It all has to do with the gut

Hippocrates, known by some as the father of modern medicine, said that the root of all disease starts in the gut. The wisdom of that statement is every bit as true today as ever.

The gut is actually outside of the body. Weird, right! Because of the responsibility of the gut to receive nutrients and eliminate waste, 70% of the immune system is located in the gut. Evolutionarily, humans have never had the exposure to the number of toxins we do today, and we are constantly adapting to these toxins called xenobiotics as well as the ancient toxins found in foods, soil, air, and water. The ability for our immune system and detoxification processes leaves me astounded at our adaptability! It is extraordinary! 

That said, we are also seeing a number of disease processes never seen before in human history. It is not just that we have means to identify and diagnose these conditions because of medical technology, it is undocumented from previous generations of modern health. The bombardment of the interaction of humans in this unique environment can overwhelm and sometimes confuse humans’ systems. We have seen an explosion of autoimmune diseases in the last century. Diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, strokes, and certain types of cancer have erupted from rare to common. The interaction of the gut and the environment may not be the only interaction that affects these diseases, but it is undeniably the greatest. 

In the 1990s, few articles were written about a condition commonly referred to as leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability. Back in the early 1990’s, I remember hearing about leaky gut from my friends practicing functional medicine, termed complementary and alternative medicine then. Then when attending medical school, I never heard about it again and was even embarrassed by a faculty member when I brought up the subject. Since 2010, research on leaky gut has exploded and has been proven as an important condition that contributes to numerous diseases. The absorption of nutrients, reactions of the immune system, and the communication via the vagus nerve with the central nervous system are all affected by leaky gut. The single layer of cells lining our gut are remarkable in the ability to protect us from the environment, but the insults of modern environmental exposures appears to be too much for this incredible defense mechanism. 

Finally, the gut is host to organisms like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other parasites referred to as the microbiome. I like to think of the gut as a rainforest. Imagine if all of the bacteria, fungi, insects, spiders, and other animals that lived on the floor of the forest disappeared. The amount of fruit, leaves, and branches falling from the trees as well as the vast numbers of animals dying in the rainforest would quickly kill the rainforest. The ecology of every system of the earth depends on the microbiome. Our gut is no different. Unfortunately, our environment now includes many antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, pesticides, and herbicides that are destroying not only the microbiome and ecology of the earth, they are responsible for the destruction of the ecology of humans. These new products along with others like plastics, cleaning products, petroleum products, byproducts of producing innumerable products found in almost every home in modern society all contribute to a disrupted microbial community as well as aforementioned assaults on our detoxification pathways and gut lining. 

At Holland Health, we understand the importance of the gut and identify ways to get your energy back through restoring gut health. There are some general ways in which to do this, but for some, precise identification of specific offending foods, chemicals, overgrowth or missing beneficial bacteria and fungi must be identified to redeem your health. We have access to state of the art labs that identify these problems and allow us to recommend a plan that will give you the energy and health you desire. The removal of offending agents and addition of other nutrients, microbiota, and support of the microbiome are all ways we can heal your gut ending many of your battles with your health.