Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Entire System
Heal Your Gut Naturally
At Cincinnati Health Institute we believe that overall health and wellness cannot be achieved without addressing the health issues that arise in an inferior digestive system. The gut plays a far more vital role in overall health than previously believed and some of the symptoms of an unhealthy gut will be surprising. Unless you address the health of your digestive system you will not reach optimal health and wellness.
Why address digestion when talking about overall health?
The liver has been established as the powerhouse of metabolic activity and detoxification in the body. What most people aren’t aware of, is that the metabolic activity of the gut is about equal to the liver. Many important metabolic reactions originate in the intestines and with over 400 species of microbes present at any given time, there MUST be a balance of good vs. bad bacteria. An imbalance causes many health issues and is referred to as dysbiosis.
The digestive system is so much more than a food processor. The small intestine alone has over 100 million nerve cells roughly EQUAL to the spinal cord! This Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is a mesh like system of neurons that govern the function of the GI tract. Amazingly, every class of neurotransmitter present in the brain is also present in the ENS. The digestive system is the only organ system in the body that has its own independently operating nervous system. As a matter of fact, much of the serotonin present in the body is in the gut. The gut has been affectionately called the “second brain” by those forward thinkers that recognize its importance.
Digestion Begins in the Mouth
Digestion starts in the mouth. It is imperative to have good dental and gum health to be able to break down foods and allow nitric oxide to reach the blood stream in the mouth. The digestive system is one of the major sources of nitric oxide. It is produced in the gastrointestinal tract either by enzymatic, non-enzymatic or by bacterial production mechanisms. When we do things, like rinse with antibacterial mouthwash, it actually hurts our digestive health as nitric oxide production becomes hindered by the lack of bacterial production mechanisms.
Nitric oxide plays a critical role in many of the physiologic processes of gastrointestinal tract like motility, secretion, digestion, absorption and elimination. In addition, nitric oxide takes part in the control of pancreatic secretion and liver functions.Without a healthy oral microbiome you will not produce enough nitric oxide to help with insulin signaling, enhancement of gut motility, decreasing inflammation, cardiovascular health (such as blood pressure), and the promotion of sexual function.
*Quick Tip: Stop using antibacterial mouth wash! You need more Nitric Oxide. Our favorite product is Neo40 Pro.
What is leaky gut?
Photo Credit: Kilcup. D. (2013) Leaky Gut Photograph. Retrieved from www.darrellkilcupdc.com/2013/11/leaky-gut-syndrom...
Leaky gut results when the lining of the digestive tract becomes damaged. The digestive lining becomes degraded by medications, alcohol, refined or processed foods, toxins, lack of fiber etc… Not having the proper balance of bacteria (also caused by toxins, medications, processed foods etc...) can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, again degrading the lining of the digestive system. The lining of the gut should have healthy micro-villi and nice, tight gap junctions between cells that selectively allow the proper nutrients to be absorbed and cross into the blood and lymphatic system.
Over time, the normal, tight junctions of the intestinal mucosal cells deteriorate. When the lining of the gut is damaged it can allow larger substances like toxic molecules, undigested food particles, undigested proteins, toxins and other unwanted foreign bodies to cross into the blood and lymphatic system. Your body reacts to these foreign bodies as intruders and releases anti-bodies to fight them, i.e. inflammation! Eventually these unwanted intruders set up space in the various tissues of your body and present as inflammation and chronic disease. Your system becomes bombarded with toxins and proteins that can and do overtax the liver. This is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Many chronic diseases have been linked to the degradation of the lining of the gut.
Due to the overuse of antibiotics and hand sanitizers, eating the standard American diet, and not “playing in the dirt” our microbiomes have changed. This includes an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria and yeast, a less diverse gut flora, tight junctions to become “leaky” and the good bacteria to infiltrate the wrong areas.These problems are called Leaky Gut, SIBO, Candidas, irritable bowel, Dysbiosis, Gluten sensitivity, and more.
It is important to help feed the gut with good bacteria, called probiotics. Probiotics help to prevent the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria by lowering the intestinal pH and releasing bacteriocins, which are our natural antibacterial workers. Probiotics also help with gene expression and prevent certain disease inducing bacteria from wreaking havoc on your system.
*Quick Tip: Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of Full Fat Greek Yogurt in to your diet.
