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TRUST YOUR GUT: 5 symptoms that you wouldn’t think were connected to your gut By Dr. Christine Schoenek, ND and Dr. Kelly Hassberger, ND

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s naturopathic physicians, our goal is finding the root cause of disease. Naturopathic medicine is rooted in the belief that the body has the innate ability to heal itself if given the right environment. By working with patients to discover the underlying causes of disease, ND’s help patients come closer to a balanced and disease free life. One discovery that we have made while practicing naturopathic medicine is that there is very little healing that can occur without listening to and healing the gut. The GI tract is physically and physiologically central to our health, having direct correlation to nearly all of our body’s biological processes. In our experience thus far, we have found that most patients with chronic diseases have some complaint in the GI tract. Patients often report gut concerns such as chronic constipation, diarrhea, gas, or bloating, but never connect them to their other chronic symptoms. With the inflammatory foods our nation is built on, it is not surprising that so many of us suffer from chronic GI concerns. But the story doesn’t stop in the gut. What many people don’t know is the important role the GI tract plays in the rest of

our body. For starters, the GI tract is responsible for the digestion and absorption of many important nutrients. Every process in our body is aided by vitamin and mineral cofactors and without their proper absorption it is easy for these processes to stop working optimally. Beyond vitamin and mineral absorption, the GI tract also houses 80 percent of our immune system. The healthy bacteria, or probiotics, that live in our GI tract, along with gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT), create a first line defense against invading pathogens. At birth, our mothers provide us with this healthy bacteria as well as immunoglobulins to help prime and build up our immune systems. Csections and formula feeding have been implicated in an increased risk for allergies and asthma, mostly due to the fact that these children’s immune systems are not fully established, as they would be during a vaginal birth and breastfeeding. Allergies, asthma, a decreased immune system, eczema and autoimmunity can have a direct correlation to the GI health for this reason.

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Kelly Hassberger Another important function is the gut-brain connection. The GI tract houses the enteric nervous system or our “second brain”. This is a network of neurons and neurotransmitters that are directly wired to the brain. In fact, 95 percent of the serotonin in the body is made in the GI tract. Therefore, a healthy gut means a healthy mind and vice versa. The connection between the GI tract and the brain is undeniable and has been shown over and over again in research. The final piece of the puzzle is the removal of toxins and waste. We are exposed to many toxins on a daily basis in our environment. Many toxins are also produced through the natural processes in our bodies. A proper functioning GI tract and regular bowel movements are necessary to eliminate these toxins, keeping us happy, healthy and balanced. So what symptoms could you be suffering from that you might not know are connected to your gut? If any of the below rings true for you, you are encouraged to visit your local Naturopathic Physician. 1. Joint and muscle pain a. Inflammation can start in the GI tract, release inflammatory cytokines into the systemic body, creating joint pain or stiffness, and muscle tension. Many mineral deficiencies have also been implicated in muscle

Natural Awakenings Magazine ~ July 2016  
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