As a nutritionist, I seldom get a client who doesn’t have some sort of problem with their digestion. For a lot of people bloating, gas or cramps are the norm, or often food just seems to sit in the stomach. Digestive problems are on the rise in the western world and our modern diet and life-style are the driving force behind it. (1)
In the last 10,000 years our diets have changed significantly as we’ve gradually switched from hunter-gathers to farmers and especially since the industrial revolution with the introduction of refined foods. In fact, food is getting more and more toxic with increasing amounts of pesticides, antibiotics and genetic modification. So it’s no surprise we are suffering with chronic digestive problems as we dramatically alter our microbiome.
We have at least as many bacteria in us as we have cells in our body (2). They have evolved alongside us over billions of years and produce many of the proteins and chemicals that we depend upon. For example, gut bacteria produce 90% or the serotonin that we use as a key brain neurotransmitter (3).
The Modern Epidemic of Digestive Problems
Over the past few thousands of years our diet has changed and with it so has changed our gut microbiome. With the introduction of grains and in more recent times sugar, pathogenic species of bacteria like clostridium and staphylococcus have taken a foothold in our digestive tract. These unfriendly bacteria can be the cause of IBS symptoms as well as doing damage to the structure of the gut.
Modern Medicine, with it’s drug based approach, is not equipped to deal with this epidemic. The problem is not that we are lacking certain drugs in our bodies. The problems is that we are lacking the right nutrition to nurture our gut flora and heal our guts. With the focus on drugs being the answer, medicine has fallen short both in a diagnosis and treatment of many gastrointestinal problems. To make matters worse many medications such as antibiotics actually wipe out and destroy the colonies of healthy bacteria we depend upon while others like Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs badly damage the gut wall (4).
The IBS Diagnosis
Doctor’s often us the term IBS. This diagnosis doesn’t really mean anything specific. It’s really just a label to say you have gut issues. Often there are multiple digestive problems involved. These can include yeast or bacterial overgrowth, low levels of beneficial bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut, food intolerances, low bile acid and poor digestive function. Other issues like low thyroid function, stress and poor liver function also add to digestive distress.
Solving your digestive problems often requires functional testing such as a stool test which you can arrange through my online clinic. There are some steps you can take by yourself to see if you can remedy the problem.
Check out my video below to get some answers on what to do any digestive problem.
Any questions, just pop them in the comments sections below.
And if you have anything useful to add or have had success with your digestive problems, do share!