Digestive Health & Diagnostics
A healthy digestive system is the critical first step to convert food into life energy. When functioning optimally, the digestive system keeps the body healthy, allows detoxification, and leads to optimal wellness.
It also functions as a barrier to potential toxins, bacteria, yeast, parasites, food antigens, and large or partially digested food molecules that can potentially aggravate the immune system. A number of conditions impacting physical and emotional health result from gastrointestinal problems.
Digestive Health Program
Struggling with gas, abdominal pain, or diarrhea? Do you have uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating or constipation? You may have an imbalance/overgrowth of gut bacteria, yeast, or parasites causing your symptoms.
Not to fear…at Natural Balance we see and treat this every day. We understand that these symptoms can negatively impact your quality of life and we are here to tell you that it’s going to be okay! We have successfully treated hundreds of patients with these same issues.
Please visit these articles for a more in-depth understanding of how we approach treatment for gastrointestinal disorders and SIBO.
Many diagnostic strategies are available at Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center to help guide clinical decisions, address vague symptoms, and treat pre-illness and disease states. These tests are usually covered by health insurance with a written doctor’s prescription and come from the most innovative, well-respected laboratories in the country and the world.
This test is used to help identify gluten sensitivity related to celiac disease and other more “subclinical” gluten sensitivity problems. The results help provide a guide to elimination diets and a means to assess improvements over time.
Provides a comprehensive, noninvasive diagnostic evaluation of the GI system to look at gut ecology; discover potential pathogens such as opportunistic bacteria, invasive yeast, and parasites; evaluate metabolic markers; quantify inflammation; and assess the ability to digest and absorb nutrients. The test is a 3-day home stool collection and 3 weeks culture/evaluation.
A number of clinical conditions result from either increased or decreased permeability, and we use this and other intestinal assessments to look for the root cause of “dis-ease.”
Measures urine level byproducts to identify or confirm the presence of pathogens (yeast, parasites, aberrant bacteria), dysbiosis, or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
New Patient Process
Call for your complimentary 20-minute consultation with Dr. Soorya. This is to get to know you and hear your story as well as briefly tell you how we approach gastrointestinal disorders.
If you decide to join our clinic, you will proceed with the following steps.
The purpose of this visit is to finish talking about your story and decide what testing is needed. You will also have a physical exam at this time.
Typical testing includes:
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis: This test looks at the balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome. It provides information regarding pathogenic bacterial, yeast, ova, and parasite overgrowth.
- Hydrogen/Methane Breath Test: If Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is suspected, we will check this test as well. This noninvasive test is performed typically after 12 hours of fasting and requires ingesting a precise amount of sugar and measuring your breath every 15 minutes for 3 hours. If bacteria are present within the small intestine, they end up fermenting the sugar, producing hydrogen, methane, or both, which are absorbed into the bloodstream, and breathed out (which is measured).
- Urine Organic Acids Testing: This test evaluates one urine sample for byproducts of yeast and bacteria. If out of range, it can indicate yeast or bacterial overgrowth.
- Blood Test: If you have already had blood work done, we are more than happy to see and work with what you have already if it is recent enough. Important blood work for evaluating GI patients includes at least a CBC and CMP.
If something concerning is flagged on these initial tests or during our initial discussion, we may need to order additional testing depending on the nature of what was found.
After all your testing is in, we will discuss the findings and put together your treatment plan which includes dietary, lifestyle, and nutraceutical interventions.
While you work with our clinic, you will have an appointment approximately every 6-8 weeks for about 6 months while we are going through the GI remodel. This is for your safety and to ensure that you are tolerating all of the supplements, troubleshoot any problems you may be having, and help provide any guidance and coaching. Of course, if you need to see us anytime sooner than your scheduled appointment, you may always schedule to see us. We are here for you!
If you would like more in-depth dietary recommendations, you may also schedule an appointment with our registered dietitian.
After completing the GI remodel, we will see how you are doing off of supplements and counsel you on long-term lifestyle, dietary, and wellness strategies.
Most patients take about 6-8 months to properly remodel the gastrointestinal system. It does take time, but we want to make sure we do it right so that you sustain all of the improvements you make with our clinic. Even after completing the GI remodel, it will take some time for your body to reestablish its natural balance.
