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The gut has a significant impact on the rest of the body systems. Research has shown an overlap in risk profiles when assessing the gut and its connection to the other human body systems. For example, the chronic health conditions linked to gut dysfunction are eczema, leaky gut, brain fog, headaches, inflammation, swelling, and an abundance more.
The human gut is flooded with pathogens and bacteria. These gut pathogens are essential for health and proper function. The bacteria that infest the gastrointestinal tract is combined with both positive and negative commensals. The digestive tract associated with these microbes is known as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome has an essential role in disease and overall health. There are over 1000 microbial species living within the gut.
The growth and involvement of the human microbiome begin at birth. An infant does not have many pathogens. However, at birth, they are quickly colonized. As infants pass through the mother’s birth canal, they are exposed to the mother’s microbiome. This process heavily influences the child’s intestinal flora. Infants who were born via cesarean section showed a reduced number of microbes by the age of just one month.
Additionally, the human microbiome contains genes that are linked to metabolic processes. The bacteria in the human gut produce essential nutrients such as vitamins and hold a high responsibility to synthesize amino acids. The lining of the gut consists of tight junctions. Over time, these tight junctions can become irritated if the bacteria is off balance or food is not being digested properly. When food becomes an irritant, it causes the body to create additional inflammation. The undigested food particles then begin leaking out of the gut, back into the bloodstream.
Inflammatory Pathways Impacted By Gut Health
The intestinal epithelium layer is the main component separating the immune system and the external environment. Cells alert threats from pathogens by signaling the immune system through receptors that are associated with specific bacteria in the gut. These responses lead to the release of peptides, cytokines, and white blood cells. These responses can even trigger cell death.
The gut-brain axis is communication that relies on neural, hormonal, and immunological signaling. This communication is directly related, and stress has been shown to influence the integrity of the gut and its production, ultimately leading to changes in metabolism.
IBS is abdominal pain or discomfort associated with inflammation and changes in gut habits. Those who have higher bad bacteria levels in their gut suffer from more inflammation and side effects associated with IBS.
Inflammatory pathways can disrupt many body functions. Some have been linked to metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Although type 2 diabetes is a complex disorder influenced by genetic and environmental factors, it may also involve the composition of the intestinal microbiota.
Gut Health and The Musculo-Skeletal System
As previously stated, the gut microbiota is now recognized as a major contributor to health-related issues of the host. With imbalanced microbiota (associated with undernutrition, inflammatory and metabolic diseases, etc.), we see the influence of skeletal muscle and how it is impacted in relation to growth, performance, aging, and chronic diseases.
Conversely, microbial imbalance alters the intestinal barrier (leaky gut), allowing the passage of endotoxins (like undigested food particles and lipopolysaccharides). These endotoxins trigger innate immunity, leading to low-grade inflammation and, as a consequence, muscular disorders.
Additionally, we see muscle loss and weakness linked to increased morbidity and mortality recently related to systemic inflammation.
Chiropractic can be defined as “a system of healthcare which is based on the belief that the nervous system is the most important determinant of a person’s state of health.” Chiropractic treatments include the manipulation of the spine. With the manipulation of the spine, digestive disorders have seen improvement. Regular chiropractic visits are also shown to help decrease overall inflammation.
Considering the topic of inflammation, the use of the InBody 770 provides an ECW/TBW ratio. This ratio considers science down to the orthomolecular level and is an inflammation indicator. Additionally, the InBody 770 report shows a breakdown of the water in each limb. This chart is helpful in understanding and pinpointing where inflammation is occurring. Additionally, we use the InBody 770 to see a patient’s SMM (skeletal muscle mass), body fat mass, percent body fat, visceral fat (a risk factor indication related to heart attack, stroke, and type two diabetes), and phase angle. The video below provides more information on how a BIA analysis works to provide this information.
