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Homeopathy: Gastrointestinal Support

It has been roughly estimated that around seventy percent of all Americans will suffer from gastrointestinal issues at some point. This is largely due to a decline in gut health and the corresponding adrenal fatigue that normally forms a part of this problem. Gastrointestinal support will help you deal with both issues, as addressing your gut health may aid in adrenal recovery.

Reasons for Gut Health Decline
The link between gut health and adrenal fatigue is simple – stress. Stress is necessary for human survival, as it results in the increase of cortisol production, preparing the body to fight or run from a dangerous situation. However, constant stress has a debilitating effect on both gut and adrenal health. While gastrointestinal issues may negatively impact adrenal fatigue, the converse is also true. Essentially, the two may go hand in hand.

The stressors responsible may be psychological in nature, or due to external factors, such as what we eat, our lifestyle, and the toxins we are exposed to daily.

The Gut-Cortisol Connection
Because of higher cortisol levels during times of stress, those activities deemed not essential for your survival are either reduced or stopped. One of these is your immune system. When circumstances return to “normal,” your immune system kicks back into action. Because your immune system is suppressed, inflammation is reduced.

Long-term stress and high cortisol demand results in the constant suppression of your immune system, and thus inflammation. Your body is now unable to fight against any foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses. You may thus become more susceptible to infection.

But low levels of cortisol are just as bad as levels that are too high. This is because cortisol is essential for the immune system and thus inflammation to work properly. It is necessary for your body’s immune process and is the “switch” that turns off inflammation. When your cortisol levels are too low, as in the later stages of adrenal fatigue, your immune system and the corresponding inflammation may run rampant. This leads to chronic inflammation, and the effects on your gastrointestinal tract may be devastating. Your gut is your immune system’s first line of defense. Gut flora composition and gut lining functionality are two of the most important factors when it comes to protecting you against foreign invaders.

Gastrointestinal Support To Secure Gut Health
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help gut healing and general gut health. The first is to change your diet. Changing your diet is not the same as going on a diet. It simply means cutting out foods that are detrimental to both your gut health and adrenal fatigue symptoms, while incorporating those that support your health. This implies avoiding fast foods and processed foods, and eating healthy. The adrenal fatigue diet does much to improve both of these health aspects.

Incorporating more fiber into your diet also helps, as fiber has many compounds that address gut health issues. Remember to drink enough water when increasing your fiber intake to prevent constipation.

Eating foods rich in probiotics promotes the growth of healthy gut flora, thereby balancing your gut bacteria.

Alcohol and drinks that are high in caffeine are stimulants. The last thing someone suffering from adrenal fatigue and/or gut issues needs is the added burden of dealing with stimulants. When hydration is an issue, water is the answer.

As mentioned, your junk food intake needs to be reduced. One of the reasons these foods are not recommended is that they are usually processed, have a high fat or sugar content, and have many undesirable additives. These all have a negative effect on both gut health and adrenal action.

Exercise, even gentle exercise such as walking or yoga, is a great way to get into shape and get rid of any accumulated pounds. It is also good for your circulation, gut action, adrenals, and brain function, as it helps reduce stress. You not only need to eat right, you need to get off the couch too.

Lastly, there are a number of gastrointestinal support remedies that may help you with your recovery.


Why the Need for Homeopathic Remedies
Your gastrointestinal tract, i.e. your gut, is your body’s chief source of neurotransmitters for the brain. It is also closely linked to your immune system. In fact, about seventy percent of your immune system resides in your gastrointestinal tract. For the most part, a healthy gut results in a well-functioning immune system. But the opposite is also true. Ultimately, securing a healthy balance in gut flora and your gut’s functionality means a healthier immune system.

Many of the health issues we face are the result of years of gut health neglect, through the use of certain medications, foods and lifestyle choices, and toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. The homeopathic approach to gastrointestinal health looks at the whole picture, addressing the root causes of these issues and not merely the symptoms. This implies getting rid of toxins, restoring a balance in gut flora, reducing inflammation, and restoring your gut lining, amongst many other issues. In so doing, the immune system is also aided on its road to recovery. When dealing with homeopathic remedies, you need to remember that they work at the cellular level, and improvement may not be seen overnight.

As your gut and immune system heal, though, many of the disparate symptoms often not even associated with gut health may also improve.

Gastrointestinal Support Remedies
Gentiana Lutea
Gentiana lutea, also called gall weed or bitter root, is an herb that has long been used for the treatment of issues related to the intestines. The parts of the plant commonly used in homeopathic remedies are the roots, which are used after being dried.

The herb is very bitter, due to the presence of iridoid glycosides. These are compounds bound to glucose in plants, and they have an anti-inflammatory effect. The herb also contains a number of alkaloids. Alkaloids play a role in the management of cortisol production.

The most common use is for gastrointestinal support, as it helps stimulate digestive functions. It also helps with general circulation and gland activity. It may also help with the removal of toxins that are present in the bowels and get rid of parasites and bad stomach bacteria.

Gentiana lutea is often used in instances of gastric-related conditions such as gas, gastritis, vomiting, and heartburn.

