Optimal health depends on balanced
What does the GI tract have to do with your health? Well...everything! The state of your digestion impacts your nutritional status, energy, weight, sleep, mood, cognition and memory, inflammation levels, hormones, immunity, and more! In other words, the proper functioning of your gut is crucial for maintaining balance and overall health!
Symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, reflux, and abdominal pain or discomfort are not only inconvenient, their presence signals dysfunction within the gastrointestinal tract. Unaddressed, this dysfunction can lead to issues in other areas of the body that manifest in a variety of ways, including allergies, hormone imbalances, autoimmunity, chronic pain, anxiety or depression, weight gain and fatigue!
Once you consider that food is your body's way of acquiring the macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.) that it needs to function properly, then it's easy to understand how compromised digestive function can lead to nutritional deficiencies, resulting in a variety of other health issues!
But how does GI dysfunction lead to hormone or immune imbalances? There are several ways.
Chronic constipation or slow transit time, for example, which can be due to a number of factors, inhibits the body’s ability to efficiently eliminate hormones (both endogenous—made in your body, and exogenous—from an outside source, such as birth control), which can exacerbate existing hormone imbalances, but also create new ones that impact your menstrual cycle, thyroid health, adrenal function, or blood sugar regulation.
Another example of GI function affecting hormones occurs as a result of chronic dysbiosis (an imbalance of the microbes that inhabit the GI tract). Dysbiosis can not only alter your metabolism of natural and synthetic hormones, it can also lead to insulin resistance, which further exacerbates hormone imbalances; disrupts your overall metabolism and ability to maintain a healthy weight; and can lead to sleep-wake cycle disturbances (e.g., insomnia).
Research has shown that about 75-80% of the immune system resides in the GI tract. That means that if there is dysfunction in your GI tract, there will also be dysfunction in your immune system. Longstanding digestive issues can occur for a variety of reasons, but they all significantly increase your risk of frequent illness, chronic illness, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease because of the close relationship between the GI tract and immune system.
Whether you've been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal condition, or you are experiencing a slew of symptoms that doctors haven't yet been able to label, including hormone or immune dysfunction, your overall health will benefit from optimizing your digestive function!
What areas have the greatest impact on digestive health?
What you put into your body, how you live your life, and how you respond to stress.
When you work with me, you’ll learn how to incorporate health-promoting foods, lifestyle modifications, and natural therapies that enhance nutritional status, improve stress management, regulate sleep and energy, support detoxification, and optimize overall function and physiology so that you can restore balance and health to your digestive tract!
Ready to restore your health?
Schedule your comprehensive Naturopathic Health Consultation today!