Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It (Hardcover) by Josh Axe
At first, I thought this book was only mildly interesting. Then, I decided to take the "Leaky Gut" test. The author uses this test to check the likelihood that the "good" microbes in your gut have been harmed. To my astonishment, I had many of the leaky gut symptoms noted in the test (and which my current physician has not solved.)
Okay, at this point, I got a LOT more interested in what Dr. Axe had to say.
Dr. Axe's main point is that we need to get back to the bacterial DIVERSITY that we used to have: "Bacterial diversity keeps the whole system in balance." The idea is, this balance requires lots of different bacteria. This used to happen naturally in our environment and diet, but when we started to use tons of chemicals, and changed our food composition, we began to reduce the types of bacteria in our gut.
EAT DIRT contains a pretty detailed technical discussion about how our digestive system works, and the important layers in our gut. The doctor explains that these layers protect our body from dangerous pathogens. However, when the protective wall thins, this leads to the "leaky gut" syndrome. The health of this barrier is affected by certain chemicals. Research shows that these chemicals are released by the over-consumption of gluten.
The author cites quite a bit of scientific studies, but he admits that the field is changing, and thattons of research is ongoing. In fact, he notes, there have been over a thousand new research studies in one year alone. There are lots of interesting studies cited that seem to support the author's ideas. Perhaps the most intriguing, for me, was one study that linked bacterial diversity to lower body weight and lower fat.
The author recounts the experiences from different patients in his practice. He is careful to note that a patient's experience should not be generalized to everyone. He cautions the reader to not jump to broad conclusions based on just a few anecdotal cases.
EAT DIRT has links to "replacement foods" so that you can switch-out your current menu items for more healthy choices. Besides these links, the doctor also discusses alternatives for common foods. For example, instead of drinking the usual milk, he discusses the advantages of coconut and almond milk, as well as more unusual alternatives.
I never understood the fuss about wheat and gluten. After all, I thought, how can something so natural really be harmful? Well, the author explains that it's not the SAME wheat, and it's prevalence is not the same as it used to be--its use is far more widespread now. Okay--I appreciate this information. I admit I did not know that.
I found EAT DIRT to be a serious work that will require serious study. There is a LOT to absorb in this book. The author makes many good points, and he does a good job of supporting his theories. The appendices contain lots of notes and further research information.
I have decided to follow the author's advice, and make some changes in my diet and lifestyle. I will especially to try to get more diverse bacteria by making some simple dietary changes. Fortunately, many of Dr. Axe's food recommendations are tasty. I like Kefir, and I'm buying more.
Advance Reading Copy courtesy of Edelweiss Book Distributors