By Jamie Truppi, M.S.
“All disease begins in the gut.” ~Hippocrates
Also referred to as the gut, the gastrointestinal tract (GIT)’s most well-known job is to digest and absorb nutrients. But like any mysterious entity, it possesses a deeper purpose.
Surprising fact: The GIT is made up of more neurotransmitters (over 100 million!) than are found in the brain. For example, 90 percent of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that controls mood, obsession, sleep, and memory – is produced in the GIT to regulate appetite and digestion. If digestion is compromised, serotonin levels can drop, causing symptoms such as bloating and constipation, as well as adverse mental states including depression, anxiety and “brain fog.”
One of the most common GIT conditions, affecting more than 25 million Americans, is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic condition that causes gas, bloating, cramps, as well as diarrhea and/or constipation. Interestingly, 70 to 95 percent of people suffering from IBS experience coexisting anxiety and/or depressive disorders.
Though there is no “known cause” of IBS, it is characterized by psychological, lifestyle and dietary factors. Dietary modifications aiming to remove allergenic/sensitive foods, repair the gut lining, improve digestive movements and bowel function, and stimulate the resident microflora can alleviate IBS. Implementing stress management and mental/emotional coping skills also has been shown to help.
Recent research links a dysfunctional gut to a myriad of health problems, including migraines, mood disorders, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, skin disorders (acne, eczema), arthritis, autoimmune disorders (multiple sclerosis, celiac disease), obesity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autism, to name just a few.
Gastrointestinal health offers a window into overall mental, physical, and emotional health and is, therefore, an excellent place to begin healing.
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Jamie Truppi, MSN, is a functional nutritionist who seeks to understand the core imbalances of adverse health when guiding individuals toward wellness. Always starting with food, she focuses on improving chronic conditions, gut health, and family wellness. To learn more about Jamie or sign up for a personal or family consultation or class, click here.