Ah gut health. It’s absolutely one of the most talked about aspects of health currently and is HOT in the world of research. I say about time too.
It makes sense that it should be important – our gut is our first line of defense against ingested food proteins, bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms. It’s our ability to efficiently breakdown, absorb and utilise all the macro nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals needed for all the other processes in the body to take place efficiently. Then we need to clear the waste; to fully remove all the leftover bits we didn’t need and ensure they’re not sitting there fermenting or even worse still – reabsorbing and recirculating, creating bigger problems elsewhere over time.
With conditions such as Coeliac disease, food intolerances and IBS (among others) seemingly on the rise, its no wonder so many of my new clients are coming in with digestive issues as a part of their clinical picture.
However what about those with no gut symptoms?
No bloating. No wind. Regular, healthy bowel motions. Is the gut still at play for them? The answer may be in fact yes. We are seeing more and more research suggesting that the gut is involved (at least partly) in many different conditions, even in the ABSENCE of gut symptoms.
This has been a philosophy deeply ingrained in a traditional Naturopathic medicine approach. As I’ve quoted before Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut”.
Here are just some of the conditions that have been associated with poor gut health:
- Heart disease
- Poor immune system
- Autoimmune diseases
- Obesity and weight gain
- Mental health disorders
- Skin health (including acne, psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis)
- Chronic sinus infections and asthma
- Sleep Disturbances
- Type I and II Diabetes
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
One of the trickiest aspects of my work can be determining when the gut is at play in my asymptomatic clients. Actually in truth, it’s probably convincing them that it is involved. This is where I find referring for an Intestinal Permeability test very helpful as it is used to assess the permeability (fancy word for leakiness) of the gut.
When results come in and the degree of intestinal permeability is mild, then gut work can take a back seat, making up a little of what we do but not need to be a huge focus of our approach. However when results show it’s quite elevated then it needs to be bigger priority as it will be undermining the ability of any other changes or support offered to take full effect. Essentially this test helps us to determine the degree (if at all) the gut may be contributing to underlying immune activation and inflammation. An added bonus- it also gives us a benchmark of where you started so that we can monitor that our treatment is working and is improving your gut integrity.
This is just one way I work with my clients in assessing their whole health when they come in for support. It matters less to me what your diagnosis, or disease is called, and more what the systems in your body are saying about your health. Approaching each person as an individual, and looking at the body as a whole, in the context of your environment is really what true health CARE is about.
If you would like to book a FREE 15 minute Health Strategy Session with me to find out more about what tests are available to you click here.
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Sandi Cooper is an experienced Naturopath working in clinical practice for almost two decades. Her clients love her down-to-earth approach and her naturally caring qualities. Although Sandi is experienced in most areas of clinical practice, she has a special interest in children’s health and nutrition, working with parents to get the best outcomes for their children.