In a healthy digestive tract, food and all its components are digested and absorbed into the blood stream. The 25 – 30 foot digestive tract extends from the mouth to the anus and helps break down large proteins, carbohydrate and fat molecules in foods into smaller molecules that can be absorbed into the blood by the cells of the intestine.
You are what you eat ! You are also what you absorb!
Separating the nutrients found in the food you eat, from the waste products that leave your body involves numerous physiological functions. Among these functions are digestion, assimilation, nutrient distribution and tissue uptake. Unfortunately, consuming todayʼs processed foods and living in todayʼs busy lifestyle, this model of optimal digestion frequently malfunctions, leading to acute and chronic illness.
Causes of Gut Problems
- Overeating and eating before the previous meal has digested
- Eating to quickly, not chewing food thoroughly
- Overuse of alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks
- Eating on the run, at irregular times and skipping meals
- Eating a heavy meal at night
- Infections and infestations of bacteria, yeast, parasites
- Low levels of beneficial bacteria
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Constant physical or emotional stress
- Medications like antibiotics, steroids, anti inflammatory drugs
- Insufficient protein in diet
- Nutrient deficiencies
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Accumulation of faulty digestive processes leads to “Leaky Gut Syndrome” and subsequent health challenges. Under normal circumstances, the lining of the small intestine is nearly leak proof (impermeable) and only fully digested food molecules are permitted to pass through this lining into the blood stream. Unfortunately, this leak-proof lining is only one cell layer thick and can be easily damaged. If stresses on these cells are too high, gaps begin to form between the cells, forming microscopic passages, which allow large molecules to pass through undigested into the blood stream. If enough of these gaps are present the situation is known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. As a result, a leaky gut syndrome places a tremendous amount of stress upon the immune system, the liver, and virtually every other organ or system in the body.
Signs and Symptoms of Poor Digestion
- Bloating, belching, burning, flatulence, nausea
- Indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation
- Food allergies
- Weak, peeling and cracked fingernails
- Iron deficiency
- Chronic fungal, bacterial infestations
- Undigested food in stool
- Fatigue and malaise
- Fevers of unknown origin
- Aching joints and muscles
- Skin rashes, eczema, acne
- Auto immune disease like lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis
How Do We Fix It?
A comprehensive program based on functional medicine principles to remedy “Leaky Gut Syndrome” and to ensure optimum digestion is essential. This approach is commonly referred to as the “4R” approach in reference to the four steps required in normalizing digestive function.
Focuses on eliminating pathogenic bacteria, fungi, parasites and food allergies from the digestive tract
Replenishes enzymes and other digestive factors lacking in the digestive environment
Refers to the reintroduction of beneficial bacteria to establish micro flora balance
Involves direct nutritional support of the intestinal cells for the optimum repair of damage.