Gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea. These are all symptoms of poor digestion. Most people experience some form of digestive upset at some point in their life, but a large majority experience these things on a daily basis. In fact, for some these symptoms occur so regularly that it has become their state of feeling “normal”. What they don’t realize is that by allowing the digestive system to continue malfunctioning, they are setting themselves up for further health problems down the road.They may even be experiencing some symptoms of advanced digestive problems and are unaware of the connection. For example, a poorly functioning digestive system can result in these seemingly unrelated symptoms:
- Skin problems including jock itch, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne
- Chronic fatigue
- Allergies, both food and seasonal
- Frequent illness
- Weight gain
- Frequent yeast infections and/or urinary tract infections
Ironically, these symptoms are generally treated individually and the state of the digestive system is almost always overlooked (with of course the exception of diagnosed digestive diseases). When treated separately the symptoms may disappear for some time but when the root cause is not addressed they will reoccur or other symptoms may arise.
So how is the digestive system capable of affecting other areas of the body besides the obvious symptoms of indigestion and heartburn?
First of all, consider the fact that a large percentage of the immune system lies in your digestive tract. When our proper digestion mechanisms fail, our immune system is repeatedly provoked in order to “pick up the slack” and break down large food molecules. This is where food sensitivities begin to develop which result in their own wide array of symptoms including brain fog, lethargy, weight gain, headaches and rashes. Additionally, our intestinal lining gets weakened and can allow foreign protein molecules into the blood stream which then puts the body into a hyper-reactive state (cue more allergies).
Secondly, the digestive system is home to trillions of delicately balanced gut microbiota (also referred to as “gut flora” and “gut bacteria”) that are vital to many digestive functions including stool formation, synthesizing vitamins and even contributing to healthy immunity. Thanks to the recent influx in marketing of probiotics, more and more people are becoming familiar with the importance of good gut bacteria. There are many, many ways for our good gut flora to become imbalanced but for the sake of not turning this into a novel, let’s discuss the side effects. When our gut flora is in a state of imbalance, certain “unfriendly” bacteria and yeast organisms can take hold and overgrow in the digestive tract and cause a host of problems including constipation, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections. Candida Albicans is one yeast organism that can proliferate in the digestive tract and can be the culprit behind chronic fatigue, joint pain, oral thrush, yeast infections, jock itch, gas and bloating, sinusitis, irritability and sugar cravings. Dysbiosis is the term used to describe imbalanced gut flora and one cannot be healthy until it has been addressed.
Lastly, the digestive system is home to one of the body’s most important organs, the liver. The liver is responsible for so many essential functions of the body relating to digestion, metabolism, immunity and the storage of nutrients. Certain food choices and lifestyle habits can cause the liver to become sluggish which not only hampers digestion but effects hormone detoxification. Slow hormone detoxification can cause or aggravate PMS and other hormone imbalances including PCOS and Estrogen Dominance.
If any of these symptoms mentioned sound all too familiar with you, it is important to address them before they worsen. A three week digestion kick-start program can get you back on track and feeling revitalized in no time!