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Gut Dysfunction and Chronic Disease

Jin W. Sung, Chiropractic Physician

Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are one of the leading causes for visits to the primary care physician and the emergency room. In the United States alone, there are millions of people suffering from GI symptoms, which range from mild symptoms to those more serious to interfere with normal daily activities. Some of the more common GI symptoms related to disease are inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastritis, peptic ulcer, colon cancer and diverticulosis. Even more common are the "functional" disorders, which include chronic constipation, diarrhea, bloating and flatulence.

When people think of GI disease they think of symptoms related to the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and colon. What is surprising is that GI dysfunction can be the underlying cause of many conditions we normally do not relate back to the GI tract. A condition called intestinal permeability or "leaky gut" can be implicated in rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, eczema, chronic urticaria and other autoimmune conditions.

So what is a leaky gut? Leaky gut is a compromised GI lining which will allow marcomolecules to slip back into the body rather than be eliminated during normal bowel movements. Leaky gut along with other GI dysfunction has been associated with a long list of chronic conditions including celiac disease, chronic yeast infections, chronic fatigue, food allergies, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, pernicious anemia and others. The ability of the body to maintain healthy GI function, and to heal the GI barrier when its integrity is breached, is integral not only to healthy aging but to protection from many diseases and disorders. What most people don't know about the GI tract is that approximately 60% of the total immune system is located in the mucosa of the GI tract. So how important is the GI tract to the overall immune response to viruses and bacteria? Very important.

In our office we apply the 4 Rs to restoration of normal gut function.

  1. Remove all pathogens. Pathogens include "bad" bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and foods.
  2. Replace digestive enzymes and restore normal pH of the stomach
  3. Reinoculate with "good" bacteria or probiotics along with prebiotics.
  4. Regenerate by providing nutritional support for healing and growth of normal GI mucosa.

The 4R program has been an integral program within the natural healing community to help tens of thousands of patients across the country.

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