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View index & support for the most Common Health Issues

The Roots of Good Health... Do You Have the Guts to Be Healthy?
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG)

A plant's roots are critical to its survival. Roots are what anchor a plant to the ground and they enable it to take what it needs from the soil to survive. As a human being you don't need roots to anchor yourself to the grounds but you do need "roots" to extract what you need from your environment and that's the function of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
There are many parallels we can draw between a plant's roots and your GI tract. Both assimilate nutrients, but both also help to digest nutrients for absorption. Roots break up soil and even rock to make minerals available to the plant.
A plant's roots are covered with a biofilm of bacteria, fungi and other organisms, just like you have a microbiome in the biofilm of your intestines. In both cases, the biofllm acts both as a protective barrier and as an aid in assimilating nutrients.

The Roots of Health
When we talk about getting to the bottom of something we often use the metaphor of "getting to the root of the matter." This is because roots are foundational. Your GI tract is foundational to your health. It is the starting place for building health and no other organ or system can fully heal until the gastrointestinal tract is supported.
Along with being responsible for assimilating the nutrition your body needs, your GI tract is responsible for 70% of your ability to resist disease. So, without healthy guts you can't properly defend your health against infections. It's no wonder guts are used as a metaphor for courage.

The Second Brain
Your intestines also serve as one of the major pathways of elimination. They quite literally help the body get rid of crap it does not need. And, if that is not enough to convince you how important the GI tract is to your health, consider this-your intestines produce numerous neurotransmitters that influence your mood, which is why some researchers have referred to them as the gut brain or second brain. So, it's hard to be in a good mood at all if your GI tract is out of whack.

It Starts with What You Put in Your Mouth

Of course, it all starts where the GI tract begins. We're talking about what you put into your mouth. If you want to grow a healthy plant, put it in good soil. Your body's soil is the food you ingest and your GI tract will tell you whether the soil you're creating is good or bad through symptoms.

To help you understand this, let me use an analogy. If you were to put some cream or lotion on your skin that had a chemical in it that your body found irritating, the effects would be apparent rather quickly. Your skin would respond with an inflammatory process characterized by redness, swelling and/or pain. When you see this, you'd most likely quit using that product because you'd recognize it wasn't good for your skin.
Unfortunately, most people are often less aware when it comes to diet. What is sweet to the tongue can be bitter to the belly. Processed foods often taste good, but when you consume them regularly your guts complain. You get indigestion, acid reflux, belching, boating, diarrhea, constipation and other GI tract problems.

You have to start connecting the dots by paying attention to how you feel during the two or three hours after you eat certain foods. Again just because it tastes good doesn't mean it's actually good for you. So if you suffer ill health and especially if you suffer GI tract problems as part of your ill health, start by changing what you put into your mouth.

Nourishing Your Intestinal Roots
Although there is no one magic diet that works for everyone, there are a few general principles you can start with. First, eat natural foods instead of processed foods. Make vegetables especially non-starchy ones, the bulk of your diet, along with some fresh fruits. Eat some raw food, as most raw foods are easier to digest than cooked food. In fact, even rare beef is easier to digest than well-done beef.
Second, any packaged foods that you eat should be minimally processed and free of chemical additives. If you can't understand what an ingredient on a label is, that is, if it sounds more like a chemical than an actual food, consider buying something else. You can also minimize your exposure to chemicals by eating organically grown food.

Stress and Your Gut Brain
Although diet is important, GI tract health isn't just about the food you eat. Your digestive system is activated when you're relaxed and shuts down when you're stressed. So, taking time to relax when you eat is important to good GI tract health. If you are stressed, there are herbs that relax the nerves and help the GI tract at the same time. Chamomile is one of them. The herbal formula Stress-J was also created specifically to both calm the nerves and aid digestive function. Mood Elevator can also be helpful for the guts when you feel discouraged or depressed along with having GI tract disturbances.

The Magic of Enzymes
The digestive system has to digest food to prepare it for assimilation. If your stomach is low in hydrochloric acid (HCI) or you don't have enough enzymes or bile salts to properly break down your food, then it will decompose rather than digest, causing gastric irritation and distress. Your enzyme levels are taxed when you eat primarily cooked food, and they also tend to decline with age.
Digestive enzyme supplements can be extremely helpful in maintaining gut health. Younger people can benefit from plant enzyme supplements like Proactazyme. Older people will usually do better with Food Enzymes which supplements hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile salts to help the body properly digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

Low stomach acid is a serious problem for many people. If you don't have sufficient stomach acid (HCI), your body doesn't break down proteins properly nor can it absorb certain minerals like calcium, phosphorus or zinc. Since zinc is needed for HCI production, this can create a vicious cycle of declining digestive function. Low stomach acid, oddly enough will actually cause acid indigestion because it will allow food to ferment in the small intestines producing both waste acid and gas. So, if you have an acid stomach that starts about one hour after eating and is accompanied by belching and/or bloating, you may need an HCI supplement like Protein Digestive Aid (PDA). Taking antacids for this kind of acid indigestion will actually make things worse.

Building a Healthy Gut Biofilm
It is likely that the disruption of friendly flora has a lot to do with the development of serious GI tract diseases like Crohn's, Celiac, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (lBS), as well as less serious digestive issues like gas, bloating and acid indigestion. Studies have shown improvements in ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory disorders after taking Probiotic supplements.
Improving gut flora enhances immune resistance to infection, reduces allergic and autoimmune reactions, improves digestive function, and can even enhance mood.

Probiotic Eleven and Eleven Elevated are great supplements for enhancing gut flora. Other options are the shelf stable probiotic Bacillus Coagulans and the children's supplement Sunshine Heroes Probiotic Power.

Build Stronger Gut
Imbalances in the friendly flora and intestinal inflammation due to irritating substances in the GI tract can cause a widening of the gap between intestinal cells. This causes excessive intestinal permeability, a condition known as leaky gut. Leaky gut allows substances that would normally be rejected by intestinal membranes to be absorbed, causing irritation to the body as a whole.
There are supplements that can soothe this irritation and restore proper tone to the intestinal membranes. Intestinal Soothe and Build is an excellent formula for soothing intestinal irritation and toning gut membranes. It works even better in combination with Stress-J mentioned earlier.
Another great formula is Una de Gato (Cat's Claw Combination). It helps to normalize gut flora and tone the intestinal membranes. Also consider single herbs like black walnut, marshmallow and licorice for reducing irritation and aiding the health of intestinal membranes.

The "3 Essentials"
(For most common health issues: visit this page)

1. Our very existence is dependent upon the body's ability to utilize minerals because minerals activate enzymes! More about minerals
2. Digestive Enzymes: If food is not digesting properly, it creates waste that builds up downstream in the colon... an open door to toxicity & diseases! More Info
3. Probiotics: "Friendly gut bacteria play a crucial role in preventing diseases, from cancer to obesity". Dr. Robynne Chutkan M.D. More info

Super Supplemental
Vitamins & Minerals

Super Supplemental

  It packs vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs for practically unbeatable supplement and antioxidant support.
Food Enzymes
Proper Digestion & Assimilation
Food Enzymes
  No supplement we take is going to do us any good if we cannot digest and assimilate properly.
Probiotic Eleven
Taking care of your "Second Brain"!
Probiotic Eleven
  These essential "friendly" microbes help regulate intestinal functions & improve immunity. "All diseases begin in the gut!" Hippocrates