Naturopathic, Holistic and Integrative Approach to Digestive Diseases and Health
Digestive diseases are a major health concern for many people, affecting their quality of life, productivity, and well-being. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive disorder, ranging from mild symptoms such as gas and bloating, to chronic and debilitating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These conditions can have a significant impact on the physical, mental, and emotional health of the individuals affected, as well as their families and communities who are clearly affected by the same issues.
While conventional medicine offers some relief for digestive diseases, it often focuses on suppressing symptoms with medications that may have side effects or long-term consequences. Additionally, conventional medicine may not address the underlying causes of digestive disorders, such as diet, lifestyle, stress, environmental toxins, infections, allergies, and imbalances in the gut microbiome. These factors can contribute to inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, dysbiosis, impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients and overall health of your body. Preventing the conditions from intensifying and increasing your body’s ability to process better can lead to a different experience now and in the future.
Naturopathic medicine offers a different perspective and approach to digestive diseases. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained to view the body as a whole system, not just a collection of organs or symptoms. They recognize that the gut is not only responsible for digesting food and eliminating waste, but also plays a vital role in immune function, hormonal balance, mood regulation, mitochondrial function and overall health. NDs use a holistic and integrative approach to diagnose and treat digestive diseases, considering the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of each patient.
NDs use a variety of natural therapies to support the healing process of the digestive system, such as:
– Dietary modifications: NDs help patients identify and eliminate foods that may trigger or worsen their symptoms, such as gluten, dairy, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, etc. They also recommend foods that can nourish and heal the gut lining, such as bone broth, fermented foods, fiber-rich foods, healthy fats, etc.
– Nutritional supplements: NDs prescribe supplements that can address specific nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that may contribute to digestive diseases. For example, probiotics can restore the beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome; digestive enzymes can enhance the breakdown and absorption of nutrients; L-glutamine can repair the intestinal barrier; anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric can reduce inflammation; etc.
– Lifestyle counseling: NDs help patients adopt healthy habits that can support their digestive health and overall well-being. For example, stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, etc. can lower cortisol levels and improve vagal tone; regular exercise can stimulate peristalsis and blood flow; adequate sleep can promote tissue repair and regeneration; etc.
– Functional medicine: NDs may also use functional medicine as a framework to assess and treat digestive diseases. Functional medicine is a systems-based approach that seeks to identify and address the root causes of chronic diseases by using advanced laboratory testing and personalized interventions. Testing identifies the details of the issues and how the body is working. An example includes a gut with high levels of yeast and H-pylori that would make it more difficult for it to process efficiently and effectively and efficiently as it could. This overburdened gut may cause problems for downstream systems due to nutrients that are delivered cannot be consumed as they should as well as cause inflammation.
Naturopathic medicine offers a safe, effective, and individualized way to treat digestive diseases. By using a holistic and integrative approach that addresses all aspects of health and wellness, NDs can help patients achieve optimal digestive health and improve their quality of life.
Happy Health from SIE Medical and Hummingbird Nutrition!