Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It

Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It

National BestsellerDoctor of Natural Medicine and wellness authority Dr. Josh Axe delivers a groundbreaking, indispensable guide for understanding, diagnosing, and treating one of the most discussed yet little-understood health conditions: leaky gut syndrome.Do you have a leaky gut? For 80% of the population the answer is “yes”—and most people don’t even realize it. Leaky...

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Title:Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It
Author:Josh Axe
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Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It Reviews

  • Christopher Lawson

    I Failed the "Leaky Gut Questionnaire"

    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

    I Failed the "Leaky Gut Questionnaire"

    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 that tons 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

  • Olivia

    Excellent examination on the outcome of our modern day convenience-centered eating habits.

    There is so much I learned from this book, so much I found fascinating, astounding, surprising and infuriating.

    Some of it I knew, like the incredible health benefits from consuming kefir and fermented vegetables, but most of it I did not know.

    I have changed a few of my buying and eating habits since reading this. It also makes a great companion read to Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes the knowledge in th

    Excellent examination on the outcome of our modern day convenience-centered eating habits.

    There is so much I learned from this book, so much I found fascinating, astounding, surprising and infuriating.

    Some of it I knew, like the incredible health benefits from consuming kefir and fermented vegetables, but most of it I did not know.

    I have changed a few of my buying and eating habits since reading this. It also makes a great companion read to Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes the knowledge in the two books compliment each other extremely well.

    I wish the information in this book was common knowledge. It would really cut down on the disease epidemic in the U.S- an alarming amount of which, are preventable simply by taking better care of ourselves and making better choices about what we choose to put into and on our bodies. At some point it became "normal" to submerge oneself and household in a barrage of assaulting chemicals (via air fresheners, perfumes, plastics, cleaning product, cosmetics, teflon, detergent, VOCs etc) and it saddens me that such a massive percentage of the populace just accept it as okay, safe, and pass the habits onto children to perpetuate. I am glad Dr. Axe has begun the conversation about very serious aspects of our lives that we would all do better to change.

  • Cyanemi

    Another in the many books Ive read on this topic. Also great like the others. It may be hitching a ride on this fairly new and hot topic.

  • Edward

    Dr. Josh Axe introduces the concept of Leaky Gut, which is the root cause of a lot of modern diseases and health problems. Dr. Axe stresses that we need to have microbial diversity in our guts to keep our system in balance and maintain a healthy gut protective lining. This prevents pathogens, undigested food particles including toxins from entering our blood stream causing undesired immune responses and all sorts of health issues.

    A large part of the book talks about the right kind of diet and li

    Dr. Josh Axe introduces the concept of Leaky Gut, which is the root cause of a lot of modern diseases and health problems. Dr. Axe stresses that we need to have microbial diversity in our guts to keep our system in balance and maintain a healthy gut protective lining. This prevents pathogens, undigested food particles including toxins from entering our blood stream causing undesired immune responses and all sorts of health issues.

    A large part of the book talks about the right kind of diet and life style. The author's points reinforce what I learned from a few other health books and there are some new ideas that stick out to me. For example, I learn that goat milk and goat milk yogurt is better than cow milk. And bone broth is the number one food that he recommends to nurture your gut lining. In addition, throughout the book, Dr. Axe stresses the importance of regular exposure to healthy food-based and soil-based bacteria and hence the appropriately title of the book.

    I am impressed that Dr. Axe mixes some of the traditional Chinese medicine knowledge to his diet principles. A small portion of the book touches on the five elements in Chinese medicine and the concept of harmony and balance in the body and how they relate to the different gut types described in the book. For example, when he talks about the Candida gut, he references the dampness of the body, an important concept in Chinese medicine.

    We are now living in an age where we have the information, resources and tools to have more control of our health by being more educated in health and nutritional sciences. This book is one of those books that I feel more educated after reading it and I will keep it in the health section on my bookshelf. Regarding how bacterial diversity link to one's health, this field is evolving and a lot of research is still going on. I am sure there will be more books coming out on this topic.

