In Japanese, they call it "belly talk." An unspoken, deeper form of communication that takes place between two people sitting in silence.

There may be a medical version of "belly talk" too. Increasingly, mainstream research is revealing a growing recognition of the profound, fundamental role of the gastrointestinal system in signaling critical information about a patient's health status.

In a recent issue of Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, the gut's natural balance of microflora, its mucosal barrier integrity, and its immune function are cited as key parameters affecting the outcomes of patients with malnutrition, burn injuries, stress, sepsis, major surgery, and other severe conditions.

With a total surface area of 300 to 400 square meters - roughly the size of a tennis court - the gut mucosal barrier plays an important dual role. In a sense, it acts as a biologic nightclub bouncer. While protecting the systemic circulation from the entry of undesirable bacteria and toxins, it must, at the same time, allow essential nutrients free passage into the bloodstream. If the mucosal layer is damaged by chronic or acute illness, however, this barrier can become too "leaky," allowing p a thogens to seep through and contaminate the rest of the system - a process known as translocation. In patients with severe injuries or conditions, increased permeability and the resulting bacterial translocation can actually make patients more vulnerable to organ failure.

The natural balance between gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria, yeast, and other microbes comprising the gut microflora is another crucial component of good health, explain the researchers. By occupying strategic positions in the gut wall , "good" microbes such as lactobacillus prevent the colonization of their pathogenic cousins.

Problem is, these "good" bacteria are also more sensitive and are easily decimated by antibiotic treatment. When that happens, the tougher, more harmful pathogenic bacteria are provided ample elbow room to overgrow in the GI tract, worsening many clinical conditions.

Finally, the gut serves as site of the body's front line immune defense. As much as 70-80% of the body's immunoglobulin-producing cells are produced there. IgA is a primary immunoglobulin that acts like a sentry, guarding against the intrusion of potentially damaging foreign agents. "IgA prevents the adherence of bacteria and viruses to the mucosal epithelium to defend against systemic invasion, " the scientists observe.

Understanding these and other interactive mechanisms within the GI system, and becoming more aware of the nutritional and metabolic factors that sustain and optimize their function, is a key for improving the treatment of patient s with severe conditions, helping them to make better use of less invasive therapies.

{NOTE: While this study focuses specifically on the gut connection to severe health conditions, optimal GI function plays a fundamental role in the full spectrum of health and illness. The Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis is the classic, noninvasive GI assessment that evaluates the balance of the natural gut microflora (yeast and bacteria), digestion and absorption, fecal I gA and other crucial parameters of gut health.

The Intestinal Permeability Test is a urine analysis that evaluates the integrity of the gut mucosal barrier, utilizing a specialized lactulose/mannitol challenge drink, which recently received full clearance by the FDA. The recovery percentage of each marker, combined with the ratio of lactulose to mannitol, provides an indication of permeability and malabsorption. Both of these assessments are important clinical tools for uncovering the gut source of many chronic symptoms and illnesses.

Both these tests are taken in the privacy of your home. Test kits can be sent anywhere in the world, and I will interpret the results for you either in person, or over the telephone.

In Depth Information on Digestion and Leaky Gut Syndrome


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