• Dr. Heidi Lescanec

Season Update: Gastrointestinal Health

Updated: Oct 5

As we round the corner into the fall, it is the ideal time to focus on the basic pillars that are key for maintaining our physical health and mental emotional wellbeing for the winter season ahead. The approach of naturopathic medicine is to “treat the person” not the disease or condition. We focus on the “terrain” more than the “organism”. So relevant for now is that knowledge that certain things make our body more inhospitable to becoming ill and some things make us more vulnerable. We can strengthen our wellness and develop resilience in these ever-changing times is by supporting one of the most fundamental pillars of health-our digestive system

70% of our immune system is in our gut!

If the gut is healthy, the immune system will be stronger. If on the other hand our gut is not functioning optimally (see box below for red flags), it leads to increased levels of toxins in the body – which not only lowers immunity, but it elevates inflammation, contributing to other disease and health risks.

Our body spends a significant amount of its energy on digestion alone. If our system is impaired or struggling or has a heavy lode on it (by eating foods that are inflammatory for instance) then more energy is being spent here and less is available for our immune system.

The gut brain axis

Problems showing up with our absorption or elimination can also have an impact on our brain and our nervous system. The communication between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract is known as the “gut brain axis”. The communication here is bi-directional, meaning if brain is not working you have an impaired GI tract, and if you have digestive dysfunction, you will have impaired brain health. Currently we are in unprecedented situation where we are all experiencing some increased levels of stress. We know that prolonged stress elevations can trigger digestive symptoms in some people and it is particularly bowel symptoms that can show up.

If you are having some issues with your digestive system, fall is an excellent time to focus on building up your resources, nourishing your resilience, schedule a consult with me HERE or register for my up coming webinar series, Gut Minded HERE.

Digestion is the job of our GI tract.

It is the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food into smaller particles that can be absorbed by the body. The function of this system is to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste.

Absorption may not functioning well if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Bloating – heaviness after meals

  • Heartburn

  • Gas or burping

  • Fatigue after meals

  • Undigested food in the stool or fat

  • ·Low iron or B 12 or other vitamin or mineral deficiencies on a blood test

Elimination, how do we know if this is functioning well? Here we look to our

bowel movements:

  • Are they happening at least once /day ?

  • Does the stool passes easily, without straining?

  • Is it well-formed and feels “complete”?

For more info on ways to support your digestive health, join Dr. Heidi and guests for GUT-MINDED. 4-part series of group visits that explore the relationship between our mood, brain health and the how the choices we make at least 3 times a day can either fuel or drain our resources.

Register HERE

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