We cannot say that gastrointestinal tract is the most important system in our body, since every organ and system has its purpose. However, our gastrointestinal tract is definitely among to most vulnerable systems, as it constantly comes in direct contact with the outside world. Each day our digestive system wages a constant battle with various bacteria and toxins that come from within and without. Without mercy we pour alcohol, a natural poison to any living organism, into ourselves and feast upon “delicacies” that would be avoided by any other rational creature. We use medicines that are meant to kill all bacteria, without realizing that certain types of bacteria are an inseparable part of our digestive system. We eat food that was genetically engineered to look and taste better, but is very foreign to our body. And after all that, we are surprised when something in our digestive tract goes awry! We are mad at the doctors when they cannot do anything to repair the damage…
The number of people with gastrointestinal disorders grows with each year and United States, despite being a developed country, is no exception:
- 14.5 million Americans are affected by peptic ulcer disease (PUD);
- 25 million people will develop an ulcer not associated with PUD;
- Roughly 20% of Americans suffer from symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux diseases at least once a week;
- Irritable bowel syndrome can be found in 10-15% of adults.
Know Your Enemy – Causes of Diseases of Gastrointestinal Tract
Things that can damage the gastrointestinal tract are innumerable. However, below we will attempt to mention and describe the main culprits that may stand between you and perfect health:
Alcohol - you were probably thinking that a substance that is able to instantly kill bacteria and act as a wonderful cleaning product is completely safe to drink and even good for you in moderate amounts? Well you were wrong! Just like the commercials in the 50s in which doctors promoted tobacco as a wonderful product that will “help with your cough”, studies that found alcohol to be beneficial are just as bogus. Alcohol coagulates (destroys the original shape) proteins. This is the reason why it’s so good against bacteria, and it’s doing the same in your body!
Medicines - you might have suspected that drinking tablets which are meant to kill stuff might not be very healthy. Well that is partially true. Of course antibiotics are an essential part of modern medicine. A vast variety of conditions cannot be treated without the use of antibiotics and no amount of herbal treatment will be able to replace antibiotics. However, when antibiotics are used without any precaution and especially when they are used when there is no need to use them (like using antibiotics against flu or common cold, which is truly preposterous).
Antibiotics besides killing harmful bacteria also kill the “good” bacteria that live in our gut. The good bacteria not only help with digestion and produce nutrients; they also hinder the growth of harmful bacteria. By killing the good bacteria, you are left with no protection against the harmful bacteria.
This is the reason why antibiotics should be used very rarely only when the situation calls for it. They should be used for a set amount of days to ensure their effectiveness. And, of course, they have to be followed with a course of probiotics which will restore the normal microflora within your gut.
GMO food and pesticides - over the past few decades the number of people in the United States that suffer from various autoimmune disorders that target digestive system has increased very substantially. There is a very strong correlation between the growth of autoimmune disorders and the implementation of GMO food and various pesticides by a company known as Monsanto.
For example, the number of new people diagnosed with celiac disease grew from 37,000 in the year 1999 to nearly 77,000 in 2009, and that correlates completely with the amount of glyphosate applications to wheat. Similarly, the adoption of GMO soybeans and corn grew from 1-5% to 75-94% in the same time internal.
Regretfully, all the major studies that examined the effect of GMO food on people were conducted by the companies that produced them. Therefore, it would be hard to call them objective.
Independent researchers hypothesize that the main or at least the most obvious adverse reaction of the human body to GMO products is provocation of the immune system. Just like people in the northern regions often develop food allergies toward citrus products, because historically citrus products are foreign to these regions. Similarly, people develop allergic reactions or even autoimmune reactions as a result of consuming GMO products, since it’s a very new invention.
Diseases of the gastrointestinal can have a wide array of causes and their severity can range from mild to very severe. In most cases the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (except for autoimmune disorders) can be treated very successfully. The important thing is to do it on time. Otherwise, a mild condition can very quickly turn into a complete life-threatening disaster. Act responsibly and seek medical attention as soon as you notice that something is amiss with your digestive system.