More than 100 million Americans have digestive problems including issues like irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, reflux, gas etc. Most of us (including most traditional doctors) do not recognize or know that digestive problems wreak havoc in the entire body, playing a part in allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, cancer, and more.
The health of your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, allergens, and microbes are kept out. It is directly linked to the health of your whole body. Intestinal health could be defined as the optimal digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food.
Acid Reflux & GERD
Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus — the tube that connects the throat and stomach. During an episode of acid reflux, you may taste regurgitated food or sour liquid at the back of your mouth or feel a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn). Sometimes acid reflux progresses to GERD, a more severe form of reflux. The most common symptom of GERD is frequent heartburn.
The most popular medical solution for acid reflux is taking antacids, which disrupt the natural stomach acid needed to digest properly, absorb vitamins and minerals, and keep harmful overgrowth of bacteria in check.
What causes acid reflux:
- Eating too late at night
- Spicy foods
- Hiatal hernia
- Lack of exercise
- Food sensitivities
- Add 1tsp raw apple cider vinegar (with “the mother”) to water, tea or smoothie in the morning. This will help boost the immune system, aid digestion, and decrease the number of bad gut bacteria that cause acid reflux.
- Fennel seeds can help relax the stomach. Try steeping some crushed fennel seeds in boiling water to make a tea and sip it after a meal.
- Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory that can soothe an inflamed esophagus and stomach lining. Mix & drink 2oz aloe with 8oz of coconut water 15 minutes before eating.
- Ginger is great for digestion and nausea. Try drinking some ginger tea whenever acid reflux strikes.
- Peppermint is great for an upset stomach and all digestive disorders.
- Sleeping in a more upright position and not eating 2 hours before bed.
- Eat smaller meals.
The rise of autoimmune-related diseases can be attributed to a lot of factors, including the use of pesticides, toxins in our air and water, overuse of medications, chronic viral infections, mold exposure, chronic stress, and genetics, but the most important factor in the standard American diet (SAD). High in fast foods, carbohydrates, and genetically modified ingredients and low in fiber, vegetables, and antioxidants, the SAD isn’t doing us any favors when it comes to our weight, inflammation levels, or the health of our gut.
The gut is known as our second brain, and when the permeability of the gut lining has been altered, this allows toxins, bacteria, and foreign substances like food and antigens to enter the blood stream, causing something called “leaky gut.”
Leaky gut symptoms:
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor immune system
- Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Skin rashes and problems like acne, eczema or rosacea
- Cravings for sugar and carbs
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Chron’s
How to heal:
- Healthy diet & eliminate foods that cause inflammation or trigger allergies/sensitives.
- Avoid over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Aleve, Motrin etc.
- Avoid OTC acid reflux products like Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids etc.
- Avoid excessive & unnecessary antibiotic use.
- Getting enough probiotic foods like miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha & yogurt.
- Bone broth: the lysine, glycine, and collagen in bone broth all help repair the gut lining, which will improve the immune system over time.
Candida & Yeast Overgrowth
Candida is a yeast, a very small amount of which lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption, but when it is overproduced it can lead to many different health problems. The healthy or “good” bacteria in your gut typically keeps your candida levels in check, however these following factors can cause candida to get out of hand:
- High carb diets
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Fermented foods
- Chronic stress
- Autoimmune diseases treated with immunosuppressants
Once candida has penetrated your intestinal lining and caused “leaky gut”, undigested food particles, toxins, viruses and bacteria can pass through your intestinal wall into your bloodstream. This triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system to try to fight off the “invaders”. Your immune system will continue to send out “invaders”, soon becoming stressed, weakened, confused, and less accurate.
Common candida symptoms:
- Skin and nail fungal infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm and toenail fungus
- Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, brain fog
- Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety or depression
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal or vaginal itching
- Severe seasonal allergies
- Strong sugar and carb cravings
How to stop the overgrowth:
- Remove all foods that feed the candida including sugar, alcohol, and limiting carbs like fruit, starchy vegetables, grains and legumes
- Taking whole food supplements
- Repopulate your gut with good bacteria
Do you or someone you know suffer from digestive problems? Give us a call at 410-717-6610 to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation!