerned about the steady increase in the incidence of this type of disease.
There seems to be no one definitive cause but chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease is the product of several factors, including:
- Environmental toxins
- Immune system dysfunction
- Intestinal bacteria imbalance
How Diet Affects IBD
It makes sense that what we eat affects our intestines.
In the industrial world, the convenience of packaged foods has become such that we rely on them for the bulk of our diets. What’s in these foods is a primary concern.
Food additives include preservatives; emulsifiers; artificial colors, flavorings, and sweeteners; refined sugar; and synthetic vitamins and minerals. At a more basic level are the actual food ingredients, like wheat and dairy. Many of these contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) and are raised using toxic pesticides.
GMO interfere with the balance of bacteria in the digestive system. A GMO of particular note is the raising of crops using Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Bt is a bacterium naturally found in soil that is toxic to insects.
Agricultural chemical companies have crossed this bacterium with food crop seeds so that the plants grown contain this bacterium in their very DNA. The idea is that if the plant resists harmful insects, there’s no need to spray additional insecticide, which we know can be harmful.
What the bacteria do when humans digest them is even worse.
Bt: A Cause Of IBD?
Bt produces spores that are comprised of crystalline (“Cry”) proteins. When an insect eats the bacterium, these proteins attach and erode the linings of the digestive system, forming holes. When undigested food and waste products spread throughout the body, the insect dies.
When humans eat GMO that contains Bt, the same thing happens. Not only that, mammals recognize Bt bacteria as harmful and produce antibodies to kill it (2). So do insects. History has shown that spraying Bt insecticides on plants forces the feeders to build up a resistance to it (3).
Regularly eating GMO foods containing Bt (including corn and soy) keeps the intestines in overdrive, trying to rid themselves of the toxin, thereby causing chronic inflammation. In addition, Bt enters the bloodstream with direct impacts to the whole body. It has even been found in the blood of fetuses, passed from their mothers and in animals fed GMO corn (4, 5).
One Brazilian study noted that: “Bt spore crystals presented toxicity for lymphocytes when in higher doses, which varied according to the type of spore crystal studied, besides promoting cytotoxic and genotoxic effects for the erythroid lineage of bone marrow, mainly at highest doses. Although the proﬁle of such adverse side effects can be related to their high level of exposure, which is not commonly found in the environment, results indicated that these Bt spore crystals were not harmless to mice. This suggests that a more speciﬁc approach should be taken to increase knowledge about their toxicological properties and to establish the toxicological risks to nontarget organisms.” (6)
Because Bt are living organisms, they will remain in your body for as long as it remains a hospitable environment.
The link between Bt GMO foods and the rise in the numbers of people with IBD is hardly coincidental:
“Genetically modified foods that carry the Bt toxin first came to American households in 1996. Between the years of 1979 and 1998, the number of Americans to suffer from Crohn’s Disease (a debilitating autoimmune disease of the large bowel) bounced back and forth between 225 per 100,000 people to 300 per 100,000 people. In 2000, that number shot up to 375 per 100,000 people, and has been on the rise ever since.”
“Ambulatory care visits from those who reported inflammatory bowel symptoms went from 275 per 100,000 people to 375 per 100,000 people between the years of 1994 and 1998…The number of Americans suffering from ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) hovered between 185 per 100,000 Americans to approximately 210 per 100,000 people between the years of 1979 and 2001. In 2002, those numbers shot to 225 per 100,000 people and have been on the rise ever since.”(7)
It may come as no surprise that the patent for Bt crops is held by Monsanto. Which leads us to the next topic of toxins in food.
Other Monsanto Food Crimes
Even if a plant is not genetically modified, commercially grown crops are sprayed with insecticides and herbicides, the most common of which is Roundup—its active ingredient is glyphosate. This toxic chemical has been associated with leaky gut syndrome along with a slew of other health concerns, including cancer.
Processed food additives contribute to IBD.
Emulsifiers are added to packaged foods to enhance texture and increase shelf life. Commonly-used emulsifiers polysorbate-80 and carboxymethylcellulose have been found to cause intestinal inflammation and obesity in mice (8). They have been found to cause colorectal cancer and metabolic syndrome as well (9, 10).
Healing Your Gut
The alternatives to promote a healthy gut, reducing the risk of chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other digestive disorders:
- Eat organic
- Avoid or eliminate processed foods
- Increase probiotic intake
- Drink plenty of filtered water
Plus, don’t forget to manage your stress levels and get enough sleep and exercise.
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