Digestive Health

The Wyndham Centre’s tips on Digestive Health

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are common place these days, if I tested everyone on the street I would find them sensitive to something. However, if your immune system is up, you are feeling good, and life is wonderful, you are less likely to react to those sensitivities.

Solution: Get yourself tested to find out which foods your body is not so happy with, and this can help a great deal with your digestion.

Parasites

Parasites, by definition, live off other living things. Those that infest our bodies not only live off the nutrients in the food that we eat but they actually live off our tissues stealing our energy and secreting toxins into our blood stream. Many people do not realise that they have them, and they are very difficult for the doctors to diagnose. Parasites can do much damage before they are suspected of being a problem, yet it is a problem all over the world. We routinely worm our horses, cattle, dogs, cats, and other animals, but few of us think to care for ourselves in the same manner.

These days, due to the toxic environment, you are exposed to all kinds of parasites, from other people through blood, saliva, semen and breast milk, from your home, the leaves of certain vegetables, from pets and other farm livestock and from meat that hasn’t been cooked adequately to kill them off. Many water supplies around the world are definite sources of parasites.

Symptoms from some of the more prevalent intestinal parasites such as Giardia are mild to moderate abdominal cramps, intestinal wind, light coloured stools, malabsorption, stomach bloating and diarrhoea. The more severe types of parasites can give extreme tiredness, severe pains and vomiting.

Due to modern farming techniques involving fertilisers and pesticides, and the chemicals that are in our processed foods, we do not have the ‘army’ of nutrients we need to resist the parasites that invade us.

The liver is our main organ for detoxing the body and filters pollutants out of the blood dumping many of them in the digestive tract by secreting them through bile. One problem is that many of the toxins are reabsorbed in the intestinal tract and back into our system.

Solution: Core Artemisia containing Black Walnut Hull, Wormwood, Clove Oil, Garlic and Papaya Leaf.  Core Berberine containing Berberine, Goldenseal Root and Oregon Grape.

It is recommended that we all take a parasite remedy every 4-6 months to keep the body clean and healthy. Herbs can rid your body of these parasites, without so much as a headache, without nausea, and without any interference with any drug that you already take.

Fungus

Yeast and mould are fungus, and there are over 200 that may live within the body. Some fungus feed off dead organisms whilst others, the parasitic fungus, feed off live organisms. These pathogenic fungus cause human diseases such as athletes foot, ring worm, dandruff, rosacea, swimmers ear, nail infections and yeast infections. Fungus sprout from a spore and grow as filaments branching repeatedly and interconnecting with other cells. Their cells are strong and rigid.

Candida Albicans, one of the most common human fungus, is a type of yeast that, at body temperature, grows filaments that burrow into, and penetrate the wall of the intestines.

Fungus lives in damp environments so that the filaments can absorb nutrients that are dissolved in water such as sugars and amino acids and then they release enzymes and toxins from that process that go on to degrade more complex nutrients for them to absorb. The toxic enzymes are then transported by the blood stream through the body causing illness.

We all have small amounts of yeast and fungal organisms which are normally well tolerated if you have a healthy immune system. However, if the immunity is compromised in any way the body, and especially the intestines, may become susceptible to an overgrowth. The immune system can be compromised by antibiotics because they kill off the good as well as the bad bacteria and leave open space for yeast to grow. The pill and steroids also allow for the growth of fungus.

Solution: Nutrispore containing caprylic acid, herbal compounds, and supporting nutrients for a healthy microbial in the gut.

Digestive Enzymes

The enzymes in our digestive system are proteins and they break down our foods into simpler substances that can be more easily absorbed. Nutrients are trapped in the food we eat and our digestive system was designed to set the nutrients free, but not without the help of the enzymes found in raw and fermented foods. However, we often lack enzymes due to a poor diet or other factors and sometimes the enzymes do not work so well because of a poor acid/alkaline balance.

The body produces around 22 enzymes that all work on different types of food. If you constantly eat cooked processed food your body is forced to supply all of the enzymes needed to digest that food which requires a lot of energy, and is the reason for feeling tired after eating a meal. However, your body will eventually use up its ability to produce enzymes and this causes symptoms such as fatigue, wind, constipation, headaches and bowel problems.

Solution: Digestive enzymes may be helpful for those who can get bloating almost immediately after eating food. Similase is a highly concentrated plant enzyme formula that is stable and active in an acid or alkaline environment.

