Building and supporting vibrant health with functional medicine, science-based nutritional therapy & therapeutic lifestyle change.
Building and supporting vibrant health with functional medicine, science-based nutritional therapy & therapeutic lifestyle change. 

Functional Medicine for Digestive Function

 

 

Food is not just necessary for survival, it is also one of the greatest pleasures in life. 

But what if normal digestive function begins to fail and we start having meals that sit in our stomach for hours making us feel heavy and uncomfortable? Or if we feel abdominal pain every time we eat something we love? Or get bloated with our daily breakfast? Or belch or regurgitate...  or suffer from terrible heart burn that ruins our joy?

The answer is simple: if we stop digesting our foods normally, the simple and frequent act of eating turns into a bad experience that we are forced to "deal with" every time we are hungry. And the "pleaseure" factor simply disappears!

Unfortunately, conventional aproaches to digestive health do not treat the root of the cause but rather aim exclusively at silencing the symptoms with drugs like antacids, anti-diarrhea medications, stool softeners, laxatives, NSAIDs for pain, etc. Although this may seem like a fantastic solution for a while, the underlying cause of the problem is left untreated, enhancing and aggravating the sufferer's health with time.  

" A diagnosis is not a cure - It's a starting point". - Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D., CCN, CHN

The digestive system is comprised of :

  • The mouth (with the teeth, salivary glands, tongue)
  • The pharynx
  • The esophagus
  • The stomach
  • The gall bladder
  • The pancreas
  • The liver
  • The small and large intestines.

 

Any of these organs may become compromised, affecting the general capacity of the entire tract to operate optimally, and leading to unpleasant symptoms that, if untreated, will eventually turn into serious health issues and illnesses.

 

If you cannot properly digest your food, absorptiono of nutrients will be impeded. This means that the trillions of cells that your entire body is made of (think of your heart cells, your muscles cells, your brain cells, your skin cells, your reproductive cells, and so on) won't get the daily nutrients they need in order to function optimally and be healthy.

 

 

Many serious health issues are originated

because of impaired digestive function. 

 

 

The main causes of poor digestion are the following:

 

  1. Poor chewing and mental/emotional/physical stress during mastication.
  2. Insufficient secretion by the stomach of hydrochloric acid (which breaks down proteins). Heartburn is not excessive stomach acid, but actually, not enough.
  3. Insufficient secretion of bile salts (which break down fats) by the liver.
  4. Insufficient secretion of digestive enzymes (responsible for breaking down fats, carbohydrates, proteins, pectins, and phytic acid) by the pancreas.
  5. Insufficient secretion of metablic enzymes (disregulation of which has been linked to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, osteoporosis, hormonal disorders, cancer, and many other diseases) by the body.
  6. Insufficient dietary fiber (soluble fiber & insoluble fiber) found in whole foods made my mother nature and in bacteria fermented in the large intestine

 

Functional medicine uses botanicals and probabiotics to restore healthy digestive function.

We believe in replenishing the G.I with plenty of good bacteria, digestive enzymes, HCL, etc. to boost natural production of the same agents by the body. We also make sure that yeast, parasites, and upper intestinal bacterial overgrowth is killed off effectively. We achieve all this with the power and wisdom of nature!

Functional medicine and digestive issues

 

recongnizes that the whole is contained within the parts. We don't separate the parts and understand the whole from the perspective of just one isolated part. We actually know that when any part is not functioning right, the system as a whole is affected. So for example, when your digestive system (a part) is not functioning optimally, your enitre system (the whole) may be affected (i.e your sleep will suffer and your energy levels will drop; your skin, hair, and nails may become dry, brittle, lose their strength and shine or show evident signs of stress; you may start experiencing bad headaches, muscle pains, etc.). 

