Improving one’s health has – in many industries – become a commodity. One could easily become baffled by the constant stream of information through media, health professions and educational systems, etc. – often with one report contradicting another.
The basics of health are fundamental, as implied by the old adage ‘if you don’t eat, you don’t poop, if you don’t poop, you die.’
Your bowel; your gut, specifically your stomach, small intestine and large intestine are primary to nearly all other organs and functions in your body. For example: There is currently a lot of focus on liver health – amongst other topics. A healthy bowel promotes a healthy liver, and a healthy bowel reduces the load on the liver. I have often seen cases where diseased organs have become the focus of treatment when they in fact are a secondary result of a diseased gut.
Our gut is responsible for more than just the breakdown and absorption of food and the elimination of waste.
The bowel is primary to much of; our immune response, energy levels, the biochemistry that is responsible for mood, motivation, behavior, mental agility, allergy response, inflammation control, skin condition – just to point out a few.
The gut is also home to many living organisms – some desirable, some undesirable. Many of these desirable organisms are pivotal to the positive functioning of our biochemistry; our mediatory biochemistry as also the undesirable organisms can be pivotal to poor functioning or antagonistic, inflammatory, disease-orientated biochemistry.
The health of our gut is largely dependent on what we ingest. Food modifiers and modified foods have for many become part of a staple diet. Food additives, preservatives and sterilizers are in most commercial foods. Water supplies are generally treated with chlorine, sodium fluoride and many other chemical compounds. Our water pipes and storage facilities may contaminate water with heavy metals such as copper, lead, zinc and nickel, also plastic and petrochemical residues etc. All of these can adversely affect gut health.
Common signs of gut dysfunction are: Less than 2 motions per day, changeable motions, weight loss or weight gain, bloating, excessive or offensive flatulence, pain, indigestion, rectal itching or bleeding, variable appetite, cravings, bad breath or bad taste in the mouth – just to name a few. Bowel dysfunction can be responsible for eczema, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders, behavioral disorders, headaches, sinus and bronchial problems, fatigue, joint pain; in fact, the bowel can be implicated in the bulk of illnesses.
Gut health starts with a healthy diet and exercise regime and may require supplementing with probiotics, fermented foods, trace elements, amino acids and herbs, etc., depending on your state of gut health. Some individuals may need specific diets for a period of time. Some may need permanent dietary adjustments.
In practice, the gut is one of my primary considerations. Once we have achieved a healthy gut function, the platform is set for general health.
Author: John Burchell is a homoeopath and naturopath at The Medical Sanctuary. To read more about John please click HERE.