Articles by Dr. Lotte Valentin
Do you experience gas and bloating after you eat? Do you experience an upset stomach after certain foods? If so, does it happen after everything you eat or just when you eat certain foods? Digestive issues are a common problem and can stem from a few different conditions. A good starting point to get to the root of your digestive problems is to keep a food diary. Get a little notebook and write down the time, date and what you ate. Whenever you experience gas, bloating or upset stomach of some sort, write down your symptoms with date and time. You will soon start seeing a pattern if it is certain foods causing a problem or all foods. This information will be very helpful for your doctor as digestion issues can be due to food allergies, Gluten intolerance, too little Hydrochloric acid in your stomach, pancreatic issues causing a shortage in enzymes or a sluggish gallbladder causing you not to digest fats well, as well as intestinal inflammation and other problems. By helping identifying when you experience symptoms you will have a head start when seeing your doctor.
You have probably heard of the term Leaky gut, it pretty much is exactly what it sounds like! Think of it this way: Your intestines have a nice screen like mesh where only digested food particles can pass through to be absorbed, but when you have a leaky gut there are holes in your mesh letting larger protein chains, carbohydrates, fats and toxins pass through to your blood stream. This cycle will then weaken your immune system and cause inflammation. The toxins then circulate in your blood and end up in the liver, your detox organ, causing your liver to be overburdened. The toxins can then circulate around your body and may deposit themselves in your joints causing joint pain, or your brain causing you a foggy brain. As you can see, gut health is important not only to assimilate nutrients, but to keep your whole body healthy!
Zonulin is a protein that modulates intestinal permeability, i.e. it helps create the leaky gut syndrome. Studies have shown that Gluten increases Zonulin activity in everyone, even people that don’t have gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease. Zonulin has been shown to be up-regulated in auto immune disease, type 1 diabetes, Celiac disease as well as the innate immunity of the intestines. The innate immunity receptors of the small intestine keeps the intestines in homeostasis as it produces antimicrobial peptides as well as ridding the intestines of unwanted bacteria. When the innate receptors don’t work well it can result in chronic inflammation and other disorders.
But what can I eat then, you may ask. Many times if you eat the way humans ate 100 years ago you will be better off. I usually tell my patients that if it comes in a box or bag, don’t eat it! Many people do much better when they cut out the junk food and focus on eating meat, fish, foul, vegetables and fruit and omit the pre-packaged foods, but if this doesn’t help your digestion, there may be some other issues at play and you can always schedule an appointment with your physician to have them help you sort out your digestive issues.
Remember, keep a food diary to help you identify what is causing your symptoms and bring it with you to your appointment, as this will give you a head start!
The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss all your medical issues with your doctor.