Whether it is nature, environment or habits that ultimately determine your state of health has been a long-standing debate. Bestselling author Don Colbert, M.D., addresses this discussion in his new book, Dr. Colbert's Healthy Gut Zone. Dr. Colbert helps readers "unlearn" everything medical experts have been teaching about healthy eating for the last three decades and reveals the true path to digestive health through proper diet supported by nutritional supplements. Colbert's book, which was released on Jan. 5, 2021, is available to order through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, ChristianBook, Indiebound and Walmart.
"The truth is," Colbert writes, "you get to choose—no matter what genes you inherited. That is always the case. Keep this truth in mind and use it as a source of encouragement and hope as you consider the typical pattern that accounts for most people's decline in health."
In Dr. Colbert's Healthy Gut Zone, Colbert outlines an eight-step pattern that includes genetics, triggers, environment, time, leaky gut, inflammation, autoimmunity and disease. He helps his readers better understand the eight-step pattern by imagining a scenario with three individual friends.
Step 1: Genetics. Assume that the three friends are genetically predisposed to three health risks: obesity, high blood pressure and arthritis. "It is in their genes," Colbert says. "They may even have parents or relatives who were sick or died from these or related diseases, but your three friends do not yet suffer from any of these genetic predispositions. It may be in their genes, but they are not aware of it."
Step 2: Triggers. Suppose something happens that triggers the genes of the three friends. "Maybe it is something they eat, but most likely, it is something major that does significant damage to their guts," Colbert explains. "Any one of the seven causes of a leaky gut—antibiotics, NSAIDs, acid blockers, GMO foods, chlorine, pesticides and intestinal infections—would be sufficient. Maybe one friend travels and gets an intestinal infection, another takes several doses of antibiotics to fight a persistent urinary tract infection and the third takes acid blockers to stop bothersome reflux."
Step 3: Environment. Colbert says an individual's environment is defined as a consistent state of repeated exposure to whatever is around that person. "For example," he states, "if you work outside every day, fresh air is part of your environment. But your three friends are exposed to environments that chip away at and slowly undermine their good health. The 10 common enemies in a person's environment are: gluten; a high-sugar, high-carb diet; dairy; lectins; artificial sweeteners; emulsifiers; saturated fats; constipation; stress and staying too clean."
Step 4: Time. We are all creatures of habit, at least to some degree. We have favorite foods, drinks, clothes, smells, tastes, sports, books, music, movies, TV shows and even driving routes. "Once we find something we like, we tend to stick with it," Colbert says. "We run into trouble when the behavior we are repeating is bad for our health. Doing it over and over is the perfect setup, hurting the bacteria balance in our gut, increasing gut permeability, and creating more inflammation and more symptoms, all of which slowly degrade our health. Over time, everything bad usually gets worse because of our habits."
Step 5: Leaky gut. At this point individuals experience what Colbert refers to as "leaky gut," which is what happens to most people on their journeys to poor health. "Bad bacteria, toxins, lectins, partially digested nutrients and more begin to increasingly flow between the cells of the gut wall," he explains. "Inflammation increases, and eventually, it breaks down the blood/brain barrier, setting the stage for inflammation in the brain."
Step 6: Inflammation. Inflammation is everywhere. "The three friends gain weight, have high blood pressure that keeps climbing and experience arthritic swelling, aches and joint pain they've never had before," Colbert says. "Inflammation affects everyone differently, and your three friends have individual genetic weaknesses that combine with the inflammation to make things even worse. Naturally, they turn to their doctors and get prescriptions to deal with their symptoms. Unfortunately, nothing improves."
Step 7: Autoimmunity. Because of the inflammation and the toxins or partially digested foods and inflammatory mediators passing into the bloodstream, expect that the immune systems of the three friends get confused and begin to attack their tissues. "There are no outside invaders, just internal miscommunication," Colbert writes. "Autoimmunity occurs when a person's immune system attacks his or her own body and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs as a result. The brain is eventually affected, which may cause brain fog, poor memory, depressed or anxious mood, and problems focusing and concentrating."
Step 8: Disease. According to Colbert, the cycle is now complete and will remain ongoing. If nothing is done to break free, the three friends will usually find themselves dealing with arthritis, high blood pressure and obesity.
"These are the eight steps to gut damage, moving from health to sickness," Colbert says. "Once you take these steps, you are at the door of disease. And unless you do something about it, that door will remain open! Now is the time to choose a different path."
Don Colbert, M.D., was a board-certified family practice doctor for more than 25 years in Orlando, Florida, and most recently in Dallas, Texas. He is also board certified in antiaging medicine through the American Academy of AntiAging Medicine and has received extensive training in nutritional and preventative medicine. He is the author of three New York Times bestselling books, including Let Food Be Your Medicine, The Seven Pillars of Health and Dr. Colbert's "I Can Do This" Diet along with bestsellers Toxic Relief, the Bible Cure series, Living in Divine Health and Stress Less. He has sold more than 10 million books and treated more than 50,000 patients in his years of practicing medicine.
Dr. Colbert's Healthy Gut Zone is published by Siloam, an imprint of Charisma House.
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