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Digestive issues

The most common presenting symptoms to a naturopath are digestive complaints like pain, bloating or bowel irregularity.

Natural treatments for digestive problems are very successful. Most people can find a solution to their digestive problems using herbs, lifestyle changes and moderate dietary changes. Digestive complaints can be divided into three classifications, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel and ulcerative colitis.

Each ailment has its different symptoms and outcomes but there is a common thread to them all.

Your digestive system is like a big net, designed to break down foods, and allow some molecules to enter the blood stream and preclude others from entering the body.

The net-like structure of the gut is very thin and semipermeable which is why more than 90 per cent of your immune system is in the gut.

Digestion starts with the chewing of foods. This breaks down the food structure and introduces digestive enzymes which are in your saliva, which, in turn, stimulate the stomach to start preparing for the arrival of food. With the trigger of chewing, the stomach starts to produce acids and peptides.

One of the most important parts of digestion is this acid. Your stomach’s acid should have a pH of between 1 and 3, which is the same as battery acid.

Your stomach is protected from this acid by mucus whereas your oesophagus is not; hence heartburn or acid reflux back up your throat hurts like hell.

Low acid levels are a big problem for immune function as well as digestive function. Not enough stomach acid results in foods and bugs not being properly “zapped” by the acid leading to compromised function further down the digestive tract.

This puts pressure on the immune system.