Ongoing inflammation of any sort, including gut issues, can cause other disease, as the immune system goes haywire trying to deal with the constant issue. It then often starts to attack other parts of the body. Inflammation is basically the response of the immune system to foreign invaders, toxins or cell injury, and is a good, protective, thing in the short term, while the immune system deals with the problem or repairs the injury, but it becomes a problem in itself if it continues in the long term. (Stress is similarly helpful in the short term but destructive if it continues for an extended period.)
Hippocrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician, who lived between 460 BC and 379 BC and is regarded as one of the most important individuals in the annals of medical science. Hippocrates has also been bestowed with the epithet; ‘Father of Modern Medicine’, and Doctors take the Hippocratic oath “to help, or at least, do no harm”. He said that “All disease begins in the gut,” and “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” but also added in other quotes that exercise was equally important. He also said that “The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well”. And “Any man who is intelligent must, on considering that health is of the utmost value to human beings, have the personal understanding necessary to help himself in diseases, and be able to understand and to judge what physicians say and what they administer to his body, being versed in each of these matters to a degree reasonable for a layman”. Many more people nowadays are learning how to best take care of themselves, as thankfully there is a lot of information now readily available.
Obviously, not every single disease begins in the gut, for example, this does not apply to genetic diseases. However, there is evidence that many chronic metabolic diseases do, in fact, begin in the gut.
Brain fog, muscle pain, joint pain, skin rash, IBS, and a whole host of other named conditions, could all be caused by such inflammation. Too often we just treat the symptoms and do not get to the real root of an issue. A good diet of course plays a crucial part in prevention of disease and/or recovery from it. But even if you have a good diet there are other factors that can cause issues, such as allergies, deficiencies, overuse of antibiotics, having accidentally eaten something off, undercooked, or contaminated, etc.
Inflammation in the gut can cause brain fog as endotoxins leak through into the blood that shouldn’t be in there, and can even get through the blood brain barrier. I developed autoimmune hypothyroidism around menopause time but although the meds (thyroxine) help a lot, I still had brain fog, and some other issues, including rapidly worsening IBS type symptoms, and skin rash. The doctors and specialists had no clue basically, and I found by trial and error that I was allergic to wheat. Now I keep that out of my diet, my autoimmune issues have decreased due to the gut inflammation reducing, and I need less thyroid meds now.
I’m not totally gluten-free as I’m fine with Barley and Rye, so can still drink beers that are made from barley with no wheat, and apparently this is quite common in people with Scottish or Irish ancestry. Oats on the other hand are really great for me. Think about people moving country from places where they never used to eat much wheat and coming to a place where wheat is in almost everything – that dietary change could cause an allergy, or overload the body’s coping system. It seems that wheat has been so changed over the years that it has become harder for us to digest as well. You could have an issue with wheat all your life and not notice it much when you are younger, but your body struggles more and more to cope with it as you get older, and/or have other health issues additionally burdening it. Watch out for skin creams with E45 too as that is often made from wheat germ, and what we put on our skin is absorbed into the body. Chemicals in deodorants, cosmetics, etc can also cause serious issues.
I think that a food allergy could be the root cause of so many issues, and would suggest people do look into this possibility – it has so many knock on effects! It could be other issues in your body causing the food allergy though, such as enzyme deficiencies, so that could be a route to explore further.
If you have irritable bowel symptoms why not try probiotics to help rebalance your gut flora as that is crucial to our health? It’s important to take probiotics after using antibiotics because they kill the good bacteria along with the bad. If the gut is out of balance it can seriously affect your mood, and the bad bacteria can even make you crave to eat the food they want – sugar – which of course only exacerbates the problems. Bear in mind that there is lots of sugar in alcohol, and alcoholism can sometimes be a sugar addiction. Alcohol tends to reduce the good bacteria in your gut in the first place so that the bad ones take over, which makes you crave yet more alcohol, and/or other forms of sugar, such as in cakes (cream cakes are even more dodgy). Another time to use probiotics is to help rebalance if you have eaten anything that was off, undercooked, contaminated, etc! Gut imbalance can make you feel pretty moody by the way! Basically you have gotten into a state where a whole host of bad bacteria have taken over from the useful ones and are driving your engine – not very well.
Regarding brain fog there are a couple of other points I would like to make. Firstly, we need omega 3 fats in our bodies and especially in our brains (dark fish is a good source, but a great vegetarian source is linseed or flax oil. Coconut oil is also uniquely healthy due to its properties and make up. Secondly, learning new stuff can ward off dementia in anybody, inc those with alzheimer’s, as even if old neurons are destroyed the new ones you make can take over. There is a great TED talk about this – https://www.ted.com/talks/lisa_genova_what_you_can_do_to_prevent_alzheimer_s#t-821329
There is an excellent article with more useful details – http://themindunleashed.com/2015/03/hippocrates-all-disease-begins-in-the-gut.html. This begins with the Hippocrates quote that “All disease begins in the gut,” and lists symptoms of digestive issues, plus possible health issues that might eventually stem from that, including mental health issues – saying that …. “ diet is a crucial factor in synaptic plasticity and overall mental health”. The author also says that enzyme loss can be linked to neurological disease. One of the symptoms of digestive issues listed is “Throat and nose issues“, which i was not aware of before, and constantly suffer from, especially in winter, so I guess my gut might not yet be fully balanced, however I do also have a seriously compromised immune system (in my case, I have almost no neutrophils) which doesn’t help with that sort of thing either.
There are a lot more details about endotoxins, leaky gut, and dietary factors at – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-all-disease-begin-in-the-gut