If you have low blood pressure, you should steer away from this remedy. It may lower your blood pressure even more. This also applies to people who have undergone surgery, as it may interfere with their blood pressure control.

Arsenicum Album
Arsenicum album, as a means of gastrointestinal support, aids in fighting off infections caused by a stomach bug and getting rid of toxins due to food poisoning.

This homeopathic remedy may be used for most issues related to an upset stomach, including vomiting, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, colitis, food poisoning, and gastroenteritis.

Although no negative side effects are as yet known, Arsenicum album is derived from arsenic, which is a poison. As is the case when using any form of homeopathic remedy, it is thus suggested that you only embark on a course of this remedy under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Dosages may vary from one person to the next, while what might work on one individual may not be recommended for another.


Cinchona Officinalis
Cinchona officinalis has long been used in the making of quinine, a treatment for malaria. It is the bark of the tree that is used in the manufacture of both medications and homeopathic remedies. This is because the bark is rich in alkaloids. Quinine is one of these alkaloids. Cinchona officinalis has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antipyretic, or fever-fighting, properties. These properties make Cinchona officinalis effective for gastrointestinal support.

With regards to digestive disorders, Cinchona officinalis may be effective in combating gastroenteritis, flatulence, dyspepsia, and even gallbladder issues.

Research has found Cinchona officinalis effective at combating certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, and Escherichia coli. It was also found effective against Candida albicans, a yeast infection.

The alkaloids present in Cinchona officinalis are very powerful. With an incorrect dosage, they can result in heart issues, hypoglycemia, vertigo, hepatitis, and vertigo, especially in the elderly. Please only use this remedy under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Colocynthis
Colocynthis, or bitter gourd, is a gourd fruit and member of the cucumber family of plants originating from arid and semi-arid regions in Africa and the Middle East. The fruit of the plant, if eaten, may be quite toxic, although the seeds are nutritious and commonly ground to make flour for bread.

Colocynthis, as a homeopathic remedy, is made of the ground, dried flesh of the fruit, and is considered a wonderful aid for gastrointestinal support. It targets nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Colocynthis may also be effective against colic. The remedy may be imminently suitable for bacterial infections.

Colocynthis should not be used if suffering from a nervous disorder, as it may inhibit serotonin production. High dosages may result in kidney irritation, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea – some of the very symptoms this remedy, if used correctly, helps fight. If you notice these side effects, immediately stop using this remedy and talk to your healthcare provider.

Nux Vomica
Nux vomica is a polychrest. This means it has a wide range of uses. One of these is for gastrointestinal support, as it helps balance your stomach action, creating an equilibrium while counteracting any chronic effects.

Nux vomica has antiviral properties, targeting those viruses causing gastroenteritis due to food poisoning. These viruses are typically very contagious. The remedy may also be effective with regards to colic, acute nausea, vomiting, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, and bloating.

High doses or long-term use of Nux vomica may be detrimental to your health, resulting in restlessness, neurological issues, anxiety, dizziness, liver failure, seizures, liver problems, and breathing problems.


Phosphorus
Phosphorus, in the form of phosphates, is found in both plants and animals. It is also common in soil. Due to intensive farming methods, however, much of our soil is lacking in phosphates, which are thus added artificially in chemical fertilizers. Farmers who practice a more traditional method of farming add compost, animal manure, and bone meal to their fields. All of these are natural phosphate sources.

Phosphorus, in the body, helps with food metabolism and the manufacture of proteins, including DNA, and the normal functioning of your nervous system. It is mainly found in bones as calcium phosphate but is also present in the brain, red blood cells, and muscle tissue. Phosphorus deficiency may result in weakened muscles, bone disease, brain function, nerve issues, and problems in the gastrointestinal tract.

Phosphorus, as used for gastrointestinal support, may have antiviral properties, helping to fight gastroenteritis, while it is also used for vomiting, hypoglycemia due to skipped meals, and peptic ulcers.

Overdosing with phosphorus may produce some of the symptoms it typically helps alleviate. These symptoms include, amongst others, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, confusion, seizures, dizziness, headaches, weight gain, and an irregular heartbeat. Do take care when using this remedy. It is best used with the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

Precautions Regarding Gastrointestinal Support Remedies
Very often, homeopathic remedies for gastrointestinal support are derived from substances that, under normal circumstances, would be regarded as poison. During the process of making them, however, the poisonous aspects have been eliminated, and they are considered as safe.

No two people are alike, though, which means that different people may have different reactions to a remedy. Also, these remedies may help you during different stages of adrenal fatigue. In other words, what helps during the initial stages may not be suitable during the later stages.

For the sake of safety, it is always best to consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before embarking on any herbal remedy. This is not only to ascertain its suitability for use but in order to determine the correct dosage as well. Overdosing or long-term use may lead to a set of negative health consequences.

Chronic stress may thus result in the development of one or more of a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcers, and even food allergies, to name but a few. You are also more likely to have gut dysbiosis, with increased growth in bad gut bacteria and viral infections, which may result in gastroenteritis.

 
 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


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