- Determine what constitutes a healthy gastrointestinal tract
- Discover what disrupts your digestive health
- Explore how an unhealthy gut affects your overall health
- Discover how to detoxify your gastrointestinal tract
Your gastrointestinal tract, otherwise known as your GI tract, works together with your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder to break down the food you eat into nutrients. The process ensures your cells get the nutrients needed to produce energy.
But every step of the process also produces toxins. And waste build-up due to poor digestion increases the number of harmful substances and toxic load in your intestinal tract, especially your colon.
While your body may be designed to detox, our modern diets can overwhelm the system. We simply don’t get enough natural foods in our diets. So, we need to help our body detox.
In this article, we’ll look at the body’s natural detox systems, what disrupts the body’s detoxification process, its impact on your health, and what we can do to detox.
7 key elements of a healthy digestive tract
To know whether you need to detox your gut, you should know what to look for. Here are 7 vital elements of every digestive tract. If one gets out of whack, you increase your risk of a toxic build in your intestines. These toxins can spill into your bloodstream, getting into cells all over your body, disrupting your metabolism.
- A balanced microbiome. The bacteria that live inside your gut is often called the microbiome. These bacteria help break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that you eat. An unbalanced microbiome may cause digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. And it may even link to other conditions, including type II diabetes and obesity.
- Digestive enzymes go to work the moment you put food in your mouth. Saliva releases special enzymes that begin to break down starches into more easily absorbable sugars. Your pancreas makes other enzymes that break down sugars, starches, and fats. The problem is that as you age, you produce fewer digestive enzymes. This can leave you malnourished, regardless of how much you eat, since your body will not effectively digest and absorb nutrients from your food.
- Acid flow. Stomach acid is essential to break down protein. But it shouldn’t escape into your throat. Food must pass through a tunnel-like muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter to enter your stomach. This should serve as a one-way valve, letting food pass into the stomach but not back the other way. However, if this muscle doesn’t work effectively, you can experience acid reflux as food and stomach acid travel back up the GI tract.
- Your liver. Your liver creates bile, which goes to the gallbladder for storage. Acting as your body’s chemical factory, your liver uses nutrients absorbed through the small intestine to make the numerous chemicals, hormones, and enzymes your body needs. It’s also the organ responsible for detoxification.
- Intestinal absorption. Bile and enzymes help break down your food even further into vitamins, minerals, and sugars. These nutrients are then absorbed through your intestinal wall via openings called intercellular or “tight” junctions. But if these openings widen too much, toxins, bacteria, and bits of food can enter your bloodstream. This is called leaky gut syndrome. It is linked to several serious health conditions, including irritable bowel disease, celiac, and Chron’s disease.
- Regular bowel movements. Your large intestine, or colon, absorbs water and minerals from the food not absorbed by your body. What remains is waste – a waste you need to clear regularly. Failure to do so results in a buildup of waste that rots, resulting in a toxic buildup in your intestine.
- Immune response. The majority of your immune response takes place in your gut. Immune cells prevent harmful bacteria or toxins from getting out of control. However, waste build-up can alter your gut environment and reduce your immune system’s ability to respond, leading to continuous inflammation and irritable bowels.
What disrupts digestive tract function?
Now you know what constitutes a healthy GI tract, it’s time to discover what triggers can disrupt your digestive system and indicate a need to detox.
A poor diet
Rich foods such as meat, dairy, or high-fat meals can damage the good bacteria in your gut, causing symptoms such as diarrhea and bloating, as well as weight gain. Eating lots of processed foods can disrupt digestion, as they tend to be low in fiber, which your intestinal tract needs to function adequately. And don’t forget about sugar. It may be delicious, but sugar is linked to microbial changes in the gut as well as inflammation, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Sometimes your immune system responds to certain foods. You may be intolerant of dairy products, for example, if your body doesn’t produce enough enzymes. Or you may struggle to digest fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (AKA FODMAPs).
While allergies can be life-threatening, causing swelling, breathing problems, or serious rashes, food intolerances are generally less dangerous. Nevertheless, they can cause uncomfortable digestive issues such as abdominal pain, gas, and bloating. Food intolerances may occur because of a more serious health problem, so seek medical advice if you suffer discomfort after eating certain foods.
If you’re overweight, you’re far more likely to experience heartburn. Experts believe excess weight presses on your stomach, forcing its contents back up the esophagus. And while more research is needed, scientists believe that a healthy microbiome will release certain chemicals that make you feel full after eating. On the other hand, imbalances lead to feelings of hunger even when you’re full, which makes you likely to overeat.
While antibiotics are a marvelous invention, we tend to take too many of them. They do a great job at killing the bacteria making you ill, but they also wreak havoc on the good bacteria in your gut. They may cause diarrhea while you are taking them and can even lead to liver damage over time. Taking antibiotics for a week may cause you to suffer the consequences for up to a year!
