Letters to Deepak

Dear Deepak,

How do I stop worrying over the approval of others?

As long as your wellbeing depends on the opinions of others, you can never have a true, stable or happy feeling about yourself. When you look to the approval of others for your sense of self-respect, then you are referencing your self externally, not internally. The most important thing is to have a concrete experience of your inner self through meditation so that you have a real reference point for self-esteem. This provides you with true knowledge of your self. Another exercise you can use is to look into your eyes in the mirror each morning, or whenever you look into a mirror, and say, “ No one is above me and no one is below me.” This asserts the truth of your fundamental spiritual existence. When you know who you are within yourself, you will not look to others for approval.


Dear Deepak,

Can you tell me what to do when I feel so mentally blocked that I simply cannot meditate and I experience great frustration?

Try not to meditate through that blocked feeling. Try using asanas and pranayama first to clear the way. Feeling mentally blocked usually means that the ego is obsessing about an issue. Trying to get over it with an act of will often only entrenches the issue. By doing yoga and some breathing exercises, we can often side step the mental pattern and diffuse it.

Dear Deepak,

I'm a college student, and I've had a longing to live spiritually, but am finding it hard to strike a balance between “life” and spirituality.

An imbalance occurs between two things if one is not at the same level of strength as the other. Since you said you have a longing to live spiritually, I assume you haven't started any spiritual practice yet. By beginning a practice you can do for about half and hour in the morning and again in the evening, you will have taken a big step toward balancing the inner and outer parts of your life, which up to now has been exclusively directed outward. If you're concerned with how to strike a balance between the values of a competitive materialistic society and the values of love and giving, that will have to grow out of your inner experience, not through intellectual analysis or idealism. As the luminosity of your soul begins to increase, you will naturally look inside for your values and decision-making, not outside to what the “real world” says is the practical thing to do.

The Chopra Center is dedicated to awakening balance, healing, and transformation in individuals and communities. Join us for our Perfect Health program and awaken your true inner essence. Visit chopra.com or call 1-888-424-6772 for more information .


Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome affects almost everyone who has a chronic gastrointestinal problem (GI) as well as people with other chronic health issues that they do not consciously relate to their GI tract. Leaky Gut Syndrome is caused by a hyperpermeable intestinal lining, which is caused by chronic inflammation. Ordinarily, the cells lining the GI tract are packed tightly together, but in Leaky Gut large spaces develop between GI endothelium (lining) cells, which then allow bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles to slip directly into the blood stream. Health starts in the GI tract (“gut”). Illness cannot be recovered until the GI tract is healed.

Symptoms and Illnesses Caused by Leaky Gut

The intestinal lining is called the “mucosal wall.” Weakening of this lining leads to a vast array of health problems, including: Food allergy, Crohn's disease, skin problems, allergic disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, malnutrition, malabsorption of nutrients, accelerated aging, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory joint disease, asthma, alcoholism, multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, celiac disease, autism, and ADD and ADHD (attention deficit disorder). Leaky Gut Syndrome also is closely associated with autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis and some forms of asthma.

Purpose of the Gastro-Intestinal Tract

In order to understand what causes Leaky Gut Syndrome and why it causes so many problems, we have to understand what the GI tract does. Its main functions are: 1) to digest and breakdown food; 2) absorb key nutrients (amino acids, vitamins, minerals, essential acids, and glyconutrients); 3) detoxify chemicals; 4) provide the first line of immune defense through production of immunoglobulins, called “IgA”; 5) produce neurotransmitters, like serotonin and norepinephrine; 6) In addition, carrier proteins attach to nutrients and “escort” them across the gut lining into the bloodstream. Leaky Gut Syndrome impairs all 6 GI functions. The bottom line is that the immune system is weakened, essential nutrients are not absorbed, and toxins and undigested food particles slip directly into the bloodstream.

Eventually, malfunction of these 6 key GI functions leads to systemic complaints like fatigue, chronic pain, headaches, memory loss, poor concentration and a wide spectrum of diseases.


