Your gut plays a vital role in digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and expelling waste from the body. It also affects a wide range of other bodily processes you may not be aware of.

Seventy to eighty percent of your immune system cells are located within your digestive system, which is why having a healthy gastrointestinal system is crucial to maintaining good health. The lining of your gut defends your body against harmful invaders like viruses and bacteria. It is a very important barrier and is the core of your body’s immune system. When the immune system and health of the gut are compromised, there is an increased risk for autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalances, bacterial overgrowth, diabetes, cancer, colds, allergies, mental disorders and many other health related problems.

Our body systems work synergistically together to maintain optimal health, so when one system falls out of balance it can have a major impact on other areas of the body. The brain, the digestive system and the immune system all work and rely on each other to function properly. That means when one system is compromised or treated it influences the function of the other two.

Problems with our digestive system can cause more than just the typical symptoms associated with stomach disorders. They can be the primary cause of many chronic health problems and can affect the entire body.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine and is one of the most common disorders seen by primary care doctors. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can have an extremely negative impact on the patient’s quality of life. The symptoms relating to this IBS may result from a disturbance in the interaction between the gut, the brain, and the autonomic nervous system This disorder is characterized by chronic or recurrent symptoms which may include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea, constipation or an alternating sequence of both bowel habits
  • Mucous in stool
  • Anxiety or depression from severe symptoms

Studies have shown that up to 83 percent of patients diagnosed with IBS have abnormal fecal biomarkers that can aid in distinguishing inflammatory disorders from non-inflammatory conditions.

IBS can often be the symptoms of an underlying condition such as bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut, Crohn’s, intestinal dysbiosis, gut infections, parasites, and gluten sensitivity and other food intolerances.

Overgrowth Of Bad Bacteria

Normal bacteria or flora of the gut helps to digest certain vitamins and protects the intestine from being invaded by disease-causing bacteria. Abnormal overgrowth of bacteria can occur when the normal function of the intestine is compromised.

Symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Weight loss

Leaky Gut

The wall of the intestine is semipermeable and when properly functioning, its microscopic pores allow nutrients to enter the bloodstream while blocking the entrance of toxins and large undigested pieces of food. Leaky gut is a disorder of the small intestine where gaps in the intestinal lining allow contents of the gut to escape into the bloodstream or lymphatic system. When these pathogens leak out, the immune system recognizes them as foreign invaders and begins to attack them along with healthy cells. This creates an entire host of inflammatory immune responses in the body.

Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Food sensitivities

Leaky gut is often associated with chronic stress, candida, food intolerances, toxins, and frequent use of antibiotics.

Intestinal Parasites

Parasites can live in the intestines for very long periods of time without causing any symptoms. The two main types of intestinal parasites are helminths (worms) and protozoa. They can be caused by drinking or eating contaminated food and water, from contaminated soil, and from not practicing good personal hygiene. Depending on the type of parasite inhabiting the intestines, the degree of infection and the incubation period, the severity of symptoms associated with parasitic infections will vary.

Symptoms may include:

  • Chronic exhaustion
  • Unexplained and sudden weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps and abdominal pain
  • Passing worms in stool
  • Blood in stool
  • Itching and rashes near groin area

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. In people with Crohn’s, the immune system begins attacking healthy cells in the gastrointestinal tract causing inflammation.  The cause is unknown but is believed to be caused by abnormal reactions by the body’s immune system and having a genetic predisposition for the disease.

Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel evacuation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding from rectum

Diagnosis and Treatment

Millions of people suffer from some type of GI distress and is a leading cause of people who seek medical treatment. Having a healthy gut directly influences how we think and feel emotionally and physiologically. Common signs of an unhealthy or imbalanced digestive system include gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, sugar and carb cravings, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, skin issues, frequent illness and mood imbalances.

The conventional approach is to suppress the symptoms with medications but this doesn’t treat the underlying causes and can actually exasperate the problem. K3 NOW focuses on identifying and treating the underlying cause of your health problems instead of just suppressing your symptoms and then work to rebuild your gastrointestinal health so you can live a healthier life.

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