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gut health

Intestinal Health 101

for a Healthier You


By Dr. Tom Rohde, Renew Total Body Wellness Center

ow many times have you heard someone discussing their bowel health and thought they were obsessed with bowel function? It turns out they were correct to be concerned. Optimal health begins with a healthy gut. Simplistically, your digestive tract is a long open tube and its job is to digest food, then absorb amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. to nourish your body, all while keeping bad things like bacteria, parasites, viruses, chemicals, and other toxins from entering the body and causing you harm. Your intestines are much more complex and important than this its no wonder that 7580 percent of your immune system lines the intestinal tract! The downside of this is that chronic gut inflammation from dysbiosis can begin to suppress your immune system and lead to recurrent illness and other long-term conditions from immune system dysregulation. Your gut is normally inhabited by trillions of good bacteria mostly lactobacillus strains in the small intestine and bifidobacteria strains in the large intestine. These good bacteria help with digestion and absorption of nutrients. They also produce important nutrients and vitamins like vitamin K, vitamins B-1/2/3/6/12, folate, and others, starve out other bad bacteria, literally produce antibiotics that can kill other bacteria, and help recycle bile salts needed to digest fats. Your normal gut flora is established when you start eating after birth as the gut is initially sterile. Breast-feeding helps get us off to a good start with the best flora. Kids that are bottle-fed already start life with a poorer mix and quality of bacteria, one theory why we have such an obesity epidemic as the bacteria are intimately involved with digestion and absorption of nutrients. Exposure to antibiotics in childhood further drastically changes our normal gut flora making us susceptible to nutritional deficiencies that are felt to underlie some of the neurologic and psychiatric illnesses that affect our youth. This change to an abnormal gut flora is again called dysbiosis or leaky gut. Symptoms of dysbiosis in babies may be colic gassiness, constipation, and stomach pains. As we grow, use of birth control pills in adolescence also negatively affects our gut flora. Dysbiosis leads to inflammation in the gut, which can lead to permeability of the intestinal cells allowing toxins into the body that can literally cause all manner of health problems. By the time we reach early adulthood, many of us now suffer with digestive abnormalities heartburn, bloating, belching, and flatulence due to the abnormal digestive process leading to putrefaction and fermentation of food in the colon, which allows these toxins to enter the body! These toxins can lead to further maladies: headaches, sleep problems, fatigue issues, asthma, skin conditions (like eczema), and abnormal immune system function leading to autoimmune problems, like Graves or Hashimotos thyroid disease. The gut also plays a role in emotional health! The majority of your serotonin is produced in your gut and is responsible for gut motility and normal function. In the brain, it is a major neurotransmitter and accounts for your stable mood and ability to deal with stressors,

The health of our gut flora, and thereby our overall health, is dictated by the foods we eat, the chemicals we ingest and are exposed to, the use of antibiotics to treat other health conditions, even our stress levels.

Page 24 Healthy Cells Magazine Bloomington November 2013

avoid depression and anxiety, and to sleep well. The gut and brain communicate anyone who has been under stress can verify that a public presentation or a test, an altercation all can lead to stomach growling, vomiting, and loose stools. Imagine the effects of long-term stress we all seem to live these days can you say depression, anxiety, inflammatory bowel, autoimmune problems, perhaps even cancer? The health of our gut flora, and thereby our overall health, is dictated by the foods we eat, the chemicals we ingest and are exposed to, the use of antibiotics to treat other health conditions, even our stress levels. So what can we do to repair a lot of the conditions mentioned above caused by gut dysbiosis? First, testing is used to determine the cause of the problems a metabolic or functional medicine approach that will guide a targeted rehabilitation program. Eliminate abnormal bacteria, parasites, fungi, and gut flora with antibiotics or antifungals if needed, along with natural supplements to help clean house and allowing normal flora to rebuild. Dietary change is vital eliminating irritants such as chemicals and toxins as well as foods that may be causing an allergic response. Gluten seems to be a major problem for many individuals and most individuals are usually unaware of the problems it is causing. Testing is again a good idea. Initially, minimize meats that are harder to digest and switch to organic grass fed meats with lower toxins and fat as they are re-introduced. Eliminate sugar and minimize carbohydrates as completely as possible as many pathogens feed on these sweet goodies. Next, add in high quality pro-biotics to rebuild a normal gut flora along with supplements to decrease inflammation, soothe and heal an inflamed gut, and help to allow the permeable gut walls to heal and prevent further toxin entrance to the body. Many individuals who have suffered for many years with the chronic conditions I mentioned can start to see benefit from a gut restoration program in as little as a few weeks although some of the ailments may take months to heal, and some that have existed for an extended time may only be moderated or controlled. If you wish to learn more, visit www.DrRohde.com or call 217-864-2700 to make an appointment. Dr. Thomas Rohde offers a complete personalized evaluation to help you in your quest for a healthier you, and is knowledgeable in anti-aging medicine.

The health of our gut flora, and thereby our overall health, is dictated by the foods we eat, the chemicals we ingest and are exposed to, the use of antibiotics to treat other health conditions, even our stress levels.

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November 2013 Bloomington Healthy Cells Magazine Page 25