Ways To Help Your Gut
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH AND REDUCE INFLAMMATION. I HIGHLY RECOMMENDED HAVING LAB TESTING DONE TO TEST YOUR MICROBIOTA AND SEE WHAT STRAIN STRENGTH AND TYPE OF PROBIOTICS WILL HELP YOUR BACTERIA. ASIDE FROM THAT, EATING FERMENTED FOODS AND AVOIDING INFLAMMATORY TRIGGERS WILL REDUCE INFLAMMATION AS WELL. ANOTHER TEST I RECOMMENDED IS A FOOD SENSITIVITY TEST. THIS TEST WILL SHOW WHAT FOODS YOU ARE HAVING REACTIONS TO, AND THE SEVERITY OF THE DAMAGE CAUSED EACH TIME YOU INGEST THEM. -KENNA VAUGHN, ACSM-CEP, SENIOR HEALTH COACH
Sample reports for both of these tests are shown below:
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Bull, M. J., & Plummer, N. T. (2014). Part 1: The Human Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(6), 17–22.
Gizard, F., Fernandez, A., & De Vadder, F. (2020). Interactions between gut microbiota and skeletal muscle. Nutrition and metabolic insights, 13, 1178638820980490. https://doi.org/10.1177/1178638820980490
Segen JC. Dictionary of alternative medicine. Stamford: Appleton and Lange; 1998.
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The human body is more complex than scientists understand. Constantly, new research is being conducted and published that dives deeper into the bodies of multiple systems, uncovering new thought-provoking information. As of late, a lot of research is being conducted revolving around the human gut/gastrointestinal system. Originally thought, the gut was made to store and digest food. However, now we see that the gut is the real mastermind behind everyday bodily functions. The gut has now been linked to headaches, inflammation, and autoimmune disease.
The digestive tract is one of the essential immune support organs. In fact, it is the immunological powerhouse that houses more than 80% of our antibody-producing cells. This means that our gut is the first line of defense when it comes to unwanted antigens. The gut is so powerful that researchers began to question and test its true abilities.
The thought of the body having two brains sounds fictional, but scientists have begun referring to the gut as the body’s “second brain.” Researchers found that the brain in the human skull, working with the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the gut working with the Enteric Nervous System (ENS), can function separately. Although the two use the same “hardware,” the ENS can manage every aspect of digestion and is a nearly self-contained network of neurotransmitters and proteins.
Just throughout the small intestine, there are more than 100 million nerve cells. If you combine the number of nerve cells in the human GI tract, you will find that there are more nerves in the gut than there are in the human spine. This allows the ENS the capability to help with ION transport and GI blood flow.
Nearly every substance the body contains to control the brain can simultaneously be found in the gut. One of these substances being serotonin. 95% of serotonin is housed in the gut. A cell referred to as the enterochromaffin squirts serotonin into the wall of the gut, which then communicates with the nerve cells to get things moving. 90% of communication occurring is from the gut to the brain. When we take this into consideration with chiropractic care, we see how it is all connected. Chiropractic care focuses on the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue. All of these work together to support your body’s weight and help you move to perform daily functions. Injuries, disease, and aging can cause pain, stiffness, and other problems with movement and function. The muscular system is an organ system that consists of skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles. Smooth muscle is what lines the interior of the gut. As we know, the muscle systems in vertebrates are controlled through the nervous system. In fact, studies have shown that chiropractic care helps to reduce constipation, low back pain, and overall well-being. This study shows how the gut and digestive systems are directly connected to chiropractic care.
Inner Defense System
As previously mentioned, the gut is our inner defense system. The mucosal layer that is associated with lymph node tissue is our primary source of immunological function. Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) is the first to see foreign invaders and put up a fight. GALT produces two levels of defense, the most abundant being secretory IgA. Secretory IgA binds to antigens to provide protection against microbes.
It is important to note that secretory IgA in itself is NON-Inflammatory. However, when secretory IgA is fighting, it sends off signals for help from other immune cells, such as IgG and IgM, which do produce an inflammatory response.
