The digestive tract
Our gastrointestinal tract is the body’s access to the outside world. Everything we consume has the power to help or hinder our body, and protecting the integrity of our gastro-intestinal tract is key to our overall health. The gut is the body’s power-house for digestion, absorption and nutrient production. It houses a microbiome of intestinal bacterial which work synergistically to help keep us healthy. It’s also home to around 70% of our immune cells which are primed to protect us from toxins and external pathogens which may enter the body through our food.
Imbalances in Intestinal Function
There are many conditions which can be affected by imbalances in intestinal function ranging from food tolerances through to inflammatory conditions such as Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis, Autoimmune Gastritis, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, & Celiacs Disease.
Increasingly, the research recognises two important factors in intestinal dysfunction:
- Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut)
- Dysbiosis (Bacterial Imbalance)
Applied nutrition and balancing dietary intake is the gold-standard protocol for supporting intestinal imbalances and optimising digestive function. The 5R program is scientifically-recognised and follows 5 key stages to restore gastro-intestinal health:
- Remove: Remove stressors: get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract including allergic or inflammatory foods, parasites or other bad bugs such as bacteria or yeast.
- Replace: Replace digestive secretions: add back or naturally stimulate digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids that are required for proper digestion and that may be compromised by diet, drugs, diseases, aging, or other factors.
- Reinoculate: Help beneficial bacteria flourish by taking in probiotic foods or supplements that contain the so-called “good” bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species, and by consuming the high soluble fibre foods that good bugs like to eat, called “prebiotics.”
- Repair: Help the lining of the GI tract repair itself by supplying key nutrients that can often be in short supply when the body is in an inflammatory state, such as zinc, antioxidants (e.g. vitamins A, C, and E), fish oil, and the amino acid glutamine.
- Rebalance: Pay attention to lifestyle choices – sleep, exercise and stress can all affect the GI tract.
GASTRO INTESTINAL HEALTH