Joseph Brasco, MD
The body's gastrointestinal tract or gut is central to maintaining health as it is this set of organs that digests food to properly nourish the body. Good digestion requires normal flora (good bacteria) and a healthy pH balance in the gut.
The body's gastrointestinal tract or gut is central to maintaining health as it is this set of organs that digests food to properly nourish the body. Good digestion requires normal flora (good bacteria) and a healthy pH balance in the gut. A healthy balance of normal gut flora is called symbiosis.
When there is an imbalance of normal flora, dysbiosis results, leading to uncomfortable and unhealthy intestinal symptoms. Intestinal dysbiosis can cause or participate in many chronic, debilitating diseases, including Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), candidiasis (an overgrowth of Candida albicans has been linked to gastrointestinal disorders), ulcerative colitis, and food allergies.
Dysbiosis stems from overuse of antacids, histamine type 2 receptor antagonists (H2 blockers), antibiotic abuse, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), food allergy or sensitivity, and contaminated foods. Additionally, emotional stress, poor dietary choices, and impaired digestion can play significant roles in dysbiosis.
Whole, unprocessed foods in their natural, balanced state offer complete nutrition and plenty of good micro-organisms for normal gut flora. However, a whole foods diet is difficult to come by. Soil organisms have been depleted through modern farming techniques that use pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and mechanization to keep up with the cost of inflation and field production. Add to that the standard North American diet and our modern lifestyle and you have three factors that can inhibit good micro-organisms and foster unhealthy acidity in the gut. When good micro-organisms are low in number, then bad micro-organisms can take over, causing a vast array of health maladies that include dysbiosis, excess acid, and digestive disorders.
Consuming whole, unprocessed foods and whole food digestive health supplements can foster balanced gut flora and offer a way to get good micro-organisms and alkalinizing factors into the gut, thereby supporting digestive health.
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