Optimal Digestion: New Strategies for Achieving Digestive Health

Overview

Written by a team of medical experts, Optimal Digestion offers new ideas and information based on years of experience by doctors dealing with chronic digestive disorders, including heartburn, colitis, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and many more.This guide provides a comprehensive understanding of thenewest patient-centered approach to healing, combining the best of mainstream and alternative treatments. Because this approach focuses on the individual rather than the illness, treatment...
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Overview

Written by a team of medical experts, Optimal Digestion offers new ideas and information based on years of experience by doctors dealing with chronic digestive disorders, including heartburn, colitis, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and many more.This guide provides a comprehensive understanding of thenewest patient-centered approach to healing, combining the best of mainstream and alternative treatments. Because this approach focuses on the individual rather than the illness, treatment is based on your unique makeup.Optimal Digestion will help you create an individual healing program using diet, nutrients, medications, exercise, rest, and stress reduction.• Influences that throw your system out of balance
• Allergies and hypersensitivities
• Innocent foods that cause toxic effects
• The clues to your digestive problems
• A complete overview of how the digestive system works
• Nutritional strategies to improve your digestive health
• Essential information on strengthening your immune system
• A complete guide to digestive health that combines
expert medical advice, new and effective drugs, nutrition, herbal
supplements, and homeopathic remedies
• And much more!

"...combines traditional and alternative remedies into individualized healing programs for those suffering from digestive difficulties...covers more than thirty ailments, including heartburn, IBS, nausea, and acid reflux."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380804986
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 614
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Redefining the Problem

Jerry Stine
Nutritional Consultant

This book is about you. This book is written for you.

This book is drawn from the experience of people like you. It is based on your needs and the details of your situation. Your experience and responses hold the clues to solving the mystery of your situation. Individualizing the treatment to fit your unique symptoms and circumstances will enhance your opportunities for healing.

The New Medicine involves an understanding of the dynamics of disease, the complexity of the body's chemistry, and how illness is expressed differently in each of us. In this paradigm, each person's treatment is based on his or her unique makeup and responsiveness. Therapy involves skillfully manipulating the chemistry of the body through the use of diet, nutrients, medications, exercise, rest, and stress reduction. The promise of this approach is the freedom to lead a rich life, unencumbered by the pain and distress of illness.

The information in this book is not yet widely available through the existing health care system. But it is not just theory; it is the result of years of experience by both doctors and patients. The fruits of this knowledge are presented here as specific techniques and therapies. To those of us suffering from gastrointestinal illness, this information canbe precious and critical.

New Tools For Healing

We want to introduce you to three key areas of research andunderstanding:

  • A focus on the unique physical chemistry of each individual, which is called biochemical individuality.
  • An emphasis on intervening in the early stages of an illness by identifying problems through innovative new lab testing: functional testing.
  • Using nutrition to adjust our body's chemistry and promote healing: nutritional medicine.

These approaches are part of the New Medicine that is now growing in acceptance and availability. The therapies are grouped under theterm integrative medicine, which means using both mainstream and alternative treatments.

The new resources do not discard or discount mainstream Westernmedicine. We all take comfort in knowing that hospital emergencyand surgical care is there when we need it. But the challenges ofchronic illness sometimes require a different approach — the safe, effective treatments of the New Medicine complement mainstreamtreatments. Integrative medicine draws from the best of both worlds.

Applying the New information to Address Chronic Illness

These resources offer hope for many difficult-to-resolve illnesses, from frustrating problems such as hidden food allergies to chronic illnesses such as Crohn's disease. This is not to say that all the answers are available yet, but in many cases, we can now make real advances toward health using the new information and resources. To the degree that we can heal, we can function better and improve our quality of life.

Determining Our Unique Makeup: Biochemical Individuality

An important first step in healing involves understanding the very individual nature of our physical makeup. Our uniqueness is described in nutritional medicine as biochemical individuality, a term coined by the Nobel Prize-winning Texas researcher Roger Williams. He was one of the first to define the wide range of variation in body chemistry that occurs from one person to the next — a uniqueness as individual as our fingerprints and our DNA.

We know intuitively that we're not all the same. We may function quite differently from those around us. We might experience strong reactions to foods that others can eat without any problem. We may have unusual symptoms of illness or alarming reactions to medication. Although our response is unusual, that doesn't discount its significance. By fully understanding the very individual nature of our responses, we can come to appreciate their importance.

Our physical, and mental reactions reflect the status of our biochemistry, including our minute-to-minute reactions to the foods we eat and to the substances in our environment such as air pollution. Our biochemistry consists of the complex interaction between nutrients, hormones, brain and immune function, and all the other aspects of our body. Although we inherit some of these tendencies, other aspects evolve as we grow, influenced by our environment and lifestyle.

Our body's chemistry is fluid and ever-changing: If you miss a single meal, you may notice a series of dramatic differences in your mood and energy. This is your body's chemistry affecting how you function.

Another hallmark of the New Medicine is that it takes a more personal approach to treatment. In nutritional and functional medicine, treatment focuses on the individual rather than the illness. Describing the status of our body's chemistry is the starting point for a treatment plan. Once a therapeutic program has been developed, a skillful healer can shape the treatment by evaluating our ongoing reactions to foods, supplements, medications, and other remedies. As we monitor what actually works and doesn't work in our body, we can adjust the therapy and move toward healing, step by step.

Testing to Detect Problems Before They Become Serious: Functional Testing

The metabolism of food is a primary focus in the new functional and nutritional medicine and now has center stage. Food is now recognized as the primary source of the chemicals we require for life. Our responses to, food are an excellent example of biochemical individuality, since food is also one of our primary chemical interactions with our environment. We are chemical beings. The way our body reacts to foods and processes them is a significant component of maintaining health or developing illness.

Our individual levels of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids can now be evaluated through basic, affordable lab testing. Tests are also available to evaluate our digestive flora, our immunity, and the presence of harmful microbes and markets for inflammation. Other assays can test the success or failure of our digestive processes and look for predictors of illness in the digestive tract and elsewhere in the body. These new tests can also define and measure how we respond to stress and other environmental factors. This testing is now available in affordable, easy-to-use, at-home kits, which can be requested from doctors. The information from these functional tests makes it possible to target treatment to our specific needs.

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