Getting to the bottom of Tummy Trouble
When your digestive system works well, you feel good. Everything seems to work well when your stomach and bowels are healthy and happy.
How do you know if it's not? It's pretty obvious, your body sure lets you know.
Bloating, wind, pain, reflux, constipation, urgency, frequency, burning, stinky bowel movements - the body is telling you something isn't right.
With food testing and a cleansing program much can be achieved. In some cases further testing is warranted to find out if helicobacter or parasites are part of the problem. Once the cause is established, the treatment is easy.
Food intolerance can cause wide and varied health disturbances ranging from tummy and bowel trouble to immune, energy, skin, memory, sleep and mood disturbances.
Food allergy and food intolerance are commonly confused as the symptoms of food intolerance occasionally resemble those of food allergy. However, there is one significant difference, food intolerance tends to have a low grade systemic effect, while allergies are rapid in reaction. Food intolerances will not show up on RAST allergy testing.
Food intolerance can be a difficult to identify and understand, as it is poorly understood by primary care practitioners and can be easily missed as a component in health issues. Since we spend many of our waking hours eating and drinking, often eating the same food groups continuously over years, the body never gets a break and may not mount an obvious reaction when the food is eaten. Rather it has an accumulative effect.
BEST testing helps to identify the body's response to common foods and food groups, and can take the guess work out of menu planning.
Natural chemical substances within foods can also cause problems. Being able to test these helps take the guesswork out of what to avoid, helping to bring about more efficient results.
Common food chemicals causing health problems can include :
Monosodium glutamate (MSG, additive numbers 620 and 621) is a flavour enhancers. Glutamates also occur naturally in such foods as camembert cheese, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, soy sauce and mushrooms. MSG stimulates nerve endings, and can be implicated in asthma attacks and behavioural issues such as ADHD.
Vasoactive amines such as tyramine, serotonin and histamine are well known triggers of migraines in some patients and are present naturally in pineapples, bananas, baked meat, vegetables, red wine, wood-matured white wine, avocados, chocolate, citrus fruits and mature cheese. Amines can act directly on small blood vessels to expand their capacity, contributing to flushing, migraines and nasal congestion.
Salicylates are natural aspirin like compounds in a wide variety of herbs, spices as well as fruit and vegetables. Reactions to these may be even more common than reactions to artificial colours and preservatives. Salicylates can trigger hives (urticaria) by acting directly on skin mast cells.
Fructose is a component of fruits and vegetables in varying ratios. Fructose malabsorption causes mild to severe digestive discomfort, wind, bloating, flatulence and loose stools. This is related to a condition called SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, which requires a specific gut recovery program involving elimination diet, herbs and probiotics to restore. A six month program will often restore the gut microbiome to help improve fructose tolerance.
Nightshades are gaining a reputation for being problematic for certain health tendencies, such as inflammation, arthritis, or diabetes. This comes down to the presence of another nutrient found in nightshades, known as alkaloids. In nature, the presence of alkaloids in nightshades serves as a natural insect repellent to prevent the plant from being destroyed. When these anti-nutrients are consumed, they are assumed to also cause problems with a person’s digestive system, leading to inflammatory problems, intestinal disorders, and digestive upset.
It is important to realise that reactions to foods and food chemicals are not due to allergy, so allergy testing is of little use in helping determine the cause of symptoms. Skin prick or blood allergen specific IgE allergy tests are of little use unless the history suggests that allergy (as opposed to intolerance) is the potential cause of the problem.An individualised assessment is the best way to identify the issues involved in food reactions. Assessments involved an in depth review of the history, response to treatment and functional testing.
Six key areas are often affected by Food Intolerance.
1. Gastro-Intestinal –bloating, nausea, reflux, GORD, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, cramps, mucus with stools, encopresis (soiling) and more.
2. Skin – eczema, dermatitis, acne, hives, itching, excessive dryness and psoriasis.
3. Respiratory – Many people don’t realize that food intolerance can affect your respiratory system. If you have sinusitis, rhinitis, asthma, or even a sore throat that doesn’t seem to go away, you just may have a food intolerance.
4. Endocrine System – Food intolerances can take a toll on the body, making it more likely that you’ll end up with thyroid problems, increased PMS, endometriosis, period pain, hormonal acne, PCOS, fertility issues. It can even increase the risk of a a food-related disease such as hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and with time, diabetes.
5. Immune System – issues with food impact the immune system through the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue, where 80% of the immune system resides. This can make a person increasingly susceptible to immune issues such as : Auto-immunity, frequent colds, runny nose, sinus and a general loss of immune resilience causing the above issues.
6. Weight – If you’re experiencing a significant weight loss or weight gain, then your body may be reacting to a particular food by holding onto fluid and fat. Food intolerance can also impact metabolism and detoxification, influencing the way your body manages calories and waste clearance.
