According to a study by Halder, out of the Mayo Clinic, one in three individuals have a digestive disorder. Physicians find gastrointestinal conditions difficult to treat. Chemical drugs have side effects and may worsen gastrointestinal disease without satisfactory long-term effects. The adoption of integrative treatment protocols by healthcare professionals, including looking at dietary and lifestyle modifications and natural solutions, would achieve effective prevention and treatment of digestive disease.
Effective recovery of the gut could take several months. We have designed specific protocols to assist with the complex and comprehensive management of gut conditions:
- Gut Barrier Permeability Protocol
- Colic Protocol
Specialist advise from a health care professional should be obtained before any protocol is followed. We offer information and practical guidance and do not attempt to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition.
What the protocols have in common
We recommend that every protocol be followed for the suggested duration, and only use the recommended Progast® supplements as great care has been taken in the selection of raw ingredients, the formulation, and in the manufacturing process. The precise effects and side-effects of the ingredients we use in our products as well as our lifestyle and dietary recommendations can vary from person to person.
Our protocols stand alone and are comprehensive. They do however have in common diet and lifestyle-related solutions, and therefore, these are listed at the start as they apply to each of the protocols.
Diet and lifestyle recommendations common to all protocols
- Chew your food well
- Manage stress and anxiety
- Refrain from any sugar or artificial sweeteners
- Drink enough water throughout the day
- Sleep hygiene is very important and be sure to get at least 8 hours a day
- Remove ‘food’ from the diet with artificial flavoring and colorants
- Avoid fast food
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Eliminate inflammatory foods
- Identify and eliminate other gut irritants such as lectins in wheat
- Introduce food combining
A note on the importance of the gut-brain axis
For many, the symptoms of gut disorders go hand in hand with stress and anxiety – we experience the effects of the brain on the gut every day. Furthermore via signalling, the gut plays a specific role in the regulation of behaviour and mood.1,2 The gastrointestinal tract is sometimes described as our second brain (enteric nervous system) and is controlled by its own complex nervous system, comprising more neurotransmitters than in the entire brain.
It is the connection and bidirectional communication between the gut and brain through the vagus nerve (gut-brain axis)3 that regulate, control and modulate changes in the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and changes in the brain, such as memory performance and cognition.
The proper function and structure of the brain are directly related to the function and structure of the gut as well as the composition of the GI tract microbiota. 90% of the bi-directional communication between the brain and the gut (via the vagus nerve) comes from the gut, not the brain! This is why it is so important to heal the gut lining as it is the foundation of health. This brings us to our first protocol: Gut barrier permeability protocol.
1. Gut barrier permeability protocol
For gut inflammation and to reduce permeability
Symptoms of gut inflammation and permeability of the gut lining:
Fever, inflammation and immune dysregulation, abdominal tenderness constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and a change in bowel movement frequency.
Your intestines have small pores that allow only liquid or very small molecules to go through. If the intestinal wall is damaged and hyperpermeable, this allows waste products and toxins, food proteins, bacteria and other compounds to seep through the porous membranes and enter the blood stream. Inflammation of the gut may result in intestinal hyperpermeability.
A porous gut lining that can cause digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), celiac, Crohn’s, colitis, coeliac disease, gastroparesis, or gastritis. Recent studies have shown that it is associated with a range of other conditions such as arthritis, allergies, asthma, autism, liver disease, obesity, mental illness and a host of autoimmune diseases including lupus, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
(Refer to our conditions page)
This is not a protocol for leaky gut (actual perforation of the digestive tract walls). Leaky gut is a serious medical condition and is most likely caused by ulcers embedded deep in the stomach lining, superbugs or E. coli damaging the intestinal tract lining, diverticulosis or when a colonoscopy goes wrong and punctures the colon.
The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can, in addition, damage the cells of our gut lining, known as colonic epithelial cells or colonocytes.
Stress (specifically adrenaline), age, prescription medication, a high protein diet and an unhealthy liver, are only some of the factors that reduce the stomach’s hydrochloric acid. A reduction in stomach acid results in dense protein-based foods (e.g. animal meat, nuts, seeds and legumes) not being fully digested.