  • Melissa Crytzer Fry

    -- UPDATE (6/6/17)!! After following the "candida gut" diet for three months... guess what? No more pre-diabetes (I've been lighter in weight before, exercised more and my A1C never came down, but this time it did)! My cholesterol also is vastly improved; my inflammatory markers are all NORMAL! Bonus: I've lost 17 lbs! And the best part is how much BETTER I feel energy-wise, brain-fog-wise, and just OVERALL. Hip, hip hooray! --

    This book was a necessity for me, as someone who has struggled with o

    -- UPDATE (6/6/17)!! After following the "candida gut" diet for three months... guess what? No more pre-diabetes (I've been lighter in weight before, exercised more and my A1C never came down, but this time it did)! My cholesterol also is vastly improved; my inflammatory markers are all NORMAL! Bonus: I've lost 17 lbs! And the best part is how much BETTER I feel energy-wise, brain-fog-wise, and just OVERALL. Hip, hip hooray! --

    This book was a necessity for me, as someone who has struggled with off-the-charts inflammatory markers and diagnoses that have included “unidentifiable autoimmune disorder” and "fibromyalgia" (not the right diagnosis either) since I was 21 years old. Fast forward 23 years, and I can now add to the list severe joint aches/pains, arthritis, high cholesterol (at age 16), food sensitivities, and the moniker

    (some years hovering in the safe range, some not).

    So, before the term “leaky gut” became a more acceptable condition by the traditional Western medical community, I’d already heard of it back in the early '90s, having done lots of my own research to figure out ‘what was wrong’ and how I could have gone from Dean’s List student with a tack-sharp memory to continuous brain fog and near-debilitating sluggishness. I never did figure out how to fix it... And somehow, over the past 23 years, I have learned to live with all of it and continue to function in my new 'norm.' But now, thanks to this book, I believe I have some real ideas for how to combat many of my issues.

    This book tackles the “what” and “why” of leaky gut, a condition in which the intestinal walls become compromised and get holes in them. The tears lead to leakage of food byproducts and hard-to-digest proteins, etc. into the bloodstream and other parts of the body, which often creates an inflammatory reaction and sets off an autoimmune response. (The research the author cites links various diseases – diabetes, autism, allergies, food sensitivity, skin issues, Celiac Disease, GI problems, autoimmune disorders like MS, Lupus, etc., and even mental health issues – to leaky gut).

    This book does a great job of scaring the hell out of you (again, a necessity for me, personally) regarding just how non-nutritive our diets are, even if we are eating salads and lean proteins – and what the devastating, long-term effects are on our bodies. Why is our food so void of nutrients? Our fruits and vegetables come from soil depleted of nutrients from over-farming on a mass scale, and they are then sprayed with chemicals, then genetically modified to be able to withstand those same chemicals that are killing the nearby weeds. (This is not NEW news to anyone, of course). But one stat in the book indicated that your grandmother’s orange is not today’s orange (You’d have to eat 8 of today’s to get the Vitamin C equivalent of ONE of grandma’s). The wheat of the past is not today’s wheat, either (There is MORE gluten in it, it is less nutritious and harder to digest, and those genetic modifications account for the spikes in gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease). So not only are we getting very little nutritional value from the foods we eat, even when we think we are eating healthy – unless they are organically grown or from Farmer’s Markets – many of us also have malabsorption problems because of the lack of good bacteria in our guts that have been killed off by those chemicals, through stress and antibiotic use, and due to leakage (take some vitamins and most shoot right through the holes and aren’t being absorbed into the body). We’re essentially malnourished, despite bigger waistlines.

    The concept of “Eat Dirt” is that we’ve become a very over-sanitized, over-medicated, over-stressed society, and that our guts are paying for it (Healthy bacteria in the gut is at the epicenter of whether we are healthy or unhealthy. Even my MD believes and understands this). Dr. Axe advocates for eating ‘dirty’ foods – local foods coated in the rich minerals of the soil; and eating fermented foods that provide probiotic-rich nutrients. His book outlines natural foods and various supplements that may help, as well as essential oils, and ‘get outside’ activities that actually aid the immune system. He urges people to cut back on Rx drugs and consider homeopathic options, to plant their own gardens (and literally play in the dirt).

