“All disease begins in the gut,” said Hippocrates.
No one can argue with the father of modern medicine about digestive problems! Especially, the 45 million suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); 1.6 million people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and 3 million people with Celiac, in the US.
Low carb paleo type diets are excellent at managing symptoms and reducing inflammation,
but what caused it in the first place? Inflammation is just another symptom, it’s not the cause.
Both diarrhea and constipation result because of problems with motility. Motility refers to the wave-like contractions of the muscles in the GI tract which move food and waste throughout it. There are two types of motility.
Peristalsis, the motility that moves food that you have eaten.
The migrating motor complex (MMC) is a cyclic, recurring motility pattern that occurs in the stomach and small bowel during fasting.
That “growling” sound your stomach makes? No, you are not hungry. That is your stomach and your intestines engaging in MMC and starting the cleaning process. The MMC wave-like movements push undigested food and waste out of our small intestines. This is crucial to keep our gut bacteria balanced:
Clearing the small intestines prevents the bacteria from feeding off of the waste and grow out of control. (84% of IBS patients test for SIBO (Small Intestines Bacteria Overgrowth).
The sweeping wave-like motions clean out excess bacteria by being pushed back into the large intestine.
Increase in gastric, biliary, and pancreatic secretions, help clean out the small intestine of bacteria buildup.
In a healthy person, with a balanced gut flora, the MMC cycles last at least 90 min. It’s important to understand that the moment we eat, those cycles are stopped and interrupted, and the Peristalsis motility starts.
When we are following the 6 “mini meals” recommendations and grazing on food all day, we never give our body a chance to fully clean the waste from food, leading to overgrowth of candida and/or bacteria, inflammation and Intestinal Permeability.
So, what is the solution if you suffer from digestive disorders?
Intermittent Fasting may be the answer!
Fasting for at least four hours after meals might be beneficial in re-regulating the MMC, but the longer we fast, the more time the body has, to complete the process.
Keto diet also showed to not only help reduce inflammation but also modulate the immune response, increasing glutathione levels, an important antioxidant, that people with auto-immune disease are notoriously low in.
Talk to your practitioner about the right diet for your condition and if you would benefit from specific amino acids supplementation.
Digestion and elimination is a complex process that we often take for granted, until it becomes uncomfortable, too seldom, or too frequent.
I will briefly explain the anatomy of the digestive tract and then focus on a few key points to help you work on your digestion and especially your regular elimination. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on the digestive tract and the problem of constipation. The education here is applicable even if you do not experience constipation. Also, understand that slow thyroid and other considerations like taking pain medications can also alter your digestion and elimination.
The digestive tract begins at the mouth and ends at the anus; this “tube” is called the alimentary canal. The alimentary canal is composed of the:
mouth (for chewing and breaking down food, and adding enzymes for carbohydrate breakdown)
pharynx (connects the mouth to the esophagus)
esophagus (this is the tube to your stomach)
stomach (where acid and enzymes break your food down)
small intestine (mixes food with bile and pancreatic juices, this is where most of your nutritional absorption occurs)
large intestine (waste is moved and water is absorbed)
rectum (readies the waste to exit the body)
anus (sphincter that controls the elimination process).
Other organs that have a role in digestion are the salivary glands, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. These organs deliver enzymes and bile for the digestion of food.
4 Rules to keep a healthy alimentary canal and avoid constipation:
1) Eat Clean: The food you eat is important for timely and healthy digestion and elimination. If you are eating highly processed, sugary, and genetically modified foods your alimentary canal is going to be sluggish, toxic, slow or inconsistent.
2) Drink Water: If you are not drinking adequate water for reabsorption to occur, your stools may become too hard and be difficult and slow to pass. Sodas, juices, and coffee do not count as water.
3) Chew your food: Peristalsis is a sequential movement that mixes and moves food and waste through your alimentary canal. The action of chewing stimulates peristalsis of the entire alimentary canal. This is why I generally recommend that if you are having digestion and elimination problems to avoid protein shakes since chewing is not required and the movement of the bowels does not get stimulated naturally.
4) Schedule time for elimination: If you do not make time for bowel movements you will not be able to “go.” In other words, if you wait to go until you absolutely feel you need to, it is often “not good timing” and instead we “hold it.” This leads to an unhealthy process of reabsorption of the hydration from your stool, making your stool harder and more difficult to eliminate. Often, once you have time, you no longer feel the need. Schedule regular times at least twice a day to relax and have a bowel movement. Even if you don’t necessarily have a bowel movement, it is important to retrain your body. Eating meals on a regular schedule will help create an elimination schedule for your body as well.
Think of this like going to the grocery store hungry, or cooking dinner. If you wait until you’re absolutely hungry and no planning or timing was set aside, it would be likely that you would binge when you eat and buy unhealthy foods.
So remember, eat healthily, chew your food well, drink adequate water between meals, and make time for yourself to have regular bowel movements every day.
Yours in health and happiness, Kristen Clore OTR Nutrition Response Practitioner & Certified Wellness Coach
I have been seeing a teen patient for eleven months.
In that time we have worked on several complaints for her including anxiety, excessive perspiration, and severe menstrual cramping. In the last two months we made considerable progress with cramps with a Standard Process supplement called Collinsonia Root.
A couple months ago I discovered a supplement that I considered to be more of a digestive support supplement helped a patient with some of her circulatory problems. One use of Collinsonia Root is for hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and stool softening. Now I am looking at it from a different viewpoint. And, I am having great results.
Collinsonia Root helps with liver congestion and can improve digestion and elimination. And, it can strengthen veins. All of this together decreases inflammation in the abdomen and can help with menstrual cramps.
Nutrition Response Testing is such a wonderful tool for finding out the secrets of the body.
In the case of this patient we have worked on her immune system, supplemented iodine, and her diet is impeccable. All of her initial complaints are greatly improved. Putting all this together has been possible with Nutrition Response Testing and creating a nutritional program specific to her body. Come in today and let us help you with your health concerns. Your body can tell us some miraculous things.
I look forward to seeing you soon and helping you with your health.