It’s often said that disease found anywhere in the body is a manifestation of an unhealthy gut. This makes sense if one is to consider the many important functions the gut has, such as the maintenance of a healthy immune response, hormone and neurotransmitter production, nutrient absorption and detoxification support via waste removal.
- Poor diet – refined sugar, processed foods, food sensitivities, etc.
- Toxins – pesticide residues, food additives, BPA in food storage containers, etc.
- Some medications – antibiotics, acid blockers, NSAIDs
- Stress – difficult relationships, work pressures, financial concerns, etc.
- Gastrointestinal infections – parasites, candida overgrowth, H. pylori, etc.
With time, the above factors can compromise the integrity of the gut lining, causing nutrient malabsorption, and intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’ – a condition that can lead to an overactive immune system associated with autoimmune processes such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Other health conditions, such as eczema, autism and depression have also been linked to a compromised intestinal barrier.
- Rectal itching
- Iron deficiency
- B12 deficiency
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Attention disorders
The first step is to improve, reduce or eliminate the previously listed factors, as well as any other factors unique to your lifestyle that contribute to poor gut health. Once this has been sorted out, digestive function can be optimized and the gut lining healed with appropriate nutrition and supplementation.