Revive Healthy Nutritional and Social Health Ministry of Virginia

Research and Education



6 Potential Consequences of Poor Digestion - Posted by Dana L. Horne

Posted on April 13, 2015 at 10:50 AM

6 Potential Consequences of Poor Digestion - Posted by Dana L. Horne - Content provided by Revolution Health Group

1. Allergies and food Sensitivities

When your digestion system does not function properly, gut permeability can increase, causing unprocessed substances to be passed on to the liver. This means that the liver has to process undigested foods, bacteria, toxic chemicals or whatever happens to be in the gut. As a result, the system can become overwhelmed and release these substances directly into the bloodstream. When this toxic material begins to circulate in the body, the immune system may be triggered, producing allergic responses to foods or other material released from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

 The food or substance causing the reactions may be relatively innocent — it is actually the overactive response of the immune system that causes the damage.

This dynamic can have a number of causes and result in a wide range of symptoms.

 2. Innocent foods and toxic effects

Another problem associated with an overloaded liver is direct damage to the body’s tissues caused by the toxic effects of chemicals in food or digestive debris. For example, certain elements in milk or wheat can have toxic effects on the nervous or immune system; specific sensitivities to proteins in wheat have even been implicated in certain forms of schizophrenia.

 3. Autoimmune disorders

Constant over stimulation of the immune system can also lead to an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakes the tissues of the body for an invader. As a result, the white blood cells and T cells may actually attack the body rather than the invasive bacteria or offending substance. This can be a cause of chronic conditions such as asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

With the development of chronic illness, an even greater toxic burden is placed on the liver. Under this increased stress, the liver may no longer be able to perform competently, setting the stage for a whole new arena of possible problems.

4. Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal consequence of our immune response. Yet if the immune system is continually on hyper alert, inflammation can become chronic. This is often a feature of digestive disorders and can be caused by a range of stress including leaky gut and allergies.

 If inflammation continues in the long term, changes in the tissue can occur, degrading resilience and function. Over decades more serious tissue damage can occur, leading to conditions such as accelerated aging, diabetes and cancer.

 5. Challenges to the immune system: Free radicals

The chronic overwork of the liver’s detoxification mechanisms, caused by hyperpermeability, sets in motion a series of stresses. The first of these is the increased production of toxic byproducts called free radicals, which have been identified as a major cause of cancer.

 The assault of free radicals, also referred to as oxidative stress, further overstimulates the liver, causing it to send out signals that can confuse the immune system. These signals may trigger inappropriate reactions in both the immune and neurological systems and cause inflammation.

 Increased stress on the liver can be caused by even minor but frequent GI complaints such as chronic constipation or an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. This continual stress may ultimately compromise the liver’s detoxification capacity. At the same time, free radicals with the potential to cause cellular damage could be generated in excessive amounts. Their effects are experienced throughout the body in cell membranes, connective tissue and genetic material. This oxidative stress can lead to serious chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Parkinson’s disease.

 Oxidative stress from free radicals can also cause problems by depleting essential nutrients. This can short-circuit immune function, the activity of the nervous system, and the production of hormones. Over decades, these compromises can develop into conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Free radicals have also been identified as a primary cause of aging.

 6. Yeast and parasites

When the delicate balance in the GI tract is lost, an overgrowth of yeast can occur, particularly Candida albicans, an undesirable species of yeast that is normally found in the gut in small numbers even when we are healthy. However, when candida develops too large a population, it can overwhelm beneficial bacteria like weeds taking over a garden. An overgrowth can be caused by certain bacteria or microbes in the gut and can cause illness or trigger symptoms anywhere in the body.

Microscopic parasites are another cause of digestive disorders that are often overlooked and a growing public health problem. They are now considered one of the important causes in some cases of chronic fatigue, arthritis, neurological problems and immune suppression.

Categories: Obesity / Weight Loss, Nutrition

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