As a medical center, it is our sincere intention that your visit be recognized by insurance AND qualify for reimbursement based on your out-of-network benefits. Our clinic’s ability to provide superbills for your visit and utilize insurance for testing is why we are able to save patients thousands of dollars compared to other practices run by limited license clinicians such as chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, etc. That said, we are unable to guarantee that your insurance will reimburse your visits, nor can we project how much reimbursement you might receive.
For general pricing information, please see the table below. We do offer follow-up visits via phone/video conference as a convenient way for you to still reach your health goals without feeling like you have to take a lot of time out of your schedule to drive and see us. We have patients all over the state and country who love our clinic for this!
Please note: The times below include preparation and post-counseling with the nurse or clinical assistant, as well as direct collaboration with our physicians or clinicians.
Our clinic policies include important information about working with our clinic, refund policies, payment information, cancellation policies, etc. We request that all new patients review this material prior to enrolling with our clinic.
Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
Are you suffering from digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, chronic constipation, or diarrhea? Is your immune system over-reactive, resulting in autoimmune problems, eczema, allergies, or food sensitivities to name a few? If so, fermented foods might be exactly what your body needs to feel healthy again.
Fermented foods are loaded with beneficial microbes (bacteria and yeast) that make up our gut flora. Maintaining this population in healthy balance is critical to our health, not only for proper digestion, but also for immune health, detoxification, and many other important bodily functions.
To put things into perspective, the gut flora that lives in the human digestive system outnumbers the cells in our body by 10 to 1. The average probiotic (bacteria supplement) contains 12-50 billion bacteria per serving, but properly fermented foods can contain trillions of microbes per teaspoon – the equivalent of an entire bottle of probiotics!
- A diverse and plentiful population of digestive flora is essential for staying healthy.
- The proper balance of microbe strains protects against the overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
- Most manufactured probiotics (bottled bacteria) do not survive transit through stomach acid because they lack natural protection present in fermented foods.
- Our gut houses 30 trillion microbes including bacteria, yeast, and parasites, so more than a few billion are required to make any significant changes.
- Many diseases, including autoimmune conditions, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and others have been associated with an imbalance of gut flora (dysbiosis). Eating fermented foods is the best strategy to reestablish a healthy balance of gut flora, which helps to contain, crowd out, and fight off pathogenic invasions.
- Microbes are also important for detoxification, as they attack, quarantine, and neutralize toxins from our food, environment, and pathogenic organisms.
- The microorganisms in fermented foods help us make and absorb vitamins and nutrients, especially the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Friendly microbes protect the integrity of our intestinal walls, which is essential for a balanced immune system, 80% of which resides in the gut.
- Fermented foods are packed with enzymes, help to balance pH, and increase/improve bowel transit time.
Taking probiotic supplements is great, but the benefits of fermented foods are even better. Fermented foods save money as they are more potent – just one teaspoon of fermented foods can contain trillions of microbes, the equivalent to an entire bottle of probiotics.
Fermented foods are also fairly inexpensive to make at home. All you need are organic vegetables, filtered water, mineralized sea salt, and proper air-tight containers. The containers are very important and are the biggest investment, but it is a onetime purchase, and it is well worth it.
There has been a lot of interest lately on Paleolithic diets, but one thing that many people seem to miss is that archeological evidence shows that lacto-fermented foods have been part of our diet since 1.5 million years BC. The “lacto” in “lacto-fermentation” comes from “lactobacillus,” a species of microbe.
Lacto-fermented foods have been around since prehistoric times and were consumed by early humanoids before fire was tamed and pottery was invented! Homo sapiens did not appear until 200,000 years BC. Just from this information alone, we can conclude what an important part of our diet beneficial microbes are, as we have evolved to eat them on a daily basis.
Going back to our foundations and feeding ourselves with our symbiotic friends like we have been since prehistoric times can help us effectively treat and prevent many common ailments and diseases. We do not need to resort to pharmaceuticals or think that this is just the way we are. The benefits of fermented foods are a natural way to achieve a healthy gut and support the immune system.
For those with sensitive or over-reactive immune systems, the use of a proper airtight container is necessary to avoid mold development. The container not only needs to be free of oxygen but also needs to be able to allow the release of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of the microbes. This can be done with the use of an airlock. Burping an airtight container is a common method but this allows oxygen to flow into the container.
We Are Here to Help You!
On behalf of the Natural Balance Team, we hope you have found this information helpful and we look forward to working with you.
To schedule your new patient appointment or if you have any questions, please contact Lili Boggess at Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center at (734) 929-2696, extension 11.