by Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD
Over the last decade, several surveys have revealed that 74 percent of Americans are living with gastrointestinal (GI) pain and are experiencing chronic symptoms, like diarrhea, gas and bloating. “Over half of them never discussed it with their doctor,” says Dr. Rashini Raj, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City, on behalf of AbbVie Pharmaceuticals, who commissioned one of the surveys.
It’s alarming that patients don’t talk about this pain with their doctors because sometimes this can indicate a more serious underlying condition. In addition, there is growing research that gut health is directly connected to neurological issues, and with the growing cases of depression and other mental disorders, it’s no surprise that mental illness is more commonplace when understanding its connection to the gut.
In fact, in the world of functional medicine—where doctors are trained to read laboratory results to connect that data to the underlying cause for ailments, and by doing so, use supplements, nutrition and lifestyle as treatment—doctors look to gut health as their first place to reverse neurological disorders. For example, increased Clostridia in the gut can cause an increase of dopamine in the brain. Ongoing increased dopamine will result in aggressive behavior, poor attention spans, and if left alone, mental disease.
Ulcers are another common and mistreated GI ailment. People dealing with ulcers typically find relief in the acid blocker Prilosec, which doesn’t address the root cause and is merely a Band-
Aid for relief. Studies demonstrate that 95 percent of all ulcer cases are actually related to H. pylori, a type of bacteria that enter the body and live in your digestive tract. So in order to effectively treat ulcers, you have to address the bacteria.
There is a lot to write here regarding GI discomfort because our gut biome is constantly under attack. For example, we know that even a small part per billion of glyphosate affects the tight junctions that are a part of your gut lining, creating holes where material “leaks” out of the gut into the body (leaky gut). The result: Your immune system is in a constant state of overwhelm.
If you are dealing with GI discomfort, first see your dentist to rule out any oral disease; this is the first thing to easily check off the list of culprits. Then ask your doctor to perform laboratory tests that include an organic acids urine sample and a GI stool panel. These tests will reveal what could be the root cause of your GI issues, and with this information, you could modify your diet and address the issue with supplements—but, of course, a good functional doctor would be your best ally to carry this out.
Source: Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cariodontal (310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-282-0310 or visit Cariodontal.com.