Welcome to Your Digestive System
by Allan TomsonEach year, more and more people are turning to a holistic approach in healing the body. One area of interest is the history of treating the gut and the implications of having “dysbiosis”, a term used to describe an imbalance in the bacterial environment within the large intestine.
Decades ago, the goal was to eat just three meals a day, along with some snacks and you were all set. No more. Today, the digestive system, also known as the “gut”, is everywhere in the media. Now you can get bacterial imbalance called “dysbiosis” and then you have a multitude of options to bring you back into homeostasis. There is a long list of probiotics and prebiotics, gut healing phytonutrients, supplements and elemental protein meal replacements.
It’s long been known that we have so-called “friendly” bacteria in the large intestine and these do good things for us—like keep the harmful ones at a low-enough level that we are in good health. Nearly 70 percent of a person’s entire immune cells and liver detox enzymes are in the lungs and the digestive system. This is because these two organs are open to the outside environment. Here is where you want a very strong immune and detox system ready at all times.
Imagine all of the chemicals we breathe in and that come into our gut through our food supply. These are rendered harmless and are eliminated through the colon, kidneys and bile.
Science has shown us that there are over 400 different species of bacteria in your gut. Species like acidophilus and bifidus are health-giving and when they maintain a balance in the gut, everything works smoothly.
However, now we know that some people, when little babies, never really populate their intestines with as many different species as is optimal. It is known that this low diversity weakens the gut and makes it less resilient to the onslaught of harmful viruses, bacteria and parasites that can come in from the outside environment.
When considering gut health the most important thing to remember is this: a good healthy diet is critical to healing the gut. It’s not worth spending money on supplements or probiotics if you’re eating fried and or processed foods, with high amounts of sugar and oxidized fats.
Edgar Cayce, in his readings during the 1920s and 30s always recommended an alkaline diet. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of the diet should be fruit and vegetables. Some meats and nuts are allowed, along with plenty of water. This will alkalinize your system and the body will thrive. You may have to modify this approach if you have food allergies or other restrictions.
There have also been some important advancements in the clinical management of gut problems. Labs such as Genova Diagnostics, Metametrics, Spectracell and Salveo offer cutting-edge testing to identify the general health of the small and large intestine, liver, gall bladder and pancreas. These tests allow the clinician to look at the digestive efficiency of fats, carbs and proteins; how triggered the immune system is within the intestines (for infections) and the health of the colonic cells, among many other parameters. These tests give clinicians and doctors a great view of our internal environment and help the patient understand the health of their own digestive system.
Allan Tomson, DC, is the executive director of Neck Back & Beyond Healing Arts, an integrative wellness center in Fairfax, with a satellite office in Manassas. Tomson is a chiropractor and has skills and experience in functional medicine, visceral manipulation, CranioSacral Therapy and Cayce protocols. To learn more on this topic, contact Dr. Tomson at 703-865-5690 or visit NeckBackAndBeyond.com.