Did you know your body has a second brain? That’s right: Dr. Michael Gershon was among the first to explain the connection between the intestines and digestive issues that prevent the body from making neurotransmitters needed for healthy brain function. Hphotois book, The Second Brain: The Scientific Basis of Gut Instinct and a Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestines will be useful to anyone seeking to understand the basics of physical wellness and the body’s intestinal functions.

“Dr. Michael D. Gershon’s groundbreaking work clearly demonstrates that the human gut actually has a brain of its own. This remarkable scientific breakthrough offers fascinating proof that gut instinct is biological, a function of the second brain.

An alarming number of people suffer from heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, or related problems. Often thought to be caused by a weakness of the mind, these conditions may actually be a reflection of a disorder in the second brain. The second brain, located in the bowel, normally works smoothly with the brain in the head, enabling the head-brain to concentrate on the finer pursuits of life while the gut-brain attends to the messy business of digestion. A breakdown in communication between the two brains can lead to stomach and intestinal trouble, causing sufferers great abdominal grief and too often labeling them as neurotic complainers.”

There’s widespread ignorance on how the gut (intestines) really works, and I continue to encounter the results of it in my chiro and wellness practice on far too many occasions. The example of a toddler I worked with illustrates the type of problem I encounter with alarming frequency.

Symptoms of Heavy Metals Toxicity

The toddler had severe digestive issues for a long time. She was still using a feeding tube at two-and-a-half years old and had a number of swallowing disorders. Simply put, the child’s condition came from a widespread lack of nutritional awareness in the medical community. They were giving her a canned protein supplement along with an electrolyte supplement—garbage nutritional drinks that are loaded with chemicals and many different types of sugar. The ingredients in these products are listed by precedence, and four sugars topped the list of ingredients! They had this child on at least three bottles a day. It’s no wonder she had yeast—yeast is attracted to sugar and absorbs ten times its weight in heavy metals (yeast and sugar can not be separated). The child was literally starving to death from lack of quality nutrition, and yet she continued to gain weight—she was actually obese for her age! The doctor had instructed the mother to have the child gain weight and maintain lots of empty calories, but these unhealthy supplements filled with sugar and chemicals were making her obese.

The parents had been seeing a behavioral therapist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist for the child’s condition before they came to me, all to no avail. My recommendations for an alternative diet weren’t readily accepted by certain family members who, out of desperation and love to do the right thing, reasoned that the doctors recommending these sugar-loaded products “must know what they’re doing since they are specialists.” But specialists can be ignorant of how the gut (intestines) really works too, even when they’re acting out of the best intentions.

I wish I could say this case was the exception rather than the rule, but my experience has proved otherwise. Thankfully, my interactions with the toddler resulted in the first steps toward her health and wellness by exposing the root issues of the problem.

She tested extremely high for heavy metals toxicity on ZYTO and had a yeast-like fungal rash on her body (the usual way to test for the presence of heavy metals is through urine testing, but the child was still in diapers, so this was not possible). Again, the yeast rash was not surprising since she was consuming so much sugar from the drink and from fruit yogurts, which are loaded with sugar. The rash was the reason the child was brought to me in the first place.

Her body was loaded with heavy metals, which were acting like an anti-biotic in her digestive tract. Heavy metals toxicity can also be caused by vaccinations or other metals found in a mother’s body and transferred to the child during pregnancy. Outward signs include red cheeks, red lips and hyperactive behavior, all of which were observed during this child’s visit to my office, not to mention the ZYTO reading, which indicated that presence of heavy metals as the highest area of stress. This was creating a number of yeast/fungus and candida-like issues in her intestines, which caused other bacteria and co-infections to propagate.

Heavy metals trigger excessive inflammation in the developing digestive tracts of children, which results in raised insulin levels and a condition known as dysbiosis of the gut (intestines). This results in the production of fewer neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which functions like the brakes in an automobile: Serotonin slows the body down when it needs to slow down or stop. It’s also vital to the brain function, even though it is produced in the gut. Excessive inflammation also prevents the creation of neurotransmitters that are essential to the brain function. This lack of balance in neurotransmitter levels makes focus and concentration increasingly difficult for children, and can trigger hyperactivity, ADHD, ADD, and mood disorders like depression and anxiety as well.

I provided the toddler with healthy probiotics to assist: Flora chewables, in particular, are a great choice for kids. I also provided Mycoderm, a topical cream for the yeast-rash. The chewable probiotic taken several times a day helped to heal the gut. I also provided Mycocan-Chord drops, a homeopathic yeast and fungus detoxifier that cleanses cells deep inside the tissues, as well as an herbal tincture—a food—called Pau d’Arco which is known to kill fungus and yeast. As previously mentioned, healing the intestinal issues was extremely important to the toddler’s overall health and brain function. Next, once her immune system regained some strength, we used various nutritional supplements to help rid her body of the metals over a two-year time period.

Recommendations for a Compromised Immune System

I recommended a few things for her compromised immune system: First and foremost, a decrease in her sugar intake. Sugar lowers the immune system and will always contribute to her sickliness, causing the yeast to grow out of control. Remember, the yeast craves sugar in order to live—sugar is what it feeds upon. The dairy and the casein (protein in the milk) was creating so much mucus that her cells couldn’t breathe or take in proper nutrition. She needed to eliminate the milk or mucus would continue to be a problem.

Whey is smaller protein that can be more readily absorbed by the body, especially in powder form, particularly from organic free- range cows with no hormones or pesticides. Otherwise the body will have a leaky-gut condition, where the toddler’s body can’t break down proteins efficiently. Owing to the infections and candida, these undigested proteins go through the damaged intestinal lining and enter the blood stream. The toddler’s body reacts to it like a foreign invader, attacking the immune system and making her sick.

Butter can be substituted with “Organic Coconut Spread” or “Earth Balance.” Mayonnaise can be substituted for a product called “Veginase” (the purple top), a grape seed oil extract, which is kept in the refrigerator section at the health food store. Whole Foods has one called “Follow Your Heart.” I also recommended a guide and cookbook for milk allergies called Go Dairy-Free by Alisa Fleming. I caution against one suggestion in the book; namely, Soy—most of which is now grown from GMO seeds, which are very toxic. I also recommend staying away from soy substitutes. For milk or ice creams: Rice, hemp, coconut-based options, and for yogurt, there are rice-based options or soy—but again, I would NOT recommend soy.

Please feel free to contact me at drsevensky@optonline.net if I can be of further assistance.

For further reading on heavy metals, consult the following entries on this blog:

ZYTO: Understanding Your Body’s Biological Preference

Heavy Metals & Your Health: Avoiding Mercury Toxicity

Surprising Truths about Silver Fillings, Mercury, and Dental Health