As a functional medicine pharmacist it seems like every day people are complaining about how they poop.
Some people can’t poop enough, some poop too much, other people have indigestion, bloating, more and more food allergies. So why is this happening, how does it effect your Immune System, and what to do about it.
So why is this happening?
To better understand this we have to be able to picture our stomach lining or the barrier between the outside and the inside. I kind of like thinking about it like your skin because it is easier to picture. So in the digestive system, like or skin, we have cells that form the thin lining of the intestines and they are tightly packed together. So tight, that under normal conditions, only digested food and water can enter the bloodstream. Due to poor dietary intake, diets full of processed foods, or medications, this lining of cells gets stretched, damaged, or chemically altered. These changes effect normal digestion and can stretch the gaps between stomach lining cells that allows for undigested food and toxins to pass through, which then get into the blood stream and circulate through the body. Under normal conditions the gut also is home to trillions of bacteria both good and bad. When this balance gets disturbed the bad bacteria can get the advantage and also lead to an increase in gut permeability.
How does this affect my immune system?
Around 75% of your immune system lives in your gut, the gut bacteria help the T cells, of your immune system, understand the difference between your body’s tissues and foreign substances. This understanding helps your immune system respond correctly to both natural cells and foreign substances alike.
When there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it can lead to your body’s immune system attacking your own cells. If this last long enough your doctor will need to diagnose you with an auto-immune disease. In order to prevent auto-immune diseases we need to maintain a healthy gut by repairing any damage, making better food choices, and recreating gut friendly diets.
How to repair your gut?
The goal of gut repair is to Improve Inflammatory Balance, Improve Gut Integrity, and Improve Immune Strength.
- Improve Inflammatory Balance– By using supplements like cur cumin & Skullcap Root extract we can help maintain normal inflammatory balance, up-regulate production of natural antioxidants, and enhance immune health.
- Improve Gut Integrity– By supplementing with glutamine & glycine to enhance wound repair and gut cell regeneration
- Improve Immune Strength– by supplementing with Arabinogalactan & Vitamin D3 to help tighten those gap junctions, support healthy growth of bacteria in the gut, and modulate the immune response.
Resetting Your Diet
Can make a world of difference in preventing future damage to your gut and your immune system. If our diet and toxins were effecting skin we would repair it, so we should treat our gut in the same way . A great way to do this is to begin an Elimination Diet or Detox Program.
An elimination diet is just as it sounds you eliminate foods from your diet for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. After completing an elimination diet, food is slowly reintroduced, one item at a time, as symptoms and sensitivities are monitored.
Here are some general guidelines to consider; as with an dietary change, and elimination diet should be conducted under the guidance of your health care practitioner.
What you should eat
- Vegetables– Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onion, brussel sprouts, kale, radishes, lentils, garlic
- Fruit– Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and other fresh or frozen fruits
- Protein– Wild fish, organic chicken and turkey, grass-fed beef
- Spices-Turmeric, garlic, pink Himalayan salt
- Beverages– Filtered water, herbal or green tea.
What Should Limit or Avoid
- Gluten– Wheat, barley, rye, couscous, bread, processed food, beer
- Dairy– Milk, cream, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream
- Soy– Edamame, soy sauce, tempeh, tofu, meat alternatives
We hope this information can help you get a handle on your gut health and gives you a great place to start. If you would like more help then explore our functional medicine services.