The Digestive System/Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract
Your digestive system is designed to take the food you put into your mouth, break down the food, convert the food into usable sources of energy and nutrition for your body, and then rid the body of any of the unusable part of the food. After the food leaves your stomach, the food then travels through your small intestines, your large intestines, your colon, and then your rectum. Along that path, food is broken down through different interactions of gastric juices, enzymes, and bacteria. Nutrients gathered by this process are fed to the cells of your body, allowing your muscles, bones, organs, glands, and brain to function to their optimal level.
What Happens When The GI Tract Is Not Working Properly?
When there is a problem anywhere along your GI tract and proper function has been lost, then your body is no longer able to receive the necessary nutrition. This will result in your body no longer functioning at it’s optimal level. Keep in mind that the nerve system is responsible for the function of your gastrointestinal (GI) system, and the GI system is responsible for fueling your brain. If the tissues along your GI tract become faulty, then your body ends up with many potential problems:
Pain, bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms associated with the damaged GI tissue.
Your body is no longer able to properly either break down the food, or absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. Weight loss can result. When your body is not receiving proper nutrition, tissue, gland, and organ function can decline.
If you are not properly absorbing the necessary nutrition, then fuel to your brain and nerve system can decline, which can then add to further decline of function to your body.
What Can Cause The GI Tract To Lose Function?
Some people can be under so much stress that it can lead to problems in their GI tract. Your emotions are related to brain function. Keep in mind that there is a connection between your brain and the function of the GI tract. Improper brain function can lead to digestive and GI problems.
Lack of proper stomach acidity can allow for growth of bacteria, fungus, and parasites that can lead to irritation to the lining of your GI tract.
Lack of proper diet, such as a diet high in processed foods and low in fibrous foods such as fruits and vegetables, can lead to an environment of irritation to the lining of your GI tract.
With a decreased immune system, it is easier for infections to occur along your GI tract.
You may have an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakenly attacks normal healthy tissues of your GI tract.
And there are many more reasons, some, which are still unknown at this time.
Conditions & Diseases Associated With GI Tract Problems
- IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- IBD(Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
- Ulcerative Colitis
Autoimmune conditions describe diseases in which the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks normal healthy cells. The immune system is supposed to protect you from foreign bacteria, viruses, fungus, parasites, and rapidly growing cells(cancer) of the body. When the immune system mistakenly attacks cells along the GI tract, depending upon the specific tissues attacked, it will be either Crohn’s or Celiac disease. Both Crohn’s and Celiac can have serious consequences. With an Autoimmune disorder, not only do the tissues under attack require attention, but the immune system as well.
What can occur when these conditions do not get better
If the process of damage to the tissues of the GI tract continues, it can lead to sores and ulcerations, bleeding, thickening of the tissues, and in some cases, death of the tissues. In all of these different descriptions of tissue damage, the end result will be that the tissue loses the ability to do its job. If the job of the tissue is to absorb nutrients from food, then nutrients will be lacking. If the tissue loses its ability to absorb the appropriate nutrients, then food particles and proteins that are supposed to be flushed out of the body can actually then get absorbed back into the body by mistake and this can lead to further problems. When the lining of the gut has lost it’s ability to stop the bad, larger molecular proteins back into the bloodstream, that is known as a Leaky Gut.
What is the Traditional Medical Approach?
Depending upon the degree of damage you may have, as well as your level of discomfort, medications are often prescribed. Depending upon the degree of discomfort, some people are happy taking over the counter pain pills. Others will require medications such as:
- Antispasmodic drugs which could include Phenobarbital or Mebeverine
- Drugs for constipation
- Drugs for diarrhea such as opiate types including oxycodone and morphine
- Serotonin based drugs
- Anti-inflammatory steroids such as prednisone
- Immunosuppression drugs
- Anti-fungal drugs
When medications do not work, or, too much damage to the GI tract has been found, surgery may be required. At times small sections of the bowel may need to be removed. In more serious cases, total removal of the large intestines may be required.
What Can Be Done To Support Proper Function Of The GI Tract?
