Kundalini is associated with immune/digestive difficulties for many reasons. Metamorphosis is largely an immune activity, and occurs under radical sympathetic/adrenal activation. Extra hormones (stress, sex, growth, thyroid) are in circulation and need to be sopped up and conjugated by the liver. The liver has a lot more work to do with recycling the broken-down cells, and from the disrupted digestion, thinning gut lining and reticulation of toxins from badly digested food. The liver is also a site for candida attack, which can be a problem when the immune system is preoccupied with transmutation. There is even a danger of losing teeth during metamorphosis because the overworked immune system fails to look after the mouth.
My digestive system got messed up and I didn't take much notice of this while I was going through the metamorph for 3 years. It's starting to repair now after 1 year of taking glutamine, antioxidants, adaptogenic herbs and kelp/spirulina/slippery elm capsules. And especially since I started taking the herbs for the liver. The healing agent Aloe Mucilaginous Polysaccharide found within the Aloe Vera plant can help to cure irritable bowel symptoms, but make sure you use the extract, not the whole leaf or gel. Deep abdominal breathing and meditative focus on the brainstem throughout ones awakening should help prevent gut problems further down the line.
Because of the loss of glutamate from the small intestine during kundalini awakening, and the hyper-activation of the sympathetic nervous system there is an increased likelihood of leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and enterohepatic circulation of toxins from the colon back into the bloodstream. The "S" shaped sigmoid colon is the last part of the colon, before reaching the rectum. By the time stool gets to this part of the colon, most nutrients have been absorbed back into the bloodstream. Enterohepatic circulation serves as an efficient mechanism for the conservation of bile salts and certain hormones. Because the stool contains products of putrefaction at this point, there exists a special circulatory system, a direct communication of veins called the enterohepatic circulation, between the sigmoid colon and the liver. This system of veins carries rectal/sigmoid toxins directly to the liver for detoxification, rather than circulating them through the rest of the body and all of its vital organs including the brain.
Have you ever felt ill just prior having a bowel movement, this is due of the toxic quality of the material and enterohepatic circulation. When toxins are caught up in this cycle, their biological half-lives and effects on the liver may be significantly increased. To help the liver conjugate (detoxify) these toxins we need adequate supplies of antioxidants and conjugating agents. During kundalini awakenings in particular, we need more glutathione and sulfur amino acids (cysteine) because of the disruption to digestion and the extra load on the immune system and liver. Adequate fiber in the diet helps prevent enterohepatic circulation of toxins back into the system.
The liver is chief detoxifier of externally derived (exogenous) toxins, and also is the main storage organ for glutathione prior to exportation to the other organs. Glutathione depletion contributes to liver injury, and to increased the morbidity related to an under functioning liver. A hypo-functioning liver is more susceptible to toxic risk and injury, while altering fundamental cell functions such as protein synthesis, enzyme activities, transport processes, microtubular and other structural support, and secretion mechanisms. Factors that deplete the liver resources of glutathione can decrease conjugation ability and increase damage done by toxins. The deficiency of glutathione caused by one toxin may render the liver more vulnerable to other toxins.
The liver detoxifies substances in two steps:
PHASE 1. OXIDATION
Glutathione is most concentrated in the liver, where the cytochrome P-450 enzymes convert metabolic waste and toxins to more water-soluble GSH conjugates in order to facilitate their excretion. Some leave the body via bile and out through the colon, others are carried to the kidneys and excreted through urine. Many cancer-producing chemicals, heavy metals, drug metabolites etc. are disposed of in this way. Various nutrients are required for efficient phase I detoxification. Cytochrome P450
reactions themselves generate free radicals and this can cause secondary damage to cells. An adequate supply of key antioxidants is therefore essential to prevent tissue damage. Glutathione, superoxide dismutase and additional nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin E, selenium and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) will act as antioxidants.
The P450 system seems geared primarily to effect homeostatic control over circulating steroid hormones and other endogenous, fat-soluble substances. Other nutrient co-factors required for phase 1 reactions include riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, iron and certain phytonutrients such as indoles from cruciferous vegetables and quercetin. The metabolites from this detoxification process are often potentially more harmful than their original toxic compounds so its important that these toxic compounds not be allowed to build up. This is where Phase II of liver detoxification comes in.
