Generally, we think of the digestive system only as a means to breakdown food into its smallest components and use them for countless functions in the body, including cell regeneration and repair.
Take a look at another very important role the digestive system performs; it acts as a protective mechanism that helps keep us healthy by guarding against outside intruders such as pathogens or environmental toxins that come in through food and fluids.
And because of this near constant borage of bacteria and toxins, it’s vital that the components of this protective system are fine-tuned and working properly.
Some of the components of this protective mechanism include an acidic environment that makes it extremely difficult for pathogens to survive in and a mucosal lining that helps separate out the good guys from the bad, preventing the passage of anything it deems “foreign” or not friendly. Additionally, it is also home to 2/3 of our immune system which work to tag and eliminate potential harm. And if that isn’t enough, it also has trillions of beneficial bacteria all working in harmony to assist in keeping the body healthy in many ways.
Sadly, these mechanisms can begin to dysfunction for many reasons including over exposure to environmental toxins, poor diet, use of certain medications, stress and overall poor health habits. When these mechanisms breakdown, we become susceptible to illness.
Here are a few of the more recognizable diseases associated with a malfunction of this system:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
- Hashimotos Thyroiditis
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Food Allergies
Now, take a look at some of the not so obvious symptoms associated with such a breakdown in protective mechanisms:
- Cognitive issues such as brain fog, poor concentration, learning disabilities and restlessness
- Somatic issues such as headaches, insomnia, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, fluid retention
- Systemic issues like palpitations, sweating, urinary urgency, hair loss and itching
- Respiratory issues that include congestion, excessive phlegm and mucous, chronic cough and gagging
So, the question for anyone suffering from one of the many ailments associated with a breached protective system is, how do we get it running smoothly again?
I use a comprehensive approach to determine which areas are not functioning optimally and build a plan from there. However, simply ensuring your diet is clean, free from processed and convenience foods, high in nutrient dense, organic foods, taming stress and getting adequate sleep are really the foundational steps to helping your body’s own innate ability to heal. Testing for opportunistic bacteria, pathogens, viruses and yeasts would be a good next step. Other considerations might be low hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, the need for pre and probiotics as well as determining how well your immune system is functioning.
If you suspect an issue, . I would love to hear your health story and get you on the path to healing.