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digestive disorders

Most common digestive disorders

MOST COMMON DIGESTIVE DISORDERS: PART 2

So, we continue to consider the most common digestive disorders. Last time, we used vitamin B12 deficiency and improper chewing. We also discussed what steps need to be taken in case of lactose intolerance and why the bacterium called Helicobacter pylori is dangerous. Today we will continue to talk about the most common digestive disorders.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on 16 October 2020. This article was last modified on 15 October 2020.

Hypochlorhydria

A more common and often overlooked digestive disorder is hypochlorhydria. Achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria is a condition when hydrochloric acid production is absent or reduced. It is usually secondary to an underlying medical condition. So, hypochlorhydria can lead to insufficient food dissolution, and therefore to impaired absorption of nutrients. Elderly people often suffer from hypochlorhydria. Its symptoms are often confused with symptoms of another disorder – high acidity, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The result of this confusion is the use of antacids, which only makes the disease worse.

When achlorhydria is suspected, multiple tests are conducted to confirm the diagnosis and to find its primary cause1:

  • Antiparietal and anti-intrinsic factor antibody
  • Biopsy of stomach
  • Gastric pH monitoring
  • Serum pepsinogen level (a low serum pepsinogen level indicates achlorhydria)
  • Serum gastrin levels. High serum gastrin levels greater than 500 to 1000 pg/mL may indicate achlorhydria
  • Tests for detecting H. pylori infection
  • Hemoglobin level

This condition can also be detected by determining the mineral composition of the hair.

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LEPS)

Furthermore, let’s talk about leaky gut, although this disorder causes some controversial discussion. Let’s start with describing the nature of this disorder. So, the intestinal epithelial lining, together with factors secreted from it, forms a barrier. But in pathologic conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the blood stream creating a “leaky gut.” In individuals with a genetic predisposition, a leaky gut can allow environmental factors to enter the body and trigger an autoimmune disease2.

In most cases, poor nutrition is the cause of this condition. Stress or long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) may be another cause.

In addition, gut microbiota plays a huge role in maintaining the epithelial barrier. Research has shown that the intestinal microbiome plays an important role in modulating risk of several chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer3.

When leaky gut syndrome is suspected, you can do Zonulin faecal test. Zonulin is an effective tool for monitoring the levels of zonulin as elevated levels of this protein to be the potential doorway to leaky gut syndrome, chron’s and other inflammation, autoimmunity and gastro-intestinal diseases.

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How to normalize your gut microbiota

Changing microbial composition through diet can have significant therapeutic value. First, proper nutrition leads to a decrease in inflammation. It allows the mucous membrane to heal. When it comes to nutrition, we need to mention  low glycemic and high fiber foods again. Secondly, some foods and drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine, and NSAIDs can irritate the small intestine. Therefore, it is advised to avoid them.

Now, a few words about fermented foods containing lactic acid bacteria: fermented milk products and yoghurt are a source of edible microorganisms. As such, they can beneficially regulate gut health and even treat or prevent inflammatory bowel disease4.

Lactobacillus and prebiotics

Lactobacilli and prebiotics can also be of use to you. Studies show that taking probiotics can effectively replace pathogenic bacteria in the gut with beneficial cultures. It has also been proven that nutrients, prebiotics, and even plant extracts (e.g., indigo naturalis) improve barrier function, which we wrote about above5. In addition, intake of probiotics, as well as yoghurt containing probiotics, caused a reduction in triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, VLDL-cholesterol, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP).

In a number of other studies, taking lactobacillus (Lactobacillus bulgaricus) together with the prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) resulted in significant improvements in inflammatory, metabolic and enzymatic performance6. And since we mentioned fructooligosaccharide, let’s say a few words about it. First, this naturally occurring prebiotic, which contains fiber, provides additional nutrition for beneficial gut bacteria. As a rule, it is recommended to take it 2-5 g per day. Second, it is also among the top 8 prebiotic fiber with ample evidence for digestive health, along with lactulose7. So fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) is a very well-established prebiotic!

