Naturopathic Medical Clinic
West Valley, Peoria, AZ

Gut Health Matters

Next to the common cold, digestive problems are the most common reason people seek medical attention.

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So why a talk about the gut?

Next to the common cold, digestive problems are the most common reason people seek medical attention. In fact, two of every three people have had a digestive problem in the past three months.

Modern science has found that the majority of our body’s immune system originates in the digestive system — 60-70% according to some estimates. The problem is that colonic and immune functions decline with age, contributing to disease throughout the body.

So what exactly is the gut?

The word gut is usually referring to the small and large intestine which is a part of our digestive system. Understanding how the gut works can help us keep things running more smoothly.

The Digestive System consists of the following:

  1. The mouth – breaks food down into manageable pieces and starts the digestive process
  2. The esophagus – here, powerful, rhythmic muscular contractions push food down to the stomach
  3. The stomach – the food mixes with gastric juices for a few hours. Enzymes break down most of the proteins and acid kills off the majority of bacteria. The resulting thick liquid passes slowly into the small intestine.
  4. The small intestine – food particles move along this intricate tubing (about 6 meters long) and are broken down into simpler molecules, of carbohydrate, protein and fat. These are then absorbed into the blood stream.
  5. The large intestine – the remaining food particles spend 12-48 hours here. Here, water and minerals are absorbed while bacteria break down undigested food particles.
  6. The pancreas – not strictly part of the digestive system but secretes an alkaline juice which neutralizes stomach acid, and enzymes that break down protein, fat and carbohydrates.
  7. The liver – the chemical factory and warehouse of the body. Receives nutrients from the gut via the blood.
  8. The gall bladder – concentrates bile and squeezes it into the small intestine, where it helps to digest fat.

How do you know if your gut is in need of help? Do you have any of these symptoms? Remember symptoms are the roadmap to the origin or cause of disease.

  • Abdominal cramping or pain
  • Diarrhea, constipation or alternating bouts of both
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic skin conditions

Digestive problems contribute to the following disorders:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn)
  • Crohns disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Allergies/Sinusitis
  • Cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Fibromyalgia