The 6 roles of our Gut
On one level we all know that our gut helps us digest food, and poop. (and maybe store some fat!)
But did you know that there are 6 key areas that we need to thank our gut for?
That means, when assessing areas of dysfunction, through targetted questioning we do figure out which of these 6 areas require a recovery plan, and step by step, we crawl out the mud-pit of vague symptoms and poor digestive abilities!
Image from hopkinsmedicine.org
Our gut needs to be always moving forward. When this process is not moving along nicely, we get constipation, sluggish bowels, and food just SITS. This can also give rise to symptoms such as bloating, reflux, and contributes to the overall change in microbiota.
More fermentation takes place, and bacteria from the large bowels creeps backwards into the small bowels since the forward movement is not strong.
Causes include pharmaceutical drug use, and paradoxically, proton pump inhibitors that are meant to solve the problem of reflux and acidity, contribute to a poorer gut motility.
A problem with motility is a key underlying cause of the often heard about Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and key tactics include using pro-kinetics such as ginger, herbal formulas, even pharmaceuticals.
Things that can help “move the bowels along” are soluble fibres such as figs, apricots, papaya, prunes, flax oil, Magnesium Glycinate (Buy my CALM, here!) , regular exercise and acupuncture.
Dysbiosis is when the harmless community of bacteria in our gut are not in balance, and a couple of strains may have overgrown in such a manner there is no longer peace and harmony. The overgrown bacteria once manageable in small amounts, now have multiplied to such an extent they now cause symptoms such as bloat, diarrhoea, constipation, cramps.
Dysbiosis is the underlying driver of autoimmunity, eczema, allergies, IBS, food intolerances and recurrent vaginal infections.
Causes include the accumulation of food additives and chemicals, heavy metals in the system through amalgams in the teeth, Stress and alcohol use.
Frequently used are probiotics to populate lactobacilli and bifidobacterium especially since they are most commonly found in the lowest amount in dysbiotic guts, but another approach is also to use specific herbs to eradicate anything that may have become overgrown. At its worst, antibiotics may have to be used.
Some approaches are more severe than others, and each person’s recovery plan will vary according to the constellation of other systems at play, and depending on what shows up on the comprehensive stool analysis.
A whole foods diet high in fibre, and the use of bio-fermented foods such as Tempeh, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Apple Cider Vinegar, Natto, Homemade kefir contain pre and probiotics, are cheap to incorporate and will help to change the terrain long term.
Having food allergies (more rightly called food sensitivities) causes bloating or diarrhea, headaches, muscle pain and brain fog.
Causes of this include many of the same reasons for why an inflamed and swollen gut can take place, so chemicals, additives, stress, chronic dysbiosis and toxins.
When the lining of the gut, like any mucosal surface, swells, it becomes more permeable and “leaky” to foreign undigested proteins in the digestive tract. These undigested proteins rightfully trigger an immune response, mostly involving IgG complexes, thus not a true allergy in “allergy specialist lingo” which involves IgE type immune complexes.
In a way, it’s like having inflamed and irritated skin in eczema. Once the skin is inflamed, even a normal phenomenon such as a gust of wind containing some harmless dust, can irritate it.
When there are food sensitivities, the knee jerk reaction is to remove the offending foods/chemicals. If it is a simple list of under 3 items, this is doable.
However, my method is to first fortify the body constitution by checking nutrients and the hormone system, before doing any elimination diet. When the body is stronger, and a little bit more healed, sensitivities sometimes disappear! When the elimination diet is carried out on a healthier body, healing occurs a lot quicker, and willpower is not so much tested.
*ps. Food intolerances - the only true intolerance I know of is to lactose.
This is an area of controversy for some, but not for me.
Drugs, age, low levels of zinc, Magnesium (Buy mine here!) , Selenium, B1, B3, B6 are associated with poorer quality stomach acid.
Low stomach acid is the root of SIBO, IBS, Recurrent gut infections, and GERD. If hydrochloric acid is not appropriately formed, the rest of the digestive enzymes don’t get activated in the same way either.
When stomach acid is not acidic enough, your body in its infinite wisdom tries to produce more.
Acid is darned essential for digestion, and killing of pathogens, so the body is reacting in a highly sophisticated manner. However, due to the reflux and heart burn symptoms this causes, people reach for… the darned proton pump inhibitors. This overrides the body, commanding it to stop producing acid, and therefore this low acid environment simply means your food is truly undigested, pathogens abound, and leads to chronic ill health about 2-5 years down the road.
How to solve the low stomach acidity issue? Fix nutrient debt, test for H pylori, lower stress, reduce coffee consumption.
My pet peeve is hearing of people who have a lifetime of digestive issues after their gallbladder removal. You can see that this simple butchering philosophy of “If it’s broke, take it out” doesn’t really work if we’re all beginning to live past 40 years old.
The root of gall bladder stones is a sluggish biliary system, and removing the gallbladder does not fix this. (Unless it was an acute stuck stone, and inflammation, by that time, lifesaving surgery indeed is required). Which means, if the digestion and enzyme system was in want before, it will still be in want. The problem doesn’t just go away...
So digestive enzymes are secreted all the way down the digestive tract starting from the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, liver (this produces bile to digest fat), and through the lining of the small intestines.
A sign of low enzymes is the inability to digest protein and fat properly. Those either just “sit”, cause indigestion, or cause diarrhea.
Causes of low enzymes? Not chewing food enough, eating a low nutrient diet, Stress, Drugs.
A body in nutrient debt will not be able to produce strong digestive juices, so instead of just giving enzymes, and diving into “gut work”, first addressing the nutrient debt is my strategy.
Top up your nutrients! (4 day video recordings on how to test and replace key nutrients, here!)
ABSORPTION OF NUTRIENTS
Digestion starts from the mucosal surface of the mouth and tongue, goes into the oesophagus, stomach, small intestines, includes the bile and pancreatic system, colon and anus.
When all of the above are doing poorly, then what you eat, are not absorbed properly.
So if you have any gut issue, absorption and assimilation is key.
However, before that is done, you need to fix your nutrient debt.
How do I start working with you?
Click here to get 4 webinar recordings to learn how to fix your nutrient debt, for immediate ENERGY, FOCUS and CALM and let your body do the healing before your very eyes.
For a limited time only, this includes a complimentary 30 minute consult with me :)