GI Dysfunction and Weight Gain

How does digestion affect weight?

The culprit behind weight loss struggles may be a result of a faulty digestive system.  Many people suffer from digestive disorders and experience symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and heartburn.  Faulty digestion can lead to weight gain as a result of the digestive system’s inability to break down foods properly. This leads to insufficient absorption of nutrients and reduced elimination of waste and toxins in the body, causing constipation and bloating.  Metabolism is affected when the body cannot absorb the vitamins and minerals it needs, leading to lowering calorie-burning rate, excess body fat, and fatigue.  


GI Issues that Can Lead to Weight Gain 

Candida

Candida or yeast can cause many long-term health issues and weight gain.  A diet high in carbohydrates and refined sugars encourages candida to multiply.  Candida is naturally present in the body and does not cause problems most of the time, however when overgrowth occurs it wreaks havoc on the body.  Candida thrives on sugar and causes cravings for sugar and carbs. Candida also releases toxins into the body, taxing the liver to become overworked from processing these toxins.  When the liver can’t eliminate all the toxins, it is stored in fat cells. Symptoms of overgrowth include fatigue, irritability, depression, brain fog, headaches, diarrhea, constipation, and weight gain.  Candida has been linked to leaky gut syndrome, where the candida can permeate the gut lining, enter the bloodstream and colonize other areas of the body.  

Gut Dysbiosis 

The gut microbiome is vital to the effective absorption of nutrients.  Studies have shown that those with obesity have significantly impaired gut function, problems with effective digestion and absorption of food, poor immune status, and poor gut health.  Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) contributes to intestinal permeability. SIBO causes constipation and reducing pancreatic enzyme activity which disrupts the microbiota. The increased permeability leads to low-grade inflammation.  The cells are unable to take sugar needed as a result of inadequate insulin response or insulin resistance, resulting in fat deposits. These fat cells increase the hormone leptin. Leptin signals the brain that the body is full and does not need more food.  However, over time the body becomes resistant to consistently high levels of leptin causing hunger feelings even if you’ve just eaten.  

Calprotectin Colon Inflammation

Calprotectin, a biomarker for obesity and inflammation, is used to identify between inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.  Calprotectin is a protein released from inflammatory cells during an inflammatory response. The higher level of calprotectin is associated with the severity of inflammation.  Weight gain is associated with chronic inflammation due to the cells creating chemical signals to activate the immune system.  

Digestive Enzyme Deficiency 

Digestive enzymes are small proteins that act on specific molecules within foods to break them down. Issues can occur when someone lacks or is deficient in certain enzymes due to poor gut health, stress and inadequate nutrition.  Specific enzymes help to digest the various nutrients in foods; protease works to digest protein, amylase breaks down carbohydrates and lipase works with fats and oils. Foods that can assist with digestion are ginger, apple cider vinegar, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.  Supplemental digestive enzymes offer a complete range of enzymes that help with digestion and aide in reducing gut inflammation.  

sIGA Immune Response for Food Sensitivities 

sIgA (secretory immunoglobins) which are immune cells that act as a first defense.  They reside in the digestive tract primarily. sIgA cells encounter invaders to the body first and gather them, so they aren’t dangerous to the body.  This process helps prevent the immune system from overreacting. Many people suffer from low sIgA levels, often those with adrenal fatigue systems, hypothyroidism, and other autoimmune conditions.  Low levels of sIgA can’t neutralize bacteria, viruses, yeast, undigested foods, and chemicals, so the body calls in more aggressive immune cells to handle the job resulting in a hyper-reactive immune system.  Once the defense action of the sIgA is diminished, the immune system is more vulnerable. Leaky gut symptoms occur when the tight junctions on the intestinal lining are open, allowing food out of the small intestine where the immune system reacts to the foreign invaders.  This often leads to low-grade inflammation, causing gut dysbiosis as discussed earlier in this article.  

How to identify GI dysfunction?

Testing can provide help to identify digestive issues that may be impacting weight.  Stool testing such as the GI-Map, identifies the levels of good and bad bacteria in the gut to provide information to address imbalances.  IgA and IgG food intolerance testing can provide information regarding foods to avoid. Testing provides results to help your healthcare practitioner create an individualized treatment plan to reset the body and put you back on the way to optimal health.   

Recommended Supplements by INEVO Body

Digest Enzymes – Breaks down proteins from gluten, casein, lactose, proteins, fats and carbs

Digestevo Probiotics – Supports beneficial gut bacteria with over 50 billion CFU of high-potency probiotics

Digest Protx – Supports the elimination of harmful bacteria, fungi, yeast and candida

InflammXCore – Supports intestinal health, motility and function

References 

NIH. (2017).  Your digestive system and how it works.  Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works

Kant, P., Fazakerley, R., & Hull, M. A. (2012). Faecal calprotectin levels before and after weight loss in obese and overweight subjects. International Journal of Obesity, 37(2), 317–319. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.38

Sam, Q., Chang, M., & Chai, L. (2017). The Fungal Mycobiome and Its Interaction with Gut Bacteria in the Host. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18(2), 330. doi:10.3390/ijms18020330

Teixeira, T. F. S., Collado, M. C., Ferreira, C. L. L. F., Bressan, J., & Peluzio, M. do C. G. (2012). Potential mechanisms for the emerging link between obesity and increased intestinal permeability. Nutrition Research, 32(9), 637–647. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2012.07.003

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