Acid/Alkaline Balance

Many people experience what they think, and what is often considered, an over acid stomach which gives them heartburn. Infact in many cases this is certainly an acid issue but more a case of not enough acid at the right strength, or a low enough pH. For perfect digestion, you need digestive juices at a very low pH, in other words, very, very strong acid, between 0.9 and 2.4. Often it is working inadequately and very hard at a pH of 4 or more, and if the stomach is not acidic enough, the enzyme pepsin will not work properly. The food then ferments and so produces gas that bloats the stomach, causing discomfort. The next stage is a feeling in your ‘heart’ or throat of soreness partnered with that terrible burning sensation.

The enzymes work best at their optimum pH, so for example, the enzyme protease, that digests proteins, and lipase, that digests fats, and amylase that digests starches are secreted in the pancreas and will only work in an alkaline medium. The pancreas also produces the pancreatic juice that changes the acid contents from the stomach into an alkaline in the small intestine. However, very often there is an acid-alkaline imbalance that can cause indigestion (heartburn) and bloating within an hour after eating.

Solution: For those who get indigestion and heartburn, they will be helped by an enzyme supplement that also balances the acid/alkaline levels. In some supplements this may include some hydrochloric acid to help the acidity in the stomach, such as Nutrigest. In other supplements the alkalizing remedies such as calcium and magnesium may be included for the more alkaline levels required in the intestine. You will find these in Catalyst 7.

Leaky Gut

In a ‘Leaky gut’ situation the lining of the gut becomes rather like a sieve where the holes become large and allow bacteria, toxins and food to leak through into the body. This occurs when the lining becomes inflamed or damaged disrupting the functioning of the system. Large food antigens are foreign to the body’s defence system, so it attacks them resulting in the production of antibodies against once harmless foods and so a food sensitivity develops. Also, when the intestinal lining is damaged the carrier proteins that take the vitamins and minerals across become damaged resulting in a vulnerability of the person to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

An inflamed gut does not absorb food and nutrients properly and therefore fatigue and bloating occurs. The leakage of toxins into the body upsets the liver, which then finds it difficult to handle everyday chemicals and then the protective coating is adversely affected and the body is not able to ward of bacteria, viruses, yeast and parasites. The cycle begins again and it becomes a vicious circle.

So what causes a leaky gut? There are many factors that can increase the permeability of the intestinal wall such as alcohol and caffeine, drugs especially antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and antacids, food additives, diets high in refined carbohydrates and stress.

Solution: L-Glutamine, is not an essential amino acid but the body often needs more of it than it can synthesise, especially when under increased physiological stress or illness. It is especially balancing for the support of mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract and therefore builds the immune system preventing toxins getting through.

Lack of Good Bacteria

In a healthy colon, there are billions of beneficial bacteria. Usually they multiply at a fast enough rate to keep up with the numbers that are lost during elimination. They help to keep the proper pH of the colon and therefore prevent any ‘bad’ bacteria from over growing. These ‘friendly’ bacteria are also important because, not only do they help to keep the immune system healthy, but they also synthesize many important vitamins in the digestive tract including Vitamin K and some of the B Vitamins.

The ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria should be 80% good to 20% bad, however it is believed that in most people this is ratio is actually reversed. The reason for this is primarily the denatured diet we consume and the abundance of drugs that we take, especially antibiotics.

Antibiotics are a double edged sword. They are very important in some instances to help save lives but should be used very sparingly because they are non specific and kill all bacteria rather than just the disease causing ones. This reduces the natural defence mechanisms of the gut, and allows other organisms like fungus to overgrow, out of control. So if you have been on a course of antibiotics you should take a good probiotic afterwards to put the good bacteria back into the gut.

Solution: UltraProbioplex is a powerful probiotic containing 60 billion live organisms that rapidly replenish intestinal flora, and has a broad intestinal, digestive and immune system support function.

Conclusion

The lining of your digestive tract is made up of epithelial tissue just like the cells of the skin, nose and eyes and if there is inflammation in your gut you may also have sinus or eye problems or even skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis. It is therefore important to keep your digestive system in tip top form.

Solution: Epithelial cells are very dependent on Vitamin C and Vitamin A for their health and integrity. Vitamin C is also very valuable for healing lesions and inflammation within the gastro-intestinal tract, and a non acidic or buffered one would be better to prevent irritation.

Zinc is an important mineral for tissue health and a good antioxidant. It is important for healing especially in the small intestine where the cells of the lining are replaced every four days. A liquid zinc would be better for absorption. Other natural antioxidants such as Pine Bark and Grape Seed may also be helpful.

Essential Fatty Acids are also essential for reducing inflammation.