Irritable Bowel Syndrome Causes Diagnosis Treatment & More

  •   Danielle L’Ami

Many people experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other uncomfortable abdominal and digestive issues. Discover more about how to gain relief.

An image of a man holding his gut

Discover What that “Gut” Feeling Means Livestream
April 4, 2021
Hosted by Dr. Erika Gray

Here’s a quick recap of our recent live stream, all about Gut Health.

Today Dr. Rob Silverman joining us today. And Rob is just a fountain of knowledge and really excited to get to have him share all of his wisdom with you and just really quickly his bio. So, he is a chiropractor doctor, clinical nutritionist, and national and international speaker. He's the author of Amazon's number one bestseller Inside-Out Health. He's the founder and CEO of Westchester Integrative Health. And Dr. Silverman has a new book coming out called the Super Highway to Health. And that's expected in August of 2021. So very exciting.”


Why is Gut Health Important to Overall Health?

Essentially, if a person has an unhealthy gut, they are not going to be a very healthy individual. The gut is the epicenter of a person’s health. It’s where 80% of their immune cells are located and where their macro and micronutrients are absorbed. Anything that has to go in and out of the body has to go through the gut. Interestingly, most people don’t take care of it. He believes it is because they don’t see their gut. They see their skin, eyes, hair, but not their gut. But there are specific signs that will let them know their gut is injured, or if it gets leaky.

At a recent lecture, Dr. Silverman was asked “should we treat everybody as if they have leaky gut?” He doesn’t believe that they should, because they are going to over treat the person. An individual should test and not guess. And they should want to get a baseline.

Each time he sits with a patient, gut health should be discussed. Because he feels as though about 60% of Americans have gut issues. And therefore, they should ascertain if they have increased intestinal permeability, leaky gut, or SIBO.

Everyone should work towards having a good, healthy gut, every day. He asks, “what have you done for your guts lately? Do you have the guts to be healthy? Your gut is the epicenter of your health.”

Another important focus is food sensitivities. There are food sensitivities and antibiotics. And then, there are some foods that we might have a genetic predisposition to, which is going to lead to a leaky gut. Therefore, it’s not that someone starts with a leaky gut, but it develops over time. It is a cause of all the different assaults that they put onto their body, that the body just can’t handle over time. Then those tight junctions that they should have in their intestines start to loosen and as they get loose, they now have that gut permeability that Dr. Silverman previously mentioned.

Dr. Silverman goes on to continue stating that normally there are tight junctions; they look like they’re knitted. And when they open up, the tight junctions will stay open for a long time. They then become those loose junctions. And now, things pass through that shouldn’t.

To drive the point home, he states that the gut is a single layer, an epithelial cell, and it has the thickness of a white paper towel. It is very thin and it’s not hard to damage in one day. One antibiotic can cause damage. For example, one dose, such as a Z pack for five days kills the good bacteria for a year.

Antibiotics are “like Napalm in a rainforest.” Do remember we cannot diagnose, treat, or really talk about any specific medical conditions. So, this is information that Rob and I are providing that you want to then take to your practitioner and expand upon that and work with them, do a personalized plan.”

Circling back to antibiotics, there are many situations where someone is in the hospital emergency room (ER) for some time, doctors will just give them a prophylactic dose of antibiotics. However, we know that bacteria are really helpful, they work with us. It is almost like fat; people are afraid of fat. Yet we are so concerned about bacteria invading us. Like it is going to make us fat when that is really not the case.” There is more subtlety to it.

Dr. Silverman agrees. He states it is an ecosystem, or as he calls it, a neighborhood. He states that he grew up in a questionable neighborhood in New York, called the Bronx. It’s more than just bacteria. There are good and bad bacteria but the good have to outweigh the bad.

A person needs about 85% good versus 15% bad to avoid something known as dysbiosis. He uses the analogy of a neighborhood once again stating that if someone wants the 35,000-foot they need the bacteria and to ask what are the viruses doing?

