I just returned from my annual recertification weekend and as you know, I always return from these functions really pumped up. This year is no exception. The theme of the lectures was healing the GI tract. You may think this topic could be adequately covered by popping an acid blocker or sleeping with your head elevated but you would be incorrect. The health of the GI tract is directly connected to every other part of the body (especially the brain) and it is an intensely dynamic and complex organ. Did you know, for example, that you have a completely new intestinal tract every twenty-one days? Imagine, then, the condition of that area if you eat junk foods for three weeks straight (not uncommon, unfortunately). It is no wonder that many of us struggle with ill health.
One of the major problems with the GI tract is a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Think of your intestinal tract as a long tube, filled with protrusions that enormously expand the absorptive area. The cells lining the tract are held together by tight junctures that do not allow uninvited particles to pass through into the blood stream. Maintaining tight junctures are incredibly important because if these disintegrate, tiny holes develop between cells which allow undigested particles of food, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other unpleasant things to pass into the body, setting up chronic immune responses.
Over-stimulation of the immune system leads directly to diseases of inflammation which affects every part of the body. It also leads to chronic inflammation of the GI tract, which further leads to more damage to the gut (more holes in the lining).
Many factors can increase your risk of leaky guy: over-use of antibiotics, inadequate colonies of friendly bacteria, sugar consumption, stress, other medications, junk food, and so on.
Before you ever undertake a body detoxification program, it is incredibly important to heal your gut so that the tight junctures have been restored and the lining is intact. If you start dumping products of detox into the gut, hoping to expel it in the feces but your intestinal tract has holes in it, those products seep right back into the bloodstream, making you far sicker than when you began.
There are specific protocols for healing the gut and careful adherence to these protocols must be followed if you really want to restore full functionality. To restore the health of the gut can take anywhere from three to twelve months.
Carol is a certified lifestyle educator at the offices of Dr. Alan Gruning in Fort Myers. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. she can be reached at 472-4499.