Friday, June 14, 2019

5 Signs Your Gut Is In Distress

The gut in incredibly complex, but it is incredibly important to your overall health and well being. 

At one time, our digestive system was considered a relatively simple part of our body, comprised of one long tube for our food to pass through, be absorbed, and then excreted. However now we know to differentiate between each portion of the digestive system: esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, large colon, and small colon. And that each area, when not working properly, can affect our kidneys, liver, pancreas, adrenals and thyroid. In fact there are current studies linking gut health to the function of the immune system, the brain, our mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and even cancer. In fact just this year a study has begun on the link between brain health and the condition Fibromyalsia (a disorder created in the brain and spinal cord), which we will discuss in another post in the weeks to come.

So many of us we wander through life aimlessly dismissing aches, pains, and stomach or digestive issues. Typically we blame the weather, age, something we just ate, without determining what the source is and removing it. Unfortunately this type of dismissive attitude towards the body's digestive system, over time, is what creates more serious problems like IBS, Crones Disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, tears in the lining of the esophagus and stomach (due to a high acid diet), and even stomach or colon cancer.

You think what you are feeling is "normal" because either a) you were never taught to listen to body, b) other people you know have the same problems so it's must be something you have to live with, or c) you blame it on genetics. And while genetics can have a small factor in it, remember that your actual genes, and what we know about genetics, only takes up 15% of you overall body.

The truth is, every human body is different. We all experience life differently, eat differently, have our own intolerances to food/medicine/allergens, age differently, and suffer differently. So one persons illness might not be like yours.

So many facets of modern life such as high stress jobs, too little sleep, eating convenience foods (processed and high-sugar), taking antibiotics, trauma to the body and brain, as well as little to no mental health can damage your gut microbiome. This in turn can affect other parts of your health, such as the brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and even the growth of cancer.

There are many ways an unhealthy gut can manifest itself. 

Here are the 5 most common signs:

Upset stomach: Stomach discomforts like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut. A balanced gut has less difficulty digesting food and eliminating waste.

Unintentional Weight Changes: Gaining or losing weight without making dlieberate changes to your diet or exercise habits, may be a sign of an unbalanced gut. An unhealthy gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight loss can be from small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and weight gain can be from insulin resistance. This can be caused by the urge to eat more due to decreased nutrient absorption (i.e. your body signals you it's hungry when you shouldn't be, because it's not able to absorb the nutrients it needs to function properly).

Food intolerances: Food intolerances are the inability to digest certain foods (this is different than a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods).  Some food intolerances may be caused by poor quality of bacteria in the gut which can lead to difficulty in digesting the trigger foods causing symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.

Skin Irritations: Since the skin is also an organ, skin conditions like eczema can be related to damage in the gut. Inflammation in the gut, when caused by a poor diet or food allergies, may cause increased “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema.

Sleep Disturbances or Constant Fatigue: An unhealthy gut often contributes to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or other sleep issues (taking a long time to go to sleep, waking up several times a night, unable to wake up by an alarm, etc), which can lead to chronic fatigue. The array of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut, which means gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well.

So how do you help your gut before there's a problem?

Whether you have gut issues, or are trying your best to remain healthy and keep your gut health in check be sure to a) lower your stress levels, b) get enough rest, c) stay hydrated, d) if your physician has recommended a prebiotic and/or a probiotic be sure to take the best quality (one the requires refrigeration after opening) and regularly.

And of course, whole foods and choose quality whenever possible. For food was made to stain you, not harm you.

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About This Site

My work fluctuates between human and animal, discerning the best means of healing for each. I use my medical intuitive gifts for both, my naturopathic knowledge for humans, my ability to communicate with and lay hands on animals, and all so both can live harmoniously together with great health and well being. The articles on this site are for reference only. Please consult your physician, mental health professional, or veterinarian before making any changes to you or your pets wellness routine.

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Information shared on this site is not intended for use without first consulting your personal physician, mental health professional, or veterinarian. In shamanic cultures naturopathic means are used first because patients are taught to be in tune with their own body's needs from childhood. If you are on conventional medicine, be sure to learn about the side effects that they can create when adding naturopathic herbs to your wellness program, before adding them to your routine.