We must keep in mind, too, that not every virus is bad. For example, the bacteriophage is good as are some parasites. He states that “it’s an ecosystem that should be functioning in a harmonious tone to project health properties.”



 For those who have gotten results, take a look at the gut-health section and take a look at gluten intolerance. Where does a person fall from a genetic perspective? But first, she wants to talk about people who don’t have the genes for being gluten sensitive or celiac yet still do better off gluten. She asks, “Why is that?”

 Dr. Silverman responds by saying that in Latin, gluten means glue. It sticks to the intestinal tract and glues to the microvilli. The microvilli are like shaggy carpets or fingerlike projections; they grab food. If you damage them, they become like a tile, they can’t grab nutrients.

They don’t just grab the already digested small particle foods, they also provide digestion. Gluten, unless it’s organic, comes from an inorganic soil. They use Roundup which includes the use of glyphosate, which is damaging to the gut and overall health and has seen a parallel correlation with celiac disease and non-gluten sensitivities.

Again, people want to get tested and not guess, so it is great to get the genetic markers to verify. But even if a person comes back with a mild risk or no risk, they should probably still not eat gluten. The question then becomes, why do the test, particularly if they shouldn’t eat gluten?

The reason is that if a person is gluten-intolerant or has celiac disease and consumes gluten, they need to fix that quickly. Otherwise, frequent bathroom visits will be in their foreseeable future. Dr. Erika points out that for some, other symptoms may be the result. This is because of a cross-reactivity component with gluten.

She circles back to organic wheat, and whether or not a person would not get a reaction from that? Dr. Silverman responds that, in theory, yes. But they use organic glyphosate to clean the wheat, so he would probably avoid all gluten. He states that there is wheat and that it is divided up into two lectins, each one with two proteins one of which has wheat, germ, agglutinin, which can be a lectin. A lectin is something people should avoid or at least should cook the foods containing lectins. 

As a side note, the topic of glyphosate came back, in that why are people able to handle wheat in Europe? It is because Europe has outlawed glyphosate. Despite this, if a person has the genetic markers for gluten sensitivity, they will still want to be careful.

She then refers to Molina’s question, of how does one quickly choose gluten-free products and vegetables? Dr. Erika advises that vegetables should be gluten-free but to be careful because a lot of products are supposed to be healthy but gluten is snuck in to make it taste better. The question then becomes, how to read some labels?

Dr. Silverman responds that even though a product can say it is gluten-free, it still may not be healthy because they may use emulsifiers. An example of that is toothpaste. Toothpaste has gluten, but it also has triclosan which can cause leaky gut. Look for simple ingredients and look for specific things, such as an allergy list.

Be careful, there are a lot of gluten-free products out there that are highly processed. They put potato starch, tapioca flour, or starch, all of which will spike the blood sugar. Dr. Erika agrees and cautions that if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated or heated, be wary. Beyond Beef has a long list of ingredients versus grass-fed beef, which is one ingredient.   

She also notes that with children, it can be tricky. Utilizing food prep can be valuable. She suggests Primal Palate, a company that has some premade foods to help. 



Dr. Erika asks, “what do you think are the biggest epigenetic modulators of our gut cells?”

Dr. Silverman responds by saying “our environment.” Humans live in a toxic world. For example, he states that he lives in a city where there are a lot of cars. There is not only a lot of exhaust but a lot of chimneys. These toxins are damaging. There is a bi-directionality between the liver and the gut; where the liver detoxifies and breaks down the toxins. If someone overloads their liver with toxins, they will overload their gut with toxins.

With epigenetics, people need to realize that genes do not equal destiny. “The expression of our environment with our genes is our epigenetics.” Such as if he were to walk outside, is there a filter? Otherwise, his allergies may bother him. That is his epigenetics.

