Many people when they go to a holistic or natural health practitioner are surprised to find that often, regardless of their specific complaint, they are getting treatment for their intestine. Why all this interest in my gut?
The intestine becomes the focus for health because most health conditions have their origin in problems starting with your digestive health. Let’s look at the digestive system and see what all the fuss is about.
Your gastro-intestinal tract runs from your mouth to your anus and is actually considered to be “outside” your body. Anything that is located within the intestine is not incorporated into the body UNTIL it is absorbed through the intestinal lining into the blood stream.
This is actually a good thing as it serves to protect your body from bacteria, virus, and toxic chemicals prior to them being absorbed and affecting your body.
Your gut is a bio-chemical phenomenon with the ability to breakdown and process food, absorb only specific nutrients into the body for utilization by the tissues, secreting chemicals involved in immune system function, and even secreting neuro-chemicals used for brain function.
The fact is that about 70% of your immune system is located in the gut, referred to as GALT or gut associated lymph tissue. 80% of your serotonin receptors are located in the gut rather than in the brain. (serotonin receptors regulate mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning just to name a few!) It’s no surprise then that people with intestinal problems get sick so frequently.
We’ve all heard the expression “you are what you eat”. Well, there is tremendous truth to this. The piece of steak you had last night, through the miracle of digestion, has been broken down into its various component parts, which have been absorbed into your circulation and converted into parts of your body, such as eye, lung, or heart tissue for example.
The fact that this amazing conversion takes place at all is magic, but it does it all without any thought or effort on your part.
Once food has been broken down into its constituent parts, it can be absorbed. The inner layer of your intestine is made up of millions of tiny “fingers” called villi which have blood circulating through them. The villi create tremendous surface area, (about the size of a football field) which allows nutrients to be SELECTIVELY absorbed into your body. Protecting the villi is a group of beneficial bacteria that act to protect the intestinal lining from damage.
The ability to exclude harmful items such as harmful bacteria, virus and toxins while letting in good nutrients such as amino acids, sugars, and fatty acids (the component parts of food broken down into the smallest sizes) is what keeps you healthy. These nutrients keep your body functioning. When your gut becomes sick it is usually because this protective layer of bacteria have been killed off. This happens by many methods.
Antibiotic medications kill off many of the bacteria in your body, good and bad, including the bacteria associated with this protective layer. Steroid medications and many over the counter drugs such as ibuprophen, Pepcid, and antacids can cause damage to this protective layer as well.
Once this protective layer has been impaired, your body is able to absorb all manner of things not usually permitted such as partially digested nutrients, as well as foreign substances, or even toxic chemicals. These absorbed items wreak havoc with your body chemistry and can cause problems with any organ system in your body.
Typically we see all manner of digestive problems, allergic reactions, skin rashes, sinus problems, migraine and regular headaches, candida overgrowth, hormonal problems, menstrual problems, psychological problems like depression and anxiety and even things like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia!
So the next time you put something in your mouth you might want to give more thought to what you are eating as it can give you more than just an upset stomach!
At CARE WEllness Center, our digestive health specialists are well versed in alternative and natural health approaches to digestive conditions such as heartburn, IBS, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, food allergy and more.
Dr. Kirk Whitten and Dr. Abraham Freeman are both certified clinical nutritionists that work with you to put in place a customized plan that focuses on your condition. They understand that good digestive health is the key to overall health and wellness.
Our approaches to digestive wellness might include diet and nutrition modification, food allergy testing and elimination, Chinese herbs and acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, supplements for immune support and high-quality probiotics and digestive enzymes, and Allergy Treatment.
Digestive Disorders helped by our programs include:
Please call us at 954-586-8088 to schedule a free consultation with our digestive health specialists. Dr. Kirk Whitten and Dr. Abraham Freeman have been serving the communities of Margate, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and Pompano Beach for over 25 years.