There are numerous causes of Leaky Gut, all of which end up causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation eventually weakens the intestinal lining. The main causes of Leaky Gut are:

Infection: Parasites (which about 75 percent of us carry in our GI tracts), abnormal bacteria such as Klebsiella and Citrobacter, and yeast (candida). Toxins released by these infections also contribute to Leaky Gut.

Toxins: Alcohol, caffeine, heavy metal toxicity, food additives and preservatives, refined sugar, and processed food irritate the intestinal lining.

Medications: NSAIDS and aspirin directly irritate the GI tract. Antibiotics kill off friendly intestinal bacteria, like acidophilus and bifidus, thereby allowing normal quantities of yeast to quickly grow out of control. Other irritating medications include birth control pills and prescription steroids like Prednisone.

Dysbiosis: The GI tract ideally has a healthy ecology, a good balance of a variety of factors, including: friendly bacteria, small amounts of yeast, digestive enzymes, correct pH, and gut motility (speed at which the GI tract moves food along through waves of peristalsis). Dysbiosis is an imbalance in gut ecology.

Diet: A diet high in refined carbohydrates, soft drinks and white bread causes intestinal inflammation.

There is never just one cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome. When one component of the GI tract gets out of balance, others follow in suit, so it is common to have 5 or 6 causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome in one individual.


Candida overgrowth is such an important cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome that it deserves extra attention. When we take antibiotics for a bladder infection or sore throat, the antibiotic does not know it is not supposed to kill important, “friendly” bacteria in the GI tract. This GI bacterial kill-off causes yeast or candida to explode in its growth and take over the GI tract. Candida has two phases: a bud phase and a hyphae phase. Hyphae are like little fingers, and they anchor into the walls of the GI tract, causing Leaky Gut Syndrome as well as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other intestinal symptoms. Candida can easily pass directly into the bloodstream and set up colonies all over the body, leading to systemic candidiasis. Candidiasis causes 50 to 75 symptoms, but especially fatigue, exhaustion, depression, poor memory and concentration, skin eruptions, asthma, and hypoglycemia. In addition, candidiasis is a primary cause of alcoholism. In treating Leaky Gut Syndrome, one must test for Candida and then treat it aggressively. While mainstream medicine does not believe that systemic candida exists, those of us holistic docs “in the trenches” deal with it every day. We find that treatment causes dramatic improvement in health. We also find that complete eradication is not always easy because candida can mutate quickly.

Impaired Gut Functions

When the GI tract is compromised by any or all of the causes listed above, the functioning of the GI tract begins to fall apart. Here are the main functions and metabolic processes that become impaired:

1. When the gut is inflamed, it does not absorb nutrients.

2. Proteins that carry nutrients across the mucosal barrier into the bloodstream are damaged, resulting in further nutritional deficiencies. A long list of mineral deficiencies is caused by a breakdown in carrier proteins.

3. Detoxification pathways that line the GI tract are damaged, and chemical sensitivity can arise as a result. Our ability to handle toxins, in general, becomes impaired.

4. The protective coating of the GI Tract, lgA (immunoglobulin A) is decreased and the body then has a much more difficult time fighting parasites, bacteria, viruses and candida.

5. Bacteria and candida are able to pass into the bloodstream and colonize throughout the body.

6. Food allergies develop. The body makes antibodies against food particles that slip into the blood stream. These antibodies can attach to and attack our own tissues. This is a likely cause of autoimmune disease.

7. Microbes and their toxins can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. The main detoxification molecule is glutathione. When it begins to decrease, chronic diseases of all kinds result. It is the belief of many researchers that glutathione deficiency is the main cause of most chronic illness. I agree with that, but would add that a deficiency in the compound nitric oxide is the main cause of cardiovascular disease. I have spent years, as have others, trying to figure out the relationship between glutathione and nitric oxide. We do not have completed theories yet, but it is exciting to know that science is operating at the level of determining “final common pathways.” Virtually every chronic illness is caused by a minimum of 7 different things (infection, inflammation, leaky gut, etc.) Eventually those 7 or more causes deplete glutathione, or nitric oxide in the case of cardiovascular disease.