PHASE 11. CONJUGATION
Conjugation is the neutralization of free radicals by the liver's antioxidant enzymes through the donation of a small molecule, so they can be safely escorted out of the body in bile and urine. Phase two also removes the oxidized wastes created in step one, and heavy metals. In Phase II glutathione conjugation is the primary pathway for these intermediate metabolites. Increased exposure to toxins as well as a poor dietary supply of glutathione can soon lead to glutathione depletion and increased damage from these highly reactive intermediates. Oral supplementation with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) may help to increase glutathione levels in the body.
Calcium D-Glucarate is a phytonutirent found in many fruits and vegetables that helps remove fat soluble toxins, estrogens and other excess steroid hormones. Other nutrients which play vital roles in the Phase II liver detoxification include amino acids glycine, cysteine, glutamine, methionine, taurine, glutamic acid and aspartic acid. Glutamine plays a chief role in ammonia detoxification as well as helping to maintain the integrity of the mucus of the gastrointestinal tract.
Glutathione is the body's most powerful antioxidant and is the most abundant antioxidant in the liver and also the main detoxifying agent in the body. Glutathione is crucial for step two conjunction. If the body doesn't have enough of the amino acids and cofactors needed to produce glutathione then toxins accumulate in fatty tissues, the brain and nerve sheaths. Glutathione is also required in many of the intricate steps needed to carry out an immune response. For example, it is needed for the lymphocytes to multiply in order to develop a strong immune response, and for ‘killer' lymphocytes to be able to kill undesirable cells such as cancer cells or virally infected cells.
With depleted glutathione reserves, the liver cannot effectively process and detoxify metabolites and toxins. Stress and metamorphosis increases the production of hormones (adrenaline, estrogen and testosterone) that are later broken down by the liver through a sulfation process. If our glutathione levels are low we don't have adequate sulphur containing cysteine for sulfation.
Glutathione is especially important during a kundalini awakening with the activation of the immune system and excessive free radical production. Thus it is vital to supplement with the four components that produce glutathione: selenium, cycteine, glutamine and tryptophan.
L-Glutamine stimulates the liver to build up large amounts of glutathione, while glutathione that is sold as a dietary supplement is mostly destroyed during digestion and therefore is of little use. Cysteine has a sulfur-containing portion which gives the whole glutathione molecule its ‘biochemical activity. Heat or mechanical stress etc., easily split the stable form of the amino acid "cystine" found in foods into cysteine, where upon digestion destroys it, thus raw unprocessed foods or special food supplements high in bioactive cysteine (cystine) provide the best source of this vital amino acid. Cysteine itself is toxic and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is usually used.
Supplementing with Vitamins C & E, B Vitamins, Beta Carotene, "Glycine", Glutamine and NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Selenium will ensure adequate antioxidants for sulfation and detoxifcation. (Note melatonin and DHEA are antioxidant hormones.)
A number of foods stimulate glutathione production in the body even though the plants themselves don't have a lot of the amino acid in them. Glutathione stimulating substances include the cabbage family, spinach, watermelon and cantaloupe, with parsley being the most effective. A potato soup with yogurt, heaps of chopped garlic and parsley, and light-miso mixed in at the last minute, might be the idea kundalini food for comfort and nutrition. Don't forget the chopped garlic, nutmeg and ground black pepper.
Silymarin or Milk Thistle Extract is also recommended throughout metamorphosis as Alan H. Pressman says that there is an inflammatory cascade that occurs from accumulation of exogenous or endogenously toxins that result in the production of alarm messenger substances called leucotrienes which in turn activate white cells such as the macrophages, monocytes and neutrophils to release free radicals. These oxidants in turn attack connective tissue and the joint lubricant substance hyaluronic acid, resulting in inflammation or irritation that in the long tern produces degeneration. He says evidence points to degenerative joint diseases like arthritis being associated with a permeable gut and poor liver detoxification.
Chlorophyll is perhaps the greatest detoxifier there is. Herbs such as Milk Thistle can be taken to lessen the damage to the liver from toxins cycling between the GI tract and the liver. (enterohepatic circulation-p.221 Herbal Tonic Therapies, Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.)
Selenium maintains the elasticity of the tissues and increases antibodies. It is used in the body's antioxidant enzyme Glutathione peroxidase which breaks down rancid fats without releasing free radicals. Seizures may also result from glutathione peroxidase deficiency, which could be from lack of bioavailable selenium. Selenium is involved in conversion of thyroid hormones T4 to T3, hence deficiency of selenium can lead to hypthyroidism, depression and wasting of tissue. Selenium enhances lymphocyte proliferation; according to Harold Foster selenium levels are the best indicator of immanent death in AIDS patients--www.hdfoster.com The huge demand for glutathione during kundalini could lead to a selenium deficiency which will exaggerate the exhaustion phase and leave the body open to pathogenic attack. Selenium detoxifies mercury especially in conjunction with vitamin E; it also works synergistically with Vitamin E to increase Glutathione activity. Selenium is well absorbed in its inorganic forms--sodium selenite and sodium selenate, but these have somewhat different effects on the body than the equally well absorbed chelated forms selenomethionine, selenoglutathione, or selenocsyteine. In this case, therefore, it is prudent to take some of each. Selenium is found in largest concentrations in Brazil nuts, whole grains, onions, garlic, brewers yeast, broccoli, seafood and mushrooms.
Zinc requirements increase during times of healing and recovery. Zinc deficiency reduces lymphocyte numbers. Our brain and nervous system require zinc for almost every enymatic reaction. Zinc deficiency can cause a whole range of consequences. Low zinc levels disturb your immune system which makes you binge in an attempt to gain energy. This further damages your immune system so that you gain weight and fall even further into the low zinc danger zone. Zinc is needed for insulin metabolism, and is helpful in healing the pancreas from the ravages of a high sugar diet. It is necessary to get enough zinc daily as the body can store very little. If you are stressed or taking contraceptive pills you may be deficient in zinc. Zinc stimulates the production and action of the thymic hormones which regulate T cell maturation in the thymus. A deficiency results in atrophy of the thymus gland, reduced thymosin levels and a decline in T cells.
Dr. Alan Pressman in The Gsh Phenomenon: Nature's Most Powerful Antioxidant & Healing Agent says that for liver detoxification fasting can't help. When we fast the cytochrome P-450 enzyme activity drops sharply reducing Step One-oxidation of toxins. Plus antioxidant supplies are reduced when fasting, increasing oxidation damage from free roaming toxins and free radicals. So it seems that fasting is not recommended during kundalini awakenings, for the body is already greatly challenged by free radicals and cell breakdown. Even during a dieoff when food cannot be readily eaten it would be best to take antioxidant supplements and juices of those foods containing glutathione and cysteine.
During an awakening you might want to check out Alan H. Pressman's books: Physicians' Guides to Healing: Treating Digestive Conditions and Glutathione: The Ultimate Antioxidant. www.drpressman.com/
Sex and stress hormones increase during the kundalini peak so care must be taken to support their production, and excretion from the body. Then during the exhaustion phase our hormones and neurotransmitters become depleted leading to a hypotonic depressive state.
Estrogen is excreted from the body via methylation, glucuronidation and sulfation. Estrogen that is already "detoxified" can be deconjugated by gut bacterial and can reticulate (enterohepatic recirculation) from the colon back to the liver increasing the risk of various cancers. The cabbage family (cruciferous) vegetables especially broccoli, brussel sprouts, and antioxidants like rosemary and alpha lipoic acid, help to bind the estrogens in a safe pathway so they can be safely removed from the body. Other substances that prevent genotoxic effects of estrogen metabolities are: Probiotics, phytoestrogen rich foods such as flaxseed and soy. The bran layer of beans, seeds and grains. Tumeric, kudzu, alfalfa, clover, Green teas, B Vitamins, Vitamins A, C, E, fenugreek, licorice root, black cohosh, wild yam, fennel and anise and black cohosh.
Beneficial modulation of estrogen metabolism can be accomplished through dietary and lifestyle modifications such as increasing fiber and reducing fat, increasing phytoestrogen intake, losing weight, and increasing exercise. In addition, many nutrients effectively reduce estrogen load by supporting the preferred pathways of estrogen metabolism and detoxification. These include isoflavones, indole-3-carbinol, B vitamins, magnesium, limonene, calcium D-glucarate, and antioxidants. The influences of these nutrients on estrogen metabolism may have profound significance for diseases and conditions in which estrogen plays a role.