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Digestive Health

Digestive Health

The gut is your gateway to health. If you have a healthy GI tract, chances are you’ll be healthy. A whole foods diet, as Mother Nature intended, is the foundation to a healthy gut.

Leaky Gut

A large portion of the body’s immune system lies within the tissues surrounding the gut. Although leaky gut syndrome is not generally recognized by conventional medicine, evidence is accumulating that it is a real condition that affects the lining and health of the intestines and therefore the health of your body.

A Leaky gut results from

  • Damage to the cells that line the gut, making it less able to discern what is appropriate for absorption versus excretion.
  • As a result, pathogens and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and toxins not normally absorbed may "leak" out of the intestines into the blood stream.
  • This triggers an immune-activated response, which can lead to problems such as
    • food sensitivities
    • skin rashes such as eczema and psoriasis
    • sinusitis
    • asthma
    • abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps and irritable bowel
    • fatigue
    • joint pain
    • Auto-immune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Type 1 diabetes, Hashimotos, Graves disease, Celiac disease, Scleroderma, Lupus, Sarcoidosis, Multiple Sclerosis, Neutropenia, and many more.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), chronic inflammation, food sensitivities, radiation, chemo toxic drugs, certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or a compromised immune system can all be causes of this condition.

Testing for leaky gut syndrome is available through specialty, CLIA certified labs.

Food Allergies

Today over 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. Some of the symptoms of food intolerance and food allergy are similar, but the differences between the two are very important. If you have a food allergy, your immune system overreacts to a protein found in that food, even when coming in contact with just a tiny amount of the food.

Some common food allergens include:

  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts  
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts

Food intolerances are much more common than food allergies and are characterized by some of these symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Digestive disorders
  • Obesity
  • Migraines
  • Joint pains
  • Skin conditions
  • Behavioral problems

It has been stated that upwards of 70-80% of the US population has food intolerances. Unfortunately food intolerances are often treated as symptoms and not the underlying cause.

A true food allergy may also result in being allergic to a similar protein found in something else. For example, if you are allergic to gluten, you may also develop reactions to dairy or corn. This is known as cross-reactivity. Cross-reactivity happens when the immune system thinks one protein is closely related to another.

Testing through ALCAT, CYREX Labs and Meridian Labs is available.

Infection

Gastrointestinal infections are a common finding in Functional Medicine. While the infection may not always be severe and may resolve on its own, low-grade infections can be the cause of leaky gut and other immune related diseases. Your immune system tags these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them so they can be removed from the body. The most common infectious sources are yeast overgrowth, intestinal parasites, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Low grade infections can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Weight gain
  • Mood and cognitive issues
  • Skin conditions
  • Auto immune diseases such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, or psoriasis.

At The Metabolic Institute, diagnosing and treating infections is paramount to having a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Integrative CLIA certified laboratories are used to test for infectious agents and digestive health.

4-R Program

In Functional Medicine, the most effective way to treat gastrointestinal dysfunctions and promote gastrointestinal health is through the 4-R Program.

Step 1: What needs to be Removed?

  • Toxins in our food source
  • Gut irritants such as alcohol, caffeine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • Food allergens
  • Gut infections such as parasites, bacterial and yeast overgrowth

Step 2: What needs to be Replaced?

  • Digestive enzymes
  • Hydrochloric stomach acid

Step 3: Do we need to Re-inoculate with probiotics?

  • Restore a healthy micro flora balance in the gut

Step 4: Is the intestinal lining in need of Repair?

  • Provide nutrients for gut healing
  • Support intestinal immune health