DNA never changes. It’s the expression of it, therefore, a person can keep changing that expression time and time again. Even to the point that it might affect future generations. Dr. Silverman focuses on the topic of future generations and about the toxin BPA.

BPA is in plastics, it’s in paper, such as the American dollar, magazines; it’s everywhere. He states that he read that exposure to BPA can damage three generations down. Dr. Erika affirms his statement. She states that the way it works is that if she were pregnant with a daughter, her daughter within is developing her own eggs. These eggs would be that of Dr. Erika’s grandchildren. That is the three generations, herself, her daughter, and her grandchild.

These epigenetic changes, these methyl groups that get put on and off the DNA are in a germ cell. That’s the sperm or the egg, and it gets replicated and passed onto future generations. 


Gut Irritability Risk

This sets the stage for potential IBS, Crohn’s, and even celiac disease. What has been discovered is that a lot of the genes that are involved in this are immune modulators. For example, node two, recognized bacteria to initiate an immune response specifically around LPS. LPS is a lipopolysaccharide. It likes to come out at night and it wreaks havoc on an individual’s gut endotoxin. It is a gram-negative bacteria that can become nasty.

Therefore, people want to make sure that they have a robust microbiome that will help to keep the LPS under control. When a person doesn’t sleep, LPS likes to replicate in the night. To help with node two is butyrate, a short chain of fatty acids that are made by a person’s gut bacteria. But for the gut to make enough butyrate, it is important to feed the gut bacteria.

This is where the resistant starches come in. They like to ferment, so, full-fat dairy, such as butter is a great source of butyrate as is vitamin D3. Dr. Erika wants to highlight PTPN2, which is going to play a role in T-cell activation and B-cell autoreactivity.

This is where auto-immunity comes in. People have genes that set the stage for sensitivity. But then they eat certain foods and have a lifestyle, then these genes start expressing themselves. This expression may be seen in their skin, others in their gut, and even joints.

Dr. Silverman adds that most Americans are deficient in fiber. In general, humans need 35 to 50 grams, and yet most Americans are not regularly using the lavatory. The average American consumes about 10 grams of fiber.

He suggests getting some good quality prebiotics that are critical for probiotics, which helps create bacteria for life. He says that people have to feed the probiotics. If a person doesn’t feed them, it will turn and eat the lining. Xylooligosaccharides have been shown in low doses to feed good bacteria.

He cautions to increase slowly because if someone moves from 10 grams of fiber to 20, it can be unsettling, even though it is not the threshold, the body is not used to it. He circles back to butyrin and a prebiotic that is also great for overall blood sugar. Looking at gut-irritability risk should be called gut-irritability health risk. If the gut is not functioning a lot of other things aren’t functioning. He says to think of it as the bullseye.

Dr. Erika agrees and adds that an epigenetic modulator is stress. She feels that people use stress almost like a badge of honor, such as “I am so stressed.” Therefore, people’s bodies do expect a certain number of stressors yet the body handles it best when it comes in quickly and then leaves. It is not supposed to be a chronic ongoing type of stressor.

In past live streams, COMT was previously talked about as well as BDNF, so Dr. Erika introduces another one, which is the CHNA4. It has to do with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Acetylcholine is important for the brain and brain function.

She states that this may be another reason why nicotine calms people down because it binds to this particular gene receptor. It takes away the stress and anxiety feeling in the stomach.


The Vagus Nerve

Dr. Silverman says they call it the vagus nerve or cranial nerve number 10. It is called the vagus because it’s the great wanderer, brainstem, or medulla oblongata. It goes down through the transverse colon and it attaches to the outside of the transverse colon. It has sensory nerve endings. These nerve endings can tell a person what is going on inside their gut.

Last year, they found an anatomical part, the neural pod. The neural pod is in the gut and it is the communicator between the inside of the gut and the vagus nerve. That means that the vagus nerve knows if a person has stress and if they have an incorrect balance of good and bad bacteria.

