How’s your gut health?
Did you know that the amount of stomach acid you have correlates to how prone you are to diseases of the body and mouth?
Things that affect our gut health from day 1…
Let’s start from the beginning. Our gut microbiome is formed most profoundly from the moment that we are born to the age of 3.
Antibiotic use by pregnant mothers or children in those first three years of life damages the gut biome incredibly, and sometimes does not recover if the proper gut healing steps are not taken afterward.
How we are born:
Whether from natural vaginal childbirth, or cesarean birth. Vaginal birth introduces the child to the mother’s natural biome, bacteria, etc which strengthens the immune system from day one. Cesarean births miss that opportunity for inoculation which makes the opportunity of disease more likely in the child’s life. Alternatively, some holistically minded midwives and OBGYNs are now practicing bacteria swabbing from mother to child in the case of emergency cesarean births.
If our mothers breastfed us or used formula plays a large factor in gut health.
Breastfed children are less likely to have allergies, and have reduced rates of respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and other ailments due to an increased immune system. Brain neuroimaging studies have shown that exclusively breastfed children have increased white matter and subcortical gray matter volume compared to formula-fed children. Formula-fed babies are more likely to have allergies, tooth decay, and gut dysbiosis.
The bottom line, in a perfect world, with perfect nutrition, every woman would breastfeed. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. What about a low milk supply, mental health issues postpartum, or a mother needing to return to work right away? Luckily, it is possible to make a wholesome whole-food baby formula. (See FAQs on Homemade Baby Formula.)
What kinds of solid foods did we start eating and at what age?
Nourishing a growing baby is pivotal, as mentioned before some of the most profound growth and biome formation is in those first three years of life. Infant nutrition is critical for ensuring proper development, maximizing learning capacities, and preventing illness. At no other time in life is nutrition so important. A great source to follow once a baby can start on solid foods is the Weston A. Price foundation. Find out more via this link:
This includes good quality proteins from foods such as grass-fed meats and organ meats, good quality fats from butter, coconut oil, olive oil, cod liver oil, and egg yolks, as well as complex carbohydrate-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, and legumes–think whole food, natural and seasonal, with a big emphasis on healthy fat. Undiagnosed food allergies, frequent rashes, crooked teeth, narrow palates, ear, and sinus infections are common among children who are not getting the proper nutrients.
Back to all about stomach acid and why it’s SO important!
A whopping 90% of Americans do not produce enough stomach acid!
AND as we age, the amount of stomach acid we have lowers yearly. Older adults are more likely to have digestive tract disorders. With age, the stomach lining’s capacity to resist damage decreases, especially in people who use aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The rate at which the stomach empties food into the small intestine decreases. Excessive growth of certain bacteria (SIBO small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) becomes more common with age and can lead to pain, bloating, and weight loss or gain. SIBO leads to decreased absorption of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, iron, and calcium.
Digestion is a huge factor in how fast or slow we age!
What’s the deal with stomach acid? Should I have a lot or a little?
It’s a common belief that ailments like GERD, acid reflux, indigestion, heartburn, and food allergies are caused by TOO MUCH acid.
It’s the complete opposite!
It means that your stomach does NOT HAVE ENOUGH stomach acid to properly digest food.
Stomach acid also known as hydrochloric acid or HCL, plays an integral role in the health of your digestion, how your body breaks down food and assimilates minerals/nutrients from that food to be delivered via your blood to all parts of the body.
Along with many other factors that are harmful to how you break down food like stress, medications, allergies, toxin exposure, alcohol consumption, standard American diet, eating foods in the wrong order, or even eating certain foods that spike our glucose levels.
Persistently elevated blood sugar levels can damage nerves responsible for digestive tract movement, resulting in slower stomach emptying (called gastroparesis) and symptoms of bloating, reflux, feeling full after small amounts of food, nausea, and vomiting. In addition to working with your doctor to balance your blood sugar, you can help alleviate these symptoms by eating smaller meals, avoiding high-saturated fat foods, avoiding larger meals within two hours of bedtime, and avoiding foods that typically irritate the upper GI tract like caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, and acidic foods.
Why do I want more stomach acid?
Very low stomach acid is called hypochlorhydria, which makes it hard for the body to defend against pathogenic microorganisms, for foods to get fully broken down which can cause acid reflux, and partially digested food stays in the stomach longer than it should. This causes food to ferment and putrefy in the gut.
These days it’s hard to come by someone who is not on some form of an anti-acid, or other medications meant to relieve that burning feeling. These medications are solely a band-aid and will never truly heal the root cause! These medications are also very detrimental to one’s health.
Bad digestion is NOT something you just have to deal with, but it is something that you must work for, with the proper gut healing protocols and a healthy diet.
Common symptoms of low stomach acid:
Dry Hair/Hair loss/Brittle Nails
Dry mouth/ Cavities/ Gum Recession
Chronic health conditions are associated with low levels of stomach acid.
High blood sugar levels
H. pylori infection
How your gut health affects oral health:
Poor digestion is very detrimental to your oral health. When you’re not breaking down food, your body is not getting the proper minerals and nutrients from your food, which means your teeth are not getting them either! Acid reflux wreaks havoc on your teeth, and it starts to break them down, causing cavities and gum disease, even oral cancer if it goes on long enough. Once the enamel erodes there is no getting it back! Years of poor digestion will apparently show in the health of your teeth. You can reverse poor digestion, and halt any more damage by healing your gut.
What poor digestion does to your oral health:
High-risk oral bacteria
White coated tongue
We hope this helps you find the necessary steps to take control of your gut health, and in turn, all systems of the body will improve!
To your health,
Jennifer Corrigan RDA
Dr. Kayleigh A. Short DMD, formerly of Integrative Dentistry in Seattle, is your top choice for a holistic dentist, and cutting-edge care available to the greater Seattle area, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Monroe, Snohomish, Duvall, Whidbey Island, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Everett, and surrounding areas. Washington State, nationwide, and worldwide we are available for telemedicine holistic dentistry consults. For the best care in Seattle for holistic dental and natural holistic facial aesthetic needs. We diagnose complex dental health cases, that other dentists turn away. Contact us today or schedule an appointment to discover how we can help optimize your oral health and support your wellness journey. -Dr. Kayleigh Short and the WDC Team
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