A well functioning gastrointestinal system is essential for health. If you aren’t digesting properly you become at risk for malnutrition and toxicity. Disorders such as IBS, GERD, SIBO and inflammatory bowel disorders are common issues that affect overall health. They can lead to a condition called Leaky Gut where undigested food particles enter into the lymphatic system and cause the immune system to overreact. Food allergies can result and also can cause these problems.
The gut is our largest immune system. There are lymph nodes lining the small intestine and the large intestine that respond to what is being absorbed. When there is an injury to the intestine the bonds between the cells break and cause increased permeability of the intestine. This is caused by increased levels of Zonulin, a protein released from the intestinal lining that changes permeability. This test is now available that measures zonulin levels in the blood to determine if leaky gut is present.
Most people with leaky gut issues have symptoms such as gas, bloating, reflux, constipation, and diarrhea. They can also have other systemic symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, headaches, skin rashes and muscle pain. These symptoms are often caused by overgrowth of bacteria, fungus or parasites in the intestine. In addition drugs such as antibiotics, NSAIDS, and acid blocking agents and cause changes in the intestinal microbial environment of the intestine that cause many GI disorders.
To treat these underlying disorders, its important to get a proper stool test that finds any underlying pathogens. Testing for food allergies is essential to identify any foods that can increase the inflammation in the intestine. Food allergy testing, with blood IgG4 and IgE levels, is offered by several different reliable laboratories and is an important part of the diagnostic and treatment protocol.
There are many treatments available to heal GI conditions including herbs that remove the underlying, pathogens, digestive enzymes and probiotics. There are products available in powder and capsule form that can heal the lining of the intestine and reduce discomfort. For those patients experiencing any GI symptoms, a comprehensive program of diagnosing the underlying cause, life style changes to reduce stress and remove allergens, as well as nutrient replacement is the recommended program to heal the gut.