Naturopath and gut health specialist, Dr. Asia Muhammad answers all of our gut health related questions. Dr. Asia has used Naturopathic Medicine for years to manage thousands of gastroenterology cases with great success. She believes that because we are mostly made up of bacteria, the microbiome deserves special attention when it comes to healing chronic health conditions.
What do you recommend for people struggling with constipation? Are there specific foods and supplements that are helpful for encouraging bowl movements?
For people struggling with constipation, I check three areas. Motility, hydration, and dysbiosis. There are specific foods I recommend, usually a fiber rich diet with adequate water. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is always helpful for encouraging bowel movements. I also utilize different botanicals and supplements.
Can you talk about the brain gut connection and how gut health relates to anxiety, depression and stress?
The literature is replete with connections between the brain and gut. Bacteria in our gut produce chemicals that affect our mood, including anxiety and depression. Stress negatively impacts gut functions, from the stomach to the large intestines. The brain and gut are linked via our nerves, our microbiomes, our diet, and such.
What causes bloating? Do you have any tips for achieving a flat stomach?
The main cause of bloating I see in my practice is constipation. SIBO is another huge issue with bloating. Where a flat stomach is concerned, if the gut is the issue, there are many ways to work on this!
What causes gas? Is there a specific diet or supplements that can help with this?
Excessive gas is commonly caused by bacterial fermentation in the gut. Bacteria in the gut upon interaction with stool, food mixture can create gas production. Supplements that address this depends on the underlying cause of the bacterial dysbiosis.
Do you have any recommendations for combatting acid reflux?
With acid reflux, I typically use a combination of dietary protocols, botanicals that soothe irritated esophageal tissue, as well as stomach soothing botanicals. There are a few reasons why someone would be suffering with acid reflux. I will also address those.
What foods should be avoided for people with digestive issues?
It really depends on the type of digestive issues. First and foremost I typically recommend avoidance of obvious food intolerances and general avoidance of poor quality foods.
What is the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic? Is it important to supplement with both?
Prebiotics help facilitate the growth of the beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are actually good bacteria. It’s important to ensure the diet is rich with probiotics that will naturally proliferate your bodies own good bacteria.