Virtual Clinic for Women's Hormonal Health & Digestion in Ontario

Intermittent Fasting for Gut Health

- Sequence Wellness, naturopathic doctor, holistic nutrition

Changing WHEN you eat to heal your gut

Just like everywhere else, the gastrointestinal tract has to get cleaned. The way we do this is via electromechanical activity between meals (called the Migrating Motor Complex).  Essentially, this is an automatic process controlled by the brain (and involving the vagus nerve for the upper GI) and a hormone called motilin. Contractions, called peristalsis, help push things down the digestive tube, and  digestive juices are secreted. These secretions help to create an environment that has the right acidity and chemical balance to be uncomfortable for bacteria, and the movements gently push along any lingering debris.

The physiological importance of the migrating motor complex (the MMC) is a mechanical and chemical cleansing of the GI tract in preparation for the next meal (Takahashi, 2013). Without this sweeping of the GI tract we would have retention of gastric contents and bacterial overgrowth, which in turn can lead to clinical symptoms such as reflux/GERD, bloating, SIBO, etc.

When we don’t give our guts ample time between meals to accomplish this interdigestive phase, it can lead to a pile-up of residue and bacteria that totally alters our gastrointestinal environment. By ensuring that we have a long overnight fast (ideally 16 hours), and if we can push our meals to 4 hours apart, we are best setting our system up for a clean slate.

This looks like dinner at 6pm, no evening snacking, and then pushing your breakfast back to 10am, which is actually not that hard to do. Your breakfast should be fat and protein-rich to keep you well nourished and satiated until 2pm, at which time a healthy snack will hold you over until your 530pm dinner. 

Have questions about how to apply this schedule to your particular case, or how to modify it so that it actually works for you specifically? 

We can help.

virtual naturopathic visit- Sequence Wellness, naturopathic doctor, holistic nutrition

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