GI Health

 "All disease begins in the gut" ~ Hippocrates ~

Some people who come to the clinic may be thinking, “why are you telling me about gut health when my interest is weight loss”?

Remember, “body composition is a symptom of health, and health is a result of lifestyle”. So we are telling you about GI Health because it is an aspect of your health and influences body composition.

In general, problems in the gut result in:

  • reduced absorption of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids which affect cells in ways such as metabolism, the function of the cell and cell health

  • inflammation - which drains cellular resources (mentioned above), damages cell and tissue, can affect insulin sensitivity and ability to properly utilize glucose

  • allow toxins and bacteria into the bloodstream - which activate the immune system and can lead to various autoimmune diseases.

How important is the bacteria in your gut?

The microbiome has over 100 times the DNA than we have in the makeup of our whole body!

Did you know:

Poor gut health can cause metabolism deregulation(1)


90% of microbiome bacteria are made up of 2 bacteria types that play a role in weight management (2)

1) Antibiotics and the Human Gut Microbiome: Dysbioses and Accumulation of Resistances, Front Microbiol. 2015; 6: 1543.

2) An Overview of the Microbiome and the Effects of Antibiotics, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners - JNP, Volume 10, Issue 7, pg 446, July/August 2014

Martin J Blaser, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Professor of microbiology at New York University School of Medicine

  • Does not believe that bad eating habits are enough to cause our rapid and widespread explosion of obesity.

  • Antibiotic test on mice - killed off microbes - mice gained enormous weight.

August 29, 2013 issue of Nature, Pan European meta HIT Consortium - (300 Dutch volunteers, lean and obese) obese had a relatively low microbiome diversity which correlated significantly with weight gain over the 9 years.

Dr. Lee Kaplan

  • Transplanted microbiome from three groups of mice (those with fake surgery, calorie restriction, and gastric bypass1 ) to germ free mice with no microbiome of their own:

  • The germ free mice who received the microbiome from the mice who had gastric bypass lost weight even though they ate more than the other groups and even though they had not had surgery (bariatric). They didn’t need surgery, they needed the microbiome from the mice that had surgery.

  • The dieting mice struggled with their calorie restriction - their microbiome remained unchanged as did their insulin and glucose levels

1) Researchers speculate the surgery “reset” the mice’s microbiome

Raphael Kellman M.D., The Microbiome Diet: the scientifically proven way to restore your gut health and achieve permanent weight loss, Da Capo Press, 1960, Pg 21

Gut health has an impact on brain neurotransmitters

These govern mood, energy levels and mental functioning. 70% of serotonin is produced in the gut.

You might be amazed at some of the symptoms that are associated with GI health conditions like:

  • SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth),

  • SIFO (small intestinal fungus overgrowth - yeast)

  • Fructose Mal-absorption

  • Leaky Gut (substances allowed into the bloodstream that should not be)

  • Helicobactor Pilori

  • Histamine Intolerance.

Below is a list of symptoms associated with these conditions

For a copy of this write up select Gut Health and Antibiotics

The Importance of Gut Health

The function of the digestive system is digestion and absorption. Digestion is the breakdown of food into small molecules, which are then absorbed or eliminated as waste.

The intestinal tract is the first barrier through which we “interact” with outside environmental inputs of food and water, selectively letting in the “good” environmental inputs and keeping out the “bad” inputs. This interaction is the first opportunity for the body’s defense against outside bacterial invaders and toxins/toxicants in our food and water. Failure of this is caused by a condition of “intestinal permeability” (leaky gut) which is a loss of tightness between the cells in the intestinal wall.

Gut microbiota (formerly called gut flora) is the name given today to the microbe population living in our intestine. Our gut microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes). The diversity of microbiota is important to gut health. This “environment” is often referred to as the “microbiome”

While each of us has a unique microbiota, it always fulfills the same physiological functions, with direct impact on our health

Some of the functions are:

  • It helps the body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest.

  • It helps with the production of some vitamins (B and K).

  • It helps us combat aggressions from other microorganisms, maintaining the wholeness of the intestinal mucosa.

  • It plays an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect.

  • A healthy and balanced gut microbiota is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning.

Dysregulation of the gut microbiota can result in 1) increased susceptibility to infections, 2) compromised immune system balance and tolerance and 3) metabolism deregulation Additional complications include 4) reduced vitamin absorption and 5) overgrowth of yeast.

The vast majority of the microbiome consist of bacteria. Two types of the bacteria make up 90% of the microbiome bacteria. These 2 types play a role in a person’s weight management Changes induced by altering the gut microbiota can affect gut enzymatic activities for carbohydrate digestion resulting in an unbalance of sugar metabolism similar to that observed in obese individuals.

Some antibiotics cause a reduction in a type of bacteria that produce butyrate. Butyrate is a fatty acid that plays an important role in the colon including reduction in oxidative stress, reduction in inflammation and reduction in the risk of cancer.

70% to 80% of the body’s immune cells reside within portions of the gastrointestinal tract. The relationship between the microbiota and intestinal lining influences chemical signalling which can be proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory, playing a critical role in reducing excessive bowel inflammation.