Gastrointestinal Issues

If a person were to stop eating for a period of time (6 weeks to 6 months), that person would surely die. Food is what keeps all creatures alive. So it follows, that what you put into your mouth keeps us alive; but, the question is, what are we putting in our mouth and our body?

The answer to that will tell you whether or not you might become sick or not. If we put good foods into our body, then the body can utilize those macro-nutrients – protein, fats, carbohydrates – and turn them into the micro-nutrients that our body will then use to make everything that our body needs, like hormones, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins, all of which are used to make the cells in our body healthy.

But, if you put bad foods into your body, then the body does not have the proper “ingredients” (nutrients) to make those hormones, enzymes, etc. These bad foods would include anything processed, using chemicals and even toxins, sodas, almost anything in a box, chips, etc. When the body gets things it can’t use, not only do you have missing micro-nutrients, but the body now has to do something with the “stuff” you put in it and many times those things will get stored as fat. In addition, you are putting a very heavy strain on the GI system, to include the liver, which is trying to digest these chemicals. When you put these bad foods into your body and the body is missing the micro-nutrients, many times you end up with the following conditions/disease:

Constipation – unfortunately, this is an issue that many women deal with on a regular basis, but one that is typically relatively simple to resolve. The gut needs certain micro-nutrients, like fiber and magnesium. It can be more complicated but generally, once one or both of these nutrients are added, constipation becomes an issue in the past.

Diarrhea – chronic diarrhea is typically a condition whose cause is buried in the lining of the gut. Typical causes are food sensitivities, parasites, as well as inflammation; however, it can be more complicated like a weakened immune system that can’t protect the gut

Leaky gut – a condition when the lining of the gut is broken down, thus allowing bacteria, viruses, parasites and other things to get into your bloodstream, thus contaminating the entire body

Food Sensitivities – caused when those things that should not cross the lining of the gut, but they get into the bloodstream and set up what is called an antigen-antibody reaction that will actually cause inflammation and lead to further health issues

Skin rashes, allergic reactions – the lining of the inside of the GI system – the cells – are made of a particular tissue type and this is the exact same tissue, as the skin. Thus when something attaches to the lining of the GI cells, it can actually appear as a skin rash because the body is simply attacking all the proteins that look the same

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s – all of these conditions/diseases are irritations of the GI system and they are all caused by a variety of insults. The question is what is causing the irritation? Once you find the cause and remove that cause, reduce the inflammation, the symptoms resolve

Sugar Cravings – this is generally as simple as changing what you eat. Our bodies crave sugar as a means of getting glucose into the cells for fuel. The reason for the cravings is because the person is consuming too many simple carbohydrates – which are bad foods – when they should be consuming complex carbohydrates – which are good foods. When the body gets what it needs, in this case, a fuel source that last a long time, then the cravings simply go away

GERD – this is an irritation of the upper part of the GI system, the esophagus and stomach. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can have a variety of causes, but in general, especially for those over the age of 50, it is generally caused by too little stomach acid and not excess acid, as TV commercials would have you believe. The reason is that there is not a single cell in the body that doesn’t age and with age comes a reduction of function. So if all cells age and reduce in function, how can the cells in the stomach start producing too much acid? They can’t.

So what is causing the symptoms of GERD like gas, belching, bloating and that very uncomfortable feeling for hours after you eat? The answer is too little acid. With too little acid, the food you ate 2 hours ago is sitting in your stomach at 98.6 degrees (body temperature) and it is rioting. Rioting food gives off the gas and that gas causes belching and bloating. The answer to this condition is generally quite simple.

Weight Loss – this can be a difficult condition to address and first must be looked at from a medical perspective for diseases like cancer. Medical doctors must be allowed the first opportunity to try and determine the cause of weight loss; however, once all known medical conditions have been ruled out and there seems to be no answer, that is when Functional Medicine can step in, to try and determine the underlying cause or the reason the cells are not retaining mass.

Weight Gain – there are many reasons for a person to gain weight, from too much food intake, the wrong type of food, too little exercise, etc. Many times patients have tried to address all of these issues but they still gain weight. In that case, we need to look for the proper cellular function of the adrenal glands, normal thyroid levels, as well as the GI system. Special tests can be utilized in order to determine good cellular function and try to determine the underlying cause for weight gain.