Enzymes to facilitate digestion

Among other things, supplementation with enzymes helps break down food to facilitate digestion. For example, digestive enzymes are able to break down proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, and adding them to a diet may play a role in the treatment of digestive disorders, from lactose intolerance to cystic fibrosis8.Besides, supplements containing garlic9, bioflavonoids10, and aloe vera11 may help the situation as well.

Among other things, the Doctor may also recommend a food allergy test. It’s value is in identifying foods that irritate your digestive system. These might include wheat, dairy products, or citrus fruits.

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Irritable bowel syndrome

One of the most common digestive disorders of the lower gastrointestinal tract is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is a chronic and debilitating functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects 9–23% of the world’s population (World Gastroenterology Organization, 2009)12. There are no tests to diagnose it. As a rule, it is identified through the process of elimination, when research does not confirm other disorders. The exact cause of IBS is still unclear. The symptoms of this disease can vary from patient to patient and change over time. Patients report that the most disturbing symptoms are abdominal pain, colic, pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and a feeling of incomplete bowel movement. Upper GI abnormalities such as heartburn, nausea, and excessive belching often accompany these symptoms.

Treatment

Let’s take a look at what can help people with these disorders. First, research shows a clear relationship between this disease and fat intake. So, with an increase in fat intake, both the amount of stool and diarrhea increase13. In addition, long-term consumption of unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and starch can cause irritation and inflammation. Such products contribute to the development of inflammatory processes. And, of course, there is a connection between IBS and stress. So practice relaxation, meditation, etc. It will also help to reduce the frequency and ease the severity of the disease.

In addition, supplements such as peppermint oil can alleviate the condition14.

And finally, if you suspect you have one of the conditions, you definitely need to talk to your doctor. The challenge is to determine the true cause of the problem and learn about the best treatment options. In our next posts, we’ll discuss medical tests that can help determine healthy your digestive system is. So you can easily include them in your inspection plan!

Finally, it is important to follow the dietary recommendations! Keep in mind that a lot of digestive disorders are primarily caused by a poor diet.

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Source: ©️2019 Healsens B.V. All right reserve

MOST COMMON DIGESTIVE DISORDERS: PART 2 Read More »

digestive disorders

DIGESTIVE DISORDERS CAUSES: PART 1

The food you choose has a major impact on your health and life expectancy1. However, it is not only the quality of products which is important, it is also important how well they are absorbed. So let’s take a look at the most common causes of digestive disorders. Unfortunately, the article is longer than we planned. First, because it contains most common disorders. Secondly, in addition to describing the problems, we also explain how to improve digestion.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on January 24, 2020. This article was last modified on 15 October 2020.

If you think that digestive disorders are an inevitable part of our life, then you should know that this is far from the case. Like many chronic diseases, they can result from inappropriate habits. For example, think about proper nutrition and related digestive disorders. This is important, since gastrointestinal disorders are far from uncommon! More than 40% of people worldwide suffer from them2. The magnitude of the problem is also reflected in the ever-increasing consumption of over-the-counter gastrointestinal drugs to relieve the symptoms of digestive disorders3.

So, some digestive disorders can be inherited, others acquired. So, genetic defects include lactose intolerance, which means inability to digest milk sugar. The celiac disease also needs be mentioned, although the disease is not inherited. However, susceptibility to its development can also be inherited. Note that celiac disease is a multifactorial disease. This means that several genes at once interact with environmental factors to cause it.

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Most ailments occur due to the additional stress that our digestive system experiences as a result of poor nutrition. On the one hand, certain supplements or medications help to cope with the problem. On the other hand, healthy eating is still the most important thing for restoring and maintaining healthy digestion.

Digestive disorder causes

There’s nothing new in the fact that one’s diet provides nutrition needed for energy, growth, and recovery. But apart from that, it also affects and regulates several important functions of the body. For example, proportions of proteins, carbohydrates and fats control the type and amount of gastrointestinal hormones released into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate gastrointestinal motility, secretion and absorption, cell proliferation, appetite, and local immune defenses. Furthermore, the gastrointestinal hormonal peptides/amines interact and integrate with the enteric, autonomic, and central nervous systems (gut-brain axis)4. Food intake also affects the gut microbiota. Microbiota, in turn, plays an important role in health and disease. In general, food makes many stops during the digestion process, which can potentially be disrupted.

