When we think about plaque, we often think about our dental or coronary health. Although these are two things you definitely want to be plaque free, they may not be nearly as important as breaking up plaque in your intestinal system. The ability to do that properly can result in exceptional health benefits that not only improve your digestive system, but your entire body.
So what is this intestinal plaque (biofilm) exactly, why does it exist, what health problems can it cause, and how do we get rid of it to obtain optimal health?
Biofilm is exactly what it sounds like – a sticky film that is made by living, microscopic organisms. The structure is fairly tough, and to give you an example, dental plaque is biofilm in the mouth. The fact that the dentists needs a special tool to scrape it off your teeth gives you an idea of how strong it is and how difficult it can be to break down without the proper measures.
Bacteria and other microscopic creatures create this unhealthy biofilm in order to ensure their survival. They essentially are creating their biological home in your body using a mixture of sugars and proteins that help protect them against any “attacks” that they may face (such as antibiotics) that would potentially kill them off.
However, there is a healthy biofilm as well, which is a thin mucus created in a healthy gut by beneficial microflora. This healthy biofilm allows the passage of nutrients through the intestinal wall and is moistening, lubricating, and anti-inflammatory.
So the goal with biofilm is to foster the healthy, thin mucus that absorbs nutrients and to eliminate the unhealthy film that houses bad bacteria and parasites and compromises your nutrient absorption.
Symptoms and conditions associated with unhealthy biofilm
As you might expect, an unhealthy gut biofilm can wreak a lot of havoc in your intestinal system. For starters, it can:
- Prevent absorption of nutrients through the intestinal wall
- Protect disease causing microorganisms from your immune system
- Protect disease causing microorganisms from antibiotics and antifungals
- Promote inflammation
- Foster toxins like heavy metals
This plaque really creates a “bomb shelter” for yeast, parasites, and bacteria that find protection in the biofilm matrix, which can help these microorganisms survive some of the strongest natural and chemical medications. As a result of this resistance, over time it can create conditions like:
- Systemic candida overgrowth
- Heartburn or GERD
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
- IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s Disease
- Bloating, gas, brain fog, arthritis, stomach cramping, acne, and skin conditions
Unhealthy biofilm can create a lifetime sentence of disease and aging as it allows infections to persist, and allows other co-infections to take place, which can lead to chronic degenerative diseases.
How to get rid of biofilm
Breaking through unhealthy biofilm requires specific “tools”. It’s not as easy as just eating healthy and hoping it will resolve itself. You need to consider some very specific food choices that have been shown to break down this unhealthy biofilm, such as:
- Proteolytic enzymes like protease, papain, and pepsidase FP. Take these only on an empty stomach in order for them to be more effective.
- Apple cider vinegar, which strips important minerals from the biofilm matrix. Consider an ounce in a glass of water, up to 3 times daily.
- False black pepper
In addition to this, consume a nutrient dense diet based on whole foods, and avoid processed flours, sugars, and refined oils. Fermented foods and beverages should be strongly considered to incorporate friendly bacteria that will help promote the growth of a healthy biofilm and facilitate proper nutrient assimilation.
To get rid of biofilm and all the symptoms and conditions it creates more quickly and efficiently, join the THRIVE Lifestyle Academy.
Sources for this article include:
Gates, Donna. The Body Ecology Diet. 2007. Third Edition.