Today in our society, there is a growing awareness of the need to eat nutritional and healthy foods. "Vegan", "Gluten-Free", "Paleo", "Organic", and "Non-GMO" are just a few of the many labels that attract us to healthy products! People like to know that their meals, snacks, smoothies, and drinks are filled with Superfoods like chia seeds, maca powder, spirulina, wheatgrass, acai berries, flaxseeds, etc. The fresh focus and love for Kambucha and fermented foods shows that people are realizing the importance of probiotics. This is all so amazing! It's so important that we focus on what we put into our bodies, because we are what we eat, right?
Well, not necessarily. We are what we can digest and absorb. If our digestive system is functioning properly, then all those amazing foods that we are spending our time and money on can benefit our bodies as they should. However, if the digestive system is not doing its job to break down our food and absorb what we need, nutritional deficiency can occur and all those lovely nutrients in our specially selected foods, although they can aid in gut health, are not able to benefit our bodies as much as we would hope.
This goes to show that it is important for us to make sure that our digestive systems are functioning well. Did you know that there are more nerve endings in the GI tract than there are in the spinal cord? We are finding out that the gastrointestinal system is more of a control system than we realized. The gut is like our second brain! It partly determines our mental state and plays a key role in certain diseases throughout the body. Its health is of high priority!
So how do you know if you are having digestive issues? These symptoms will give you a clue. If you suffer from heartburn, indigestion, gas, nausea, sour stomach, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, bloating after eating, tiredness after eating, skin conditions, or brain fog, there is most likely something going wrong with your digestion.
Many people suffer from digestive challenges, but unfortunately these issues are often ignored or not treated well. One of the top sold over-the-counter products is antacids along with laxatives and diarrhea remedies. These drugs are used by many to cover up the symptoms of digestive issues instead of fixing the problem.
There are several causes of improper digestive function. The presence of intestinal parasites, candida yeast, or other fungal organisms can create many problems. There can also be either a lack of healthy flora in the intestinal tract creating a need for probiotics or an overgrowth of bacteria within the intestines, a condition called SIBO, small intestine bacterial overgrowth. SIBO is a commonly misdiagnosed condition that is rampant in the US. Another common cause is an imbalance in enzyme or hydrochloric acid production, which is controlled by the nervous system. There can either be too much or too little created affecting the body negatively in different ways. Improper positioning, functioning and alignment of organs, such as a hiatal hernia or the ileocecal valve syndrome can also cause problems. Digestive issues can be lifestyle related as well, arising from a lack of good quality foods, not enough chewing while eating, or stress which alters the body's pH.
Digestive issues are important to look at because they lead to more serious health concerns. Ulcers can form, leaky gut syndrome occurs, and chronic pain and inflammation arise as the body becomes too acidic with improper digestion. Digestive issues can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis, Allergies, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Eczema, Lupus, Scleroderma, Autoimmune Disease, and Fibromyalgia.
The bottom line is that if the body is not able to absorb all the nutrients it needs, it will not have the building blocks necessary to create new tissues, repair problems, and keep the body running well. The body will in turn have disfunction in many areas and age faster. Every system in the body is directly affected by the digestive system, so pay close attention to your gut!
Most digestive disturbances can be remedied with proper diagnostics, whether it be blood tests, stool tests, hydrogen methane tests, or allergy tests. Through integrative medicine we take the best of many disciplines to determine what is causing the digestive disturbance and then create a pathway towards health. We use detoxification programs, gut repair diets and cleanses, applied kinesiology, supplementation, nutritional therapy, and alkaline water to get the digestive system back on track, taking in all that your body wants and needs!