Digestion is the centre of health. Without the proper absorption of nutrients in the gut, none of our other organs can fully operate as intended. Ensuring that both the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) as well as the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) are delivered to our body systems is the first step towards optimal health.
Digestive conditions treated by Naturopathic Doctors:
Our gut is where we absorb the nutrients that act as building blocks for almost all of our biological processes. It is also where the majority of our immune system is parked, so that we can best identify and eliminate pathogens. The gut can also be an area of great discomfort and annoyance if things are not operating smoothly.
We see a lot of digestive concerns in our practice. This can be due to an unidentified food reaction, to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, or to an enzymes deficiency, which is often secondary to a chronic stress. To complicate things, the gut plays a big role in hormone elimination, so a disruption of digestive function can compound a hormonal concern.
How we address this:
Your digestive tract is a specialized tube with each section playing an irreplaceable role in the breakdown and absorption of food. We must ensure that each section is fully functioning and symptom-free.
Digestion actually begin prior to putting the food in our mouth. Once we see, hear, smell or even THINK about food, the salivary glands in our mouth start to secrete digestive juices which begin to break down the sugars in our food. It also lubricates the food as it is mashed up into a bolus to be easily swallowed and passed down the esophagus into the stomach.
When the stomach receives the signal that food is on it’s way it secretes acid that serves two purposes:
The small intestine is where nutrient absorption occurs. The pancreas, liver, gallbladder and intestinal cells themselves aid in the last stages of food breakdown. So essentially, at the end of the small intestine the original food no longer exists. It is now the end product as protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fibre. In a highly coordinated manner the first three components are absorbed into the blood stream to be built back up into many different things that our bodies need. The fibre and any remaining nutrients then pass along to the large intestine.
This is where we house a huge amount of bacteria. The bacteria digests any remaining nutrients and some of the fibre, and they help us in a couple of ways: