Maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract is unbelievably important to your overall health. Not only does your gastrointestinal (GI) tract break down your food into essential elements (vitamins, minerals and amino acids), it also activates or deactivates the digestion process. Your GI is the defense against intrusive invaders like viruses and bacteria that are responsible for ‘leaky gut”. Seventy percent of your protective immune systems cells and antibodies live in your GI tract.
Practically every known illness or symptom can be linked to an unhealthy GI. Some examples are gastric discomfort, headaches, skin conditions, joint and muscle pain, autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammation, allergies, asthma, menstrual pain and irregularities, osteoporosis and depression.
Trillions of bacteria (flora) live inside your GI tract and under normal healthy conditions these flora assist in digestion and processing the foods you eat every day. The gut provides a safe shelter for the friendly bacteria; however the sanctity of their home is constantly being challenged by pathogens (bad bacteria) that create a war for space. Bad bacteria can overtake the good flora if you if you eat too many poor quality foods that are filled with sugar and low in fiber, take continual acid reducing drugs, antibiotics or a lack of exercise in your routine.
Besides supporting the ecosystem of the good bacteria; your GI tract also has a brain of its own. The magnitude and complexity of the abdominal and intestinal nervous system is immense – it contains as many neurons as the spinal cord. This is where the term “gut instinct” comes from.
This nutritional support begins with what you’re eating. Your balanced meals should contain mainly local or organic vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Remember to eat slowly, be mindful and chew your food.
Supplements are a must such as multivitamins, amino acids as well as Omega 3 fatty acids to balance your immune and inflammatory response system.
If you are using Proton Pumps Inhibitors (PPI’s) or other stomach acid suppressors you should take a pharmaceutical grade probiotic. By taking these drugs you are decreasing the acid and enzymes in your stomach that are needed to destroy the bacteria and viruses you ingest. Long-term, continuous suppression of stomach acid may have important adverse consequences to your health.
L-glutamine, an amino acid can be an amazing aid in healing stomach ulcers, stopping diarrhea, repairing “leaky gut” and helping the body repair its cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. L-glutamine’s properties make it the primary energy fuel for the small intestine and therefore increase the immune function of the stomach. Pharmaceutical grade is needed to work effectively.
There are other specific amino acids used relieve gastric discomforts such as occasional heartburn and indigestion, upset stomach, mild nausea, bloating, belching, and burping. Contact me for more information.
Naturally supporting your gut and helping it to function optimally rather than taking drugs to suppress symptoms that disrupt normal GI function is one of the best ways to overcome digestive disorders. Plan ahead, heal yourself and protect your long term health. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel if you focus on your GI tract.
Maria Musitano, B.Sc.Pharm