Understanding Gastrointestinal Health
Do you frequently feel bloated after a meal?
Do you take antacids with you when you travel?
Are you taking a prescription acid blocking drug?
Do you avoid foods that don't "agree" with you?
Have you ever been on extensive antibiotic therapy?
Do you have frequent unexplained diarrhea?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is likely that some of the important structures of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract need extra support!
The Pillars of GI Health
The GI tract has 4 main functions which we call the pillars of GI health. They are called pillars because they are the foundations by which the health of our GI systems are supported. Specifically, these 4 pillars are composed of digestion, elimination, microflora balance and gut integrity. When one pillar is compromised, it puts strain on the other pillars and the resulting imbalance triggers a domino effect which causes GI and non-GI related issues.
Digestion: The main function of our GI tract is to digest and absorb the foods we eat. Digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid in the stomach and rhythmic contractions all play a part in breaking down large food particles so they can be absorbed into our bodies. Poor digestion and absorption of key nutrients will result in low energy, sluggish metabolism, mental fog, fatigue and an increased susceptibility to all chronic illnesses.
Elimination: The process of elimination is just as important as digestion and is vital for our well-being. Elimination involves removing the unusable portions of the food we eat as well as eliminating toxic waste products from biochemical reactions taking place In our cells.
Microflora Balance: We have over 100 trillion microscopic organisms, microflora, that live in our GI tract. Our microflora consists of over 500 different strains of beneficial yeast, bacteria and microorganisms that grow in the intestines. Their purpose is to help maintain healthy and functional digestion and absorption in the GI tract. These organisms also help regulate immune function and blood sugar levels, assist in vitamin production and manufacture essential nutrients. It is critical that we keep our beneficial flora in balance and in plentiful supply as this will help regulate the digestive system and help prevent GI illnesses from arising.
Gut Integrity: The GI tract is the largest protective cell layer that serves as a barrier between our internal body and the external world. It covers an area the size of a tennis court! One critical function of the lining of the gut is to allow nutrients into the body while excluding all the harmful substances that pass through our gut. If this selective barrier is not maintained, the intestinal barrier becomes permeable to a number of harmful substances that trigger immune-related responses, typically linked to such disorders as Chron's, Celiac disease and food allergies.
Call Dr. Allan Kurtz at 818.346.1440 and ask how you can take control of your GI tract today!