Absorption of nutrients is critical to proper function of each and every part of our human body, and in integrative medicine, assessment of nutrient status is a central piece of our patient care.
How do our bodies absorb nutrients?
There are several phases involved in nutrient absorption, and prior to absorption, healthy digestion is essential. For example, enzymes are needed to help break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and bile salts help with making fats soluble. There is lymphatic transport of nutrients, and brush border enzymes (you may have heard of “microvilli” which make up this border) that assist in digestion and absorption. With such a complex system, it’s important to evaluate and ensure that none of these phases are impaired!
What factors can lead to poor absorption of nutrients?
Dear friends, so many! And we never want to leave a stone unturned. Adequate nutrients levels are vital to your well-being!
Having a weak gut lining, food allergies, microbiome imbalances such as bacterial overgrowth, damage to the intestines from infection, surgery, pancreatic insufficiency, autoimmune disease–all of these are possible causes that lead to poor nutrient absorption. Pair that with the possibilities of our foods not having optimal nutrient levels due poor soil quality, other environmental factors, and it is not difficult to see how nutrient deficiencies are pervasive in today’s world.
Often people go years with subclinical deficiencies that lead to an array of symptoms. Hair loss, brain fog, chronic fatigue, these are just a few! Prolonged or frequent use of antibiotics can alter the terrain of the gut in a way that leads to nutrient malabsorption.
And of course, our infamous friend named stress is well known to slow digestion and significantly alter the microbiome… thereby negatively impacting digestion and immunity (remember how the gut houses a huge percentage of your immune system?!)
Do you suffer from malabsorption?
We offer an array of tests to determine the root cause of nutrient malabsorption.
Comprehensive gut function to assess microbiome balance, presence of fecal fats, underlying infection, pancreatic enzymes and others can be helpful in assessing root cause of nutrient deficiencies.
Don’t forget to work on the cause while supplementing for the best long-term outcomes!
Speaking of not forgetting, nutrient deficiencies can have a profound impact on your memory. Nutrient replenishment can make a world of a difference in energy levels, brain health, physical fitness, and more! Often IV therapy or transdermal replacement can be helpful while working to improve gut health.
Categories: Gut Health