DIGESTION: Why it May be the Most Important System in Your Body
The digestive system is an extremely intricate part of the body which begins in the mouth and ends at the rectum. There are a multitude of physiological processes which must work in perfect harmony to achieve proper digestion.
New research has shown that approximately 70-80% of immune system function is the result of a healthy gastrointestinal system. In today’s era of an explosion of new reported cases of poor immune function, autoimmunity and an epidemic of new allergies within the population – digestive health should be at the forefront of health implementations.
Aside from the immune system, a healthy digestive system is crucial for proper brain function. It is expected that approximately 90% of neurotransmitters are manufactured in the digestive system. One of the most common symptoms I see in practice associated with poor digestive function is depression and anxiety.
Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut,” and now over 200 years later we see this statement has stood the test of time.
How Common are Digestive Disorders?
According to the NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 2010) 60-70 million people in the United States are suffering from some form of digestive disease or disorder.
The total cost of digestive disorders and diseases in the United States as of 2009 was 141.8 billion dollars. This makes digestive disorders and disease one of the single highest costs to American healthcare.
Major Causes of Digestive Disorders
The complexity of digestive function is extremely extensive. We are only now beginning to know how the digestive system integrates in many other physiological processes such as immune function, mental health and cognitive function.
Many causes of digestive disorders are specific to the individual. However; with that being said there are still some very common triggers. Many of these are the result of food allergies, sensitivities and toxic environmental exposure.
In the current age of excessive pharmaceutical interventions and a world with an abundance of processed foods and hybridized grains we have never seen such a high prevalence of digestive disease and digestive disorders.
Long Term Digestive Disorders Resulting in Chronic Disease
New research has shown long term digestive disorders have a high correlation with many chronic disease processes. Some of these chronic diseases are the many forms of stomach cancers and multiple autoimmune conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Hashimoto’s, and Type 1 Diabetes.
One of the main mechanisms where digestive disorders result in chronic illness is the result of some form of Leaky Gut Syndrome.
I Have Been Diagnosed with and/or have Digestion Problems. What can I Do?
Many individuals who have digestive disorders and/or digestive diseases do not experience obvious symptoms or in many cases experience no symptoms whatsoever.
There are many causes for the lack of symptoms with digestive disorders; however, one of the most common reasons is that a large part of the digestive tract does not have nociceptors (pain receptors). We are still able to feel discomfort in this region, however much of it is due to inflammation, swelling and surrounding tissue stretching.
In most cases as few as 50% of people who have Leaky Gut Syndrome experience symptoms. As a result, the only way to truly identify if these underlying disease processes are occurring is with proper comprehensive laboratory testing.
If you think you are suffering from a digestive disorder and are looking for information on how to overcome this potentially disabling disease, please contact us to learn more.