There are so many aspects to weight loss, from thyroid hormones, to adrenal function, to high leptin, to food intolerances.
But have you considered your digestion?
Today I want to share some pertinent points to look for, including a description of a perfect stool 🙂
(don’t worry – no images!)
Poor digestion can affect your weight loss
- Abdominal pain
All these annoying symptoms are signs of a digestive system in distress!
When our digestion is impaired, our body lays down protective fat in the vulnerable areas. There are a few explanations for this and it depends on your particular cause for the symptoms.
After all, your digestive tract is 9 meters long, and has several very distinct sections. While many digestive symptoms overlap, they may be caused by very different things.
Gastrointestinal and digestive issues can have a large effect on the way we eat and how our bodies absorb and digest foods, causing us to gain or lose weight.
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the lower chest when stomach acid rises back up into the esophagus. People who suffer from it can gain weight because one way to relieve this is to eat something to reduce pain.
Alternately, people may find that certain foods are tolerable and their diet changes to a highly processed diet, with low protein – the opposite of a weight loss diet! If it is coupled with a sub-optimal thyroid and slower metabolism, then weight gain abounds.
DYI TEST. Take your morning body temperature with a thermometer. Don’t move or sit up when you wake, just reach over to the side table and pick up a pre-positioned thermometer. Pop it under your tongue. If your temperature is consistently below 37C then your thyroid could be out. If so, give us a call!
PPI (proton pump inhibitor) medications that suppress your stomach acid have dire long-term consequences not only to your digestive tract, but to your entire body. This is why on the box it says it should only be used for 4 – 8 weeks. But many people are on them ongoingly.
Proton pumps are well known for their role in the stomach, they have a wide variety of functions. Proton pumps are present in just about every cell in the body and are essential for cellular energy production.
When the pH of the stomach becomes more alkaline, microbes that would normally be destroyed in the acidic environment are able to pass unscathed into the small and large intestines. A 2016 study showed that use of PPIs was associated with a 1.7 times increased risk of Clostridium difficile and a 3.7 times increased risk of Campylobacter infection.
A 2016 Australian study of more than 38,000 adults over age 45 found that PPI use increased the risk of hospitalization for infectious gastroenteritis. Patients with chronic bowel problems who used PPIs had an even greater risk.
Natural Treatment Options
Treatment varies for the individual, and length of time on medication is big factor. Corrective digestive function takes anywhere from 4 weeks to 2 years! The best thing to do is speak with one of our naturopaths to get a more realistic idea based on your history and symptoms.
Things that your practitioner should address:
- Nutrient status – especially zinc and vitamin B6.
- Toxin load and detoxification capacity.
- Infections and stealth pathogens.
- Diet modification.
- Digestive enzymes or herbs to assist better digestion and gastric membrane healing.
Slow digestion and belly fat
Belly fat comes from internal organ weakness. To improve digestion, you will also need to work on liver function, gallbladder cleansing (if you have a gall-bladder), lymphatic health and bowel function.
A normal bowel movement is, well, a weird and taboo topic to most people! And fair enough! But I think you should know what is a normal bowel movement.
A normal stool should be brown to light brown, formed but not hard or too soft, cylindrical but not flattened on any side, fairly bulky and full bodied but not compact, easy to pass, and it shouldn’t have an extremely foul smell.
There! I said it!
If you have any issues with your bowels, that could be the thing sabotaging your weight loss goals.
Most people find that a 3 week cleanse with supportive supplements is enough to revamp digestion and get the weight loss ball rolling. However, for more chronic and set in cases, enemas, colonics, or other therapies may also be needed. Your practitioner will guide you.
Understanding the function of your hormones is essential for any weight issue. Treatments need to be modified to suit the individual needs at the time, and guide the body back to a better state of health and function.
Standard medical testing does not pick up sub-optimal thyroid issues – yet this is often the cause of stubborn weight!
Blood sugar levels are often an issue as well, and early changes are not picked up in standard testing either.
Stress and adrenal hormones will also put on belly fat, so this may be another test you need to get the real answers.
And of course, digestion, medications, food intolerances and diet will all be assessed, because we pride ourselves on thorough pathology so you get the fastest results possible!
Book a call to discuss the right testing to help your energy and weight goals once and for all!