Digestive health involves the organs and systems that enable you to process food into nutrient chemical components, which are then turned into energy and use in all bodily functions. Your digestive system begins with your mouth, followed by the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus. Your liver, gallbladder, and pancreas play important roles in healthy digestion as well. Your digestive health is essential for good health and wellbeing and has a central role in chronic and systemic disease.
From food sensitivities, poor dietary choices, stress, sedentary life, medication or supplement side effects to flora/microbiome imbalance and intestinal permeability, poor gastrointestinal health compromises health and vitality.
The gastrointestinal health is often one of the first therapeutic targets specially in Functional Medicine.
Some examples of digestive health problems include:
The microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms (microbes) that live within our body and is equal in number to as many human cells as we have. Our microbiome contains a complex mix of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes. Most live within our small and large intestine but they are also spread throughout the rest of our body. The human microbiome is diverse and different in each part of the body (gut, skin, oral and nasal cavities, genital areas).
Even microbes are so small that they require a microscope to see them, they contribute in big ways to human health and wellness. They protect us against pathogens, help our immune system develop, and enable us to digest food to produce energy.
Because the microbiome is a key interface between the body and the environment, these microbes can affect health in many ways and can even affect how we respond to certain environmental substances, increasing the likelihood of developing certain conditions like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and neurological disease, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease and mental health imbalances. Some microbes alter environmental substances in ways that make them more toxic, while others act as a buffer and make environmental substances less harmful. (National Institute of Environmental Health Science)
A person’s core microbiome is formed in the first years of life but can change over time in response to different factors including diet, medications, and environmental exposures.
Keeping our microbiome balanced and healthy is essential. We can support a healthy system by choosing nutritious, whole foods and making wise choices with our medications and supplements. Incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into our routine if we can tolerate them can also be a good idea. Do not use probiotics if you have a weak immune system, consult with a doctor first. Integrative Holistic Medicine targets the microbiome balance as a powerful wellbeing strategy.
An integrative, holistic approach to digestive health focuses on supporting our body by giving it what it needs to thrive. The process begins with a personalized consultation. Sharing the details of your diet and lifestyle allows Dr. Fuentes-Valdes to create a customized treatment plan.
The first area of focus is usually on our diet and lifestyle modifications. The food we consume and our lifestyle, play an enormous role in shaping our gut health, especially regarding the multitude of microorganisms in our microbiome. It’s easy to fall into bad habits, and virtually everyone can benefit from improving their lifestyle. You’ll learn how to replace unhealthy choices with foods and practices that soothe and nourish your health.
The GI Integrative Medicine approach protocol will be available to you and steps chosen according to your individual needs.
When you’re ready to get started, to book a visit, schedule online in just a matter of moments from your computer, send us a message using the contact form, or call the office.