Is Your Stress Killing Your Digestion?
In my practice I have not had one case where digestion (and liver function) was not ‘a player in the ballgame’. In my opinion, it is impossible to have symptoms of ill health including weight loss issues, energy deficiencies, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue or joint pain without having digestive problems.
You can eat the healthiest food, but you will not gather the nutrition if you do not digest it well.
In my practice, I have not seen one case of hormonal imbalances, chronic pain and immune challenges, where digestion was not also compromised.
It is not possible to have poor digestion without other symptoms, even if they seem unrelated. You might have no noticeable symptoms (yet) or just have occasional constipation, headache, skin outbreak or acid reflux. It all means something and you want to address your digestion before more symptoms appear in the future.
We have all heard: “You are what you eat” or “you are what you absorb’.
That is all true, but what is left out of the equation?
The Impact Of Stress On Your Digestion!
Your stress is reflected in your ability to digest and absorb your food.
Chronic stress is setting the scene for indigestion and digestive troubles ‘down the whole tube’… it begins with:
- A localized indigestion.
- It’s a problem.
- Especially if it happens on a regular basis.
- Then it becomes a localized and systemic problem.
- Now it’s a big problem! HELP!
Did you know?
In the past year there were 53 million prescriptions for acid blockers (and not counting OTC ant-acid medication). There are multiple terrific books on digestion, however the impact of chronic stress is often not given enough attention.
Why are there so many chronic digestive problems?
There are so many reasons for the symptoms associated with indigestion and digestive disorders. An individual may have acid reflux, but the root cause and effective treatment must be customized.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ as in conventional allopathy where commonly drugs are prescribed e.g. OTC pills (e.g. Nexium), proton pump inhibitors incl. acid blockers, anti-biotics, gallbladder surgery and more meds.
All address excess acid formation, but not the root cause of ‘why’ – and long term of meds use is associated with increased bone fractures and gut health problems.. What is not addressed in conventional ‘gastro-medicine’?
Nutrition, immune challenge including yeasts, food sensitivities, leaky gut, microbial overgrowth and digestive sufficiency are not addressed in conventional medical allopathy. Food sensitivity testing, stool testing, breath testing and saliva testing are extremely valuable to assess and address complex gut immune challenges.
Are you eating habits contributing to your stress?
Many of these food and immune challenges will not present themselves in a blood test. This is a major reason why you want to consult with a practitioner or physicians well versed in Metabolic Typing for customized nutrition, Functional Medicine and/or Clinical Nutrition if, and when, you experience digestive concerns.
Why Do Symptoms Occur?
There is a reason WHY this is occurring and I do recommend to NOT SUPPRESSING the symptoms with a long-term medication. Doing this, and not addressing root causes’, will have detrimental far reaching effects.
Find out the root cause, rather than treating the symptom of e.g. acid reflux, severe constipation, bloating etc.
Your daily digestion is a great marker of your daily stress!
This can insidiously (or quickly) affect your hormonal system, immune system, brain function, emotional wellbeing, sleep, productivity and daily energy. Take note of it, your body is communicating with you.
I fully understand and support that at certain times, ‘intelligent allopathy’ has its place. This is especially when it comes to an acute health crisis, accident or a life saving situation. Whatever needs to be done, must be done. Western Medicine certainly has its place and its virtues must be highlighted within a holistic framework.
Our digestive capacity directly impacts our gut health or ill health.
It is very well to eat healthy foods and to use intelligent supplementation, however, what matters most is the body’s ability to digest! This is the key to getting the benefit of high nutrient food by breaking down and absorbing all nutrients. Off course, ruling out junk foods, food sensitivities and other hidden food triggers is a must.
To date, from a functional perspective, consider the following:
- Every known case of an autoimmune diagnosis is a gut issue.
- Every symptom of dis-ease will find a track back to an unresolved gut issue. Our gut is the center, from which our health springs or declines.
- Every inflammatory condition will also have correlation with a gut issue.
- All skin problems will have a digestive dysfunction component.
- All hormonal complaints have a digestive correlation, direct or indirect.
- I would also go so far and say that every neurological issue has an underlying gut issue. Inflammation is a common marker. “A leaky gut, a gut leaky brain’.
- Commercial, GMO and processed foods of the 21st Century create serious gut issues plus chronic nutrient deficiencies.
- All prescription drugs have side effects that will affect gut health.
- Chronic stress with prolonged, excess or too low cortisol wreaks havoc on the digestive process affecting optimal elimination, inflammation, gut flora balance, gut lining health and auto-immune conditions.
- Our environmental toxicity, genetic factors, lifestyle, eating habits and food quality are at the root of digestive troubles.
Consider the above points in this ‘nutshell’:
If our ‘garden with healthy organisms’, our microbiome is out of balance, our digestion, mind and elimination will be compromised.
If the gut is not working well, there is an underlying nutrient deficiency.
If your ‘digestive economy’ is compromised, it can ‘turn on’ harmful genes that create disease state.
Here is a common complaint I hear in my practice:
“I am so tired after eating! I am ready for a nap.”
The digestive process requires great energy. Eating is the greatest metabolic booster. This is a reason why skipping meals will slow down your metabolism. If you eat a meal and tend to feel sluggish or sleepy, there are various reasons that must be considered.
If you experience digestive discomfort and post-meal fatigue, you want to think:
- What was the fat source in my meal I just ate?
- What are my symptoms?
- Was I eating on-the-go?
Eating on-the-run promotes indigestion!
- Where is the discomfort?
- Could it be a lack of enzymes or HCL?
- Or is it my gallbladder ‘talking’ to me with the bloating and belching?
- Any underlying food intolerance?
- Lack of ‘digestive power’?
- Lack of vitamin B complex?
- How tired and stressed-out is the individual?
- Could it be hidden toxins in my food?
- Is there a food sensitivity you did not know about?
- You want to pay to attention to what foods feel well and which foods do not.
- Everyone is different and everyone has differing digestive strengths (or weaknesses).
- If you are stressed out, you might be more symptomatic than when you are relaxed on the weekend.
- Take note of your digestion, especially when you are stressed, upset or angry You might want to avoid eating raw foods at this time.
- Consider food eliminations and/or digestive support to optimize your nutrition and decrease digestive discomfort.
- Ideally have your larger meal in the earlier part of the day, not at dinner time when the digestive capacity is more diminished. We need calories during the day when we are active.
If you have special digestive and nutritional needs, contact me for more information regarding your case Rika@NYIntegratedHealth.com.
Food matters. Digestion matters, Seasons matter. Eating local and sustainable matters.