Most individuals who have an autoimmune disease have worn-out IgAs. The goal of the gut and its defense system is to keep nutrients in while bouncing antigens off. In the case of autoimmune diseases, we see nutrients leaking out and antigens coming in.
In order to gain a better understanding of the health of our patients, we use the InBody 770. This allows us to assess health down to the orthomolecular level. With the use of the InBody, we can see phase angle, visceral fat (higher visceral fat has an association with type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke), intracellular water, extracellular water (this is related to inflammation and swelling), lean muscle, and percent body fat. These numbers are critical when considering a health condition, especially if the extracellular water is high. We see a direct overlap in risk profiles with excess extracellular water to other inflammatory diseases and markers.
With more research shining a light on these, we see the true the gut and how it comes into play with autoimmune disease and inflammation.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6_sG_JV-0Q[/embedyt]
THE GUT IS GENUINELY SO POWERFUL AND HIGHLY OVERLOOKED. I CAN SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE IN HAVING AN AUTOIMMUNE CONDITION WHERE NOT A SINGLE DOCTOR MENTIONED MY DIET OR MY GUT! NOW, KNOWING THIS INFORMATION AND BEING SURROUNDED BY PATIENTS WHO SUFFER FROM A DISEASE SIMILAR TO MINE, IT IS THE FIRST PLACE WE LOOK. THE GUT IS THE POWERHOUSE AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SO. -KENNA VAUGHN, SENIOR HEALTH COACH
University, Functional Medicine and Ronald Grisanti , directors. Physiology of the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue, Enteric Nervous System and Mucosal Barrier. Functional Medicine University – The Leader in Online Training in Functional Diagnostic Medicine, 2010,.
Rédly M. (2001). The effects of chiropractic care on a patient with chronic constipation. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 45(3), 185–191.
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Fifty-four million adults currently suffer from Arthritis. In addition to that, about 9% of adults have some type of limitation attributed to Arthritis. The CDC predicts the number of those diagnosed with Arthritis will only continue to rise in the years coming. With autoimmune disease continually growing, it begs the question, “What are we doing to reduce these chances in our patients?”.
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. With “Arthro,” meaning joint, and “itis” referring to inflammation, it is clear that joint inflammation is the symptom being referred to. Many conventional approaches to arthritis treatment are aimed at reducing the inflammation of the joints. These medications also come with a heavy dose of side effects, including kidney failure, gastritis, and bleeding in the stomach. Looking from a functional perspective, aiming to heal at the orthomolecular level, we pinpoint what is causing the inflammation in the first place. By resolving the overall inflammation in the body, evaluating the musculoskeletal system, and creating a holistic plan, we are able to naturally reduce what is causing the inflammation. With this plan of action, joint inflammation ultimately subsites as well.
As with other autoimmune conditions, we see underlying factors associated with Arthritis. One of the main contributing factors is infection and imbalance of the gut microbiota. For over 100 years, researchers have been searching for the exact link between the arthritis-infection connection. It has been documented countless times in animals and humans that those with Arthritis have another type of infection. We know that in patients with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), there are polymorphonuclear (PMN) leukocytes. This association of joint neutrophilia with RA has implied infectious etiology.
