Pearls from the Gastrointestinal Advanced Practice Module

In Functional Medicine, we often start with healing the gut because it is the home of our immune system and our neurotransmitter production. I like to refer to the gut as ‘command central.’ So much of our overall health is determined by the health of our gut. It’s a little ironic that the Gastrointestinal Advanced Practice Module through the Institute for Functional Medicine was the last module I took for certification. I started with the hormone module because I felt under-trained in taking care of women with thyroid issues. This module did not disappoint and I have much to share after tree days of learning.

My mind is FULL with so much information – some of it validating my current practice, some of it bringing me up to date with current research, and some of it brand spanking new. So here are three tidbits I want to share with you from the weekend:

1. I will no longer recommend a probiotic for well people every day. The science does not support it if you are eating a Mediterranean-esque diet, meaning lots of vegetables and some fermented foods (not just wine).

2. I will be recommending more digestive bitters and less supplementation with hydrocholoric acid. I will at least encourage women to start with bitters to boost their hydrochloric acid production and only use hydrocholoric acid as needed.

3. The FODMAP diet, and it’s relative, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, aka SCD, has some serious healing potential for people, from irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea to Crohn’s disease. No joke. The science is all there.

4. When treating Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, botanical treatment regimens have been proven to be at least as effective, if not more so, than Rifaximin, the antibiotic of choice. This is good news because many insurance plans do not cover Rifaxamin and it is expensive.

5. You can improve the diversity of your microbiome, meaning you can improve your health, in two days by changing your diet! Two days!

So, there you have it. A few ruminations after my course. The sharing will continue as I review my notes. Until then, eat vegetables, drink kefir, and move your body!

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