Intestinal Rebalancing from Steven Sandberg-Lewis, ND, DHANP
Not on Wellevate? Create an account.
Finding the underlying reason for abdominal discomfort is a source of frustration for those who experience it. Pinpointing the cause is a challenge for many practitioners. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is one of the most complex systems in the body and it doesn’t function alone–it works in concert with the immune, endocrine and nervous systems (just to name a few). It’s also been called our “second brain”.
What does this mean? The GI tract is home to the enteric nervous system (ENS), comprised of two, thin layers and millions of nerve cells that line the entire tract from one end to the other. This gut-brain axis refers to the continuous biochemical signaling that takes place between the ENS and the central nervous system.
Playing a starring role in this process is the vagus nerve, one of the largest nerves connecting the gut to the brain and just one of a staggering number of ways our “two brains” interact. Not only do they communicate back and forth, but each of them also communicate with the byproducts of the microbiome (called the metabolome). Communication among these systems is instantaneous–from the central nervous system to the ENS and all points in between.
What can happen when something interferes with the flow of communication between these two systems? An “irritable bowel.” And it’s not limited to the digestive concerns and abdominal discomfort. When the gut-brain axis isn’t functioning optimally, people can also experience mood changes, fatigue, headaches, sleep issues, blood sugar dysregulation, immune changes and other concerns that are often unique to the individual.
Rarely does an “irritable bowel” have one single cause. Changes to GI health beget changes to other body systems. In about 75% of cases, however, we see a common thread: bacterial imbalance in the small intestinal. What’s also interesting to note is that as many as 50% of patients also have a history of food poisoning or traveler’s diarrhea that preceded the functional changes in their gut.
Many experts say always “begin with the gut.” Balancing the microbiome, supporting proper GI function, and repairing the gut lining are good first steps. In this protocol from Dr. Steven Sandberg-Lewis, ND, DHANP you’ll learn what he recommends after over 40 years of gastrointestinal specialty practice.
Sign in to take a look at this latest protocol in the Wellevate Protocol Library, or, if you’re new to Wellevate, set up an account to view these and dozens of other protocols from leading integrative and functional medicine experts!
Steven Sandberg-Lewis, ND, DHANP, is a naturopathic physician specializing in gastrointestinal health. He has been in practice for 40 years, and on the faculty of the National University of Naturopathic Medicine (NUNM) for more than 20 years. Dr. Sandberg-Lewis teaches courses in advanced gastroenterology and mentors students on clinical rotations. He speaks internationally and is the author of the textbook Functional Gastroenterology: Assessing and Addressing the Causes of Functional GI Disorders.