We’ve all heard how a natural approach to food is the best. We know that we shouldn’t eat high fructose corn syrup. We’ve all wondered if we should be buying free range chicken eggs. We’ve visited local farmer markets to pick up local produce. We understand that there needs to be a natural approach when it comes to our food. But what about a natural approach to our medicine? While a conventional medical approach has been working miracles for the past 50 years, we have lost a little of our magic for healing our bodies, not just treating the illness.
There are many natural and alternative approaches to illnesses and chronic fatigue that, unfortunately, are not used now days. Healing our whole bodies is so much more complicated than just eliminating the symptoms of a disease.
To explain the Natural approach to fatigue completely, an understanding of two philosophical models needs to explained. Naturopathic medicine follows the philosophical model of naturopathy. This model identifies a disease and works with the healing mechanisms of the body to bring about a cure. Its main focus is to identify the cause of the disease and stimulate the bodies’ own healing mechanisms to eliminate the disease. The philosophical model that most conventional doctors follow is allopathy. This model identifies the disease and uses treatments like drugs or surgery to suppress the symptoms of the disease. If the symptoms of the disease are eliminated the disease is cured in the allopathic model.
So when I talk about using a naturopathic approach towards chronic fatigue, I would start by looking for the causes of the fatigue. The main causes of IBS are food sensitivities, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, increased intestinal permeability, hypochlorhydria and neurotransmitter imbalance. To do this, I would take a thorough history and order laboratory tests to identify the cause of the fatigue.
Explanation of the causes of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Food sensitivities: There are many foods that people can be sensitive to and the main symptom of food sensitivities is fatigue. Food sensitivities are different than a food allergy. People with foods allergies usually have instantaneous reactions to the food right after eating, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, rash etc. Food sensitivities don’t have an immediate reaction after eating the food. It can take several hours or days for symptoms to present and they are more subtle. They do not show up in conventional food allergy testing, because the tests used look at the IgE allergic response (the instantaneous response) and not the IgG4 immune response (the slow response).
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: This condition occurs when the small intestine becomes overwhelmed with bad bacteria and the bad bacteria replaces the good bacteria. This leads to poor absorption of food. Symptoms of this condition are fatigue, gas and bloating shortly after a meal, mental fog, diarrhea or constipation, and abdominal pain.
Hypochlorhydria: This is a condition where there is a decreased production of HCL in the stomach to help digest protein and absorb several vitamins and minerals. Some people genetically don’t produce enough HCL, but it naturally occurs in many individuals while they age. This condition is a major cause of gas and bloating in individuals.
Neurotransmitter imbalance: When people think of neurotransmitters they think of the brain and they never think of their guts. The gut contains a great deal of neurotransmitters and there are many pathways between the brain and the gut. The gut actually has its own nervous system. The gut is considered by many medical professionals as the second brain. Neurotransmitters in the gut become imbalanced by mental stress, depression, anxiety, and two areas we touched on earlier food sensitivities and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. When the neurotransmitters become imbalanced it leads to poor absorption of food and spasm of the intestines leading to many of the symptoms of IBS. The specific neurotransmitters that are out of balance can be found with specialized laboratory testing.
As we can see, there are multiple causes of IBS. While we would all love to have a quick fix that works for everyone, our bodies are a lot more complicated than that. It takes a trained professional to know exactly what the cause is and the IBS treatment protocol for you. But there is hope for individuals with IBS. Who knows, it may be just as easy as not eating eggs.
For more detailed explanation and IBS treatment and other conditions a consultation with the author Dr. Jacob Schmutz, a specialist in natural and alternative medicine, can be made by visiting our appointment page.