THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHY DIGESTION
Optimal Digestion is the key to good health
If you’re one of the millions of Australians who suffer from embarrassing and debilitating digestive symptoms like stomach pain, cramps, bloating, gas, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea and constipation then you can understand the often-devastating impact it can have on your health. There is mounting evidence that your gut and the bacteria that make up the microbiome are closely linked to a plethora of chronic and deadly diseases.
The 2nd body system relates to digestive health. Only recently with the human microbiome project has the medical community begun to understand the crucial role of our digestive system in overall health. Faulty digestion can cause everything from depression and anxiety to joint pain and psoriasis.
Pathogens such as parasites and bacterial overgrowth are becoming far too common and often misdiagnosed due to sub-optimal testing procedures. Not all infections cause digestive symptoms meaning people often don’t seek out the relevant testing. Some gut related infections can cause seemingly unrelated symptoms like depression, anxiety, skin rashes and brain fog. It’s no wonder so many of infections are going undiagnosed! Lastly many people just accept that a bit of bloating, indigestion and flatulence as normal. This is far from the truth.
“Quite literally, your gut is the epicentre of your mental and physical health. If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health”
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IS YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM WORKING OPTIMALLY?
These are the areas of digestion we measure in our comprehensive digestive stool analysis (CDSA).
Digestion and Absorption
The first component of the Digestive Functional Lab Testing relates closely to this concept and involves measuring Digestion and Absorption capabilities. You have probably heard the saying “you are what you eat”. Well the more accurate saying would be “you are what you absorb”. If you don’t have a healthy digestive system, it is very likely you are somewhat under nourished. There is a growing epidemic in modern society of people who are overfed and under nourished.
Digestion starts with correct chewing, followed by the actions of stomach acid and a host of enzymes produced in the pancreas small intestine. Inadequate absorption of nutrients or undigested food particles reaching the colon and undergoing fermentation can lead to abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, flatulence and other embarrassing and painful symptoms.
It has become apparent that chronic Inflammation can have devastating effects on human health. Inflammation within the digestive system is extremely common, interactions between the immune system and the GI tract are now becoming better understood for their part in the development of autoimmune disease, cancer, depression and other chronic diseases. Food reactions, sensitivities and allergies cause inflammation throughout the digestive tract. Gluten and dairy are common food allergens.
In addition to food reactions, bacterial overgrowth and parasites are another common cause of inflammation. Food allergy testing can identify the foods that are creating inflammation and often leading to an autoimmune response. Removing foods that are damaging the digestive lining are crucial in any digestive repair protocol.
Its estimated that up to 80% of the population has Leaky Gut Syndrome. Intestinal Permeability (Leaky gut) is a common consequence of chronic irritation of the gut lining, leading to maldigestion and malabsorption and has been implicated in many autoimmune disease processes such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis.
If you have taken any type of pain medication or antibiotics in the past 2 years, then it’s extremely likely that you are suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome. Other risk factors include:
- Consuming excess alcohol
- Eating meat tainted with antibiotics
- Contaminated tap water
- Diet high in refined carbohydrates
- Soft drinks and other acidic beverages
Food elimination diets or pharmaceutical drugs do not treat Leaky Gut. Targeted supplements as part of our protocols have been shown to help heal Leaky Gut.
Bowel cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in men and women in Australia. Part of the CDSA test can determine if there is blood present in the stool, a possible indicator of Bowel Cancer. Blood in the stool is usually not visible to the plain eye and requires detection via a microscope. This blood can arise from anywhere along the GI tract. Occult blood may be the first and, in many cases the only warning sign of colorectal disease, including colorectal cancer, ulcers, polyps, diverticulitis, haemorrhoids and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Normal stools are entirely free of blood. Marathon runners and other endurance athletes frequently experience low intensity GI bleeding which can result in occult blood being present in the CDSA test.
The Human Microbiome
Why your microbes could be the key to good health.
Over recent years the gut microbiome has been linked to a plethora of diseases from obesity to anxiety. Just what exactly are microbiomes? Trillions of micro-organisms consisting of bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses make up the human microbiome.
Your mother provided the first inoculation of probiotics through the birthing process. Breast feeding, and a diverse environment of bacteria helps to strengthen your microbiome. Why is the microbiome so important? Evidence has shown that particular strains of bacteria are linked to certain health conditions such as obesity, anxiety and depression. Other studies have identified the diversity and relative abundance of species to be the critical factor in a healthy microbiome.
Imbalances in The GI microbiome also known as dysbiosis have been associated with;
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Immune modulation
- Metabolic disorders such as Type 2 Diabetes
- Body weight and fat distribution
- Depression and anxiety
Candida & Bacterial Overgrowth
Do you crave sweets, experience brain fog or just feel plain exhausted? Candida, pathogenic bacteria and SIBO are extremely prevalent in today’s society. The stress response, diet and lifestyle factors contribute to the large numbers of people suffering with bacterial overgrowth problems.
Bacterial overgrowth, invasive yeast and fungal infections are another cause of digestive stress. An imbalance in the microbiome, parasites, diet, alcohol, stress, hormone imbalances, antibiotics and other medications can all lead to a bacterial overgrowth. The key in treating the candida or bacterial overgrowth is to put into place the correct protocols in the correct sequence. All too often the cause of the bacterial overgrowth is not considered nor is the correct treatment sequence adhered to.
CDSA testing can determine the degree of bacterial or candida overgrowth. Separate SIBO testing via a breath sample is required to diagnose this common yet under diagnosed condition. SIBO can be quite devastating and required different treatment strategies than candida and general pathogenic bacterial overgrowth.
One of the main roles of cortisol involves blood sugar regulation. Almost every person suffering with diabetes, prediabetes or insulin resistance will be suffering with adrenal fatigue and cortisol imbalances. Diabetes is more than just Another often devastating and underdiagnosed problem are parasitic infections. Parasites are far more common than you would imagine and the multitude of problems they can cause is far greater than most people would expect. If a parasitic infection is left undiagnosed, any treatment protocol will be undermined due to the inflammation and dysfunction in the GI system. On many occasions no GI symptoms are present, this is why it’s crucially important to complete appropriate testing.
The stress response, cortisol and the resulting decrease in immune function due to adrenal dysfunction can make people highly susceptible to picking up a parasite. Common parasitic infections I see in clinic are;
- Dientamoeba fragilis
- Blastocystis Hominis
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Giardia Intestinalis
It’s no longer necessary to travel to an exotic location on holidays to be struck down with a parasite. The rise in antibiotics, poor diet, medications, increased levels of daily stress and resulting adrenal dysfunction means you can acquire an often-destructive parasite here in Australia. Standard stool testing has been very poor in identifying these parasites. Testing such as the GI Map with DNA technology, as used in our clinic has made identification far more accurate.
Dr. Adrian Clegg
When I began practicing eighteen years ago, people suffering from multiple debilitating conditions had few places to turn to receive the care they needed to get better. As the years have gone by, I began to realise that more and more people were suffering with chronic health problems—feeling tired, depressed, gaining weight, experiencing digestive problems, allergies and a host of hormone issues. FIND OUT MORE
Over the years I have worked with 1000’s of people to help them overcome chronic health conditions using Functional Medicine and AO.