Gut & Digestive Health
Digestive distress is hardly a topic for dinner-party conversation, but the truth is, it’s surprisingly common. About one in three Americans suffers from gut problems. Two of the top seven best-selling drugs in the United States are prescribed for gastrointestinal problems. Nearly half of all visits to internists are for “functional bowel disorders,” such as reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Most of us do not recognize or know that digestive problems wreak havoc over your entire body leading to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, cancer and more.
So having a healthy gut means more to you than just not being annoyed by a little bloating or heartburn! It is central to your entire health. It is connected to everything that happens in your body. That’s why we almost always start helping people treat chronic health problems by fixing their gut.
The health of your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, allergens and microbes are kept out, and therefore it is directly linked to the health of the total organism. Intestinal health could be defined as the optimal digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. But that is a big job that depends on many other factors. For example, the bugs in your gut are like a rain forest – a diverse and interdependent ecosystem. They must be in balance for you to be healthy. And the Gut-Brain connection is well studied, and having a healthy gut is a necessity for having a healthy mind.
There are five hundred species and 3 pounds of bacteria in your gut; it’s a huge chemical factory that helps you digest your food, produces vitamins, helps regulate hormones, excrete toxins and produce healing compounds that keep your gut healthy. Too many of the wrong ones like parasites, yeasts or bad bacteria, or not enough of the good ones like lactobacillus or bifidobacteria can lead to serious damage to your health.
Many diseases that seem totally unrelated to the gut, such as eczcema or psoriasis or arthritis, are actually caused by gut problems. By focusing on your gut you can get better.
Your entire immune system (and your body) is protected from the toxic environment in your the gut by a layer only one cell thick. This thin layer covers a surface area the size of a tennis court—yet it’s basically containing a sewer. If that barrier is damaged, you will get sick and create an overactive immune system, producing inflammation throughout the body.
And then there is your second brain, your gut nervous system. Your gut, in fact, contains more neurotransmitters than your brain. It is highly wired back to your brain and messages travel back and forth. When those messages altered for any reason in any direction – from the brain to the gut or the gut to the brain – your health will suffer.
Then, of course, your gut has to get rid of all the toxins produced as a byproduct of your metabolism that your liver dumps in through the bile, and if things get backed up, you will become toxic.
And in the midst of all of this, your gut must break down all the food you eat into its individual components, separate out all the vitamins and minerals and shuttle everything across If you want to be healthy, you have to get your gut working properly. knock our digestive system off balance.
What are they?
- Our low fiber, high sugar, processed food, nutrient poor, high calorie diet that makes all the wrong bacteria and yeast grow in the gut leading to a damaged ecosystem It’s ironic that our typical diet is aptly named S.A.D.- Standard American Diet
- Overuse of medications that damage the gut or block normal digestive function – things like anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, acid blocking drugs, and steroids. There was a study recently that showed that just one course of antibiotics will alter the gut flora for up to 12 months. The study looked at a very common antibiotic, Cipro, which is commonly used to treat urinary infections, traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning.
- Chronic low-grade infections or gut imbalances with overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, yeast overgrowth, parasites, or even more serious gut infections.
- Toxins which damage the gut such as mercury and mold toxins.
- Lack of adequate digestive enzyme function – which can come from acid blocking medication use or zinc deficiency
- Stress can alter the gut nervous system causing a leaky gut and changing the normal bacteria in the gut.
It is so important to understand that many diseases that seem totally unrelated to the gut, such as eczema, psoriasis, or arthritis, are actually caused by gut problems. But by focusing on the gut you can get better.
Lastly, the Gut-Brain connection is well studied, and having a healthy gut is a necessity for having a healthy mind. Through Food Allergy Testing, advanced integrative diagnostic testing, and restoring optimal gastrointestinal function, we consistently see the whole-body impact through improvements in IBS, GERD, allergies, asthma, mental health, eczema, hormone irregularities, detoxification, pediatric ear/nose/throat issues, sleep quality, anxiety and depression, to name just a few.
Bottom line, the road to good health and optimum body function starts in the gut. Once your gut is working properly, we often see multiple symptoms dissipate. At Anchor Wellness Center, we offer a unique approach to most chronic diseases and conditions. Our focus on functional medicine approach relies on the five pillars of health to heal the body without harmful medications.