Prebiotics help feed the probiotic bacteria in the digestive tract. Prebiotics are found in many types of vegetation for example inulin, which is a plant based fiber. Foods that are good prebiotics are garlic, onion, dark leafy green vegetables, almonds and more.
Healing the gut naturally
At Cincinnati Health Institute we apply the 4-R Method of GI healing. The 4 R Method was developed by functional health practitioners to address the multifaceted approach required to heal the gut.
4R’s of Gut Health
The first step in healing is to remove any possible pathogens (bacteria, yeast or parasites). A simple stool sample test can easily identify what pathogens are present. One of our practitioners can then suggest the proper herbs, oils, supplement or antimicrobial to best remove the pathogens present. A study by GDSL found that 23.5% of stool samples tested positive for at least 1 parasite. The second part of removal includes removing any possible food allergens, gluten, disaccharides (lactose), alcohol and medications (NSAIDS). There are tests available to identify potential food sensitivities and allergies.
It may be hard to give up anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, but the damage they do over time simply isn't worth it when there are natural alternatives, that will encourage a healthy gut and lining, not degrade it. There may be some medications that are absolutely necessary due to health issues out of your control. In that case, there may be options to mitigate the side effects and damage they cause. These issues will be addressed on a case by case basis.
*Quick Tip: Eliminate refined/processed sugar in your diet as it feeds the BAD BACTERIA. Mucin is also an important part of the digestive tract. Mucin lines the digestive tract and is a mucous-like substance that protects the digestive tract by acting like an antibacterial well. The mucin also stimulates our bodies to release defensins, which are antibiotic to prevent attack of bad bacteria.
Sometimes it is necessary to give your body digestive enzymes, or other gut enhancers, that it may be deficient in to stimulate a healing response. For instance, If you are eating bread or other carbs and experience bolating and gas, this can be an indicator that you need a digestive enzyme like amylase to help with digestion. Other digestive enzymes are protease, which helps in the digestion of proteins and lipase which helps in the digestion of fat. Other times the addition of HCL or a mucin booster can be necessary for the proper digestion. Mucin is a glucoprotein that forms the mucosal lining of the gut.
*Quick Tip: Mucin is the first line of defense we have to protect our gut. Eat vegetables! Eating vegetables is a one-two punch on bad bacteria in the digestive tract. Vegetables provide our bodies with inulin, a fiber which is a prebiotic and is antimicrobial. Don’t increase your fiber intake with whole grains- these have been linked to high levels of the bacteria prevotella, which will cause inflammation. Inflammation means PAIN AND DISEASE.
*Quick Tip: Use Ecological Formulas product Sialex to promote healthy Mucin.
During this stage of gut healing the goal is to replenish your gut with enough good bacteria, also known as probiotics. There are many, many strains of probiotics and the more diverse population, the healthier your gut will become. Some common friendly bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, but the more diverse and abundant the probiotic, the better.
*Quick Tip: Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of Full Fat Greek Yogurt in to your diet or use a probiotic
Finally, we need to work to repair the inflammatory gut lining. This starts with a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and proper supplementation. The repair process actually begins in step one of removal and continues to be repaired as we replace and replenish with healthy, gut friendly foods and supplements.
It is VERY important to correct and maintain an anti-inflammatory diet to promote health within the body. This includes, but not limited to, several servings of vegetables every day, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. By eliminated refined grains, sugars, and unhealthy omega 6 fats, we can promote healing within the body.
*Quick Tip: Follow the DeFlame Diet. See more information HERE
Gut Friendly Foods To Add Today
Greens: Broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts are powerhouse food sources full of fiber with the added benefit of keeping your gut alkaline preventing acidic stomach and indigestion.
Common symptoms indicating that gut issues need to be addressed are:
• Gas and/or bloating
• Acid Reflux
• Skin conditions (acne, rosacea, psoriasis and dermatitis)
• Autoimmune disease diagnosis (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis…)
• Mental Health (fatigue, PTSD, depression, anxiety)
• Weight issues
• Low immunity
• Food intolerance or allergies
Some of these symptoms are typical of what you would think to find with digestive issues. However, low immunity, mental health, skin conditions and autoimmune diseases have only recently been attributed to gut health. The gastrointestinal connection is often over looked by conventional medicine and the treatment for many of these conditions tends to be pharmaceuticals that only treat the symptoms, not the cause of distress. Healing the gut can be the single most important thing you do for your health!