Food Allergy

When undigested food particles slip into the bloodstream due to Leaky Gut Syndrome (let's say a tiny piece of chicken), the immune system creates an antibody to attach to and attack that tiny piece of chicken. It can actually be any food whatsoever. The antibody binds to the chicken, forming a food-antibody complex. These complexes deposit in our body tissues, causing tiny inflammation reactions wherever they deposit. The more you eat that particular food, the more food-antibody complexes there will be in the body. The immune system is used to seeing individual amino acids (the building blocks of protein) or even short chains of amino acids in the blood. But the immune system is not used to seeing chunks of chicken or broccoli.

There are two kinds of food allergies'— immediate and delayed. Immediate allergies are mediated by IgE and are caused by foods like walnuts and shrimp. One feels an immediate food allergy within an hour after eating. The symptoms include rash, hives, wheezing, shortness of breath, and potentially fatal conditions like anaphylactic shock.

Food allergies caused by Leaky Gut Syndrome are mediated by IgG (immunoglobulin G). IgG reactions are delayed. When you eat the allergic food, your body begins to react 6 to 72 hours later. The symptoms are usually not dramatic, but these IgG food allergies cause a wide array of symptoms. Without performing a blood test for IgG food allergies, it is next to impossible to know what delayed food allergies you might have.

Food allergy testing is controversial and rather despised by governmental agencies. IgG blood testing is illegal in the state of New York . In North Carolina , if a doctor orders a food allergy blood test, he or she WILL be investigated by the Medical Board of North Carolina.

Nonetheless, the test is vital, and in autism and ADD/ADHD, IgG testing may be the single most important lab test. The main causes of attention deficit disorder are Leaky Gut Syndrome, Candidiasis, IgG Food Allergies, and mercury toxicity (from vaccinations).

Autoimmune Disease

Human tissues have antigenic sites (receptor sites) that are quite similar to those found on food, bacteria, parasites, and candida. The antibodies created by Leaky Gut against these foods and infections can cause more than IgG Food Allergies. In addition, these antibodies can find their way into our tissues, and attach to receptor sites throughout the body. Autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, some forms of asthma, and systemic lupus) are probably caused by these antibodies attaching to and attacking receptor sites throughout the body. If they attack joints, you have arthritis. If these antibodies attack the lungs, you may develop asthma.

Lab Tests

Like IgG food allergy, Leaky Gut Syndrome is looked at with derision by conventional medicine. Nonetheless, we have a number of excellent laboratory tests to find out if you have Leaky Gut Syndrome, including:

Amino Acid Analysis

This blood test generally has 41 sub-tests, one of which is 1-methylhistidine, which is not supposed to be in the blood. Elevated 1-methylhistidine in the blood indicates the presence of a Leaky Gut.

Comprehensive Digestive Stool Testing

The best labs are Great Smokies Diagnostic Labs, Diagnos-Techs, and BioHealth. Through these tests, one can determine GI immunity, digestive enzymes, food intolerances, parasites, and the presence of abnormal bacteria. All of these factors can cause or contribute to Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Anti-Candida Antibody

ImmunoScience Labs in Beverly Hills is the best lab for this test. It will tell you if you have candida overgrowth in your GI tract, throughout your whole system, or in both places. This test provides a numerical, quantitative value, so you will know how much candida is in your system. Then, after you have been treated for candida, your doctor can repeat this test and review the numbers. Because candida is such an important cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome, the Anti-Candida Antibody test is quite important.

IgG Food Antibody

A number of labs perform this blood test. Quality control varies. For this test, I like the quality control of Great Smokies Lab.

Intestinal Permeability

The I.P. directly tests for the integrity of the mucosal barrier of the GI tract. It is the most direct test for Leaky Gut Syndrome.



Start with a hypoallergenic diet without sugar or white flour. Eliminate all gluten-containing grains (especially wheat, barley, oats and rye), milk and dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, and foods with additives and preservatives.

Nutritional Supplements

Digestive and pancreatic enzymes.

Betaine and Pepsin which increase stomach acidity and assist in the breakdown of food.

L-glutamine. Eighty percent of this amino acid is taken up by the cells lining the GI tract, dramatically helping to close the gap between cells.That wide gap is the cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome.

N-Acetyl Cysteine, an amino acid that builds glutathione (our body's number one detoxifier).

Essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and aloe vera juice have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties for the gut.


Take large amounts (45 billion per day) of living, friendly intestinal bacteria such as acidophilus and bifidus. Ultimately, intestinal health boils down to the “battle of the bacteria.”

Treat Candida

Candida treatment includes: a special diet, anti-fungal drugs and herbs, probiotics, L-glutamine, and the mineral molybdenum.

Treat Abnormal Gut Bacteria

Bacteria like Klebsiella and Citrobacter do not cause dysentery. Rather they cause Dysbiosis, an imbalance in the overall ecology of the GI tract. The herb Plant Tannins will usually kill these bacteria.

Treat Parasites

Only the very best labs can adequately detect parasites. I have found Diagnos-Techs and BioHealth to do the best job at detecting parasites. Your standard lab test will find nothing at all. Parasites can be treated with herbs or medications. I tend to be aggressive in this regard, especially if we are dealing with helminthes, or worms, that can live anywhere in the body.

Drink Purified Water

San Diego has some of the most polluted water in the country. Our water has the highest lead levels in the country. In addition, a study of 7 major rivers on the West Coast determined that all 7 carried the parasite cryptosporidium. It's in the water. You don't need to visit a 3 rd -world country to be harboring parasites.

Heavy Metal Removal

While heavy metals, like mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and antimony are not major causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome, they do slowly poison the cells of our GI tract, and add an overall toxic burden to the body. In addition, mercury (usually caused by silver dental fillings and certain fish, like tuna and swordfish), binds with yeast or candida, making a complete cure of candida difficult if one has not gone through some process of chelation to remove heavy metals.

You do not need to do everything that this article has described. I have intended to make this discussion of Leaky Gut Syndrome as comprehensive as possible. As with all matters of the body, mind, and spirit it is up to the individual to determine what is his or her best course of action.

David Gersten, M.D. practices nutritional medicine and transpersonal psychiatry out of his Encinitas office and can be reached at 760-633-3063. Please feel free to sign up for Dr. G's Health Digest newsletter at www.aminoacidpower.com and access 1,000 on-line pages about holistic health, amino acids and nutritional therapy.


Dear Louise

Dear Louise,

I've been working at an acting career for 30 years with not much success. I've been involved in Science of Mind and other metaphysical teachings for that long, also, but none of my dreams have come true. What would you suggest?

B.D., New York

Dear B.D.,

Anyone who has been in the teachings this long without results isn't doing the work. It's as if you were given a part in a play and only halfheartedly learned the script. You're not going for it 100 percent. The director would not be pleased with your performance. And the Universe is obviously getting mixed signals from you. You vacillate between doing affirmations and feeling that they're not working for you.

I suggest that you make a commitment to yourself. The metaphysical part of your life is the biggest “part” you've ever been offered. Take this opportunity and give it everything you have, just as you would if you were offered a starring role on Broadway. Love who you are and go for it!

Affirm: I am willing to be the star of my own life!

Dear Louise,

Ever since my wife passed away about nine months ago, I've been continually losing things—yesterday one of my indoor cats even got lost. What is the metaphysical reason this keeps happening, and what can I do to stop it?

S.B., Dallas

Dear S.B.,

I feel that you're still mourning the loss of your wife—that's why things are happening as they are for you right now. A lot of sadness comes to the surface upon the death of a loved one. It's important that you let yourself feel the sadness. Nature has given you feelings to get you through certain experiences and to deny them causes more pain.

We all cope with grief in different ways. There are no rules! Call the Grief Recovery Hotline for the location of a group near you at 1-800-445-4808. And Affirm: I am at Peace with my loved one's passing.

Dear Louise,

Is it possible to transform anger, guilt, and fear into positive thoughts without feeling any resentment? Sometimes I think that would be an impossible task. What do you suggest?

A.S., London

Dear A.S.,

Of course! The key is forgiveness. Many people think that when you forgive others, you're letting them off the hook for something they did to you. But actually, forgiving another person is an act of love for yourself. You're releasing negative feelings that can harm you, and this has nothing to do with the other person. You're saying to yourself, “I love you, and I will no longer let this past experience rule my life.”

