How Gut Health Impacts The Whole Body
Is Your Gut Health Compromised?
We are finding out more and more about how critical gut health is for overall health. Research over the past two decades has revealed how an unhealthy digestive tract can contribute to a wide variety of health issues. In this article, we will look at a variety of health issues that can be linked to an unhealthy gastrointestinal system. Then, we will review some specific digestion lab tests that are available through your Naturopath.
Part 1: Signs & Symptoms of Compromised Gut Function
Some symptoms of an unhealthy gut are obvious but others are less straight forward. Here are seven indicators that gut health is compromised:
(1) Upset Stomach
Digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn can all be more obvious signs of a compromised gut. A healthy gut will break down food and eliminate waste with little difficulty.
(2) Food Intolerances
A food intolerance is different than a food allergy. A food allergy reaction occurs immediately after digesting a food while with a food intolerance, symptoms are delayed and can occur within a few hours or up to 48 hours later. Digestive, skin and respiratory symptoms are the most common food intolerance reactions and indicate a compromised gut.
(3) Obesity & Food Cravings
An unhealthy balance in your gut microbiome may affect the signals from your brain telling you when are feeling hungry or full. Recent data shows a link between the diversity of gut bacteria and the way we store fat as well as how we regulate digestion hormones. This may be a reason our eating habits are so difficult to change. Some research has suggested that gut flora may generate cravings for foods they specialize in or those that will allow them to better compete for resources against other bacteria.
(4) Depression & Anxiety
There is increasing evidence of an important link between the gut and the brain. Dysfunction of the mind-gut connection has been implicated in stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy, red skin. There is a growing body of research demonstrating that children with eczema have less diverse gut bacteria than those without eczema.
(6) Diabetes Research is now showing that people with Type 2 Diabetes have different gut microbiota than those without Type 2 Diabetes. It is hypothesized that certain bacteria incite an immune response. There are some microbes that produce toxins that can cause an inflammation throughout the body that can affect insulin sensitivity.
(7) Autoimmune Disease and Suppressed Immunity
Autoimmune disease happens when the body’s natural defence system can’t tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells. Scientists are currently studying the relationship between gut microbe health and the following autoimmune diseases: Lupus, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis), Type One Diabetes, MS and Rheumatoid Arthritis. While further investigation is needed, many researchers suspect that autoimmune diseases, as well as some other chronic conditions, could have their origins in the gut microbiome. Many believe that bacteria found in the mucus layer of the intestines may hold the key to understanding more about how the microbiome relates to health and disease.
Part 2: Specific Gut Health Tests
In addition to reviewing symptoms and conducted a thorough health history and physical exam, there are a number of specialized lab tests that may be ordered by your Naturopath to effectively assess your gastrointestinal health. A comprehensive assessment is a vital part of effectively treating digestive health concerns and improving gut function.
There is a growing body of evidence to support the clinical benefits of eliminating IgG reactive foods from the diet. In an IgG reaction, the IgG antibodies bind to food antigens creating antibody-antigen complexes. These complexes are normally removed by immune system cells called macrophages. However, if complexes are present in large numbers and the reactive food is still being consumed, the macrophages can’t remove them quickly enough. The food antigen-antibody complexes accumulate and can be deposited in body tissues. Once in tissues, these complexes can trigger inflammation, which may be responsible for a wide variety of symptoms.
Repair your gut! See a Naturopath.
To find out more about how a Naturopath assesses and treats gastrointestinal concerns, book a FREE 15 min Meet the Naturopath consultation with Dr. Tara Andresen today at one of her NDcare Naturopathic Clinics in Toronto. You can book directly online or call the clinic at (647) 330-1551.