Need Digestive Health Help?
Simple Ways to Heal your Gut
All Disease Begins in the GUT – The Father of Modern Medicine – Hippocrates
Over the last 20 years researchers have realised that we truly are what we eat, surround ourselves with and place in our bodies. Gut health is critical to our health with a ‘leaky gut’ or ‘dysbiosis’ contributing to many modern diseases including obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, fatigue (chronic), autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes (type II), and Hashimoto’s. There is some evidence that suggests autism spectrum disorder has its roots in gut health. We are only scratching the surface in understanding the imbalance that bacteria and viruses may play in a health gut and therefore healthy body. Digestive Issues? Easy steps to heal your gut!
Naturopaths have long known that disease stems from an imbalance in the gut. Karen works to supporting and restore your gut barrier to help digestive disorders and prevent disease.
Let’s break it down! The gastrointestinal tract is responsible for digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Poor digestion exerts a wide range of effects on the body and contributes to skin disorders (acne, psoriasis, dermatitis), allergies (asthma, hay-fever, sinusitis and itching), nervous system complaints (depression, insomnia, adrenal fatigue), and endocrine disorders (hormonal changes including thyroid complaints and diabetes (Type II). In short poor digestion and absorption or digestion can lead to deficiencies within the body which impacts vitality and optimal health.
The intestinal flora (the bacteria and viruses found in the gut), helps to provide normal gastrointestinal function, protection from infections, regulates metabolism and comprises about 75% of our immune system. If dysbiosis (an imbalance of the gut bacteria) occurs this can be linked to many diseases.
Karen also uses Iridology which can help to identify of your digestive issues. As a Naturopath & Nutritionist, Karen Green works ‘holistically’ meaning she works with all areas of your life and body that may be affecting your digestion and body.
There are 2 aspects that closely effect Gut Disorders
- The ‘gut flora or intestinal microbiota’
- The ‘gut barrier’.
What makes unhealthy ‘Gut Flora’?
- Foods high in processed and take-away food contain less nutrients and are high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and saturated fats.
- Foods low in fermentable fibre.
- Antibiotics and other medications such as the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), PPI’s (see explanation in next paragraph), NSAID’s (anti-inflammatory medications ie. ibuprofen).
- Stress – over long periods of time affects the gastrointestinal barrier.
- Infections – chronic infections have the ability to change the flora and microbiome and therefore affect immunity and the ability to withstand stresses of modern-living.
- Toxins and pesticides can cause problems promoting leaky gut such as wheat, dairy and environmental chemicals.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s), are drugs that are prescribed to reduce inflammation in the esophagus (caused for a number of reasons) and are prescribed in great numbers. They reduce the hydrochloric acid of the stomach and unfortunately many people stay on them for extended periods of time without review by their doctor. This reduces the ability to digest foods properly and therefore absorb them.
Antibiotics are particularly harmful to the gut flora. Recent studies show that extended and over use of antibiotics causes a rapid loss and diversity of the gut flora and this diversity requires persistent intervention to be restored. By nurturing the invisible ecosystem in our bodies we may be able to fight infectious diseases and treat with less harmful effects that medications potentially do.
The Gatekeeper: Your Gut Barrier
The gastrointestinal tract (GUT) consists of a hollow tube starting with the oral cavity, where food enters the mouth, continuing through the throat (esophagus), stomach, intestines and finally to the other end where food passes out. One of the important functions of the gut is to prevent toxins and foreign substance from entering into areas of the body where they are not meant to be ie. bloodstream.
In Naturopathy, ‘leaky gut’ is the term that is used to describe the intestinal barrier that has become permeable (has small pinholes – ‘Leaky”). Modern medicine may not recognize this as a problem however in Naturopathy we do. Large protein molecules and toxins can enter the bloodstream. As they are considered ‘foreign’ by the internal parts of the body, the body mounts an attack on them – this is an immune response. Studies now show that these attacks can play a role in developing autoimmune disease such as Diabetes (Type II) and Hashimoto’s Disease (and others). To adequately these conditions it is important to rebuild the gut flora and restore the integrity of the intestinal barrier.
7 Tips to overcome Leaky Gut and correct GUT flora imbalances
- Manage your stress. Reducing stress helps you get results. The great news is; as a Naturopath, Nutritionist & Herbalist I have many skills in my tool box to help with stress. These include herbs, nutrients, flower essences and activities that can help.
- Remove food and environmental toxins.
- Eat plenty of fermentable fibres (include sweet potato, psyllium husks and yucca).
- Fermented foods can improve gut flora such as kefir, plain yoghurt (not fruit ones that are loaded with sugar), consume sauerkraut and kim chi.
- Use high-quality, multi-species probiotics. Practitioner brands have high & varied dosages of suitable bacteria.
- Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites or yeasts) that may be present.
- Learn from an expert. Karen is holding a workshop on Heal your Gut, Heal your Body in June 2015. Details below on how to book.
Digestive Health Questionnaire
Answering YES to two or three below could indicate you need digestive help
- Do you frequently experience belching, burping or bloating after a meal?
- Do you frequently have bad breath and/or bad taste in your mouth?
- Do you have fullness after eating that lasts for several hours?
- Do you experience indigestion, fullness, bloating, excessive gas or abdominal pain?
- Is your stool frequently poorly formed, float, greasy, shiny, yellowish, foul smelling or contain undigested food?
- Does fatty food cause you indigestion, pain, nausea or vomiting?
- Do you pass pale or very dark stools?
- Do you frequently experience constipation or diarrhoea?
- Do you have a long history of digestive issues?