Dear Louise,

First of all, I'd like to let you know how much I admire you and all the work you do. You're truly amazing. My question to you is this: I've been suffering from anxiety (obsessive thoughts) since I was 13, depression for seven months, and I'm on an antidepressant. Please, if you have any advice, let me know. I would truly like your help, and so would my two-year-old daughter and my husband.

C.V., Canada

Dear C.V.,

Thank you for your kind words and loving thoughts. My first reaction to your question is, what sort of foods do you eat? What is your diet like? I ask this because if you've always eaten the standard American diet (being close to our borders, you might eat like this), your symptoms are understandable.

As Caroline Sutherland, noted medical intuitive and nutritionist, recommends:

“Removing dairy, wheat, corn, soy, yeast, sugar, and caffeine from the diet can make a big difference in the emotional reactions we have.”

So many people have adverse reactions to these foods. If I had your issues, this is the first approach I'd take.

On the metaphysical level, anxiety comes from a lack of trust in the process of Life—a strong feeling of not being good enough. As usual, the answer is love and a willingness to love yourself and to trust Life. Look into a mirror a lot and say to yourself: I love and approve of myself. I trust Life to take care of me. I am safe and loved by Life itself.

Dear Louise,

What do dark circles under your eyes mean? Do you have any affirmations? Thank you so much!

D.S., Los Angeles

Dear D.S.,

According to the book Healthy Healing by Linda Page, dark circles under the eyes are usually caused by an iron deficiency, liver/kidney malfunction, or food allergies. This can be healed by a change in your eating habits. See the suggestions in the letter above! It's always a good idea to periodically have your diet checked by a good nutritionist. I've learned over the years that most problems in the body have to do with food and thought. So many of us have been raised on junk foods, fast foods, prepackaged foods, a diet high in fat, white flour and far too much sugar and, even worse, sugar substitutes. Eating natural foods, proteins, grains, vegetables, and some fruit can make a tremendous difference in how we feel and look.

Of course, the thoughts we think also have direct influence on how we feel emotionally, and the experiences we attract to ourselves. Of we want to live into a healthy old age, then we must educate ourselves on how to take care of our bodies and how to think so that we can always fell good abut ourselves.

Affirmations to use: I see myself with eyes of love. I am willing to learn how to take care of my body. I am the more precious person I know.

Dear Louise,

I'm 35 years old, and I feel as if life's slipping away. I know I've come with an important mission and don't understand why I feel so stuck and unable to move through the addiction to sugar and alcohol. I feel that there's some part of me that doesn't want to change, but which part? I want more than anything to change. Where's the resistance coming from?

I'd love to know what gentle nudge (or firm kick up the arse, as we say in Ireland!) you can impart. I've just begun to work with your affirmations, so I feel a deep resonance with you.

With sincere thanks, love, and light to you.

G.M., Ireland

Dear G.M.,

One of the primary ways we mask our fears is through addiction. Addictions suppress the emotions so that we don't feel. I see a small child within you who's frightened to look at all those things that happened to you when you were little. It would be best if you could work with a therapist on these issues—someone with the experience to guide you into a place of safety. If this isn't available to you, then do some mirror work.

Mirror work is simply looking into your own eyes in a mirror, and say:

“I love you, I really love you!” Do this first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Do it often during the day. If uncomfortable feelings come up, just feel them, and let them pass through. Then repeat, “I love you, I really love you!” If something happens that's unpleasant for you, immediately go to the mirror and say: “It's all right, I love you.” If something wonderful happens, go to the mirror and say: “Thank you!” Acknowledge yourself for the good in your life. Look into your eyes and say: “I forgive you, and I love you!”

Forgive other people in the mirror, too. When you do this consistently, you can make great changes in less than a month.

Louise L. Hay is a metaphysical teacher and the bestselling author of numerous books, including You Can Heal Your Life , Empowering Women, and I Can Do It! . Subscribe to the Louise Hay Newsletter! Call for a Free Issue: (800) 654-5126. Questions for Louise? Write to: Dear Louise Column, c/o Hay House, Inc., P.O. Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100 (letters may be edited for length and clarity). Visit Louise and Hay House at: www.LouiseHay.com or www.hayhouse.com.