“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
Awareness of gut health has increased dramatically over the past several years, and for good reason. When your gut is off, you likely do not feel yourself and may have annoying, lingering symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms are clearly connected to your GI function, while other times symptoms seem completely unrelated, such as headaches, joint pain, or skin conditions. The truth is, many health conditions are linked to the status and wellbeing of your gut.
A large piece of the puzzle in determining the health of the gut environment happens to be related to its inhabitants. Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria (gut flora) both “good guys” and “bad guys” and our modern lifestyle can contribute to an unhealthy balance with these microorganisms. These factors and exposures include the following:
• Use of NSAIDs, antibiotics, acid suppressing medications
• Autoimmune conditions
• Poor and imbalanced diet (lacking fiber and nutrients)
• Low stomach acid production
• Environmental toxins
Unfortunately, not only do these components of modern life disrupt and destroy healthy bacteria in our gut, but they can lead to degradation of the gut lining. This can result in a condition called “intestinal permeability” or more commonly known as “leaky gut.” Think of it like having tiny holes being punctured in the small intestines. When this occurs, undigested large food proteins, microorganisms, and toxins can “leak” into the bloodstream. This in turn results in an immune response and subsequently chronic, low-grade inflammation. Life-long vague symptoms, or even worse, a weakening of the immune system and overall health and vitality can result. In some cases, there are zero noticeable symptoms.
So, what is the good news? You CAN repair and heal the gut lining.
The first step is to remove exposure to potentially inflammatory foods and toxins. This means drinking filtered water and consuming organic produce and animal products.
Experimenting with an elimination diet can help reveal possible sensitivities or intolerances to foods. Remove foods such as wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, caffeine and alcohol from your diet for a minimum of 4 weeks. You might be amazed at how good you feel! After the 4 weeks, reintroduce each food one at a time (allow for three days per food) and document how your body responds to each food item. You can also go one step further and seek out a lab the does bloodwork to reveal food sensitivities.
Avoiding taking certain medications when not needed (NSAIDs, acid suppressing medications or antibiotics) at your doctor’s discretion, can be beneficial as well.
Eating a diet high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals can feed and sustain a healthy gut environment. Bone broth can be very healing for the intestinal lining, so drink up!
Boosting probiotics in the diet is a great way to populate the gut with healthy bacteria. This includes eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, pickles, Kombucha tea, sauerkraut, etc. You may also take a probiotic supplement. Do your best to identify and manage all life stressors (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) as chronic stress can reduce overall health, including the gut.
If you believe your gut could use healing and support, Dr. Lisa Sullivan at Puro Wellness Center and Spa specializes and helps individuals restore their gut health. Through a combination of diet changes, supplementation, and blood work – imbalances and inflammation can be identified and addressed. To sign up for a FREE dinner seminar to learn more, please call into our office 734-716-5588 today. We would be thrilled to reserve your seat and help you achieve lasting gut health!
Reference: Kresser, C. https://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-5-heal-your-gut/.