In 1908 Dr. Eli Metchnikoff was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on friendly bacterial flora. He coined the term “Death begins in the gut”. His research described an imbalance of the bacteria, or microbiota, in the gut. We have literally trillions of bacteria that reside in our bodies. Our digestive tract has more bacteria than cells. Normally we relate bacteria to illness; however, some of the bacteria in our gut are essential to our good health. When we have an imbalance of bacteria in our gut it is known as dysbiosis. Dr. Metchnikoff believed that this dysbiosis in the gut was the root cause of many diseases.
In the last 100 years, many new microbes have been discovered, and we are continually learning more and more about how this delicate balance of microbiota in our
gut impacts our health. For example, some of the more pathogenic microbes in the gut release poisons such as ammonia and phenols that damage the cellular lining of the gut. In addition to the damage they do in the intestines, these poisons can also be absorbed into the bloodstream causing systemic inflammation, organ damage, and a multitude of health problems.
Most people attribute the gut’s role in our health to simply digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and excreting waste products from our bodies. However, the gut is responsible for much, much more.
Most people attribute the gut’s role in our health to simply digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and excreting waste products from our bodies. However, the gut is responsible for much, much more. For example, the majority of the body’s immune system is found in the gut. It is our front line defense system to protect us from danger from the outside world. In fact, the gut is actually outside of our bodies, not inside. When we damage or disrupt the balance of the microbiota in our gut and damage the intestinal lining, we damage the front line of our personal defense system. The gut becomes “leaky” and allows undigested proteins from food, toxins, bacteria, fungus, viruses, etc. to enter into our blood stream. The result is disease such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Anklyosing Spondylitus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue, Eczema, food allergies, cirrhosis, and many more. Some common symptoms of poor gut health include acne, ADD/Autism, aggressive behavior, arthritis, asthma, food sensitivities and allergies, belching/bloating, blurred vision, cardiovascular disease and symptoms, cystitis, dental caries, depression, brain fog/confusion, diaper rash, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, fungus (toe, finger, vaginal, intestinal, mouth), inflammation, fibromyalgia, fatigue, anal itching, heartburn, and more! Do you have any of these symptoms?
You are probably wondering how this could happen. It really is not that hard to push yourself out of balance in 2011. Some common causes of dysbiosis include repeated use of antibiotics, use of antacids and proton pump inhibitors, a high fat, high sugar, low fiber diet, foreign travel, contaminated foods and water (chlorine, pesticides, antibiotics, etc.), and chronic stress. Do you think you may be out of balance and would like to be back in balance?
At Vital Health Endometriosis Center, I take an integrative medicine approach (treating the source of the health complaint versus the symptom to restore optimal health) to healing a person’s body. I almost always start with the gut. I use an approach known as the “5 R program” (Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair, Rebalance). I use foods, specific vitamins and herbs, and stress reduction to help repair the gut, re-establish a healthy balance of microbiota, and restore optimal health to our clients. I am looking forward to helping you achieve a healthy gut and a healthy body!