Getting to the Gut of it All...
I’m a huge fan of Chris Kessler’s blogs and discussions pertaining to his thorough research and practical experience as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. He is one of the TCM practitioners known for being on the forefront of bringing awareness to the importance of proper gut health. I am grateful to be a part of a community of such intelligent and driven individuals who so willingly share their knowledge via social media and website platforms.
Many experts in the Western medicine field have also made it their mission to explain the importance of proper gut health, hence the number of bestsellers in the past couple years such as Clean Gut pointing towards a need for a change in diet and health care. From my own experience treating individuals with digestive problems, I can attest that stomach issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease have reached epidemic levels.
Did you know IBS is the second leading cause of missed workdays behind only the common cold?
Unfortunately, several main facets of our everyday lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora, the root cause of all these gut problems. Today is a time of degrading food supply, systemic inflammation, and the overuse of drugs, including antibiotics. Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAID’s play a huge part in imbalanced gut flora. Diets that are high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods and low in fiber are one of the biggest culprits. Add to this the ever-increasing amounts of chronic stress and long-lasting infections that more people are experiencing and not only do our guts suffer but our entire systems. These unbalancing gut flora factors are huge contributors to a wide range of unexpected diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue.
Acupuncture promotes gastric peristalsis in subjects with low initial gastric motility and suppresses peristalsis in those with active initial motility. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture to be effective in a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders including nausea and vomiting, functional disorders (irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and diarrhea), peptic ulcer disease, Crohn’s disease, postoperative ileus, and even gallstone disease. Furthermore, exhaustive studies found in Pacific College of Medicines online archives have shown that regular acupuncture treatment along with proper nutrition and in some cases, herbal medicine, can reshape, repopulate, and even cultivate beneficial “healthy gut” bacteria
As a health practitioner, I believe the answers for ourselves and our children’s tummies can be found within a variety of modalities including acupuncture, patient education, dietary changes, and herbs to cultivate healthy bacteria. I’m grateful for the opportunity to support the balance and healing of my patient’s gut flora with these tools.
Here are some things we can work on starting today to help our gut health:
Get back to the REAL stuff
While the perfect diet is a lofty goal for any of us, try and make the goal the 80/20 rule: 80% REAL food, 20% less than real food. This will improve the balance of health gut flora.
Limit processed foods and supplements containing emulsifiers
Ingredients commonly called lecithin derived from soy (likely GMO), Datem, (found in commercial breads) Calcium propionate, CMC and polysorbate 80 are creating a host of new absorption problems in our digestive tracts.
Avoid excessive use of antibacterial hand sanitizing products.
Bacterial diversity is good. Be sure to use safe natural cleaning products in your office and home.
Play in the dirt!
Gardening and playing with animals (dogs, cats, horses etc.) helps spread healthy bacteria which have been proven beneficial.
Eat Pre-biotics every day
Prebiotics enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria and can be found in fermented foods such as kimichi, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, miso, and other fermented foods. Add these to your diet to provide a variety of healthy bacteria. A daily sampling of new live bacteria from fermented foods makes your gut community more adaptable.