DNA sequencing was used to identify the bacteria on the mouth and in the intestines of participants with RA. This research has found that those who have an early onset of RA have had 4x more porphyromans gingivalis bacteria vs. the healthy controlled adults. Intestinal bacteria was also associated with inflammation and is more prevalent in patients who have RA. A specific test we use to test DNA is from DNA Life called DNA Health. We also use a stool test from Genova to detect inflammation and strains of bacteria in the gut. The balance between the gut and inflammation is substantial. There are countless studies documenting “leaky gut”. When the gut becomes so inflamed, the barrier becomes permeable, and small undigested proteins leak through the barrier back into the bloodstream. Our body sees these proteins as foreign invaders and sends white blood cells to attack. This process is what starts the inflammation. With continuous leakage and cells attacking our own body, the autoimmune diseases set in. With the help of the Genova test-we are able to create a program that helps reduce, repair, and replenish the gut. A sample resort of both tests are shown below:
[wp-embedder-pack width=”100%” height=”400px” download=”all” download-text=”” url=”http://www.dnalife.healthcare/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/DNA-Health-Sample-Report-2020.pdf” /]
[wp-embedder-pack width=”100%” height=”400px” download=”all” download-text=”” url=”https://www.gdx.net/core/sample-reports/gi-effects-2200-sample-report.pdf” /]
Hormones are to ensure our bodies are properly functioning. It is common for those who have Arthritis to have a hormone imbalance as well. These hormones include DHEA, Pregnenolone, Natural progesterone, natural estrogens, human growth hormone, cortisol, melatonin, and more. Hormones are delicate and can be thrown off by a multitude of environmental factors. Even something as simple as perfume, scented body soap, and lotions can throw imbalance hormones. One hormone test we specifically use is the DUTCH Plus test from DUTCH. This is a combination of 6 urine and six saliva samples throughout a 24 hour period. This test shows us the exact numbers and fluctuations one has in hormones. A sample of this report can be seen below:
[wp-embedder-pack width=”100%” height=”400px” download=”all” download-text=”” url=”https://dutchtest.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/DUTCH-Plus-Female-Sample-Report-Ref02252020.pdf” /]
A Functional Approach
When dealing with a disease such as Arthritis, there are six areas to be considered from a functional standpoint. The first being dehydration. Unfortunately, dehydration is widespread and causes the body to not function at its total capacity. We are able to track hydration levels at the intracellular and extracellular level of our patients with the use of our InBody 770 machine. The second aspect is food and environmental allergies. These allergies around us are impacting our genes and how we break down food particles. If we are sensitive to food, our gut is not properly digesting it. This leaves us with leaky gut syndrome and proteins leaking back into our bloodstream, resulting in inflammation. Third, hormone imbalances. As mentioned above, we can not improve our joints if we do not first assess the hormones. The fourth factor is infections. If we have previous infections, they may have altered our DNA or still be lingering around, leading to excess inflammatory factors. Fifth, nutritional imbalances. Similar to hormones, we need our nutrition to be fully functioning to properly allow energy creation and proper breakdown. If we lack micronutrients, our production and balance of energy will be offset. Finally, the last point to be evaluated is toxicities. Toxins surround us everywhere we go. They are in the products we use, the air we breathe, the food we eat, etc.
The phase angle is a snapshot of cellular health. We want our cells to be strong, healthy, and able to fight off infection. This comes from a solid cellular membrane. When an individual’s phase angle is around 7, we know the cells are healthy. However, in many cases, phase angles fall closer to the 4-5 range. A phase angle in this low range indicates that the cellular membranes are permeable and more susceptible to infection and early apoptosis (cell death). To improve overall phase angle, we must decrease visceral fat (the fat surrounding the organs) and increase our skeletal muscle mass to outweigh our weight and body fat mass. As previously mentioned, we use the InBody 770 machine to detect phase angle, visceral fat, water levels, inflammation, skeletal muscle mass, body fat mass, and BMI.
Tie It Together
By approaching Arthritis and inflammation from these areas and considering these six factors, we are able to assess what the real source of inflammation is. This provides us with a great understanding of how to go about reducing inflammation and repairing the body in a functional way. The musculoskeletal system is intertwined with all areas of the body. It comes down to the cellular level.
We have discovered that everything is connected to the gut and phase angle. We did not associate joint pain with gut inflammation before, but now we see that it is all connected. We can start by feeding our bodies anti-inflammatory foods such as smoothies to reduce inflammation. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Brownstein, David. “Overcoming Arthritis.” Functional Medicine University . 2020.
Additional Online Links & Resources (Available 24/7)
Online Appointments or Consultations: https://bit.ly/Book-Online-Appointment
Online Physical Injury / Accident Intake Form: https://bit.ly/Fill-Out-Your-Online-History
Online Functional Medicine Assessment: https://bit.ly/functionmed
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