The vagus nerve is the main bidirectional communication medium between the gut and the brain, and it works like an elevator. What a person eats can affect what they think in a millisecond, it works that quickly. This is why when a person starts to get that sinking feeling in their stomach that something isn’t going to work out, that is the work of the vagus nerve. That is why deep breathing or getting centered helps because it activates the vagus nerve. It helps to get both your mind and gut re-centered.

Dr. Silverman says that the vagus nerve is parasympathetic; deep breathing will elevate the vagus nerve and decrease the sympathetic, which is fight or flight. Some will become excited, while others, such as Dr. Silverman, will become sympathetic all day long. He states that the problem is, it's a seesaw.

An individual wants to bring up the parasympathetic and balance the sympathetic, this is all governed by the vagus nerve which, in turn, governs the enteric nervous system. This is also why the gut is called the second brain. It has more nerve cells than any other nervous system; it is the epicenter and the communicator. It communicates with any part of the body through the blood and its nerve receptors.

Dr. Erika turns the topic to answer the question of a listener, Richard. He gave up gluten because he had celiac disease. But where before eating it didn’t affect him, now it does; he gets exhausted. He wants to know why that is?

Dr. Silverman responds to say that this can happen, and this is what is called an elimination diet. Eliminate these foods and then put them back in, if they light an individual back up, then they know they are sensitive to that food. He believes that Richard didn’t realize what was going on.

It can take 72 hours after a food item is consumed, but a lot of people have trouble remembering what they ate that long ago. He asks if Richard gets gas and bloating after he eats, if that is the case then he has a digestion problem. If 45 minutes after he eats, he feels lethargic then he has a blood-brain barrier problem.

He further elaborates, “if you eat something going from top to bottom and you eat a protein and you get gas, you have a stomach acid problem, you eat a carb, you have a pancreatic enzyme problem. And if you eat fat, you’ve got a bio problem.” He says all of these are signs, but to test, don’t guess and see a practitioner to help out.

Dr. Erika addresses another question from Melina, who was wondering about young adults and teens for school support. Dr. Erika suggests two supplements that she thinks are beneficial for teens, in terms of focus and concentration. Choline, which turns into acetylcholine for the brain. It works with the synopsis and the way the myelin sheath works and the omega threes, which are important for the brain.

Teens need to make sure they are choosing good, non-inflammatory foods. Dr. Silverman echoes Dr. Erika in respect to choline. He states that it is very beneficial because it decreases microglia activations and microgliosis, which are the macrophages or the captain of the ship of signaling information in the central nervous system.

The brain functions differently in women compared to men. When a woman gets a concussion, inflammation is turned on, but the microglia is different from men. Choline has been shown to decrease microglial inflammation and has a positive effect on those who are susceptible to Alzheimer’s.

A person can decrease about 75% of the damage from a concussion if they take ample omega-threes, particularly for a woman, they can drop their incidence of concussions. He notes that people’s brains function better on fat rather than sugar. But if you want to do better on a test, go for fats over carbohydrates.

Dr. Erika builds on the topic of fat helping with studies and suggests sardines as a great source of fat, omega-3, and protein; an inexpensive source. To which Dr. Silverman adds, chia seeds, another great option for omega-3s and are a plant source.

If everyone in the family eats healthy, they all will benefit, not just the teenagers. Dr. Erika circles back to Dr. Rob Silverman’s book that is coming out in August entitled Super Highway to Health. She says there is a lot of information in this book, from the liver and the bile to the gut and brain.

She then turns the conversation back to questions and refers to a question from Raymond “in your experience, what's the percentage or breakdown of people who have mild, medium or high risk of gluten intolerance?”

Dr. Silverman responds that it is about one in a hundred with celiac, and four out of ten with gluten and non-sensitive gluten intolerance, and six out of ten who don’t have any, yet should still avoid gluten.

