Question: My digestion has changed a lot since the pandemic. Can you tell me about it?
Answer: Okay, this is a great question. I like to call this the Time Warp.
Stress affects our gut. Sometimes it isn’t direct, and I have seen a delay of 6 months to a year until things change. How is this happening?
When we have elevated stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, they increase the activity of parts of our system responsible for inflammation (which in the short term, actually help with stress). They also suppress our immune system functioning temporarily so we can handle what is most important.
Over a longer period of time, suppressed immunity makes us more susceptible to infection, more sensitive to inflammation, and more unable to manage what we normally can (crappy food, detoxification through the kidneys and liver, lowered vitamins, poor sleep etc). Our digestive tract then has more to handle and manage with less resources to do so.
So, if we can’t completely eliminate the message of stress, where do we begin?
Normally we begin in 2 places at once: 1. Support fatigued immunity
2. Reduce inflammatory triggers
There are herbal supports that help to boost a very fatigued immune system (like medicinal mushrooms, or certain cortisol-managing herbs that help to calm down the stress response). However, because it takes awhile to give the body the message that it will be okay, we also have to take away things that might be temporarily difficult to digest. These include things like high fat foods, processed foods, gluten, dairy, soy, or any food that is high in the potential to release histamine (which increases inflammation). Getting to sleep, drinking lots of water, and minimising things that fatigue you mentally or emotionally are also included in this process, which is unique for everyone.
So the next time you think your gut is all to blame, think again! It’s just trying to help, and the sooner we create safety in the body and self, the happier it will become.
Our team of Naturopaths at Dalhousie Heath and Wellness are ready to help you with your Covid-related time warp fatigue!