Alcohol can negatively affect your actual digestion, apart from damaging your digestive organs, from your mouth to your liver. That’s because it may prevent your gut from absorbing nutrients from your food and weaken your body’s ability to make sufficient digestive enzymes.
Stress is a killer. It burdens your digestive system and can actually change your gut bacteria, creating a two-way relationship between your microbiome and your mood. You are also more likely to overeat or eat when stressed, leading to gas, bloating, and pain.
How an unhealthy gut affects your health
Apart from the obvious symptoms of poor digestion—gas, bloating, wind, and constipation or diarrhea—an unhealthy gut can impact your health in various ways:
- Greater pain sensitivity
- Increased anxiety
- Mood swings
- Microbiome imbalances
- Food allergies
- Autoimmune disease
- Poor nutrient absorption
- Hair loss
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Heart problems
- Slowed digestion leading to weight gain
It’s very important you seek medical advice if you have any of these symptoms for a while, as, left long enough, they may negatively impact your general health.
How to do a gastrointestinal detoxification
Your body is designed to cleanse itself naturally. However, today’s dietary habits and lifestyle can lead to waste build-up in your colon, disrupting digestion and metabolism, increasing toxins throughout your body, and leaving you feeling sluggish.
Regular cleansing and detoxification of your colon can help offset the effects of modern living. If you suffer from digestive issues or chronic health problems, a cleanse and detox may be the first step you need to get on the road to good health and better living.
Here’s how you can get started…
Drink plenty of water
Never overlook how important water is to intestinal and overall health. Drinking water plays a critical role in detoxification. It keeps stool soft and flushes toxins through your bowel, helping you stay regular and keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy.
Cleanse your colon
Cleansing your colon can be done in many ways. Some people choose procedures like colonic irrigation or enemas. These invasive techniques may help in serious situations. But the best way to look after your health in the long term is to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Ideally, you want to eat plenty of fiber from plant sources. In the short term, or if your need and lifestyle cannot include a high fiber diet, you may need to add a colon cleansing supplement. The best products on the market support your body naturally.
For example, our new Cleanse Infused Plus features natural substances in the form of oxygenated magnesium, which supplies oxygen that softens and breaks up hardened stool. The oxygen also helps your body detox. Plus, it features many natural substances that help clear toxins from your digestive tract to help support your body’s normal cleansing and detox process.
For an enhanced detox, you can also take algae supplements such as Algae Infused. Algae like Spirulina, AFA, and cracked-cell wall Chlorella supply nutrients and antioxidants that can help clear toxins from your digestive tract.
Ensure you get plenty of enzymes
Enzymes digest food at every step of the digestive process. In your colon, they break down food and waste as your body prepares it for release. Although your body produces enzymes, your diet needs to supply them too. Our ancestors ate raw foods that were full of enzymes – we should eat them too.
Choose foods that are high in enzymes to aid digestion, break down toxins, and support regular bowel movements. Foods such as pineapple, mango, and papaya taste delicious and supply enzymes that support digestion and detoxification. You can also boost your enzyme intake with supplements like Digest Infused.
Follow a healthy diet
A good diet is one of the key aspects of good digestive tract health. This means eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains, which are excellent sources of fiber. It also means avoiding lots of processed foods, food loaded with preservatives, and red meat.
Choose foods with amino acids
Proteins break down into amino acids, which your body needs for tissue repair and maintenance. But you can only make nine of them yourself. You can easily get the other ones you need from plant sources such as tofu, chickpeas, lentils, chia seeds, rice with beans, and many others. Another option is to take a supplement like Protein Infused. It not only gives you almost all the amino acids you need, but it also boosts how much of them your body absorbs.
Regular exercise encourages blood flow, which helps detox, and it also helps the body manage inflammation more effectively. Scientists also believe that habitual physical activity helps you lose weight and that it can also boost the good bacteria in your microbiome. Experts recommend you engage in moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, for at least a half-hour a day at least three days a week.
Keep your intestinal tract free of toxins
Keeping your GI tract, and especially your large intestine, in top condition supports your whole body – from how your cells function to how you feel every day. Although your body and intestinal tract have ways to deal with the toxic load faced every day, your lifestyle choices play a big part in how well it can detox.
The best way to keep your intestinal tract working right is to practice lifestyle behaviors like eating a healthy diet high in fiber, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. To promote healing from chronic health issues or ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs to support detoxification, you can always take dietary supplements.
When choosing the best products, use only those made with clean ingredients – those products that don’t contain herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, and other harmful toxic substances. Clean products will help you enjoy the best health both today and tomorrow.