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Healing the gut in most of my clients is paramount to their healing. In children with diagnoses of Autism, ADHD and adults with depression, anxiety or hormonal complaints such as PCOS and endometriosis as well as going through peri menopause it is vital that the gut is addressed in the treatment regime!
You might have heard of the gut microbiome as it is quite a buzz word. It is also an area that is having the warm glow of the spotlight turned towards it – which means the research world is pouring resources into understanding it better.
There are many presentations in which it is important to address gut function – eczema, asthma, diarrhoea, constipation, ADHD, inattentiveness, Autism..
Most importantly, we are now living in a world where we are surrounded by toxins in our environment, in our food chain and we also inherit toxins from our mothers while in utero!
In order to be able to process these toxins, as well as absorb nutrients, and sustain a good level of immunity we need to be have a gut that functions well! We ideally need to be able to have a bowel movement every day… to not suffer pain, bloating or intestinal damage and inflammation. To be able to absorb the food that we eat, as well as be able to excrete the things we don’t need.
Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance in the flora of the gut. Just like the The flora is the trillions of bacteria and other critters that live in our gut and help the gut to function and thrive. Without them we would be lost when it comes to absorbing nutrients.
When the balance is lost due to toxins, antibiotics, chemicals, emotions and stress, parasites and processed foods, we find opportunistic organisms taking up the place of the beneficial organisms…. which leads to chaos!
1. Our immunity comes from our gut – Children that are falling ill often have reduced secretory IgA – which is a major antibody that is secreted in the gut and is the first line of defence in protecting our intestines from pathogens. Secretory IgA is found in many mucosal surfaces such as the urinary and respiratory surfaces as well!
When dysbiosis (imbalance in healthy gut flora) is present, the secretory IgA levels can be affected. This leads to opportunistic pathogens such as certain bacteria (streptococcus species and staphylococcal species), yeasts, candida and viruses crossing through the intestinal lining to the bloodstream
2. Detoxification – Detoxification is impaired when we have dysbiosis and inflammation in the gut. Inflammation is caused by:
3. Absorption of nutrients – the bacteria in your gut are essential in the breakdown of foods and absorption of the nutrients from the food. If you have an overgrowth of certain bacterias, or have created an environment of dysbiosis where yeast and candida can proliferate then you may have difficulties absorbing foods.
4. Stress – and the Gut-Brain Axis
The ability of stress to disrupt digestive functions is well known and has a growing bank of research seeking to further understand it. The gut brain axis is in grained in our vernacular. Gut feeling, gut instinct, butterflies in my stomach, it takes guts to do that etc etc.
Putting it simply, our thoughts affect our guts, and our guts affect our mood and behaviours.
If our gut is out of balance (dysbiotic) our brain can be too… and vice versa!
There are many symptoms of impaired gut function, and many of them may not be obvious or what you would think!
Symptoms of impaired gut function include:
Looking after your child’s gut is paramount to either preventing illness or healing. Once the gut is damaged, it’s not just a good diet that is going to heal it.
Here are some tips for prevention:
1. Nutrition – a balanced whole food diet is of course the most essential factor.
2. Eat organic where possible – the pesticides and herbicides used in all the stages of food growth are damaging to the microbiome. This is a fact. If buying all organic food is out of your budget, then have a look at the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists you can find on the Environmental Working Group Website www.ewg.org
3. Try to avoid pharmaceutical drugs as much as possible.. this includes panadol, nurofen, antihistamines and antibiotics. There are many natural alternatives that I am happy to help you with.
4. Probiotics – don’t just go and take any over the counter probiotic because it is advertised as good for you. In many cases they are waste of money as they might not be what your microbiome needs. Mostly probiotics should be specifically prescribed for your needs.
Tips for Healing the gut:
1. Remove foods that can cause inflammation. We all may have an individual response to foods – and foods that are not biocompatible with each of us are different. Testing for individual dietary needs is my preferred form of treatment, as opposed to removing whole food groups such as amines, salicylates, oxalates. These diets are rigorous and can be helpful, but as they are not specifically tailored to each of us, they can also cause harm as well as be stressful!
2. Stool testing – identifies specific areas of the gut that need healing, such as candida and yeast overgrowth, opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria, low beneficial bacteria levels and low short chain fatty acids (the food of the cells of the gut). These areas can be healed with diet, homeopathic remedies, probiotics and nutritional supplementation where relevant.
3. Constitutional homeopathic treatment – this involves giving the remedy that is individually prescribed for your symptoms. It not only addresses specific gut issues, but ensures that your vitality also is strengthened.
4 year old boy presenting with demanding and obstinate behaviours. These behaviours included meltdowns, tantrums over small issues such as high tight his shoes were tied, or getting in the bath.
When this child came to my clinic I noticed that he wasn’t breathing well through his nose, which most likely affected his quality of sleep. Nasal congestion, allergies and sensitivities are commonly due to a disrupted gut function.
Upon identifying food sensitivities (through testing) as well as prescribing homeopathic remedies to clear his nasal passages and support his gut, this child’s behaviours reduced significantly, he slept better and could breathe more clearly. As with all treatment, a homeopathic constitutional remedy is prescribed alongside other supportive remedies and supplements.
If you would like to discuss your specific circumstances, please book in for a free 20 minute discussion HERE on how we can help you.