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2012-09-15

Digestive Problems: The Relationship Between Your Digestive System and Good Health

Your digestive system plays a major role in the overall health of your body. That’s because your digestive system is responsible for absorbing the nutrients the other organs in your body need to function. If you aren’t able to digest and absorb nutrients properly, it can interfere with a variety of other important health factors.

Digestive Enzymes

Good health relies on your body’s ability to use the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fatty acids in the food and supplements you ingest. In order for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs, in must have a sufficient amount of stomach acid and enzymes.

Your body produces digestive enzymes of its own to help break down the food you eat. Important digestive enzymes are also present in raw vegetables and fruits. However, when these foods are cooked, the enzymes are destroyed. Not eating enough raw veggies and fruits can deplete your body’s natural production of enzymes.

Effects of Low Enzymes

Enzymes are involved in every process within your body. Without sufficient enzymes, your body cannot break down the food you eat or withdraw the nutrients it needs to maintain good health. Thus, a depletion of enzymes leads to a depletion of health.

Undigested food can also become a fuel source for harmful microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, and parasites. Over time, these dangerous microorganisms can cause a variety of serious health problems if left untreated.

 

Dysbiosis and Hidden Digestive Problems

Poor digestion can also be the result of dysbiosis, which is when the level of healthy organisms within your intestinal tract becomes imbalanced.

Dysbiosis can be caused by invasive yeast, bacterial overgrowth, or parasitic infections. Subclinical or hidden inflammatory conditions can also cause dysbiosis and interfere with digestion. When these problems don’t cause obvious symptoms, they are often not identified until appropriate pathogenic and parasitic testing has been conducted.

 

Gluten and Dairy

Sensitivity to gluten and/or dairy products is a common cause of inflammation in the digestive tract. For example, some people are sensitive or allergic to the gluten contained in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Other people are sensitive to lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products. Some people are sensitive to soy products.

It is not uncommon for a food sensitivity to be found in people with chronic health problems. Many people spend years suffering from symptoms without ever knowing they are the result of a food sensitivity. Thankfully, there are now food sensitivity tests that can help identify these issues. Improvement of symptoms is often as easy as eliminating the food from the person’s diet.

 

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is another common cause of digestive stress. Leaky gut syndrome refers to when the lining of the intestines does not function properly. Not only does the lining not properly absorb nutrients, it allows food molecules into the blood stream that don’t belong there.

When improper food molecules “leak” into the blood stream, the immune system considers them foreign invaders and attacks them. This attack is experienced as an allergic reaction. Yeast and bacteria can also “leak” into the blood stream and cause severe immune system reactions.

 

Parasites

Another example of commonly undiagnosed digestive problems are parasitic infections. While many people associate parasites with traveling to foreign countries, high levels of parasite infections also exist in the United States.

The majority of parasitic infections are the result of ingesting contaminated food or water. This can occur when eating at a restaurant where staff does not practice proper hygiene. Eating food that has been left out for extended periods of time, such as with salad bars and potlucks, can also expose you to potential parasites, as can handling money and shaking hands with someone.

 

The Effects of Hidden Digestive Problems

The problem with hidden digestive disorders is that they can cause symptoms that you’d never guess are related to your digestive system. For example, a person who is sensitive to gluten won’t usually have a reaction the moment the gluten-containing food is eaten. The reaction could be delayed for hours or even days. The reaction could also come in the form of fatigue or a headache instead of abdominal pain.

What’s important to know is that hidden digestive problems cause inflammation within your digestive tract. That inflammation interferes with your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients it needs to maintain good health. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the problem can cause a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Skin irritations
  • Allergies
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain/cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Weight loss

If you are a generally healthy person but experience chronic symptoms that interfere with your quality of life, it’s important to rule out a digestive disorder. Through our comprehensive series of digestive system testing, we can identify a potential hidden source of your symptoms and help reverse the effects they’re having on your health.

 

Let us help you get your body and your health back on track. Make  an appointment today!

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