I am amazed at the number of patients who come in not feeling well and when I go thru their symptoms they have major gut issues that they have just lived with for many years and just adapted to considering it as normal. Your gut is in trouble if you have any of these on a weekly basis:
- Significant gas
- Severe constipation
When you are dealing with any health issues very often the gut is the instigating factor. In the functional world it is common saying that you need to fix the gut in order to heal the body. I am a huge believer that gut issues are often the start of autoimmune issues, some hormonal imbalances and certainly a plethora of psychological symptoms from depression to anxiety. So I would add these conditions to the list of your gut is in trouble:
- Autoimmune issues
- Joint pain
- Intermittent finger swelling
I’m sure many of you are acknowledging you have gut and have had a normal colonoscopy or EGD. If you had polyps the GI docs will say they are routine and are excited when they are benign but if you are forming polyps then your gut is not healthy. In addition, the gut has to be severely affected to have an abnormal scope and many times we can’t visualize the cause of your symptoms. This is why you have to do specific tests to start looking for the underlying cause.
Here are a few cases for example:
- 19 year old who had diarrhea so severe that she had to drop out of school and be homeschooled starting in middle school. Colonoscopy/EGD were normal. She was now in college and couldn’t make it thru a class (obviously pre-covid time) and was having to drop out. After working on the 4R’s, not only was she able to sit thru an entire day of class but she had never felt better! Turns out she was sensitive to beef and when we removed that and repaired her gut she was fine!
- Young gentleman who was told he had ulcerative colitis and had a script in hand for Humira. He was having significant blood in his stool and lots of diarrhea and abdominal pain. Within 6 weeks of starting our gut health program, the diarrhea had lessened, the blood resolved and he was feeling a lot better. By 6 months he was a different person.
- Mid 50’s who had stomach issues for a long as she could remember. She was having more and more stomach pain and developing more food sensitivities. Also had significant constipation and intermittent abdominal pain. We started our workup and within 6 weeks she reported being “100 times better”. She had complete resolution of joint pain that she didn’t even realize she had before. Her stomach pain resolved and now has increased energy. As an extra bonus she has lost 9 pounds and 2 inches. She has “never felt better” with our gut health program.
Do any of these symptoms sound too familiar? Allow me to introduce you to the 4R’s of our gut healing program. READ ON…
- Remove: There are two parts to “remove”. First, identifying any food issues. I am a huge believer that many foods are toxic to our guts. However, what is toxic to me may not be toxic to you. The four most allergenic foods are gluten, dairy, corn and soy but so often I find even healthy foods are a problem as well as spices/additives/colors. If your gut is on fire and you keep eating things that fuel the fire you will never get it put out so it is very important to identify food triggers. You can do a standard elimination diet or do food sensitivity testing (I prefer IgG testing like the ALCAT). The second part of “remove” is evaluating for any parasites, yeast or overgrowths and remove them from the equation. This is where SIBO (small bowel overgrowth) and stool analysis comes in. One of the most amazing turn arounds was a young man with ulcerative colitis who thru these type of analysis discovered several food triggers, C difficile bacteria as well as a parasite. If he didn’t have all of these addressed his gut would have continued to be on fire.
- Replace: This is the digestive part of the gut program. Often the enzymes responsible for breaking down the food in the stomach and the enzymes released by the pancreas or gallbladder aren’t sufficient to do their job. Enzyme replacement can be an important step. In addition, tools like apple cider vinegar fit in this category.
- Reinoculate: Simply put the good guys back in. We need bacteria in our gut because they have a job to do and we want certain ones in place to guide everything going on in the gut. Sometimes just adding a high dose probiotic helps crowd out the bad guys. There are lots of different kinds of probiotics available. I prefer the dairy free versions with multiple strains for optimal colonization. If probiotics bother you then chances are you have a significant overgrowth that needs to be addressed.
- Repair: Our poor guts are hammered with antibiotics, bad food, and toxins and as a result our good bacteria can be wiped out. I often see colonizations of bascillus, strep and staph that I am sure is the result of numerous antibiotics over the years. Tainted food is becoming a larger problem. I have diagnosed more people with toxic E coli this year than ever before. Plus the food sensitivities and toxins all work together in damaging our gut. The gut can heal itself if you give it the opportunity but sometimes it is so damaged it needs help. I use many different supplements to help the gut heal depending on the degree of inflammation and what the original issue was. Glutamine, colostrum or Ig26 are examples of products in this category.
If your gut is not healthy then your whole system is unhealthy. You may be more prone to illness because of a weakened first defense system, autoimmune issues are common and mood issues are prevalent. When you approach your gut issues with these steps in mind we often see amazing results. Isn’t it time you address your issues?
To your health,