Understanding IBD & Gut Health
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a broad term that describes conditions with chronic or recurring immune response and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The two most common forms of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – both characterized by an abnormal response to the body’s immune system.
Common Symptoms of IBD
- loose, urgent bowel movements
- persistent diarrhea with blood in stool & abdominal pain
- abdominal cramps
- night sweats, fever, fatigue & weight loss
Most likely caused by mix of heredity, genetics, immune system & environmental factors
All of the digestive processes have one goal: to deliver nutrients into the bloodstream for use in our cells. If laid out flat this surface would be the size of a tennis court, but it is only one cell layer thick! When this delicate surface is damaged, inflammation spreads throughout the brain and body.
The hard-working gut allows nutrients and water to enter the body while preventing the entry of toxins/antigens. It’s a selective barrier between “us” and the outside world. But a distressed gut can’t act in our defense. Instead, it allows dangerous compounds to enter the body.
A healthy gut barrier depends on:
- balanced intestinal bacteria – good gut bacteria help manufacture vitamins, enhance absorption of minerals, fight off pathogens, digest food, and metabolize drugs & even influence metabolism!
- intact mucosa – when the gut wall is irritated or inflamed the tight junctions between its cells loosen up and we get increased permeability.
- a healthy immune system – almost 70% of our immune system cells live in or around the gut.
Our gastrointestinal tracts work hard to keep us healthy and happy.