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Improper food chewing

Children often are told to take their time and chew food well. And this makes sense! Improper chewing of food puts additional stress on the gastrointestinal tract. This is due to the need for an increased amount of digestive juices, which will be required to break down large pieces of food. This can cause gas and bloating. And in the future, it can lead to more serious problems in the digestive system. Therefore, you should chew slowly, enjoy the taste, and chew each bite thoroughly.

In addition, the number of teeth also affects the chewing quality. So, for example, a number of studies have confirmed that the more teeth, the better a person can chew and the more he does not consume foods rich in fiber, vitamins, folic acid, calcium and protein5. Difficulty in chewing fiber rich foods can be associated with increased risk of systemic illness, such as cardiovascular disease, and with oral diseases, such as oropharyngeal cancer6.

Therefore, we should take care of our teeth and enjoy our food, chewing it thoroughly. So, you will have more pleasure and the gastrointestinal tract will be grateful to you.

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Vitamin B12 deficiency

When food enters the stomach, an intrinsic factor (IF) is released. The intrinsic factor (IF) is a glycoprotein that plays a crucial role in the transportation and absorption of vitamin B12.

Insufficient release of intrinsic factor (IF), can result in deficiency of this vitamin. If such a disbalance is not eliminated, it can lead to adverse events. These include such disorders as anemia, overwork, tingling or numbness of fingers and toes, imbalance, depression, and even dementia.

Inadequate excretion of this element may be corrected with supplements containing IF and vitamin B12. Remember that vitamin B12 coming in from outside loses its properties in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it is recommended to be taken in the form of injections or sublingual tablets.

Helicobacter Pylori

Another problem that can appear during digestion is the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that infects up to 50% of the world’s population7. H. pylori can disrupt the delicate balance between highly acidic gastric juice and mucus. Therefore, they are the most important cause of chronic or atrophic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, lymphoma, and gastric carcinoma. Typically, this H. pylori infection is acquired in early childhood and persists without treatment. It should be added that the majority of children with H. pylori infection are asymptomatic. And if any symptoms are present, they are usually associated with gastritis or ulcer disease.

Furthermore, the presence of Helicobacter may be associated with anemia. Thus, it has been documented that those infected with H. pylori have lower iron stores8. So, if there are any concerns, the doctor may suggest a Helicobacter pylori antibody blood test.

Lactose intolerance

We have already mentioned above about lactose intolerance. Now we will dwell on its specifics in more detail. So, lactose intolerance is a clinical syndrome that manifests itself with characteristic signs and symptoms when using lactose, a disaccharide. Usually, when lactose is consumed, it is hydrolyzed to glucose and galactose by the enzyme lactase. Lactase deficiency leads to clinical symptoms such as nausea, colic, gas and diarrhea. The severity of the disease varies from person to person.

In many people, the amount of lactase produced decreases with age9. In addition to the age factor, injury to intestinal mucosa due to several infectious, inflammatory or other diseases can cause secondary lactase deficiency. And this condition is not rare! Thus, 50 million US residents are lactose intolerant.

Treatment mainly consists of avoiding lactose-containing foods, which are:

  • Soft and processed cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Ice cream
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Custard and pudding

Lactase containing milk products and calcium supplements are recommended instead. Many people also solve this problem by taking lactase while taking dairy products. Lactase enzyme supplements contain lactase, which breaks down lactose in milk and dairy products. These supplements come in the form of tablets or drops of the lactase enzyme10.

👉 Next time we will look at the causes of digestive disorders such as hypochlorhydria, leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome!

And finally, it is important to follow the dietary recommendations! Keep in mind that a lot of digestive disorders are primarily caused by a poor diet.

Unlock your health insights with our smart data analysis – the Free Health Tracker app, your reliable medical record!

Drastically reduce the time to detect chronic diseases & inspire healthy habits



FURTHER READING

Follow us on Facebook|| Instagram || Telegram || Twitter || Youtube

Source: ©️2019 Healsens B.V. All right reserve

DIGESTIVE DISORDERS CAUSES: PART 1 Read More »

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