Digestive health is at the root of overall health and there are many conditions that can affect this vast area of our anatomy. There are so many functions of the digestive system such as breaking down foods to absorb nutrients, manufacture of additional nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K, elimination of waste, housing the majority of our immune system and manufacturing neurotransmitters such as our feel good factor, serotonin.
There are so many varied areas of the digestive system which all require different levels of acidity, all carry out very unique functions and all have a very different environment. From our mouths, which is where the initial enzymes are released, to the stomach which has a very high pH to break down foods effectively, to the various parts of the small intestine which is where most of our nutrients are absorbed, going right through to the large intestine which is where water reabsorption happens and a huge population of our gut bacteria reside.
This collection of gut bacteria, alongside other microorganisms in our digestive system, is known as our microbiome and has huge consequences for our health as to whether it is acting as our friend or foe. It is so critical to our health, that this should be considered as one of our vital organs as without them we wouldn’t survive. It is this area of the microbiome that is one of the most emerging and currently researched subjects at the moment in Nutritional Medicine, alongside Nutrigenomics.
The foods that we eat play a critical role in this ever changing environment which is where Nutritional Therapy can be invaluable to optimise your health. As the biochemical environment in this large area can be so varied, so too can the severity of conditions relating to it such as but not limited to the following:
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
Diarrhoea and Constipation
Bloating and Discomfort
For us, Digestive Health is at the core of what we do as it forms the foundational roots of good health. No matter what condition we are working with, we are always assessing digestive health as it has far reaching implications to almost every other condition. Prevention is always better than cure so for those fortunate enough to not suffer with any digestive complaints, we can support you in optimising the health of this system for your future wellbeing.
During a Nutritional Therapy consultation, we work using a Functional Medicine Framework to look at the root cause which is unique to each and every person that we work with. We then provide clear advice on specific scientific nutritional interventions and co-create a workable plan for the patient. Some examples of these guidelines may include specific types of dietary fibre or herbs that create a beneficial change in the microbiome, key nutrients that are involved in the health of the digestive tissue, inclusion of foods that may be supportive from an anti-inflammatory perspective or addressing potential nutrient deficiencies that may have been affected by a specific condition.
We may also look at Functional testing here and although this is not a first line approach, where a specific situation warrants, we often run tests such as the Microbiome Test, the Complete Gastrointestinal Profile, Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) Analysis, Food Intolerance Testing and the test to assess Intestinal Permeability. These tests are fully interpreted during a follow up consultation to understand what the results mean for you and put in place the relevant recommendations.
There is no one size fits all approach and we help to educate and create a workable plan with the simplest of interventions to make the most positive impact on your health.