Dr. Karen Sun: Digestion Support
Updated: Jan 22, 2022
We are what we eat. Not only what we eat, how our intestine tract works matters. Our intestine tract starts from our mouth chewing the food, the food then moves into our stomach for digestion. The small intestine further digests the food and absorbs the nutrients, the large intestine absorbs the water and the fibers we eat are being fermented by the bacteria within the large intestine which produce nutrients for the intestine cells. The healthy bacteria forms a biofilm, which serves as a barrier to prevent toxins and large undigested food molecules to enter our body. 80% of immune cells are located in the intestine tract, serving as our first line of defense, and 90% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes us happy, is secreted by the intestine cells. Our intestine tract not only serves as the portal for us to get nutrients to sustain our life, it also is our defense against toxins and foreign invaders, it is our second brain. This is why our intestine tract is so important for our health, and if we can heal our gut, we can get rid of most diseases.
Here are a few common Intestine issues:
1.Acid reflux or reflux esophagitis or GERD
One of the most popular over the counter medicines sold is antacid, stating from Tums to zantac to prescription proton pump inhibitors such as protonix. The real reason is we eat too much processed food without the enzymes from raw food to help digestion. The stomach needs to be very acidic to digest the protein and kill the pathogens, when we eat too much, or when we get older and are not secreting as many enzymes or HCL, we can't digest the food so it sits in the stomach and come back up, we call it acid reflux or reflux esophagitis. Yes, by reducing the acidity in the stomach we can reduce heart burn, but at the price of not digesting the food, not getting the nutrients or killing the harmful bacteria we ingested. The other problem with protein pump inhibitors is we don't have the acidity to absorb certain nutrients, such as B12. By reducing the acidity in the intestine we reduce the healthy bacteria growth in the intestine tract and increase the growth of bad bacteria or candida. The simple solution is chewing more, eating slower and smaller meals. Eating a healthy diet such as the paleo diet, avoiding processed foods, acidic foods, coffee and alcohol. If you still have problem with reflux, taking a digestive enzyme right before meal, such as DigestEZ.
2. Leaky gut syndrome
Remember our gut has a biofilm to prevent the toxins and large undigested foods from entering our body. When this biofilm is damaged, or the intestine lining junction is inflamed and not tight anymore, undigested food can enter our body. Undigested proteins, especially gluten are foreign invaders, so our body recognize them as enemies and produce antibodies to destroy them. Unfortunately, this kind of antibody can turn against ourselves, attacking our own organs and tissue, leading to auto immune diseases, such as Hashimoto thyroiditis, Crohn's disease,lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Other symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, sinus congestion, skin rash, eczema, and food sensitivities. Dr. Sun always does a food allergy test when patients present with autoimmune diseases. Simply by not eating the food you are allergic to, we can stop the antibody production and prevent or reverse the autoimmune diseases.
Another important issue is to rebuild the biofilm. How the biofilm is being damaged? Remember the biofilm is made of healthy bacteria, we called probiotics. They feed on fiber, not sugar. The SAD diet, standard American diet, is full of processed food contains sugar or high glycemic carbohydrate that turns into sugar quickly. This leads to unhealthy bacteria or fungus over growth. Another reason is many grains contain lectin, which can poke holes in our intestine cells. Chronic use of antibiotics, NASID medicine such as motrin, advil or prescription pain meds, or protein pump inhibitors are all reasons that damage the biofilm. To repair the leaky gut, eating a healthy diet such as the paleo diet, is essential. This involves the 4 R’s.
1. Remove-remove the foods we are allergic too, remove the toxins from our diet, and
remove the pathogenic organisms, such as candida or harmful bacteria and parasite.
2. Replace: digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid. DigestEZ has both.
3. Re-inoculate: this is done by introduce healthy bacteria, such as WellbioticSP
4. Repair: Inflamdetox powder has herbs to reduce inflammation, glutamine and vitamin D to repair the intestine lining.
Candida exist in our environment and normally does not cause harm. But when it starts to overgrow, it can invade the intestine lining and cause inflammation of the intestine tract, which can lead to leaky gut, and a whole host of problems. To treat candida, the most important part is not to feed it with sugar. A diet low in sugar and processed carbohydrate is essential, which is hard for a lot of people to follow. But you don't have to be perfect all the time, stick to a paleo diet with fruits like strawberries and blueberries, don’t drink alcohol too often, and take your supplements regularly.
1.Digestive enzymes such as DigestEZ, which will reduce fermentable sugar to feed the
2. ProSporeIG which has spore form of probiotics that are able to survive the stomach acidity.Get to the intestine more effectively to suppress candida growth, and immunoglobulin to neutralize the toxins and repair the gut lining.
3. YeastyBeasty which has oregano, caprylate acid, and berberine to create a hostile environment to inhibit the yeast form of candida from converting to a more aggressive fungal form. It also has ginger, biotin, rosemary, and cinnamon to give the intestine tract a potent antioxidant support and ensure microbial balance.
4. Chelated Magnesium or Nature Calm which help with constipation.
SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth)
Healthy bacteria usually grows in the large intestine, not so much in the small intestine. But when the intestine motility is slower, or the ileocecal valve between small and large intestine is not closed tightly, the bacteria can move to the small intestine. Those bacterias can ferment fiber or undigested carbs, produce either methane or hydrogen. Methane can cause constipation. Hydrogen can cause diarrhea. Both cause burping and bloating. Those are typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. More severe SIBO cause small intestine inflammation, which leads to malabsorption, celiac disease and autoimmune diseases. Often SIBO is combined with fungal candida overgrowth, called SIFO. The treatment of SIBO is similar to candida, which is a diet of low sugar and carbohydrate, but the difference is SIBO diet also needs to avoid fiber, especially water soluble fiber which can be fermented. This kind of diet is called low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides disaccharides monosaccharides and polynols) diet. Oligosaccharides means short chain carbohydrate, those foods include wheat, rye, onions, garlic, lentil, beans, chickpeas and soybeans. Disaccharides means two sugars, which include sucrose from fruits and lactose from milk. Monosaccharides means one sugar, which is fructose and glucose. Polynols are sugar alcohols, such as xylitol in sugar free diet product. The internet is a good source to find the food in low FODMAP to eat or high FODMAP to avoid. It's hard to stick to a low FODMAP diet, but the good news is you can see results pretty soon, usually with in a month, if you combine with supplements.
1. Digestive enzyme such as DigestEZ, which helps to digest food and reduce fermentation in small intestine
2.MotilityPro which helps to restore the gastric and small intestine motility.
3.Chelated Magnesium or nature calm to reduce constipation.
4.Yeasty Beasty to treat candida which usually co exist with SIBO.