Digestion and Your Health
Nutrition is not just about what you eat, but also what you absorb. Proper digestion is critical to your nutritional status and it significantly effects your overall immunity. The rest of the body cannot function optimally without good digestion. There is also an intimate connection between the gut and the brain that can effect brain function and mood. Symptoms of improper digestion can include: gas/bloating, acid reflux, light-colored stool, abdominal pain, coated tongue, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, mood disorders, dry skin, brittle nails, anemia and multiple vitamin/mineral deficiencies.
What is dysbiosis?
An overgrowth of pathogenic organisms in the gastrointestinal tract in relation to the number of friendly bacteria is called dysbiosis. There are hundreds of different kinds of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms normally present in the large and small intestine. This living community in the human gut (recently called the micro-biome) has many special functions in the body, and is critical to digestion, a properly functioning immune system and overall health.
An imbalance of the microorganisms in the digestive tract (dysbiosis) is often caused by antibiotic use, poor diet, and medications. OTC medications, steroids, birth control pills, sugar consumption, and toxic pesticides in our food supply all contribute to this widespread problem. This can contribute to overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria (sometimes called SIBO), fungus, or parasites.
In the beginning stages, symptoms of gas, bloating, or burping are common. Progressive worsening can create a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, candida, chronic abdominal pain or other digestive problems.
The unfriendly or pathogenic microorganisms secrete toxins which can cause headaches, fatigue, general malaise, inflammation, joint pains and eventually suppression of the immune system. If they penetrate the lining of the bowel, specific proteins can leak into the blood stream and activate the immune system. This process is called “leaky gut syndrome.”
What is “Leaky Gut Syndrome?”
When damage has been done to the lining of the intestinal tract, the membrane separating the inside of the bowel and the blood stream becomes hyper-permeable. This allows various proteins to directly enter the circulation without first undergoing proper digestion. This “leaky” membrane, otherwise known as “leaky gut syndrome,” can cause the immune system to over-react creating allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities, impaired detoxification, and it can be a trigger for a variety of diseases.
Leaky gut syndrome has been linked to increased risk of auto-immune disease, food allergies and depression, headaches and even diabetes.
Children with autism, ADD and ADHD are often found to have leaky gut syndrome and it may significantly contribute to the severity of their condition.
Other symptoms related to leaky gut syndrome include:
Frequent bladder infections
Increased muscle/joint aches
Frequent colds and sinus
What can be done if I suspect leaky gut syndrome?
Fortunately, there are many ways to detect and support the body in this situation. Ask the doctor to do a full assessment to make sure it is really the problem and a personally designed nutrition program including whole food supplements, herbs and dietary recommendations will be implemented. If you are already on a program and still suspect the problem, just ask! Years of clinical experience and the proper testing will aid the doctor in finding exactly what the body needs to heal itself.
For more information call the Sunrise Nutrition Center at (908) 441-2276