    I am planning to implement many of the suggestions from this book (especially the addition of bone broth to my diet and the re-introduction of probiotics, plus local honey consumption daily and the addition of keifer to my diet – and well as barefoot walks in the dirt) and will monitor my results.

    My biggest complaint about EAT DIRT is that, while it offers recipes in the back of the book and a plethora of suggestions for food substitutions and types of digestive enzymes and vitamins and make-at-home foods that can help, the brunt of the work is still left to the reader to ‘figure it out.’ It would have been helpful, for example, to offer recommended probiotic blends and brand names; or to provide a detailed ‘schedule’ for implementing changes – Week one: do this, week two: do this. And, here's a week's meal plan, complete with snacks and supplements. But the book is not structured this way. It’s essentially, “Here’s the base plan and the gazillion things that COULD help YOU. Try the parts of it that you want for a few weeks. Keep a journal and see what’s working. If you don’t get results, go to this next section of the book where I identify specific gut types. Then follow those plans for more specificity.”

    That will likely be a drawback to people like me who generally want books like this to be structured and laid out and don’t want to or can’t take the time to ‘figure it out.’ But I

    because I, personally, HAVE to. As it stands, I have quite a few unanswered questions, such as: After you heal your gut, can you then tolerate some of the more difficult to digest foods like traditional breads or pasta on occasion? What happens if you eat the occasional cookie or have a traditional Thanksgiving meal one time per year (Will you be running for the toilet? Will you be deathly ill after eating so cleanly?). These questions were not answered.

    I realize a book can only cover so much since each person’s intestinal woes are unique and specific to his/her life history/environment/stress level, but more structure on the “ how to implement” side would have been appreciated. The majority of the book is focused on the science of leaky gut and supporting evidence/patient anecdotes. An added bonus, however, are the links to various additional documents and recipes on Dr. Axe’s website.

    Overall, I’d recommend this book because I think the topic is

    important. If changing my diet can result in focus/mental clarity and energy, I’m in. As they say, “I’m tired of feeling sick and tired.” I will be sure to post an update once I’ve implemented the dietary and life changes.

  • Jessaka

    When I was a kid my brother talked me into eating dirt one day, said it was good. No, it wasn’t. He was always “pulling my leg” as he called it, and I would always fall for it. I also remember making a mud cake around that time, and my mother gave me an old box of raisins that I spread on the top and sides of this mud cake.

    Now, I am reading that dirt is good for you, good for your immune system. I can believe this. I knew a woman that worked for a scientist who told her that he never washed his

    When I was a kid my brother talked me into eating dirt one day, said it was good. No, it wasn’t. He was always “pulling my leg” as he called it, and I would always fall for it. I also remember making a mud cake around that time, and my mother gave me an old box of raisins that I spread on the top and sides of this mud cake.

    Now, I am reading that dirt is good for you, good for your immune system. I can believe this. I knew a woman that worked for a scientist who told her that he never washed his hands for that reason, and he never got sick. And recently my friend told me that when her mother was a baby, the doctor told her mother's mother to let her baby sit in the dirt with a spoon. She had been a premature baby and as a result she was not strong and healthy. Eating dirt actually helped her. My friend said that her mother only weighed 2½ pounds at birth, so her grandmother used to set her in a box on the back of the wood stove to keep her warm.

    Well, here we are in 2017, washing our hands constantly, using antibacterial soap. Not me. But eat dirt?

    So yes, the author recommends eating dirt, and I listened just as I did when my brother suggested it. I went on line to find some kaolin clay. Why not dig up dirt in my yard. I imagine it has toxins in it. People swore by kaolin clay on Amazon. I got a baggie of it and tried it. It tasted like nothing. How can you even eat nothing? It made me realize how much taste has to do with even wanting to take another bite, or in this case, the lack there of. Maybe if it were sprinkled on a salad or in a smoothie. Kaolin clay is used in Kaopectate. Constipating. Bad idea. I also bought the soil based probiotics capsules. That I can swallow. Next i bought Dirt toothpaste. The cinnamon in it was so strong that I quickly washed it out of my mouth. Then I couldn’t get the photo that this woman put of her brown teeth on her review of it. Claimed it stained them. Maybe it did. Maybe trying to help one’s immune system can lead to trying out crazy things, not that I don’t agree that eating dirt is good for you.

