The GI tract has 4 main functions that are the pillars of GI health. They are called pillars because they are the foundations that support our GI system. These 4 pillars are composed of digestion, elimination, microflora balance, and gut integrity. When one pillar is compromised, it affects the other pillars and the resulting imbalance triggers a cascade that causes GI and non-GI related issues.
What is digestion? The main function of our GI tract is to digest and absorb the food we eat. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach with rhythmic contractions and digestive enzymes all play a part in breaking down large food particles so they can be absorbed by our bodies. Poor digestion and absorption of key nutrients results in low energy, slow metabolism, mental fog, fatigue, and an increased susceptibility to all chronic illnesses.
What is elimination? The process of elimination is just as important as digestion and is a vital component for our well-being. Elimination removes unusable particles of the food we eat and eliminates toxic waste products from biochemical reactions taking place in our cells.
What is microflora balance? Human GI tract has over 100 trillion microscopic organisms, or microflora. Our microflora consists of over 500 different strains of beneficial yeast, bacteria, and microorganisms that grow and live in the intestines. Their purpose is to help maintain healthy and functional digestion and absorption in the GI tract. These organisms also help regulate our body’s immune function and blood sugar levels; assist in vitamin production; and manufacture essential nutrients. It is critical to keep our beneficial flora balanced and in plentiful supply to help regulate the digestive system and help prevent GI dysfunction.
What is gut integrity? The GI tract is the largest protective cell layer that serves as a barrier between our internal body and the external world. It covers an area of a tennis court! One critical function of the lining of the gut is to allow nutrients into the body while keeping away all the harmful substances that pass through our gut. If this selective barrier is damaged, the intestinal barrier becomes permeable to a number of harmful substances that trigger immune-related responses, typically linked to such disorders as Crohn’s, Celiac disease, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, and food allergies, to name a few.
At NLM, Dr. Samara uses the most advanced labs to evaluate the health and integrity of your GI system. She will provide you with your personal information regarding your gut microbiome. She will evaluate for yeast overgrowth, pathogenic bacteria, and/or parasites. Furthermore, she will provide you with necessary medications, medical foods, and/or supplements to restore your GI health and thus help you open the gateway to healthy living!