Proteins that escape digestion reach the large intestine, where they undergo catabolism resulting in ‘gut rot’ (putrefaction that creates compounds including sulphide and ammonia as a result of various enzymatic actions of bacteria). The result is digestive discomfort, gas, constipation, sluggishness and bloating.
Probiotics, liquorice, German chamomile and milk thistle have anti-inflammatory effects and butyric acid (a short chain fatty acid) and L-glutamine are food for the colonocytes and assist to restore our gut barrier function. The gut microflora provide an additional barrier by competing with pathogens and producing a muco-polysaccharide matrix, known as the biofilm. The thickness of the biofilm and its spread, decreases with inflammation.
The synergistic action of the herbal remedy, Progast® Gastrointestinal Support Drops, together with the combination of remedies listed below, appears to interact with the physiological and the neurological systems, and counteract the effects of stress and other psychosocial factors via the gut-brain axis. The ingredients in these remedies appear to be effective in managing gut inflammation and strengthening the integrity of the gut wall.
We recommend adults and children over 12 years, take the following Progast® remedies daily for 8 weeks, should gut inflammation and permeability of the gut lining be suspected:
- Progast® FloraCare Forte Capsules
- Progast® Butyric Acid Complex
- Progast® Gastrointestinal Drops
Adults and children over 12 years of age can take one FloraCare capsule and one Butyric Acid Complex capsule, three times daily, 30 minutes before a meal. Do not take with warm liquids. Do not open the capsules.
During antibiotic therapy, FloraCare Capsules should be taken at least 3 hours after administration of the antibiotic (i.e. in the interval between antibiotic doses). Swallow with a glass of water.
Progast® Gastrointestinal Drops: 20 drops three times a day before or with meals, diluted in a small quantity of room temperature water (30 ml to 60 ml).
2. Colic protocol
Symptoms of colic include bouts of screaming or excessive crying or irritability in an otherwise healthy infant; tummy distension; excessive or trapped gas; clenched fists and facial expressions indicating pain.
Useful herbs for colic are German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Prescribing herbal medicine to infants requires specialised experience and should be left to a trained herbalist. Alternatively, try a formula specifically formulated for digestive complaints and safe for children, such as our Progast® Gastrointestinal Drops. Give six drops three times a day, always diluted in water.
Colicky babies may have more gas-producing bacteria than non-colicky infants who have more anti-inflammatory bacteria that live in the vaginally canal. Vaginally delivery carry these health benefits, but all is not lost. Research1 shows that liquid probiotics can be placed on the nipple or babies’ lips before feeding. Our Progast® FloraCare Drops remedy is scientifically formulated in a vitamin E oil-based liquid, containing a unique blend of L. reuteri (from human origin), Vitamin D3 and Zinc picolinate – the only remedy of its kind on the shelves today. There is no substitute. Give 3 drops (0.1 ml) under the tongue once daily.
There are several herbal teas a breastfeeding mom can drink, such as fennel, dill and chamomile tea. Do not give it directly to the baby.
Visit a qualified homeopath for a homeopathic remedy in tincture or pill form (that can be crushed and diluted in water) specifically chosen according to your baby’s symptoms. Belladonna for example, is a homoeopathic remedy for colicky pains that start and disappear suddenly. It is recommended if your baby tends to bend backwards in pain.
Osteopathy and chiropractic treatments are noninvasive therapies that may be effective. Structural restrictions during birth, frequently manifest as colic in a baby.
Other solutions to alleviate colic
Foods eaten by the mother may cause or aggravate colic in a breastfed baby. Some common triggers include gluten, refined carbohydrates, dairy, eggs, citrus fruits, bananas, onions, garlic, mushrooms, legumes, pulses, beans, cucumbers, chocolate, coffee, fizzy drinks, spicy foods and nightshades (aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers). Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts are gas-forming foods should be avoided.
1. de Weerth C et al. Intestinal Microbiota of Infants With Colic: Development and Specific Signatures. January 2013; Pediatrics.