The Power of Digestion: Chronic Fatigue Links to Your Stomach

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Poor digestion is beyond bloating and gas.  Chronic fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, depression and challenges with focus, can all originate  from poor digestion.   According to Hippocrates, ‘the father of medicine’, “All disease begins in the gut.”

You may have been lead to believe that shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, eating whole foods, breathing deeply and moving is all it takes to have get up and go and maintain perfect health.

Yet more and more health practitioners are beginning to realize that even if you take the time to eat better and to shop, prepare and consume more consciously, you are not what you eat. While what you eat is vital to your overall health, it would be more accurate to say “You are what you digest and assimilate.”  You may be eating great yet your cells may be starving. How can that be?

According to the NIH, each year digestive problems account for  about 105 million doctor visits, more than 13 million hospitalizations and over 230,000 deaths in the U.S alone, and the cost of digestive disorders is staggering. These diseases cost the United States $100 billion annually in direct medical costs and $44 billion in indirect costs such as disability and mortality.

Digestive disorders are more than just a nuisance. They are downright dangerous. Chronic gut issues can contribute to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, suicide and a host of other serious conditions.

Most of us don't think about our guts unless they hurt us. Yet your gut can be hurting you by letting you down on the
digestive job, even if you don’t have specific gut complaints. Maybe you experience fatigue, the inability to lose that last 5 pounds, or a brain that doesn’t seem to be the sharpest tack in the box anymore.

While you can’t build a healthy body without good food to nourish your cells and organs, even if your food is perfect, you can’t flourish unless your digestive tract is able to break the food down, absorb the nutrients and eliminate the waste.

So how do you know if you have digestive issues that need attention?  If you’re bloated, gassy or have gut pain, it’s obvious.  It’s the more subtle signs that are less frequently associated with gut problems.  For example, difficulty sleeping, referred to as circadian dysrhythmia, can start because your cells are not well fed and your organs, like your adrenal glands and brain, are not receiving what they need to keep you energized during the day and horizontal and refreshed during the night.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if your gut is contributing to disease.

  • Do you have a chronic fatigue that doesn’t go away with any intervention you have tried?
  • Do you carry an extra 5 to 50 pounds regardless of how you eat or how much you exercise?
  • Do you have trouble concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions??
  • Are you frequently cold for no reason?
  • Are you frequently stressed out, worn out or depressed for no apparent reason?
  • Do you have a chronically coated tongue?
  • Does your pulse increase 20-25 beats within 15 minutes of eating?
  • Do you feel worse after you eat?
  • Do you usually have less two bowel movements daily? (Hippocrates told the Athenians that is was essential that they pass large bulky motions after every meal!)
  • Do your stools regularly smell ‘bad’?
  • Do you have chronic  heart burn, burping, bloating, gas and pain immediately or within hours of eating?
  • Do you just not feel well no matter how vigilant you are with eating well, taking supplements, working out, trying to have a positive attitude?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you likely have a gut issue that needs to be addressed to protect your
health.  If you answered yes to 3 or more of these, it’s possible that your gut problem is already adversely affecting the rest of your body and you need to take action right away.

Getting nutrition from your mouth to deep down into your cells where it counts takes a lot of intestinal fortitude and multiple steps with many organs and nutrients working in harmony.  Many of our modern “advances” interfere with your gut's ability to do its job – things like environmental chemicals, antibiotics, alcohol, some prescription and over the counter medications and chronic stress.  This can leave you with chronic fatigue and adrenal exhaustion.

In restoring optimal gut function, it’s important to evaluate and target all the working parts of your digestive tract.

If you have chronic problems or are experiencing the effects of gut imbalance in parts of your body outside your digestive tract, it’s important that you take time out to do a gut healing protocol as soon as possible and repeat the process a couple of times a year to maintain your gut health.

Here’s a short list of actions you can take to get the process started:

  1. Chew your food well.  The only part of your digestive tract that has teeth is your mouth.  Un-chewed food particles can’t be digested and can contribute to inefficient digestion.  You’d be surprised by how many digestive problems are solved by this simple step.
  2. Start to eat gut healing foods on a daily basis.  Three that are easy to incorporate are:  chia seeds, which soothe the gut lining and contribute essential fats to calm the fire of inflammation, green drinks, which provide an abundance of healing chlorophyll and minerals, and turmeric, a potent anti-inflammatory and cancer protective herb.
  3. Eat daily servings of probiotic containing foods like sauerkraut, homemade nut and seed yogurt and coconut kefir or take a high quality probiotic supplement to keep your gut critters in harmony.
  4. Relax and breath before you start to eat.

Having the discipline to do a gut support protocol on your own can be challenging.  There are always excuses that prevent you from starting.  That’s why I teamed up with my good friend, colleague and mentor Dr. Lindsey Berkson,
author of “Healthy Digestion the Natural Way” to create a unique program called “Get Your Gut in Gear”.  This program is for you if:

  • You’re fed up with chronic indigestion, gas and bloating and you’re ready for a flat and comfortable belly.
  • You’re frustrated with not having the energy to fully engage in the activities you love.
  • You’re concerned about the risks of an out of balance digestive tract.
  • You're tired of that extra 5 to 50 pounds you just can't shed.
  • You answered yes to 3 or more of the questions above and you’re not sure where to begin to restore your gut to health.
  • You’ve tried various gut herbs and cleanses before and just can’t seem to complete them or get the promised results on your own.

Get Your Gut In Gear is lead by  two digestive health experts and includes membership in a supportive community to guide you to detox, rebuild and reboot your gut so you can sleep better, feel better, think better and shed those last frustrating pounds.
Just eating a colorful healthy diet may not be enough. Digesting it adequately is what counts.

As Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” To take it a step further…

“Good health begins in the gut.”
“Great health begins in the gut.”
“All health begins in the gut.”

Love, Health and Joyful Digestion,

Dr. Ritamarie

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