Got Issues in Your GUT?
By Nancy Russell, M.D.
Have a GUT instinct that something is wrong with your digestion? Is your FOOD making you sick? What’s BUGGING you?
If you frequently experience indigestion, constipation, unexplained diarrhea, gas and bloating, fatigue and consistently lack energy, have chronic skin conditions, joint pain, weight imbalances, chronic sinus problems, migraine headaches, or irritable bowel syndrome, it would be wise to assess your GUT.
Answering yes to several of these symptoms could mean you have DYSBIOSIS, an alteration in the bacterial balance in your intestinal system which causes inflammation that can affect the absorption of nutrients to your body. Chronic digestive dysfunction can set the stage for leaky gut, food sensitivities, toxic stress, and even autoimmune reactions. The cellular function of every organ in the body is dependent on nourishing substances obtained through digestion.
Antibiotics, toxins, sugar, birth control pills, steroids, parasites, and stress can wreak havoc with your gastrointestinal system, upsetting the balance in your intestine as well as allowing harmful substances to enter the system. Before discomfort or disease develops, a comprehensive digestive stool analysis can be collected in the comfort of your home. This testing is considered an alternative and special laboratories are needed to analyze the specimens. With this testing, it is possible to determine whether certain nutrients are being absorbed, if the pancreas is digesting food properly, how the liver is metabolizing nutrients and the stool can be checked for bacterial and yeast (candida) overgrowth and parasites.
Once it is determined what is out of balance in your GUT, treatment consists of the Four R’s; REMOVE, REINOCULATE, REPLACE, and REPAIR. When it is determined that you have a bacterial or yeast overgrowth, the goal is to REMOVE that overgrowth with either prescription medications and/or herbal remedies. The culture of the stool can reveal the specific type of bacteria or yeast and then specifies which prescriptions and which herbs are best for your particular infection or overgrowth. While taking the prescription medication or herbs, it is advised to simultaneously REINOCULATE the good bacteria that is either already low or could be killed off by the treatment. Probiotics are good bacteria that consist of lactobacillus and bifidophilus organisms and can be found as a supplement in capsule, powder, or liquid form.
The probiotics need to be taken at least 4-6 hours away from taking the medication or herbal treatment. Next, it is determined whether you need to REPLACE your GUT system with digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, or other missing substances. After removing the imbalances, reinoculating with good bacteria, and replacing necessary substances, it is necessary to REPAIR the gut lining. REPAIR can be achieved with healing nutrients like glutamine and aloe vera and a food elimination diet may also be necessary.
To determine what foods are bothering your system, a food elimination diet can be entertained or food sensitivities can be determined through blood testing or kinesiology techniques. An elimination diet can be beneficial but it takes time and discipline as it takes 3-4 weeks of eliminating several food groups, such as wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, etc. and then carefully trying one food back at a time every few days and watching for a reaction. In my practice, I have found it to be helpful to do a blood test for food sensitivity-based illnesses and the newest technique I have used is the Alcat Blood test. This Alcat is different from Elisa IgG food testing in that it not only check Type 3 food reactions but other immune pathways. This translates into faster and more complete relief. The Alcat testing assesses your individual reaction to 200 different foods.
As the GUT has as much as 75% of the immune system cells in your body, assessing and treating this vital and “invisible” organ can be beneficial in getting to the root of complicated health problems. Your GUT is almost always a part of the complex puzzle that needs to put together to reach optimal health.
Nancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO.
Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is www.nancyrussellmd.com where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.