You don’t have to put on the white coat, but I’m going to ask YOU to be the doctor. You can relax; what I’m really going to do is to teach you a self examination test for the small intestine. You have heard of breast examinations; well, this one is for your small intestine. Dr. Godo, come on, the small intestine? Here’s why.
One of the major areas of interest in the field of medicine today is auto-immunity. The combined number of people with autoimmune diseases surpasses those with heart disease. Auto-immunity is a process where our own immune system attacks one or more glands. Why does the body attack itself? That’s a billion dollar question but more and more researchers are looking to the bowel as the gate-keeper or one of the first dominoes to fall as auto-immunity progresses.
Inflammation due to food sensitivities, poor diet, bacterial overgrowth, probiotic deficiencies, essential fatty acid deficiencies, and partially undigested proteins are all factors that weaken how the small intestine functions. It’s been my experience and that of many of my colleagues that if you support the bowel, you have a better chance of quieting down the immune system.
Even though the subject of the small intestines has a range of therapeutic possibilities, here are three questions we want to find the answer to: “Do you need supplements to support your small intestines? When should you supplement? And just as important, When should you stop supplementing?” To find the answer to these questions lab tests may be necessary, but let’s try this first.
Not only will it save you the expense of a lab test, it’s easy and effective. I’m talking about a self examination which uses the body as a biofeedback mechanism. It’s a test you can do at home. But first, let’s look at why it may be important. If there is malfunction in the bowel, anything from excess fermentation which causes bloating to tissue damage, the body will try to protect itself by tightening layers of muscles. Using reflex points, we want to look for tenderness or tight muscles in specific areas.
Here’s how to do the test. Lie down on your back with your knees slightly bent; find the umbilicus, which is a medical term for belly button. Now, in your mind visualize a circle 3-4 inches in diameter around the umbilicus. Use a 3 inch radius if you have a small frame and 4 inch radius if you are larger. Mentally, divide the circle in 4 quarters and slowly palpate each of the four quarters. We are looking for tenderness and superficial tension.
It is important to use your finger tips and apply pressure slowly and tenderly. Evaluate the tenderness level on a 1-10 scale for each quadrant. A score of ten represent extreme tenderness or pain. Dr. Godo, tenderness, what does that mean? Tenderness or discomfort represents dysfunction. The greater the tenderness, the greater the potential problem. Your response can tell you if something is not right in your gastrointestinal track. If you are bloated, there’s no such thing as an antacid deficiency. When you experience pain, there’s no such thing as a Motrin or aspirin deficiency. Something is amiss.
But what’s both interesting and exciting is your body knows what it needs. So we take the next step. By tasting different nutrients that feed or enhance the function of the small intestine the pain or tenderness will go away. The catch is that I can think of 20-25 nutrients that will facilitate the small intestines to work more efficiently. If you have a digestive issue, you may need probiotics or essential fatty acids. You may have a need for glutamine, hydrochloric acid or vitamin D. Here’s where Dr. Godo can help. Working together, Dr. Godo will have you taste different nutrients to discover which ones reduce the tenderness. Your response to each nutrient can help your clinician decide the best approach for your body. It is mind blowing to see how sensitive the body can be when we are asking the right questions.
Try this self examination. If you find discomfort or tenderness, ask Dr. Godo for help. The right nutritional support for your bowels can fix many problems and help build a stronger core to prevent disease and keep you healthy.
Dr. Jason Godo, DC