We all know that feeling: you’ve had a great breakfast, but by lunchtime, you’re already feeling tired and run down. Maybe your stomach is starting to ache or you’re getting a headache. And no matter how much you eat, you still don’t feel any better. If this sounds familiar, it’s possible your digestion is poor and isn’t handling your food properly. Don’t worry; here’s why and what you can do about it.
Do you ever wonder if you’re really digesting your food well? How can you be sure? Maybe there’s more to the process of digestion than you realize.
Watch out for these signs
1. You have low energy.
If you’re always tired, there’s a good chance your digestion is to blame. That’s because poor digestion can lead to low energy levels, leaving you feeling exhausted all the time. If you’re not digesting your food well, that means your body isn’t able to access the nutrients it needs to function properly. As a result, you’ll end up feeling tired and run down.
2. You have constipation or diarrhea.
Constipation and diarrhea are not pleasant topics of conversation, but they are important indicators of digestion. If you are constipated, it means your digestive system is not moving food through your body as efficiently as it should. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including a lack of nutrients, dehydration, or a sedentary lifestyle. Diarrhea, on the other hand, occurs when your digestive system is overactive and moves food through your body too quickly. This can be caused by gastrointestinal infections, food intolerances, or certain medications. While neither constipation nor diarrhea are desirable, they both provide important information about the state of your digestion.
One way to determine if digestion is poor is to look at the Bristol stool chart. This chart can help identify the cause of digestion problems and point the way to a solution.
3. You’re having bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, and many other symptoms.
Many of us have experienced the occasional bout of indigestion, bloating, or acid reflux. But when these symptoms become more frequent, it could mean your digestion isn’t as strong as it used to be. Poor digestion can be caused by a variety of factors, including eating too many processed foods, not chewing your food properly, or having a sensitive stomach.
4. You are having blood sugar swings.
Many people believe digestion starts and ends in the stomach. However, digestion actually begins in the mouth with the digestive enzymes in the saliva. From there, food moves into the stomach, where it is mixed with more digestive enzymes and gastric acid. The stomach breaks down food even further before it enters the small intestine. This is where most digestion and absorption of nutrients take place.
The small intestine is approximately 20 feet long and is lined with tiny finger-like projections called villi. The villi are covered with even smaller projections called microvilli. Together, the villi and microvilli create a large surface area that allows for maximum absorption of nutrients.
Unfortunately, many people have less than optimal digestion due to a number of factors, such as a poor diet, stress, and a lack of gut bacteria. When food isn’t properly digested, it can lead to a number of problems, such as blood sugar swings, cholesterol issues, and other markers that may not be ideal in your labs.
- When you do a functional medicine stool test, you will see certain indicators.
This is a more advanced test that will help us see how you digest protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
A functional medicine stool test can help assess digestion and identify any areas of concern. The test measures indicators such as the amount of time it takes for food to travel through the digestive system, the level of digestive enzymes present, and the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. By looking at these indicators, the test can provide valuable insights into digestion and help identify any areas where improvements can be made.
So what are the reasons?
Here are those who make it to the top.
- Your gut lining is not intact.
You’re absorbing things you shouldn’t be absorbing.
Most people don’t give much thought to their gut lining, but it plays a vital role in digestion. When the gut lining is intact, it allows nutrients from food to be absorbed into the bloodstream. However, when the gut lining is damaged, it can cause poor digestion and a variety of associated symptoms, such as muscle aches, body and joint pains.
2. You don’t have enough digestive enzymes.
If you’ve ever experienced indigestion, you know how uncomfortable it can be. But what you may not realize is that when you don’t have digestive enzymes, your digestion is even worse. In fact, without digestive enzymes, your body cannot properly digest food. Consequently, your stool colors and consistency will change, and you will likely become intolerant to a lot of things.
- You’re under a lot of stress.
Digestion is a complex process that involves various organs, enzymes, and hormones. One of the hormones that play a role in digestion is cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. When cortisol levels are high, digestion can be affected.
Cortisol can reduce the production of stomach acid, which is necessary for digestion. It can also slow down the movement of food through the digestive tract, leading to constipation. In addition, cortisol can increase inflammation in the gut, which can contribute to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
- Hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can have a big impact on digestion. If you have poor insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, your hormones can make it hard to digest food properly. This can lead to poor absorption of nutrients, and even make it harder to lose weight.
Menopause is another time when hormones can affect digestion. As you get older, your body produces less of the hormone estrogen, which can make it harder to digest food. This can lead to bloating, gas, and other digestive problems.
- Unhealthy Gut Microbiome
The digestive process begins in the mouth, where food is broken down by enzymes. It then moves into the stomach, where it is further broken down by stomach acid. From there, it enters the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. Finally, it reaches the large intestine, where water and electrolytes are absorbed and waste is eliminated.
The gut microbiome is a key factor in digestion. This microbiome is made up of billions of bacteria that live in the digestive tract. These bacteria play a vital role in breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. However, when the gut microbiome is out of balance, digestion can be impaired. This can lead to poor absorption of nutrients, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
While there are many factors that contribute to an unhealthy gut microbiome, a poor diet is one of the most common causes. A diet high in processed foods and low in fiber can disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria. This can lead to inflammation and an increase in harmful bacteria. As a result, digestion suffers, and essential nutrients are not absorbed properly.
GI Eval and Gut Zoomer
It is important to understand how well you are digesting your food. If you are digesting your food well, you will have more energy and feel motivated. You will also have good brain and bone health.
There are many markers we can look at to understand how well you are digesting your food. This includes the GI Eval from Genova and the Gut Zoomer from Vibrant. These are the two tests I use in my practice.
Suppose you have any digestive issues and you’re having symptoms like a rash suddenly appearing, or your energy level plummets in the afternoon or in the evening, or you are not motivated. Additionally, you’re feeling depressed and anxious. In that case, all those could be symptoms of indigestion.
So, what’s the bottom line? If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s likely that poor digestion is at the root of your ill health. But don’t worry—we can help! Our team of experts offers comprehensive tests and assessments to get to the bottom of your gut health issues. We’ll work with you to create a treatment plan that restores balance to your gut microbiome and gets your digestion back on track. Don’t suffer from poor digestion any longer—call us today for a consultation!
We all know how it feels when our energy levels are down and for many other symptoms. If you need personalized care, reach out to us! Our team will work with YOU on designing an individualized program that gets right down to the root of what’s causing them. We’d be happy to schedule a discovery call with you. During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional