The Top 10 Reasons Digestive Health is Vital to Your Well-Being

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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The Top 10 Reasons Digestive Health is Vital to Your Well-Being
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There are many natural strategies to improve the health of your digestive system. Basics include eating a good diet, extra dietary fiber, and inclusion of friendly flora in supplements and/or food. Many other strategies can help improve reflux, indigestion, digestive inflammation, food sensitivities, and other digestive issues. Doing so is a very high priority as the new science shows that digestive “red flags” are signaling more serious health problems and a clear risk for extremely poor health.

The nutritional science in this field is rapidly emerging. The implications are stunning – in terms of what you can do to improve your health. The following 10 articles highlight the vital importance of having a digestive tract in tip-top working order.

Major Breakthroughs on Gut Function

The National Institutes of Health is devoting $100 million in grants over the next five years to study how the trillions of bacteria and yeasts in your gut actually affect your health and risk for disease. After decades of denial, mainstream researchers now have the molecular tools to actually evaluate gut contents, and are sounding the alarm with proclamations like this “Due to their overwhelming numbers, the fact that their byproducts can be found in most human fluids, and the evidence of their potential role in health and disease, it is quite possible that mapping and understanding the human microbiome may be as important or more important to understanding human health than mapping and understanding the human genome.”

More Than a Gut Feeling

A new study shows more clear evidence of the inseparable link between digestive balance of foreign cells and human health. In this study it was proven that specific bacteria cause specific types of immune cells to form. In particular, the researchers found that too much of one type of bacteria that is normally in the digestive tract provokes the human immune system into a pro-inflammatory condition, adversely influencing intestinal immunity and predisposing to inflammatory bowel disease. Normally we think of the immune system as attacking things that should not be there. This is a different idea. It means that every person has trillions of foreign cells lining their digestive tract that collectively forms their own “metabolic organ.” It means there is back and forth communication between the human immune system and the gut contents, different than an attack and destroy approach. It is more of a negotiation, i.e., how do we get along with each other? In fact, it is more like training.

Probiotics, Stress, and Digestion

Probiotics are the friendly flora that line your intestinal tract – by the trillions. They play a vital role in digestive health. A great deal of new research has begun to unravel many of the helpful things probiotics do for you. They are involved in the repair and protection of your GI tract and even have an ability to positively modulate the core inflammatory gene signal known as NF-kappaB. Stress can be a large problem for your digestive systems, inducing irritation and impaired function. Stress actually kills friendly flora, reducing their numbers. It is now recognized that hostile bacteria can sense when you are stressed and can become even more hostile, ramping up their irritation factors.

How Digestive Problems Prevent Weight Loss

There are many potential monkey wrenches that wreak havoc with your metabolism and impede your ability to lose weight. New science indicates that damage to your digestive tract heads the list of priorities for debugging stubborn weight issues. This applies to almost everyone who is overweight and not able to lose weight easily by cutting back on excess calories, following the Five Rules of the Leptin Diet, ensuring your basic nutrient needs are met, and exercising more. This is likely true whether you think you have digestive problems or not. This new science demonstrates that cravings for sugar, carbohydrates and/or high calorie foods indicate a high likelihood of digestive inflammation and related toxicity that is interfering with metabolism. This issue is of immense importance as extra body weight is linked to a survival strategy that may actually be protecting your body from higher levels of digestive damage than you would otherwise experience if you were not craving excess food.

Germ Gangs Block Weight Loss

The metabolic flu weakens your host defenses. This enables germ gangs to take up unwanted residence. Your immune system can’t get rid of them and struggles to keep them in their existing neighborhoods. Some of these germ gangs live within your digestive tract, lungs, or sinuses. Some even live in your white adipose tissue. The net result is increased tissue damage, higher levels of inflammation, higher levels of toxic exposure, food sensitivities, greater risk for immune system malfunction, and significantly more trouble engaging weight loss or sustaining a weight loss program.

Type 2 Diabetics Have Higher Rates of Indigestion

A new study demonstrates conclusively for the first time that type 2 diabetics have higher rates of reflux, indigestion, and heartburn. Their rates of lower GI problems were similar to the general population. The greater the indigestion the more it was linked to their lack of control of their blood sugar levels.

The Highly Pathogenic E. Coli Genie is Out of the Bottle – Can You Withstand an Attack?

The tactics are straight out of the terrorist textbook. A wave of suicide bombers hits the front line defensive fortifications. Most of this first wave blows holes in the defensive barriers and leaves a battlefield of inflammatory damage and debris. Some of these first wave terrorists hijack important communication systems relating to the natural defense mechanisms. If these defense mechanisms fail, invasion of the body is certain. Rather than that, the defense mechanisms, faced with impending doom, are forced to allow an inflammatory diarrhea response. But wait, the second wave of the terrorist attack is now under way. They are taking advantage of the damaged battlefield of the first wave of attack. They are armed with highly toxic chemical weapons, the type that is banned from “humane warfare.” Welcome to the world of infectious E. coli. And in Germany, welcome to the world of superbug infectious E. coli – resistant to antibiotics and armed with some of the most devastating toxins ever known. The solutions center on the health of your digestive tract…

An Astounding Discovery: Gut Flora Influences Brain Development

The degree to which the human genome relies on the genomic activity of the foreign contents within the digestive tract is only now revealing itself to the new tools of scientific exploration. The new science suggests that how your digestive tract evolves in the first few years of life can influence the health of your brain and your behavior for an entire lifetime. This is a stunning finding, with major implications to our understanding of health and disease.

Flu Tip – Don’t Be Your Own Petri Dish

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your chances of getting the flu. At the top of this list is maintaining a healthy digestive tract. While the flu is a respiratory infection, it always incubates in your digestive tract before moving to your lungs. A healthy GI tract can reduce the likelihood of viral replication as well as getting your immune system into gear to deal with the problem.

Friendly Flora Help Train Your Immune System

The balance of friendly flora (acidophilus) residing in your digestive tract has a profound effect on your health. A new study points out that one of the key roles of these friendly flora is to train your immune system to be competent, and not hyper-react. Friendly flora have been shown to reduce skin conditions, allergy, irritable bowel, problems with h.pyloria and Candida albicans, and other problems associated with inappropriate and inflammatory immune system excess (including the development of Type I diabetes). Friendly flora are needed for healthy metabolism, and children who lack them are much more likely to become obese.

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