Most of my clients don’t realize how much control the gut and digestive system have over the ENTIRE body and your overall health. In fact, many of my clients come in not thinking anything is going on in their gut and it often feels like a stretch to them to consider this is where their problems lie.
Gut Health Influences
Gut health influences immunity (first and foremost something that nearly EVERY one of my clients has issues with), brain, mental health, skin health, energy, and MORE!
When you have inflammation in your body that is chronic (meaning not in response to an injury or acute illness) it is bothersome to nearly every body system. Gut inflammation is the leading cause of breakdown in MANY body systems.
When we have inflammation we can have problems with our brain and nerves, cardiovascular issues, thyroid dysfunction, lung issues, obvious gastrointestinal issues, kidney issues, bones, muscle, liver, and more.
What causes GI inflammation then?
GI inflammation can actually come from a number of sources, and usually, it’s ALL the sources together that make it very intense and the symptoms difficult to live with.
Poor Dietary/Processed Food Choices
Next up are your food choices. Why does that matter? Think about it like this – your digestive tract is an open place to the inside of your body from the exterior. Your food is in DIRECT contact with that open surface. If there is any imbalance (more on that below) the food and nutrients aren’t utilized properly and can cause damage to the GI tract in various ways.
Food sensitivities and irritants are HUGE in this part of the GI inflammatory process. Processed foods filled with high inflammatory chemicals, in addition to standard inflammatory foods, cause a lot of distress in the GI tract. It can cause upper GI issues, lack of stomach acid, and then a bog down in the liver and gallbladder, pancreas, to damage to the small intestine and beyond. (See below for more detail).
Sometimes it’s as simple as identifying foods on intake, journals, and tracking, and sometimes complex situations need more specifics. My intake helps you get started with basic food swaps. To learn more set up a free consult.
Chronic Stress & Poor Sleep
These are lifestyle demands on us that sometimes we have to work on because they aren’t naturally controlled. Working on ways to relieve stress, or work through stress is very important in keeping a body response low. In addition, part of that is proper sleep. Getting enough, and minimizing sleep distractions and sleep help make everything heal better in the body. Including lowering inflammation.
Low stomach acid, poor bile flow, pancreatic or other digestive enzyme production problems, infections, and more can be dysfunctional things going on that lead to inflammation or gut imbalance. These would need addressing by a practitioner, (grab a free consult), to pinpoint the problem and provide solutions to get the balance back. Sometimes the imbalance or dysfunction is related to medications from past and/or current use.
Unbalanced Intestinal Microbes
These are the MAIN influence on immunity. In addition, they also can contribute to obesity and if you have trouble losing weight and you truly are doing all the things right to avoid food irritants, and eat real foods, this might be a sign of gut imbalance. In addition, metabolism is influenced by these microbes, as well as vitamin production (or lack of if you don’t have the right beneficial microbe balance).
Beneficial gut microbes help us produce what we need, and keep the bad guys in check. BUT outside influences (listed below) can change our gut microbes and those bad guys start flourishing. They can contribute to gut inflammation in a MAJOR way and really make you feel terrible on a daily basis not just in your gut, but in your whole body response. They have a direct gut-brain axis as well.
What are signs and symptoms that you may have some GI inflammation?
• Diarrhea, or Constipation
• Food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances
• Anxiety, difficulty concentrating, depression, memory loss, headaches
• Chronic fatigue, immune system problems
• Allergies, asthma, or other breathing issues
• Skin problems
• Nutritional deficiencies
In addition, GI inflammation is often a cause and/or happening in combination with leaky gut. Check out this article to understand what that is.
How can you figure out exactly what is going on?
Working with a practitioner like myself is the first step. We can assess your symptoms, food and lifestyle habits, and make some dietary and lifestyle changes to help you try to rebalance naturally. Testing options may be available if further assessment is deemed necessary. To learn more check this out.
What can you do from home now?
Develop a lower/non inflammatory eating habit. How to do that?
• Eliminate gluten, grains like corn, and soy and any related products
– These are ALL highly inflammatory to the system and in addition in this country highly processed and GMO. Even if it’s non-GMO it doesn’t change the inflammatory nature of that food.
- Eating vegetables and fruits daily provides a great source of fiber. Potatoes, and often brown rice, wild rice are tolerable and non-irritating for most people. These are great sources for healthy carbs.
• Eliminate refined (white processed) flours, sugars, artificial sweeteners, food additives and preservatives
– Once again not only do they aggravate SUGAR levels, but they are very inflammatory.
- Using alternative sources of flours, and natural sweetener only on occasion is a better option.
– ALL VERY VERY processed and one of the leading causes of inflammation (and disease) today. These include canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, any cheap seed oil.
- Replace these with unrefined olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee.
• Choose Properly Sourced Meats
– This means no more deli processed meats, only properly raised animals. These would be labeled as grass-fed and finished, pastured, organic, wild-caught. Need to learn more about understanding labels? Check this out.
• Talk with your doctor about your medications
The use of PPIs (acid blockers), NSAIDs, SSRIs, and oral contraceptives has a huge influence on the gut. There may be ways to support these if they are a needed use (let’s consult on nutrition support), or perhaps there is a time and place to discuss what to do about their use. This is something you go over with the prescribing doctor.
There are other supplements to help with digestive dysfunction, digestive support, and trying to get a better gut biome balance. This would be something to work with me, as an NTP on.
Start with some food replacements at home. Start cooking your own meals, and eliminate packaged, processed, and take-out foods. This is where to start (and of course don’t forget your water). If you need specific help or have tried this with no result, let’s talk.