Even your Gut may need a good clean out this Spring time! In fact, seasonal changes in our lifestyle, metabolism and microbiome can lead to dramatic differences in our digestive health. From nutritional support to anti-inflammatory healing, an integrative approach can get things back on track.
The digestive tract truly is the cornerstone to our health. The large surface area provides a barrier to a contained environment that manages exposures to food, chemicals, and infection. To shield from these potential threats, the gut is well equipped. The gut houses more than two thirds of our immune cells, operates with a nervous system of its own (known as the enteric nervous system or the second brain) and is home to trillions of bacteria that make up our microbiome (referred to as the second genome).
The microbiome’s diversity is shaped from our very beginning. An infant born vaginally has been shown to have a more robust microbiome than if birthed by c-section, which then provides protection from common infant illnesses including eczema, allergies and asthma. Throughout our lifespan, the microbiome continues to shift under the influences of diet, stress, activity, exposures, infection, travel and anti-biotic use. It is thought that a one week course of anti-biotics can alter the gut flora for over two years. The shifting microbiome plays an important role in shaping our health, risk of disease and aging. Dysbiosis, the overgrowth of bad bugs is linked with auto-immunity, cardiac disease, mental health disorders and obesity.
The gut brain, or the enteric nervous system, plays an important role in orchestrating the intricate processes involved with digestion, absorption and elimination. The only organ to have a brain of its own, the gut has a complex circuitry of neurons within the enteric nervous system connecting the gut sensing cells to the brain through the autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. These two neuro-hormonal systems allow the brain to control digestion through fight-flight reflexes and stress hormones. The complex gut brain controls all the workings of our inner tube and monitors the status of our microbiota sending bi-directional messages from our gut bugs to our brain. It is now clear, that gut bugs can influence our behavior and mood through “gut feelings” transmitted from the gut to the brain. It is likely that one day soon we will harness the power of the gut bugs and mediators of mood and behavior through the potential future use of psychobiotics, single strain brain-active probiotic substances.
The process of rebalancing the gut may require removal of inflammatory triggers or infection, restoration of gut motility and function, replacement of deficient nutrients or enzymes, repopulating the microbiome and rebalancing brain-gut signals. From diet to yoga, there is much that can be done to heal thy gut and transform your health and aging. We provide a five step plan “The 5R Gut Program”;
Removal of inflammatory agents such as antigenic, allergic and inflammatory foods. Through comprehensive functional testing, food allergies, sensitivities and food mediated disease can be assessed.
From acid balance to optimal motility, the gut remains in a delicate balance that can be restored with proper care and nutrition. Lengthened transit time can lead to constipation and overgrowth of bad bags. We recommend clinical testing and where appropriate rotational elimination diets.
Replacing key micronutrient and enzymatic deficiencies will help ensure proper metabolism. Through comprehensive testing and discussion on goals, micronutrients can be worked into a wellness plan
The gut bugs comprising the second genome play a large part in our health and aging. Integrating fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and miso, perhaps with a store bought probiotic can help you get on track to restore the microbiotic balance of the gut ecosystem.
Intricate connections of the gut brain to the master brain, underlie the stress-gut link. For optimal digestive health, there is a need to also heal thyself. Stress management, meditation, yoga, deep breathing are rebalancing practices that can help regulate mood and gut health.
With this FIVE “R” approach to a healthier, more vibrant gut, it is possible to super-charge your digestion and your health! So Springtime or not, this gut clean out will keep you and the gut garden in bloom! Happy gut, happy you!