Prevention and Wellness: Your Digestive System

By Varsha Rathod, MD


This is the second in a series of articles I am writing to discuss the causation and eradication of chronic disease. My previous article talked about a diagnosis representing a name that best fits the collection of symptoms you have. This diagnosis allows the doctor to select a treatment regimen. For example, consider a patient who is diagnosed with Heart Burn or GERD. The question is: why am I having Heart Burn? Which system is not functioning at its optimal level? Here, it seems obvious that it is the digestive system, but often, inflammation, the immune system, and detoxification can play a role as well.

In this article I will address the digestive system.

Seventy percent of disorders most physicians see have roots in the digestive system. Its job is to process food into small molecules that the body then uses to build tissue, make energy, hormones and neurotransmitters, and to detoxify. It is appropriate to state that food is information that the body uses for its adaptive purposes.

At Preventive Medicine, I use many tools to assist my prioritization of which systems and symptoms to treat first. This can be critical when someone suffers from a serious illness such as ulcerative colitis. Stomach acid and digestive enzymes can be measured, leakiness of the gut barrier can be checked with a delayed food sensitivity assay, as well as gluten and candida testing. Stool analysis for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and immune assessment can be helpful in determining the agent causing chronic infection, or to measure the extent of inflammation.

These tools allow me to create a personalized (4-R) program for you to: remove the offending bacteria /parasite and reactive foods as well as non-foods, re-innoculate your gut and colon with appropriate friendly bacteria, replace stomach acids, enzymes and finally repair the gut with amino acids, herbs and biogenic peptides.

I am often amazed at how restorative it can be to address one of the body’s major systems and the corresponding effect it has on the entire body. To achieve these results, I play the role of detective, determine what went wrong, and finally present to you a customized healing program. However, YOU must be willing to make the changes, even if it means changing your diet and learning a new way of cooking and relating to food! Our approach is to walk with you through this process and to present you with the practical tools needed to make this transition.

Good health to you in 2010.


Dr. Varsha Rathod is a board certified Rheumatologist and Internist at Preventive Medicine in the Westport Plaza Area of St. Louis, MO. The practice has focused on a combination of traditional and holistic medicine since 1967. For more articles and information about integrative solutions  please visit www.preventivemedicinestl.com or call Preventive Medicine at 314-997-5403.