    But the book doesn’t stop here, he also goes into other eating habits that we need to have, like being gluten free and all the other things that health books tell you to do. But a book on dirt should just stick to dirt, just like the book I read on water, Your Body's Many Cries For Water, was just about water. Mix the two together and you will have a healthy meal, a mud pie. Put some old moldy raisins on and it and enjoy. Maybe a little mold will be a homeopathic remedy for mold allergies. Maybe it won't.

    Mud Cake

    Use good smooth dirt that is free of sand, rocks and pebbles. In a small bucket mix the dirt with water. Using your hands to combine the dirt and water, continue add small amounts of water until the mud is the consistency of bread dough. Mould the mud into pies by rolling the mud into balls and then flatten them down. You can make them as thick or as thin as you like.

    And if you still are not convinced, here is an article on it:

    "It's mostly subsurface stuff and I think that's probably less likely to be a source of infection," said Gerald N. Callahan, immunologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

    Callahan believes eating clay may be a way to build up the immune system during pregnancy. Citing what has been referred to as a "hygiene hypothesis," he noted that children raised in rural areas, especially on farms, have fewer allergies and autoimmune diseases than children raised in cities -- some researchers believe exposure to soil and other environmental impurities is the reason.”

    Hmmm. Maybe it would get rid of my allergies.

    Note: While you can eat dirt, there are some precautions to take, which is why buying kaolin clay is best:

    "Manufacturers add clay-like compounds to some vaccines to increase the immune system's response, making the inoculation more protective. It's possible that a child's mud pie may be a kind of primitive self-vaccination, letting the gut get used to a selection of common bacteria that rarely cause harm.

    Most dirt is safe, despite the thousands of species of bacteria and other organisms it contains."

    And while some molds are good for you; some aren't. I wss joking about the moldy raisins.

  • Sharon

    Although I agree with his premise that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables and fermented foods, I disagree with his kooky diets. We just need to eat a variety of whole and unprocessed foods. We don't need supplements and to buy things from his website!

  • Craig

    Some interesting ideas but mostly filler. Skim it or borrow it.

  • Arminius

    Dr. Josh Axe offers an alternative lifestyle to many of us to cure many diseases. It blames leaky gut syndrome for many of our physical ills. The list includes, but is not limited to, Anxiety, Thyroid. Weight gain, Irritable bowl, allergies and all digestion problems.

    The Gut is permeable and as a result is can leak causing substances to enter the blood stream which causes inflammation which produces disease. The two largest culprits that cause a leaky but are sugar and gluten. They eat away the

    Dr. Josh Axe offers an alternative lifestyle to many of us to cure many diseases. It blames leaky gut syndrome for many of our physical ills. The list includes, but is not limited to, Anxiety, Thyroid. Weight gain, Irritable bowl, allergies and all digestion problems.

    The Gut is permeable and as a result is can leak causing substances to enter the blood stream which causes inflammation which produces disease. The two largest culprits that cause a leaky but are sugar and gluten. They eat away the lining of the gut.

    Dr. Axe recommends gut healing foods. The best for gut healing is bone broth. It is made by boiling bones of chicken, beef or fish in apple cider vinegar and water and slow cook for up to a day or longer. If interested YouTube has videos on how to make it.

    Apple Cider vinegar is another gut healer. He recommends adding a teaspoon of it to a glass of water when you eat.

    Some other tips are to walk bare foot outside, do deep breathing exercises, exercise a half hour a day and most importantly buy your vegetables locally to avoid GMO laden rooted food.

    He doesn’t like tap water because fluoride and chlorine harm the body. He claims that store bought soap, shampoo and cleaning products are hazardous to our health as well.

    He gives lots of healthy recipes in the back of the book. They include recipes to make home-made soap, shampoo and deodorant. Also there are many meal recipes.

    There is much more to this book that in my review. Anyone who has digestion problems should buy this book and practice what is in it. The rest of us it will also benefit, I am sure of.

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