Gut Health and Gastrointestinal (GI) Imbalances
Dysbiosis & Disease
The commensal bacteria that colonize the human GI tract are far from passive bystanders in the balance of health and disease. Extensive research over the past 20 years has served to clarify the relationships between healthy bacteria populations and conditions as diverse as atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), autoimmunity, autism, ADHD, and certain cancers.
What Every Patient Should Understand
Recent advances in microbiology and nutritional biochemistry continue to reinforce the ancient wisdom maintained by Hippocrates nearly 2500 years prior, “All disease begins in the gut”. In hindsight, it can be difficult to assume otherwise considering that 70 – 80% of immune tissue is situated in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Still, more recent data has served to elucidate many of the processes by which GI imbalances can lead to immune dysfunction and subsequent life-threatening conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, neurological decline, autoimmunity, and certain cancers.
The Magnificent Microbiome
While much of the 21st century has focused on the genetic and epigenetic aspects of disease, multi-institutional research initiatives like the Human Microbiome Project have served to highlight the fundamental importance of bacteria species that colonize the human GI tract. The human microbiome is the collection of all microorganisms living in association with the human body, though the highest concentrations of bacterial organisms are known to reside in the colon.
Amazingly, the bacteria that comprise the microbiome outnumber human cells in a 10-to-1 ratio and express roughly 1000 more genes than identified in human DNA. The successful symbiotic relationship involving human host and commensal gut bacteria cannot be overstated considering the benefits they provide: defending against pathogenic microbes, aiding in digestion, synthesis of vitamins (e.g., K, B12, folate), liberating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) for energy, production of neurotransmitters, protecting intestinal barrier structure and function, and regulating immune activity to respond appropriately to harmful and non-harmful matter.
Essentially, the gut microbiome serves to maintain homeostasis of the GI tract, thus ensuring appropriate assimilation of nutrients while regulating the immune and inflammatory processes that can lead to disease.
Gut Dysbiosis: An Imbalance of Bacteria and Immune Function
Dysbiosis is characterized by the qualitative and quantitative changes in intestinal bacteria, their metabolic activities, or local distribution that produces harmful effects on the host. Considering the critical functions of these bacteria, returning to a state of health may not be possible without first correcting any significant bacteria imbalances.
Dysbiosis can lead to systemic inflammatory conditions and diverse disease states by way of multiple pathological processes, like increased intestinal permeability (“Leaky Gut”) for example. Dysbiosis is largely characterized by reductions in beneficial (gram-positive) bacteria, which no longer engage in the essential metabolic and protective activities that maintain healthy GI function.
Additionally, the increased presence of harmful (gram-negative) bacteria creates a toxic burden that promotes further inflammation and can stimulate pathological processes in more distant tissues and organs including the liver, brain, kidneys, and joints. Correcting dysbiosis is a fundamental consideration for addressing conditions characterized by chronic pain and fatigue, irritable and inflammatory bowel disorders, mood and neurological dysfunction, and multiple forms of autoimmunity. With this in mind, BioSpec has developed a GI Restore Protocol with formulas to help remove bad bacteria, restore digestion, and reinoculate the gut with good bacteria.
Address GI Function and Gut Dysbiosis at its core
Consider the 4-R Protocol when developing a personalized patient plan for optimal GI Health.
1. REMOVE all GI Stressors & Harmful Microorganisms
As an initial consideration of BioSpec’s GI Restore Protocol, Dysbi-Ease may first be recommended to help remove pathogenic organisms, many of which compete with beneficial bacteria for food and binding sites in the GI tract.
Dysbi-Ease combines a potent combination of natural anti-microbial agents that serve to eliminate various gram-negative bacteria species, yeasts, and other harmful microbes and parasites.* Herbal ingredients included in Dysbi-Ease demonstrate an excellent safety profile when used correctly, as recommended by a licensed healthcare practitioner.
Dysbi-Ease should always be used in combination with a broad-spectrum probiotic, which includes robust strains like those contained in Probiotic-5.
Also consider Para-Clear to help detoxify and cleanse the intestinal tract, in cases where intestinal parasites are suspected.*
2. REPLACE Beneficial Bacteria Species to Reinoculate the Intestinal Microbiome
The bacteria species that occupy the GI tract can be divided into potentially harmful or health-promoting groups consisting of gram-negative versus gram-positive bacteria. When determining which probiotic supplements may benefit a different condition or imbalance, it is critical to consider the total organism count and types of strains included in the supplement.
Broad bacterial imbalances like dysbiosis will usually require a combination of robust probiotic species to help restore bacterial populations and metabolic activity. For this reason, BioSpec offers two comprehensive probiotic formulas to support bacteria diversity, function and balance.
3. RESTORE Digestive Constituents & Enzyme Activity
Digestion involves the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into their most fundamental components for absorption primarily within the small intestine. Proper digestion requires adequate stomach acid and specific enzymes to liberate important vitamins and other nutrients from food. Lack of digestive activity may lead to critical nutrient deficiencies and promote the growth of pathogenic organisms in different GI regions. Additionally, undigested foods increase the risk of autoimmune or allergic responses as immune cells can incorrectly associate these undigested materials with harmful microbes or self-tissue.
Biozyme is an incredibly effective digestive complex that combines the ideal blend of enzymes and acid-promoting compounds to facilitate nutrient absorption and GI health.*
Also consider Panzyme to assist the Pancreas in digesting protein, fats and carbohydrates. Panzyme is a formulated with Alpha-Galactosidase and Extra-Strength Lipase.*
4. REPAIR the GI Lining
When intestinal permeability (‘Leaky Gut’) is a factor, consider diet and clinical nutrition products to help address gut mucosal healing. Learn more about Gastri-Ease HP and IP-Ease in product information available in BioSpec’s catalog and stores online.