Gut health: Our gut actively participates in the digestion and absorption of the nutrients present in our foods and supplements, eliminates by-products of metabolism and various toxins, and also provides a major source of our immune defense.
Stomach acid must be acidic (pH 2-3) in order to break down and digest the food and kill any harmful bacteria/viruses/parasites that may enter the stomach. Acid reflux is actually a paradoxical symptom of low stomach acid.
With low stomach acid, foods stay longer in the stomach undigested, increasing abdominal pressure and chances of food being propelled upward into the esophagus. Medications such as histamine blockers and PPIs may make the symptoms feel better temporarily, but they are not correcting the root-cause: acid reflux. They lower the acid in the stomach, further compounding this process.
What symptoms are associated with low stomach acid?
- Abdominal fullness, bloating, gas distention and burning in the upper abdominal area immediately after meals
- Undigested food making its way to the intestines and contributing to ‘leaky gut’ symptoms
- Findings of undigested food particles in the bowel movements
- Multiple food allergies
- Nausea after taking supplements
- Rectal itching, because undigested food promotes fermentation in places where none should happen, therefore leading to gut dysbiosis and overgrowth of yeast species.
You’ve heard before the notion of ‘leaky gut,’ but do you know what are the things that lead to this intestinal permeability?
Poor diet, lifestyle choices, medications such as histamine blockers, PPIs (proton pump inhibitor medications such as Nexium, Dexilant, etc), NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, etc.), antibiotics, dysbiosis (abnormal balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut), food sensitivities, environmental factors; all these lead to perpetual inflammation which ultimately leads to ‘leaky gut’ aka intestinal permeability.
Intestinal permeability leads to activation of the immune system to attack your own organs, with predilection for thyroid, joints and kidneys, and development of chronic auto-immune diseases, it also leads to hormonal imbalances, and all sorts of mental and behavioral problems.
Gluteomorphins and caseomorphins are formed as a result of the poor digestion of gluten (from wheat) and casein (from dairy products), and these products of partial/improper digestion stimulate opium receptors in the brain, leading to all kinds of mental and behavioral problems.
With a ‘leaky gut’ these gluteomorphins and caseomorphins easily get into the blood stream and travel to cross the blood brain barrier where they cause easily recognizable symptoms of agitation (fidgety behavior), depression, attention deficit, brain fog and impaired memory recall.
The gut is also the major factory of about 85-90% of your serotonin production. In the presence of gut dysbiosis (abnormal balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut), food sensitivities, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, gut bacterial/parasite/fungal infections, etc., the production of this happy neurotransmitter also declines.
SSRI medications (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, but if the gut is inflamed by the very things mentioned above, the very substrate needed to be inhibited for reuptake is missing in action, and medication treatment fails to achieve the intended goal of reducing depression, without reversing the root-cause nor eliminating the symptoms of depression.
Correction of the root-causes of intestinal permeability leads to resolution of the following:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Digestion problems
- Food cravings
- Thyroid problems
- Recurrent infections
- Brain fog and impaired memory recall
- Stubborn, excessive weight that’s been hanging around despite you practicing calorie-counting
The gut is arguably the most important organ of detoxification because it excretes most of what the liver is busy packaging for elimination.
Therefore, if aggressive detoxification is considered, the first step should be to heal the gut, reduce inflammation, and make sure that you have at least one bowel movement daily.
If gut elimination is not working properly and daily bowel movements are elusive, estrogen will also not be properly detoxified and eliminated, and thus will be reabsorbed via the bile acids to go back to the liver for a second round of metabolization.
Estrogen metabolism has its own dedicated microbiome called
estrobolome. Imbalance in the estrogen levels is linked to an impaired estrobolome.
Microbes in the estrobolome produce an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase which alters estrogens into their active forms, binding to estrogen receptors and exerting estrogen-related physiologic effects on cells and tissues.
When gut health is not optimal, this gut dysbiosis causes alterations in the activity of this beta-glucuronidase enzyme. Therefore, the more beta-glucuronidase enzyme the impaired gut microbiome produces, the less estrogen is being excreted, so more estrogen remains in the body to recirculate, bind to estrogen-receptors and exert estrogen-related physiologic effects.
This leads to estrogen dominance, even in the presence of age-related ‘normal’ estrogen levels. Estrogen dominance occurs in relative imbalance to progesterone levels and leads to increased risk of endometriosis, endometrial hyperplasia, uterine fibroids, breast, and endometrial cancers.
As the gut mediates hormone metabolism, microbiome dysbiosis reduces bacterial diversity which can also lead to low production of the beta-glucuronidase enzyme resulting in low testosterone levels. The gut microbiome health is not only affecting women, but men also.
The gut’s 5-α and 5-β reductase enzyme activity will also impact progesterone metabolism, for both men and women.
Working directly with me will give you the knowledge you need to evaluate, manage and eliminate gluten intolerance vs celiac disease, acid reflux, bloating/excessive gas, intestinal permeability, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), H. pylori gastritis, chronic yeast infections, chronic constipation, or diarrhea, asthma, allergies, and heal your gut, detoxify correctly, restore hormone balance and feel amazing!