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Digestive Health

“All disease begins in the gut” so Hippocrates said more than 2,000 years ago. Research has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health & unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases and associated symptoms.

There are two variables that are closely related that determine our gut health – they are the intestinal gut flora and the gut barrier. The role of Intestinal gut flora or the so called “microbiome” in human health & disease is very important and has been well studied and shown to:

Promote normal GI function

Regulate metabolism including how well you process calories

Provide protection from infection, comprising >75% of our immune system

The gut is home to approximately 100 trillion microorganisms with over 1,000 known diverse bacterial species

Several features of our modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy or imbalanced gut flora. These include but are not limited to drugs, highly processed diets, chronic stress, chronic infection, and potentially toxic foods like wheat and industrial seed oils.

The gut barrier is the epithelial tissue lining the intestines. The gut barrier is a gatekeeper that determines what gets into the body and what stays out. When this barrier becomes permeable (leaky), large protein molecules can escape into the bloodstream, where the body may mount an immune response and attack them. These attacks play a role in the development of autoimmunity and can contribute to disease in many organs such as:

Thyroid/Hashimoto or Graves

Pancreas/Type 1 Diabetes

Brain/Multiple Sclerosis

Joint/Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gut/Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis

Skin/Eczema or Psoriasis

There are several gut pathologies that may be seen. These include low stomach acid and enzyme or bile insufficiency, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), infections, dysbiosis, food intolerances including gluten sensitivity. These all may contribute to disorders like GERD, IBS, and Inflammatory bowel diseases. Symptoms that may be associated with many of these disorders include diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, abdominal bloating and pain. Other causes of leaky gut are things previously mentioned that destroy gut flora. When gut flora and the gut barrier are both impaired there is inflammation.

There is a direct link between the gut and the brain. Problems in the gut like infection or inflammation can lead to a higher risk of problems associated with the brain such as dementia, autism spectrum disorders, neurological conditions, depression or anxiety. Inflammation in the gut may contribute to inflammation in the brain and vice versa.

If you have been diagnosed with digestive disease or suffer from gut symptoms, schedule an appointment with Willowbend Health & Wellness. Our medical team is expertly trained to discuss your problems, order advanced lab testing to find the root cause contributing to them and provide customized treatment strategies.

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