Digestion

Are You Bloated By The End Of The Day or Do You Burp After Meals?

The landscape of the human gastrointestinal system is quite complex. Digestion not only includes the obvious organs such as the stomach and intestines but also the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and esophagus. To further complicate the landscape, we must not forget to mention the 500 different species of microorganisms that are a part of the body’s ecosystem and the ever raising incidence of food allergies and intolerances. The type and number of these gut organisms play very important roles in determining health and diseases. Whether you have apparent symptoms of poor digestion or markers of nutrient malabsorption, healing the digestive tract is vital to healing any problem in the body.

You Are What You Digest

Although most people would benefit from improving their diet, sometimes, people are choosing healthy foods but they are not being broken down properly or adsorbed into the bloodstream. Undigested food often ferments in the GI tract resulting in gas, bloating and inflammation. We utilize a variety of lab tests, dietary logs, and patient history to assess how well someone is assimilating their food and to identify the cause(s) of poor digestion.

Symptoms of Digestive Problems

Because the symptoms of poor digestion are relatively generic, they are easily dismissed by physicians and patients. If you have any of the following for more than two weeks, you may have an underlying issue with your digestion:

  • Unexplained Weight Gain
  • Loose Stool or Irregularly Shaped Stool
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Unexplained Fatigue
  • Discolored Stool (gray or golden)
  • Indigestion
  • Brain Fog
  • Burning/Itching Anus
  • Frequent Sore Throat or Chronic Cough
  • Frequent Infections (Yeast, Colds, UTIs, etc.)
  • Acne
  • Foul Smelling Gas

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when larger food particles and bacteria break through the lining of the intestines and directly enter the blood stream. The immune system then identifies these as foreign bodies and mobilizes its defenses. This is often how food sensitivities begin. Over time, foods that a person once ate without an issue are no longer tolerated. A leaky gut increases inflammation and toxin load of the body which can manifest as diseases and conditions such as:

 

Joint Pain Crohn’s Disease Ulcerative Colitis Psoriasis
Food Intolerances Eczema Rheumatoid Arthritis Lupus
Depression & Anxiety ADHD/ADD Celiac Disease Chronic Fatigue

Don’t Underestimate Gut Dysbiosis

Did you know that there are nine times as many bacteria in the G.I. tract as there are cells in the human body? Many chronic health issues are caused by abnormal levels of yeast, bacteria (pathogenic and beneficial) and parasites. In addition to the gut, an altered microbial ecology can exist in the oral cavity and vaginal cavity. This imbalance between beneficial and pathogenic organisms, referred to as gut dysbiosis, induces disease by altering one’s nutrition, digestion, or immune responses. Addressing gut dysbiosis is often a critical in treating the following:

Steatorrhea (undigested fat in stool) Autoimmune Diseases Arthritis Chronic Fatigue
Weight Gain Vitamin B12 Deficiency Eczema Psoriasis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Colon And Breast Cancer Cystic Acne Allergies
Celiac Disease Headaches Crohn’s Disease Ulcerative Colitis
Menstrual Irregularities Liver Congestion Sinusitis Anxiety

Probiotics- Is Eating Yogurt Enough?

Given the thousands of species of bacteria and our current lifestyle and diet, maintaining a healthy balance of micro-organisms is not as simple as just taking a probiotic or eating yogurt. Even high quality probiotics containing the correct strains, may not be helpful if not properly administered. There are five requirements to increasing the number of beneficial bacteria living freely in your gut:

1. They must be alive when you ingest them

2. They need to survive the acid bath in your stomach and move to your intestines

3. They have to adhere to your intestinal wall and be able to grow in that pH

4. They must produce their own lactic acid for metabolism

5. They need to colonize and thrive as a permanent resident of your gut

Gut Problems Digested Away

Merge Medical Center, is a leader in holistically treating digestion using specialized and comprehensive lab testing. By using these tests we can evaluate absorption/digestion of nutrients into the bloodstream, bacterial and yeast status, immune function, metabolism and rule out the presence of parasites. Based on this data, we create individualized holistic regimen of diet, herbs, detoxification and nutrient supplements to get your health back on track.

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