Digestive dysfunction is the number one problem I see in all my clients (children and adults). These problems have led to some pretty serious consequences in many of the people I see. Those range from a lifetime of reflux feelings, heartburn feelings, GERD, leaky gut, IBS, immune system problems and more.
The most important thing in life is to have a healthy digestive tract. This is where most immunity and body protection comes from. Without it we will get sick, we will develop health consequences and other body system imbalances.
Let’s just jump in to the biggest 3 imbalances and their fixes…
1- Stomach acid imbalance
This can happen for a variety of reasons which include food allergies, food sensitivities not identified, medications, foods we eat, poor nutrient sources and habits that support acid creation.
Which one of these causes that creates this imbalance is a personal thing. Sometimes it’s more than one thing. It has a cascading effect though. Because if we do not have proper acid in our stomach, nothing else in our digestion can go properly. Which means more problems will creep in beyond our initial problem.
Without acid you cannot fight germs properly that enter the digestive tract, you also cannot break down food to the level it needs to be to protect against inflammation below, as well as get proper nutrients out of the food you eat.
We often experience feelings of heartburn, reflux, burning, quick gas after a meal, bloating and more from this issue.
Identifying that root cause of this imbalance is crucial and is what I do as an NTP. Working on eliminating that cause, and replacing the items with something that supports better balance is key to overcoming stomach acid issues.
Slowing down your eating, and chewing more will also help your stomach in this process. Making sure you are properly hydrated is key to creation of stomach acid as well. At least half your body weight in ounces of water daily is a goal to start. Weather, exercise and more may cause you to increase that amount. Making sure you are eating vitamin B nutrient rich foods is also key to this process.
2- Small intestine leaking, microbe imbalance and more
If you are starting out with stomach acid imbalance, it then becomes difficult for the small intestine. It needs the food to be in a certain state when it enters from the stomach. Without this you can have too large pieces of food, which creates irritation, inflammation and eventually leaky gut. With improper breakdown the small intestine cannot extract all the nutrients from the food it needs. And with processed foods, there are additional chemicals, additives, and a total lack of nutrient value which create issues in the small intestines as well. You will not have beneficial microbes from food going into the gut in a processed food diet.
We experience gas, bloating, painful digestion, fatigue, quick bowel movements after meals, many bowel movements, and more.
Whole foods, fruits, vegetables and fermented items help with the microbes in your gut that you need to balance and protect. If you have taken antibiotics (ever) and then repeatedly you know how unbalanced a gut can become. From very severe like c.diff infections, to just having digestive issues following a course of antibiotics. We can replenish this balance naturally through outdoor exposure, other people we are in contact with, as well as a variety of whole foods in our daily routine. Pre and probiotics are beneficial if they are created properly for daily support, but they do not populate the gut, just merely help daily as you take them (or a few days in length) before they leave your system. This is something that should be monitored by a practitioner so you get the strands that you need for your particular system, and from a reputable source to maximize benefit.
Another tip is to slow down your eating habits. Chew more before you swallow, thus helping your stomach mechanically break down food, to ease the strain on the small intestine.
3- Break down of mucous linings throughout the digestive tract
You can have a lack of mucus membranes from the stomach through the intestines. This is the thick layer that protects and also creates immune cells. Without it you have breakdown of the immune system, and leaking. You will also have burning pain in the stomach if you have a breakdown in this layer. Acid can then reach the tissue which causes pain.
Eating great nutrient rich plant sources (vegetables and fruits), healthy fat sources (those rich in vitamin a), and protein sources (salmon, seafood) helps replenish this layer. Certain targeted supplements, and pre and probiotics can also help – however – a practitioner would be needed to guide you in this process.