Your digestive system is a complex system comprising the digestive tract (mouth, throat and esophagus, stomach, large and small intestines, rectum) and other organs (kidneys, liver, and pancreas).
Each component plays a role in helping your body receive food, break it down into its nutrients, absorb these nutrients, and eliminate the indigestible parts. Simply put, your digestive system allows your body to use the nutrients and calories from your food.
Interestingly, the digestive system also plays a critical part of your immune system. Your immune system protects you against foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
The enzymes, acids, and bacteria in your gut are a big part of the immune response; every time you eat something, your body needs to decide whether it poses a threat or not. Essentially, your body is constantly thinking “Do I like this, or should I attack it?”
The digestive system is the main point of contact with potentially hazardous substances from the outside world. So it should come as no surprise that 70% of the immune system is in the gut.
What happens when things go wrong?
When everything goes as planned, the immune system will destroy harmful materials and learn to leave innocuous molecules/materials alone or build up immunity. Problems occur when your gut can’t tell the difference between these two.
Improper immune responses to harmless substances in food (like gluten) are the underlying causes of food allergies. Also, if your immune system is constantly feeling threatened, it works extra hard to launch an immune response, which can lead to inflammation.
Inflammation doesn’t only affect the digestive system, but it also contributes to diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, and heart disease. Chronic diseases cause 70% of deaths in the U.S. and are responsible for 86% of national health care costs.
Most of these diseases are at least somewhat attributable to chronic inflammation.
The digestive system is especially susceptible to infection and inflammation. Its mucosa needs to be thin to do its job (food absorption, gas exchange, etc.), but this also makes it an easy target for toxins.
When we ingest toxins from the environment or food, like sugars, alcohol, and processed food, it can lead to erosion of the gut’s lining.
Known as leaky gut, small holes form in the intestines, which allow harmful molecules to get in. Your immune system detects harm and goes to work, but the problem is that good molecules, designed to keep us healthy, also get attacked.
The attacker cells kick into overdrive and don’t differentiate between harmful and healthy cells (this is an autoimmune response). To make sure your body can differentiate between mounting an immune response or not, you can ensure that your food is completely broken down properly into the building blocks that your body can recognize.
We recommend that you use Enzymix PRO. This supplement ensures that the protein you eat gets broken down into the amino acids your body can recognize. It also ensures vegetables and fats are broken down into their usable forms for your body.
You can arm the healthy cells by taking a probiotic supplement like Probiotic Defense. The supplement helps to balance the intestinal flora and stimulate the body’s natural defenses.
Vitagenis Colon Support is another daily dietary formula that supports those who suffer from constipation. Colon Support promotes gastrointestinal motility and stool bulk. It helps in elimination and regularity supports final phases of detoxification.
Symptoms of a Digestive System Issue
As you can see, problems in the digestive system can trigger a whole host of other issues. Fixing your gut health can make a significant impact on your overall health. How can you tell if things are out of whack?
You may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Mood swings and irritability
- Low energy
- Environmental and/or food allergies or sensitivities
- Bloating, diarrhea, or cramping
It might be necessary to do a complete overhaul of your diet! What we put in our mouths can make a huge difference.
Some of the techniques recommended by healthcare practitioners include elimination diets, fasting, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. You might also need to get tested; stool tests can let you know a lot about bacteria, yeast, parasites and inflammation.
If you think your digestive system may be to blame for bloating, pain, cramps, or other symptoms, contact Lisanne Wellness Center today at 713-461-WELL (9355) our functional medicine experts will be able to diagnose the root cause of the issue and guide you. You can also schedule an appointment for an individual nutrition consultation.