gut health foods

GI Tract / Gastrointestinal Health

Gut health is the core of your total well-being.

Do you have acid reflux/heartburn, allergies, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain or trouble losing weight, suffer from an autoimmune disease, struggle with fibromyalgia, have recurring headaches or have bad skin? Very often your gut is at the root of your chronic symptoms.

"Americans are facing the highest level of lifestyle diseases (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer) than in any other time in history. Food truly is your best medicine, can enhance your immune system and support healthy aging. If you already have a disease diagnosis, all the more reason to improve your diet & lifestyle to ensure your needs are met for a healthier you."

- Maureen West

Eating healthy foods is the right place to start, but many people eat all the “right” foods and still have digestive and other health problems. The best diet in the world won’t help if you aren’t digesting properly. You must be able to digest foods; break them down into tiny particles; absorb the food; assimilate nutrients and calories into the cells where they can be used; and eliminate waste products through the kidneys, bowels, lymph system and skin. Health can and does break down at any of these phases.

Diet, nutritional supplements and lifestyle modifications can heal and rebalance your GI tract to change the way you feel for the rest of your life.

The following are common issues that lead to gastrointestinal disturbances and contribute to your ills.

Leaky gut syndrome is really a nickname for the more formal term increased intestinal permeability, which underlies an enormous variety of illnesses and symptoms. It is one of the major factors linked to food intolerance. It’s a symptom of inflammation and imbalance that has many causes. The most common are chronic stress, dysbiosis, environmental contaminants, gastrointestinal disease, immune overload, overuse of alcohol, poor food choices, prolonged use of NSAIDs, and presence of pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts.

This is not a condition to leave untreated. When the GI tract is irritated or inflamed, it allows particles of food to pass straight through the intestinal membrane. The food substances are seen by our immune system as foreign and stimulates an antibody reaction. As the intestinal lining continues to get damaged, substances larger than particle size—disease-causing bacteria, fungi, potentially toxic molecules—can also make their way directly into your bloodstream. Inflammation can also prevent small nutrients and food molecules from passing into the gut, and is a primary cause of malabsorption.

If your immune system is working on your leaky gut, then it loses its ability to help defend your body in other important ways. Leaky gut syndrome is associated with many medical problems: allergies, celiac disease, cirrhosis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, bronchitis, eczema, psoriasis, Reiter’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and skin irritations.

I can test for leaky gut through a comprehensive stool analysis and/or test for food sensitivities. Be informed, have functional lab tests done.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as heartburn (some people refer to it as acid reflux), is caused by stomach acid backing up into your esophagus. Most people think they have too much acid in their stomach, but the real issue is that the acid is in the wrong place. Stress, foods, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and lifestyle can all play a role in acquiring this condition and enabling it to linger indefinitely. That’s why we see as many as 44 percent of us suffering from heartburn on a monthly basis.

The Western medicine common treatment is to stop the stomach acid with an acid blocker medicine intended for use of no longer than 12 weeks, but many people stay on these medicines for years. I help people wean off the acid blockers or avoid taking them in the first place. Ideally through diet and lifestyle changes, supplementation, and perhaps other healing treatments, you can start repairing your gut and begin to enjoy life again. In certain cases, you may need functional laboratory testing done to determine the exact cause.

You may be one of the many Americans who have learned to live with IBS, even though it is restricting your lifestyle. Associated symptoms are abdominal pain and spasms, bloating, gas and abnormal bowel movements. Diarrhea alternating with constipation is the most common pattern.

There is no single cause for IBS. Stressful situations can trigger IBS symptoms. IBS can be caused by other infections, food sensitivities, celiac disease, leaky gut, parasites and candida overgrowth, imbalances in serotonin, lactose intolerance, mind-body interaction, malabsorption of nutrients, hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, AIDS, environmental sensitivities, and more.

Functional lab testing will help pinpoint the best treatment.

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” For some people, exposure to common foods, chemicals and molds may trigger chronic activation (IgG antibody reactions) of the immune system. It’s important to discover what foods you are reacting to and also to determine what the underlying cause may be, such as poor lifestyle habits, enzyme deficiency, medications, pancreatic insufficiency, or parasites, candidiasis, bacterial or viral infection.

There is a lab test that can be run that tests a wide variety of foods, functional foods, medicinal herbs, chemicals and molds, and identifies whether you have a mild, moderate or severe intolerance to any of these. Get tested for food sensitivities.

Yeast overgrowth is prevalent in women and men. Chemicals in our food and environment, fast food diets, medications (e.g. steroids, antibiotics and birth control pills), and stress can destroy beneficial bacteria and allow overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria and yeast.

Candida albicans is a pathogenic yeast or fungus normally present on inner and outer body surfaces, and it coexists in small numbers in our digestive tract alongside the friendly microorganisms. It thrives when we eat a high sugar, acid forming, and low mineral diet. When there is a low supply of minerals, the adrenal and thyroid glands suffer. This causes exhaustion and carbohydrate/sugar cravings, creating a vicious cycle, which then feeds the Candida more sugar.

By following a special diet, and taking some herbs and supplements, you can start feeling dramatically better in as little as two weeks.

A lab test to confirm the presence and degree of yeast overgrowth is recommended depending on the results of completing a questionnaire. Schedule a stool analysis.