Gut health is at the core of our well-being, and is often at the core of illness, as well.
This is because the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) serves as a key component in the body’s immune system and detoxification process. The majority of our immune system resides in and around the GI tract in order to assess if incoming food is friend or foe, and to ensure that any toxins we absorb can be removed efficiently.
Illness develops if and when we can't digest and absorb nutrients well, don’t eliminate regularly, and expose our immune system to particles which shouldn’t be entering our system. This phenomenon is known as leaky gut.
Leaky gut occurs when substances that should be kept out of the rest of your body cross the gut lining. This will often occur after exposure to antibiotics, steroids, other infections, or by consuming foods you don’t tolerate well. When particles breach the otherwise intact lining, our immune system reacts and creates inflammation, which can result in a variety of symptoms for the sufferer, including GI problems, joint pain and fatigue.
So how can you tell if your gut is at the core of your symptoms?
Consider these points: do you…
• Have indigestion? Do you feel as if you can’t digest well?
• Feel as if your food “just sits there”?
• Have symptoms of IBS? Diarrhea? Constipation?
• Experience vague, hard to diagnose symptoms such as joint pain and fatigue?
• Have excessive bloating and gas?
• Have an autoimmune disease?
• Have chronic, complex symptoms and no clear diagnosis?
• Have fibromyalgia?
• Have symptoms after eating?
These can all be signs that your GI tract may not be functioning optimally. A good functional medicine assessment may help you get to the source of your symptoms, including a Comprehensive Digestive Stool test, or tests for leaky gut and food intolerances.
There are a variety of treatments that can help restore balance to the GI system, and to return your health and well-being. Remember, a GI tract out of balance can be the core imbalance causing your symptoms and lack of wellness.