 

Likewise, most often, G.I (gastro intestinal) complaints are caused by multiple interdependent dysfunctions and a diminished capacity by the body to properly digest foods and absorb their nutrients into the cells will lead to a successive failure in other systems of the body

 

The casacade of bodily functions that may suffer just because your digestive system isn't working optimally, may look like this: 

 

  1. Maldigestion will result in time in symptoms that irritate the G.I system. Irritation will inevitably lead to inflammation. Some of these symptoms are:
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain
  • Constipation

       2. Gut irritation will in turn lead to more serious problems like:

  • Leaky gut (increased gut permeability)
  • Food allergies
  • Bacterail overgrowth
  • Yeast overgrowth
  • Production of gut toxins

3.  If a toxic & unbalanced gastro-intestinal environment is allowed to proliferate because of the above factors, your body will experience:

  • Loss of integrity of the gut walls
  • Toxic molecules now cross the porous gut walls and enter the portal and systemic circulation (where nature never intended for these molecules to be!)

4. This invasion of food molecules and pathogens into the circulation activates the immune system which attacks bodies not expected to be present in the blood. The result will be:

  • Disrupted immunity (autoimmunity!)
  • Disrupted hormonal function 
  • Inflammation

5. Finally, the resulting complex inflammatory interactions will favor etiology of

  • Autoimmune disorders

 

 

 

My functional medicine program for digestive function

 

 

1) Supporting gut integrity (leaky gut)

 

2) Addressing & balancing your microbiome by:

  • A) Removing unwanted:
    • H.Pylori that plays a crucial role in the developlment of GERD or gastric reflux, gastritis, stomach cancer, stomach lymphomas, inflammation, autoimmune diseases,Parkinson's disease; food allergies, migraine headaches, psoriasis, and rosacea; 
    • candida/yeast and other fungal infections (that can appear in thrush, eye fungi, vaginitis, skin rashes, or athletes' foot, contributing to systemic problems like insomnia, depression, or brain fog); 
    • SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) that contributes to IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, interstitial cystitis, upper quadrant abdominal pain, gas, bloating, etc.; 
    • Parasites (like pig whipworms, amoebas, giardia, plasmodium, cryptosporidium, tapeworms, pinworm, etc.) that cause chronic diarrhea, pain, constipation, bloating, gas, unexpected weight loss, fatigue, fever, coughing, itching, skin rashes, blood in the stools, abdominal cramping, joint aches, muscle aches, chronic fatigue, anemia, allergies, granulomas, nervousness, teeth grinding, IBS, insomnia, etc.);
    • Harmful biofilms (bacterial and fungal communities)that are linked to cystic fibrosis, periodontal disease, chronic ear infections, candiasis, endocarditis, and other life-threatening infections.
  • B) Reinseminating beneficial bacterial micro-organisms that help in metabolic functions; breaking down of nutrients; formation of enzymes and vitamines and as first line of defense against pathogenic attacks. 
  • Addressing gut inflammation  - which causes:
    • A) pain and discomfort - like acid reflux; mouth sores; periodontal disease inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis; irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); dysbiosis; 
    • B)autoimmune disorders - like type 1 diabetes, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Applying the right diet for your individualised program:
    • The Gluten -Free Diet
    • The Anti-Candida diet
    • The Elimination Diet
    • The Body Ecology diet
    • The SCD diet (Specific Carbohydrate Diet)
    • The GAPS diet (Gut and Physchology Syndrome Diet)
    • The Liver Detox
    • The Colon Detox
  • Eliminating Food Sensitivities, Intolerances & Allergies
  • Replenishing deficient nutrients required for gut health
    • Minerals
    • Vitamins
    • Amino Acids
    • Anti-oxidants
    • Protein
    • Essential Fats
  • ​Managing stress​ 
    • Yoga
    • Pranayama (ancient yogic breathing techniques)
    • Meditation
    • Massage
    • Tai Chi
    • Art
    • etc.

If you're currently experiencing digestive symptoms and would like to try something new and effective, please get in touch with me asap:

+44 0787 20 22009 consultations@vitalityexpression.co.uk

"Meta-analyses showed that flavonoids have a promising role in improving visual function in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension (OHT), and appear to play a part in both improving and slowing the progression of visual field loss".