7. Sleep problems.
Treatment involves the identification of the foods and substances to avoid as part of a comprehensive Naturopathic Program. Programs are tailored to the individual, often incorporating an elimination diet along with a digestive and microbiome recovery plan. This has the effect of improving the health and resiliency of the digestive system, regulating gut mediated immune health, improving detoxification, energy production and overall system functioning. The gut-brain axis is an important link between diet, nutrition and mental and emotional health.
The gut is central to the health of the entire body, so improving health at this level can have a beneficial effect on the entire system. People often report improved energy, clarity of thinking, improvements in memory, skin health, stronger nails and hair, clear shiny eyes, improved mood, enhanced immunity and a general improvement in resilience for life.
If you are experiencing gut problems, getting to the bottom of it is a worthwhile investment in the quality of your life, relationships, personal achievements, mental and physical performance and overall longevity with time.
Eliza was 7 years old and complained of tummy aches frequently. She had dark lines under eyes, slept poorly, couldn't concentrate and suffered from belly distension and mild constipation. Her health review and functional testing revealed a number of problematic foods along with nutritional depletion, and she embarked on a twelve week Naturopathic health recovery program. Within two weeks she stopped bloating and her demeanour became more relaxed and resilient. Over the next few weeks her bowel habits became regular, sleep improved giving her a more restful and restorative sleep, her teacher began to comment on her ability to concentrate and complete tasks. Her sibling relationship improved as she became more tolerant with her younger sibling, and the dark circles cleared by the end of her program. It became very clear to both Eliza and her parents when she had foods that didn't suit her body, as her sleep became disrupted and her behaviour reverted for a short time to how she used to be. Knowing how to support their daughter's wellbeing was a great blessing to her parents, and the benefits of a healthier diet filtered through to improve the wellbeing of the entire family.
Knowing what is causing issues helps with management and treatment.
We do non-invasive system-stress testing for :
Grains - wheat, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, gluten, flour products, pasta, bread, pastry.
Seeds - quinoa, millet, buckwheat, sesame, poppy.
Dairy - casein, lactose, whey, cheese, milk, icecream, cream, butter, protein powder.
Meat - beef, lamb, chicken, fish, shellfish.
Vegetables - nightshades (zucchini, tomato, capsicum, eggplant, chilli), brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, etc) & more.
Chemicals, additives, preservatives.
Water - tap, pool, shower, chlorine.
Jenny, 33, was having digestive problems that were interfering with her quality of life. She would wake with a flat stomach but as soon as she ate she would become bloated, which increased over the day. She had pain, wind, variable bowel movements, had indigestion and felt nauseous often. She also had problems with her hormones, energy, weight, clarity of mind, memory, mood and sleep. She came for testing and found that she had some important nutrient deficiencies, and some significant food intolerances. As a result of her testing she knew what nutrients were low, and what foods to avoid in her diet as she undertook a gut repair program.
She found that she was okay for gluten, but sensitive to wheat and wheat products. She had issues with cow's milk products, yellow cheese, cream cheese and whey, but was okay for feta, plain Greek yogurt, ice cream, and margarine, but was okay for butter. She needed to avoid canned tomatoes, but was okay for fresh tomatoes, and had a specific list of other foods to focus on.
In two weeks she found an vast improvement in her digestive system, she stopped bloating, experienced improved energy, her mental motivation improved, sleep became more refreshing, and she lost 2kg and 5cm from her waist. Jenny reported that it was so much easier to feed herself because she knew what to avoid and what to focus on instead.
After two months she had lost 10kg and found that she no longer struggled to remember things, her blood pressure went down, she stopped snoring, had vastly improved energy, a more stable mood, her skin cleared up, and her menstrual cycle became less painful and problematic. Her friends and family couldn't believe the change in her.
Parasites & Bowel Problems
A parasite is any organism that lives and feeds off of another organism. When we talk about intestinal parasites, we are referencing tiny organisms, usually worms, living in your gut and feeding off of your nutrition. In the case of tapeworms, this means attaching to the gut wall and feeding off your blood. Hideous thought, right?
Some of the most common parasites include roundworms, tapeworms, pinworms, whipworms, hookworms, blastocystus, entamoeba and many more. Because parasites come in so many different shapes and sizes, they can cause a very wide range of problems. Some consume your food, leaving you constantly hungry and unable to gain weight. Others consume your red blood cells, causing anaemia. Some lay eggs that can cause itching, irritability, jaw clenching and even insomnia. If you have tried countless approaches to heal your gut and relieve your symptoms without any success, a parasite could be the underlying cause for many of your unexplained and unresolved symptoms, and testing will be necessary to determine what treatment you need.
Functional Pathology Testing
Some people may need to undertake further testing as we explore the factors involved in gut problems. Some of the tests we may refer out for include:
Microbiome Screening with Candida and Parasite Review to determine the cause of gastro-intestinal problems.
Methane Breath Tes
Personalised Health Care
Each person is unique, with their own particular lifestyle factors, health history, epi-genetic characteristics and treatment needs. We regard each person as an individual, and aim work with you to identify the causative and sustaining factors in your current experience, and what you need to move forward in the most efficient and effective way for you.
Call us to discuss your needs, or email us below.