“All diseases begin in the gut,” said Hippocrates. And back when he said this they didn’t have all the junk we have today that we call food. Gastrointestinal problems are the most overlooked and most common health problems today. How many TV commercials offer digestion remedies? And what is Larry The Cable Guy doing promoting gut medicine?

Billions of dollars are spent every year on digestive aids. While the drugs offer temporary and sometimes immediate relief, the underlying causes of the problems go ignored, and people end up far worse down the road.

Problems with digestion lead to problems with the immune system. Since the lining of the gut is an important immune barrier,  poor gut health leads to autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems and compromised immune systems.

Gut flora

One of the first things to go with a poor digestion is gut flora or good bacteria. Normally, you have three to four pounds of natural bacteria in your gut designed to help your digestion and immunity. But how many antibiotics have you taken that kill off your natural bacteria? How much food do you eat that has antibiotics added?

You have to replenish your natural gut bacteria and stop killing them off. One of the best things you can do for your health is to add some good pre- and probiotics. Yogurt is one source, but if you want larger doses check out your health food store for supplements.

Stomach acid

Another common problem is low stomach acid. When food is not digested it putrefies, ferments, and becomes rancid in the stomach giving you gas and other discomforts. The small intestine won’t accept the rotting food so it backs up into the esophagus irritating the delicate tissue causing heartburn. Eventually this rotting mess passes through the small intestine where it causes inflammation, infection, and intestinal permeability called leaky gut—this is an intestine so sore it has tiny holes in it.

Your stomach should be very acidic, two to three on the pH scale. Acid, in the form of hydrochloric acid keeps the stomach acidic so you can digest your food. Stop drinking soda and energy drinks, taking Tums and eating poorly digestible foods like pizza. These cause pH imbalances!

Fat digestion

Your gall bladder helps digest fat. If you happen to lose it along the way pay even closer attention. The fats you eat (and you need good saturated fat in your diet) have to be coated with bile so they don’t become rancid and produce inflammation and infection in your gut. Bile is stored in your gall bladder and released when fat is in your GI tract. If you have pain under your ribs after meals or pain into your right shoulder you may have a gallbladder problem. With a poor diet your gall bladder doesn’t release enough bile so you get the aforementioned symptoms. A sluggish gallbladder causes your liver’s detoxification pathways to back up so you cannot detoxify hormones, toxins and other metabolites. Oftentimes someone may suggest that you have your gall bladder removed. Many times after this, almost miraculously, you now can eat anything you want, you feel so good. But in these cases you need to be extra careful with your digestion and food selection as more stress is put on other glands and organs to help out your removed gallbladder.

Repairing your gut

A healthy gut reduces the chances of absorbing harmful bacteria, harmful foods and undigested food particles into the bloodstream. A chronically inflamed gut brought on by poor diet, poor blood sugar control and chronic stress creates pores in the lining of your gut that allows harmful substances to get in where they shouldn’t be.

Repairing the gut requires changing your diet—removing grains, gluten and sugar and eating lots of fresh vegetables and clean, high-quality proteins and fats. The more your food is processed the poorer the nutritional value and the harder it is on your entire system.

The very least you can do about diet is to reduce your sugar intake. America has an addiction to sugar, fast food and a grain-based diet that has made a nation of carbohydrate-addicts riding the highs and lows of blood sugar swings. The average American consumes 200 pounds of sugar. Soon one out of three people will have diabetes.

Scandalous! And only you can change this.

Dr Peter Lind practices metabolic and neurologic chiropractic in his wellness clinic in Salem, Oregon, USA. He is the author of three books on health, one novel and hundreds of wellness articles. His clinical specialty is in physical, nutritional, and emotional stress. For more health tips go to http://www.wellnessreport.net.