Anyone who suffers from frequent digestive problems faces daily challenges and potential embarrassments. But gut health has a huge impact on whole-body health. And today we're going to reveal the most common issues with gut health and how to treat them. The human gut is more complex than previously thought, and it has a huge impact on our body’s health.
Numerous studies have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, even cancer. So what are the most common issues that patients face with their gut health and why are gut health issues on the rise? Most importantly, what is best practices when it comes to treating gut health issues?
We've invited Dr Barbara Weiss ND to share her expertise and insight with us. Dr Weiss has been a naturopathic doctor in practice for over 15 years with a focus on digestive disorders.
- Signs & Symptoms The signs that indicate a patient may have a gut health issue include the obvious, like indigestion or acid reflux, gas, constipation and diarrhea. But symptoms like rosacea or eczema, or some sort of skin-related issue like a rash can indicate gut health issues. Chronic sinusitis or postnasal drip or chronic cough can also be a result of a gut health problem. So many factors lead back to the gut that it really is a starting point for many different treatments because it's so foundational.
- Stress & Gut Health Due to the pandemic, practitioners are seeing a lot more cases of people coming into the clinic with digestive health issues, and there's a direct correlation with stress. Stress has a significant role to play with respect to our gut health because a lot of our neurotransmitter receptors are actually in the gut. Medications also affect the microbiome. Examples include pain killers, proton pump inhibitors and acid blockers, especially if patients are on them for extended periods of time. The use of antibiotics has had an impact on the microbiome as well. Today, more and more people are choosing food based on the convenience factor. So processed food or fast food. And that also has an impact on their digestive health.
- Testing There are several tools practitioners can use to assess what's going on inside the digestive tract. These include the stool test, the SIBO breath test, the intestinal permeability screening test for leaky gut, as well as food allergy and food sensitivity tests including the cross-reactive food reactivity tests.
- 4R Treatment Protocol One of the most effective functional medicine treatment options to restore the health and balance of a patient's microbiota is the “4R Treatment Protocol.” This provides a protocol guide with four main components: Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair / Rebalance.
- The Elimination Diet is a preferred treatment because it helps the patient make a direct connection between food and what's happening in their body. However, if it creates additional stress for the patient this treatment can be counterproductive, in which case running a food sensitivity test may be the better choice.
- Food Intolerance A food intolerance is a genetic inability to produce the enzyme to break down the food. Sensitivity is an immunological response to a particular food. Some of the most common food sensitivities include wheat, dairy, corn, soy and eggs. Food sensitivity can be triggered by stress, substance abuse or malnutrition. Also, chemicals in the environment can play a role. Certain food packaging contains chemicals that can actually interfere with digestion. Removing the key triggers is the first step in the healing process.
- Treatment Treating gut health includes utilizing the 4R’s in targeted therapeutic interventions for stomach acid and pancreatic insufficiency, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut and digestive system motility issues. Watch the video or read the article for detailed information.
“We know now that there's such a big connection between our overall well-being and our microbiome. Probiotics are useful but it's not just one size fits all. We know that there are certain strains that are specific to mood and other specific areas of our health. The strains do make a difference. I'm also a big proponent of using resistant starches that have the ability to help feed your own good, healthy bacteria. There are so many different variables that I think people should seek guidance in terms of what to take”.
Dr Barbara Weiss ND
The microbes in our gut outnumber our human cells ten to one. Roughly 70% of our immune system is located within the gut. The gut manufactures significantly more neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, than does the brain. For example, 80 to 90 percent of serotonin is made in the gut. Many neurological disorders such as autism, epilepsy, depression, A.D.H.D, anxiety and migraines have been associated with gut health.
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