Dr. Erika believes that someone can start mild and become a high risk. For example, if a person has repeated antibiotics or if they’re constantly eating foods that they are sensitive to. It can be hard to tell, particularly in the case of someone like Richard, who was thought to have a mild gluten intolerance, but then he did the elimination diet and then re-challenged himself. She would now consider him to be high risk because he has the genes and has had a profound reaction to it.

She then asks Dr. Silverman what he thinks about non-hybridized wheat that doesn’t use glyphosate? He responds that it is called native wheat, but there is also dwarf wheat. The first is what people should be eating, and dwarf is what they’ve changed it to, and it is not hybridized. He suggests not eating American wheat.

Gluten-free options are arrowroot, flax, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and rice. So, for example, if someone wants a type of pasta or bread, they can get it with these ancient grains and they are health-promoting and they taste good.

He suggests, instead of an ordinary pizza, for example, try a chickpea or cauliflower flour crust add some protein, like wild salmon or bison with your assortments and it is now a full, healthy meal that tastes great. Dr. Erika adds, for those who are struggling with weight or blood sugar, insulin, have insulin resistance issues, will want to avoid gluten completely or only have it as a special treat.


How Does Epigenetics Help?

She then asks, how does epigenetics help, and how does one measure if it is working or not? At the moment, the epigenetic test enables the person to look at five different areas: biological health, hearing health, memory age, eye age, and inflammation.

In the case of the effects of gluten and gut health, the overall inputs of what a person is doing to their body, they should look under inflammation. The genes will be accessed to see if they have been turned on. If a person has a high inflammation marker, that is something they are going to want to keep track of. It could express itself in lab work five or ten years down the road.

She then refers to a follow-up question, “so if I quit gluten, it might change my DNA?” To which she responds that it is not going to change their DNA, it will change the expression of it. For example, someone who is gluten sensitive who stops eating gluten may see their inflammation marker come down because they are no longer bombarding their body with a substance that it doesn’t know what to do with. It’s decreasing the micronutrient absorption and no longer making that leaky gut more permeable.

Dr. Silverman emphasizes again that genes are not a person’s destiny. While one cannot change their DNA, they can change their outcome. Maybe someone can’t make the changes right away, but if someone is heavy, they don’t have to be heavy.  

Dr. Erika adds that a lot of this relates to the kind of quality of life a person wants. For example, they can eat all of these things but the quality of life may not be the one they are looking for later in life. Because as people get older, they lose the effect of hormones. They don’t absorb the nutrients as well, there are a lot of things that make it more difficult.

Therefore, building up healthy habits is important because they will carry everyone into that longevity. She then turns to a follow-up question that asks what changed a person’s results in terms of a specific gene from high to mild risk?

Dr. Erika replies, that if a person were to remove something from their diet or add something back in with a nutrient, is that going to change their DNA results? The answer is no, it won’t. It will change the potential expression of it.

Therefore, if someone was high risk, they will still be high risk, but their chances of expressing the effects are significantly decreased. For example, she has seen many people who are at high risk to be obese, and yet they are not. The reverse is also true, but because of trauma, environment, antibiotics, and food choices, they are overweight.

She reminds everyone that a person’s genes are not their destiny, they simply set the stage. Everyone is the actor of their life and gets to choose how they are going to run the play of their life and health. Moving forward, and to close this live stream she states that the next live stream is going to focus on the role of epigenetics, DNA, and memory.

For more information, contact us at where a person can set up a consult and get any questions answered.

Danielle L’Ami

Danielle L’Ami is a logophile who writes her passion and loves to connect with others through her thoughts and personal experiences. When she is not writing, you can find her watching hockey with her husband, torturing her children with new recipes, or practicing yoga to keep herself balanced.

My Toolbox Genomics empowers individuals in their healthcare journey by creating reports focused on genetic predispositions derived from published research. Test results and suggestions are intended to lead to consultation with one’s healthcare practitioner. MyTBG reports do not diagnose disease or medical conditions. Any lifestyle changes should result from consultation with qualified healthcare practitioners.