MD Wellness Articles
Many health problems can be caused or worsened by sub-optimal bowel health. Three of the biggest culprits are inadequate enzyme levels, “leaky gut syndrome” and abnormal bowel flora (dysbiosis).
The gastrointestinal (GI) system must have adequate enzymes to digest the three macronutrients in the diet, fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Lipase enzymes digest fats, amylase enzymes digest carbohydrates and protease enzymes digest proteins. An inadequate amount of any of these enzymes can lead to severe digestive problems because the undigested portions become irritants to the GI system. Worse yet, undigested foodstuffs (particularly proteins) can lead to overall health problems through inappropriate stimulation of the immune system. This can exacerbate a “leaky gut syndrome”.
“Leaky gut syndrome” refers to an abnormal condition in the small and/or large intestines where partially digested foods can set off severe immunological reactions.
The gastrointestinal (GI) system acts as a barrier to all the material coming into our bodies. In other words, the gut must be able to distinguish between health promoting and unhealthy materials. This requires a certain amount of vigilance on the immune system’s part. In fact, more than 50% of the body’s immune system is located in and around the gut.
If the surface of the gut has been weakened (by abnormal flora, yeast, malnutrition, stress) partially digested foods can leak through the membrane and set off immune reactions. This could cause numerous, health destroying symptoms, like arthritis, allergic reactions, multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, dementia, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems.
The diagnosis of “leaky gut syndrome” is based on a combination of clues, including risk factors, typical symptoms and an abnormal CDSA (comprehensive digestive stool analysis). The treatment for “leaky gut syndrome” requires a holistic approach, which includes, floral balancing, hormonal balancing, dietary changes and special supplements to rebuild gut wall integrity.
Abnormal bowel flora and/or yeast overgrowth are an imbalance in the microbiology of the bowel. Microbiology (micro-meaning small, biology-meaning life) is the study of small organisms, usually referring to bacteria. We (human beings) have billions of bacteria living within us, mostly in our large intestines.
Some of these bacteria are vital partners in our metabolism. They are referred to as “beneficial bacteria”. The beneficial bacteria, like lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and e. coli, are symbiotic organisms. They have digestive and metabolic functions that contribute to our wellbeing. Without these “good bacteria” we would have vitamin deficiencies and digestive problems.
Many people are deficient in “good bacteria” and suffer overgrowth of “bad bacteria”. This situation can arise through stress, antibiotic use, hormonal imbalances, poor quality diets, steroid use and other medications.
Yeast can also proliferate in the bowels and cause a myriad of symptoms. Yeast is a fermentative organism, meaning they grow without the presence of oxygen. A yeast overgrowth can occur for the same reasons as the “bad bacteria” and are often present at the same time.
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