 

-Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2015 Sep 4. Epub 2015 Sep 4. PMID: 26340868

"Animal studies show that holy basil helps the body maintain homeostasis of the stress hormone cortisol.1 It rebalances mood-associated neurotransmitters in the brain—specifically ones that can produce feelings of hopelessness, which is a key component of stress-induced depression."2

1- Phytother Res. 2016;30(5):805-14

2-Indian J Med Res. 2012;135(4):548-54

 

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"EGCG (from green tea extract) regulates genes involved in fat oxidation and storage, as well as genes involved in insulin signaling and glucose metabolism."

-Planta Med. 2004 Nov;70(11)

 

"Effect of unsaponifiable extracts of avocado and soybean (Piasclédine) on the collagenolytic action of cultures of human rheumatoid synoviocytes and rabbit articular chondrocytes treated with interleukin-1."

- Rev Rhum Mal Osteoartic. 1991 Apr;58(4):241-5. PMID: 1647544

"This meta-analysis showed a significant effect of supplementation with Spirulina in reducing plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides and elevating those of HDL-C."

- Clin Nutr. 2015 Sep 25. Epub 2015 Sep 25. PMID: 26433766

"Supplementation with olive leaf polyphenols for 12 weeks significantly improved insulin sensitivity and pancreaticβ-cell secretory capacity in overweight middle-aged men at risk of developing the metabolic syndrome."

- Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Dec 31, 2012

 

"A coconut extra virgin oil-rich diet increases HDL cholesterol and decreases waist circumference and body mass in coronary artery disease patients."

- Nutr Hosp. 2015 ;32(5):2144-52. Epub 2015 Nov 1. PMID: 26545671

"Lycopene, the predominant carotenoid in tomatoes and tomato-based foods, is reported to protect against various cancers, especially prostate cancer. 

Cell growth was inhibited 20% at 0.2 microM lycopene and 40% at 50 microM lycopene after a 24-hr incubation. In the Comet assay, lycopene-treated cells showed less DNA damage than did placebo-treated cells. The inhibition of Hep3B cell growth in this study demonstrates the antitumor properties of lycopene."

- Biofactors. 2005 ;23(3):129-39. PMID: 16410635

"Accumulating evidence indicates that abdominal adiposity is positively related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and some other diseases independently of overall adiposity. However, the association of premature death resulting from these diseases with abdominal adiposity has not been widely studied, and findings are inconsistent. In a prospective cohort study of 44,636 women in the Nurses' Health Study, associations of abdominal adiposity with all-cause and cause-specific mortality were examined. During 16 years of follow-up, 3507 deaths were identified, including 751 cardiovascular deaths and 1748 cancer deaths. After adjustment for body mass index and potential confounders, the relative risks across the lowest to the highest waist circumference quintiles were 1.00, 1.11, 1.17, 1.31, and 1.79 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47 to 1.98) for all-cause mortality; 1.00, 1.04, 1.04, 1.28, and 1.99 (95% CI, 1.44 to 2.73) for CVD mortality; and 1.00, 1.18, 1.20, 1.34, and 1.63 (95% CI, 1.32 to 2.01) for cancer mortality (all P<0.001 for trend). Among normal-weight women (body mass index, 18.5 to<25 kg/m(2)), abdominal obesity was significantly associated with elevated CVD mortality: Relative risk associated with waist circumference>or = 88 cm was 3.02 (95% CI, 1.31 to 6.99) and for waist-to-hip ratio>0.88 was 3.45 (95% CI, 2.02 to 6.92). After adjustment for waist circumference, hip circumference was significantly and inversely associated with CVD mortality."

-Circulation. 2008 Apr 1;117(13):1658-67. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.739714. Epub 2008 Mar 24.

"Major changes in self-reported eating behaviors included eating only when experiencing true physiological hunger and stopping when sensing a feeling of fullness. Self-efficacy for these behaviors was reported to be enhanced by observing weight loss for themselves or others. Support from other group members, the simplicity of the program, and spiritual benefits through prayer and scripture reading were also reported to enhance confidence. Women indicated that they relied on an internal locus of control based on a sense of self-discipline.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Traditional means to enhance self-efficacy were important for all women; however, for some women, spirituality was also an important aspect of adhering to program principles."

- J Nutr Educ Behav. 2004 Jan-Feb;36(1):13-5.

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