Drugs and surgery are necessary when it comes to handling acute attacks of the pain and other symptoms associated with the different diseases associated with the GI Tract. When medications fail, or in the case where it is an emergency, then surgery is appropriate. Most people, if given the opportunity to avoid surgery, and even to avoid the relapses and side effects of medications, are asking what they can do to decrease, and in some situations, eliminate the need for drugs and surgery.
When you look at the different known causes of these problems, we can get some questions answered. Irritation and inflammation to the GI tract is the problem. How does that occur? We know that both irritation and inflammation can occur from physical stress to the GI tract, as well as chemical, and biological. When it comes to physical stress we need to recognize that if tissue is already inflamed and irritated, are there certain foods that can make it worse? Think of it like this. You fall and scrape your knee. You feel the pain and you see that the skin is scratched, inflamed, and perhaps bleeding. Would you sit there and itch the open scrape? Of course not. Would you sit there and massage the scrape? Of course not. You would more than likely make sure the wound was clean, bandage the area, and then make sure that it had the least amount of contact with anything so that it could heal. It’s not that different when it comes to the GI tract inflammation and irritation. Would you want to eat foods that are known to continuously irritate the area of the GI tract that is inflamed? Of course not. Knowing which foods to avoid is extremely important. Eating the right type of diet to allow the area of the GI tract to heal is critical.
Are there foods that we could be ingesting that may not be a “physical” irritant to the GI tract, but may cause an inflammatory response? You know that some people have food allergies. You know that when these people eat the foods that they are allergic to, whether it’s peanuts, strawberries, seafood,…, they can have what is known as an anaphylactic reaction. They can break out in hives, they can swell up like a balloon, there throat can start to close off, and they could die! Now, in the case of food sensitivities, which are a much lesser grade of response than a food allergy, the intestines may respond with further inflammation causing more irritation to the GI tract. Would it be important to understand which foods are responsible for this? Better yet, wouldn’t it be nice to know how you can decrease that inflammatory response naturally to make you less likely to go into a full blown relapse of your condition?
Are there foods that we ingest that could be triggering an autoimmune condition or, and autoimmune response in the body that would irritate and inflame the intestines and other areas of the GI tract?
What types of testing can be done to offer the necessary support
We need to know:
- Do you have enough of the good bacteria in your GI tract?
- Are there any bad bacteria in your GI tract growing out of control?
- Is fungus in your GI tract growing out of control?
- Are there any parasites in your GI tract?
- Is the barrier of your GI tract working appropriately or do you have a Leaky Gut?
- Is your immune system working properly or is there an autoimmune condition or an autoimmune response occurring that is damaging the GI tract?
- Are your organs and glands doing what is necessary to support proper gut function?
- Is your brain working properly to support proper gut function?
- Is your body absorbing the necessary nutrition to function at it’s optimal level?
What Type of Care Is Available?
The care I recommend is a drugless, non surgical approach designed to support your GI tract, your immune system, and brain function. How can it be done? Through proper testing, changes in diet, nutritional supplements, and possibly brain based therapies, you can receive the necessary support to live a better quality of life. The care that I offer is not promising a “cure” or that you will never need to take drugs or have surgery. Whether you choose to continue to take medications is between you and your prescribing physician. I do not tell people to stop taking their drugs. The care I offer is designed to support proper GI tract function, glandular function, immune system function, and brain function for you to reach your optimal physical & mental level of performance.
Your Next Step
Call the office to schedule a $27 screening. The screening will allow you to:
- Discuss your case with Dr. Picard,
- Review your previous types of care you have tried,
- Get answers to your questions,
- Find out what Dr. Picard can do for you,
- Learn what tests are appropriate for you,
- Learn what care will be necessary for you, and
- Determine the cost of care.
Dr. Roy Picard, is a chiropractor in Shelby Twp., Michigan. He serves people in the surrounding communities of Rochester Hills, Rochester, Romeo, Macomb, Washington Township, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, Troy, Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham as well as communities throughout southeastern Michigan and Ontario Canada. The information provided in this website is to be used for educational purposes only and not to be used to diagnose, treat, or offer any medical advice. This information is not to be used as a substitute for medical care. Dr. Picard does not recommend that you stop, decrease, or alter your medication without first consulting with your medical doctor.