Digestive Health

January 05, 2014

Hand on bellyBy Dr Jen Newell, ND

Naturopathic Medicine offers great influence in the treatment of and recovery from various digestive concerns. Digestive health is paramount to overall health.

Nobel prize winner and microbiologist Elie Metchnikoff once said, “Death begins in the colon.” Based on his years of research in the early 1900s he concluded that disease and aging are mostly due to toxic bacteria in the gut.

Facts about the digestive system:

  • 72% of people who suffer digestive discomfort from time to time say that it affects them emotionally
  • 95% of serotonin, the body’s feel good hormone, is produced in the gut
  • The digestive system is home to up 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system
  • Bloating is the most common digestive complaint and affects 36% of the general population (remember: just because it is common does not mean its normal)
  • Your intestine houses around 100 trillion bacteria of 400 different species
  • Constipation occurs in up to 20% of population and is more common in women
  • The gastrointestinal tract comprises 75% of the body’s immune system

Signs of gastrointestinal dysfunction:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Inadequate digestion (feeling like there is a brick in your stomach after you eat)
  • Undigested food in stool
  • Foul smelling stool
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Skin concerns (eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc)
  • Brittle hair or nails
  • Migraines
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Autoimmune diseases

Digestive health is a focus with all my patients, regardless of whether it is their primary concern, because the health of the gut is a cornerstone of health in its entirety. Whether addressing a chronic illness such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic constipation, diarrhea, heartburn or indigestion and bloating, Naturopathic Medicine has developed a very refined approach that offers many individualized treatment options that offer an unparalleled success rate.

Works Cited

Abreu, M., & Fukata, M. &. (2005). TLR Signaling in the Gut in Health and Disease. The Journal of Immunology , 174 (8), 4453-4460.

Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. (n.d.). Fascinating Facts About Your Digestive System. Retrieved August 30, 2014, from http://www.cdhf.ca/bank/document_en/57love-your-tummy-fascinating-facts.pdf

Guarner, F. &. (2003, February). Gut Flora in Health and Disease. The Lancet , 512-519.


Dr. Jen Newell is passionate about helping people embrace health, feel amazing and easily incorporate “real” food into their busy lives. Her mission is to make health accessible and achievable, and to inspire patients to live an active, vibrant and healthy life.

Jen has a clinical focus on digestive health, food sensitivities and healthy nutrition; mental health and stress-related illness; women’s health, hormone balance and fertility; optimal aging; and dermatology. She focuses on integrating healthy foods into one’s diet in a medicinal and therapeutic capacity and providing individuals with nutritional support that is easy to incorporate into a busy day. Dr. Newell practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Downtown Toronto.


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2 Responses to “Digestive Health”

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