When microbiota balance is out of whack in the human intestinal system, the body becomes highly susceptible to chronic inflammation, which can develop into autoimmune diseases and a host of other serious health problems. And emerging new research suggests that diabetes, which is commonly thought of as a metabolic disorder, is actually an autoimmune disease triggered by poor gut health.
The amazing role of bacteria, fungi, mucous, and protective cells, all of which inhabit human intestines, in protecting the human body against disease are still being uncovered. But one thing we do know is that maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut is crucial to processing food and assimilating nutrients in the body; protecting the body against foreign, disease-causing invaders; and promoting proper immune function and vibrancy.
And in the case of diabetes, it appears as though poor gut health may be responsible for causing both type-1 and type-2 diabetes, which may come as a surprise to many people. Research points to the human body’s “inner ecology,” or the complex relationship between intestinal elements, as the culprit in diabetes.
A 2010 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, for instance, found that diabetes is associated with endotoxemia, a condition in which the outer membranes of harmful pathogens are present in the bloodstream. Based on the study’s findings, it appears as though diabetes is a result of chronic inflammation and gut leakage, which results in these endotoxins entering the bloodstream and causing harm (http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/2/392).
The concept is really quite simple — when intestinal balance is thrown off by pharmaceutical antibiotics, poor diet, environmental toxins, and other negative factors, the protective barriers of the intestinal wall become worn down and eventually destroyed. In the worst case scenario, intestinal walls become so compromised that perforations develop, which allow harmful pathogens and toxins to leak directly into the body.
When this happens, the entire body can become contaminated with toxins, a situation more commonly known as systemic toxicity. The result of this, of course, is a whole host of serious health problems, including autoimmune diseases, allergies, and digestive and bowel disorders. When pathogens and toxins disrupt the insulin-producing capacity of the pancreas, for instance, diabetes ends up developing.
“In the case of Type 1 and sometimes Type 2 Diabetes, the immune system attacks the organ that makes insulin.” “Even though diabetes is treated with insulin, the autoimmunity remains. Insulin does not address the underlying autoimmune confusion.”
The solution, in essence, is to restore gut health by avoiding factors that disrupt and destroy it, which includes wheat gluten for many people, as well as prescription drugs and antibiotics. Eating plenty of fermented foods, probiotic drinks, and probiotic supplements will also help restore microbiota balance and help heal the intestinal damage and inflammation responsible for causing diseases like diabetes.
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Health-e-Solutions comment: We believe that the strong association between the gut and the rest of the body’s proper function, including diabetes is significant. This is why we believe that diet and lifestyle should be the primary focus in a plan of care, with insulin and other medications playing an assistive role when necessary. We believe this is a more natural and potentially healing management path for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and the research seems to agree.
We do not take supplements to help balance gut microbiota, but we are definitely on the fence about this. We prefer to allow our healthy, nutritious lifestyle balance gut flora by ingesting pplenty of fiber that serves as a prebiotic. We can certainly appreciate a more aggressive approach, especially when beginning lifestyle changes in order to restore balance to the body’s microbiota more quickly.