The Gastro-Intestinal tract is connected to every major system in the human body. Proper digestion is key to nutrient absorption, hormone metabolism, energy production, immune function, and even mental health.
There are 100 trillion bacteria, fungi, yeast, and other microbes, both good and bad that live inside your digestive system, this is collectively called the microbiome.
This microbiome weighs almost 5 pounds!
Diet influences the Microbiome
Evidence is mounting that these microbes affect almost every system in your body. Ultimately, playing a huge role in your overall health. The microbiome helps breakdown macronutrients, digests fiber, produces vitamins and antioxidants. Diet and lifestyle influences the ratio of healthy to unhealthy microbes that exist in our gut.
In other words, what we eat affects our gut health.
Studies have shown that “Western” diets made up of highly processed food that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats, cause imbalances that lead to inflammation and ultimately disease.
Imbalances in the microbiome can manifest as a variety of symptoms that don’t always present as typical digestion symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, or cramping.
Instead presenting as:
inability to lose weight,
anxiety and depression,
skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, acne),
and increased cardiovascular risk.
A study in 2013, linked microbiome imbalances to contributing to cancer, and two recent studies point to the make-up of the microbiome as being important in optimizing cancer therapyand the susceptibility to toxic side effects.
Using the 4R Program to Heal Your Gut
Functional health uses the 4R program to heal your gut: Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair. The first step is to remove those stressors that affect digestive imbalance, replace with nutrients that help digestion, reinoculate the microbiome to regain balance, and then provide supportive nutrients to repair the gut.
One of the key tests used to assess imbalance in the microbiome is a Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology. This is a non-invasive diagnostic assessment that can help assess how the gut is digesting and absorbing food. It also gives the status of beneficial and imbalanced commensal bacteria, and the presence of opportunistic pathogens and parasites.
The results of this test, along with other functional diagnostic tests, provide information to develop a customized holistic plan unique to the individual that restores balance to the microbiome using a nutrient-dense diet, targeted professional supplements and lifestyle interventions.
Give us a call or set up a 20-minute consultation to start working on healing your gut.
*Reprint from Natural Awakening Magazine, Southern Idaho, Mar. 2018 edition.