Pillars of Gut Health

Adults frequently list digestive complaints (bloating, gas, constipation, etc) as one of the reasons they visit the doctor. While the root of these complains is our dysfunctional food intake, there is relief that doesn’t have to involve long term prescription medications. Research has shown that even symptoms not associated with the GI tract (allergies, eczema, joint aches), still have a connection to it.
Digestion begins in our mouth, with digestive enzymes being released as we chew. Whatever chewing does not accomplish must be completed chemically in the stomach and small intestines. As we age, our bodies generate less and less of the enzymes required for proper digestion. These enzymes include: lipases, amylases, proteases, and pepsins. Another problem with digestion occurs with low stomach acid. Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) is an under-recognized problem, since most believe they produce too much. Signs and symptoms include bloating, belching, and gas after meals, diarrhea or constipation, and chronic yeast infections. This results in decreased absorption of nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, magnesium, folic acid, and iron. It also allows for bad bacterial overgrowth.
In addition to digestive enzymes, a healthy gut relies on a healthy gut flora. Our intestines are home to millions of bacteria; some are good and some are not. Key friendly bacteria include those of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria family.  Among their various functions, probiotics enhance the intestines’ barrier function; compete with and suppress pathogenic bacteria (including Salmonella), yeasts, molds, and viruses; and regulate our immune system.
Probiotics have been widely studied. These studies have shown their effectiveness in preventing and managing common GI disorders, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, and colon cancer.
Intestinal health goes far beyond bowel irregularity, gas, stomach bloating, and other uncomfortable sensations. Poor GI health can affect our quality of life and can speed up the aging process. There are two easy steps to help break the cycle. Taken orally before a meal, high-quality digestive enzymes, with or without betaine, can boost the body’s natural ability to break down food into its healthful constituents. When consumed between meals, digestive enzymes may help reduce inflammatory and disease processes throughout the body. Using probiotics, helps accelerate the inoculation of healthy flora in the gut. This combination offers an innovative method for achieving GI balance and health.
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If you would like more information, please stop in or make an appointment with me to do a complimentary nutritional assessment.
by Brandi Grimmer, CPhT, CNC
brandig@keystonepharm.com

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One Response to Pillars of Gut Health

  1. Charlene falicki says:

    I think I need probiotics and enzymes, I had gastric bypass surgery in 2001. It seems whatever I eat or drink, I am getting horrible gas and diarrhea, I don’t even want to go anywhere. Problem is I drive a school bus. Help please !!!

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