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Did you know intestinal problems are the second highest cause of hospital admissions? More than 70 million Americans cope with digestive diseases, and nearly 80 million catch a food-born illness each year. We are a nation suffering from a raging case of what I call Gut Grief.

The good news is, it is possible to fight back. While the most common response is to simply cope with Gut Grief or try common treatments that only temporarily cover up the symptoms, there is now a wealth of options for restoring true intestinal balance. It’s surprising how much that affects the rest of your life too!

I’ve spent my entire career helping people identify and pinpoint the unsuspected factors that may be sabotaging their health. I’ve seen patients recover from unresolved illnesses after simply identifying and dealing with the internal invasion of undesirables that have been making them sick.

Often their symptom set was mislabeled as depression, allergies, hypoglycemia, chronic fatigue, or even fibromyalgia. Some misdiagnoses stemmed from the fact that poor gut health affects us in such an overarching fashion. When the intestines are not able to function properly, our bodies can literally become malnourished even if we’re eating well. We might eat healthy meals and take our vitamins, but the gut isn’t absorbing it thoroughly. That sets the stage for fatigue, compromised immune response, poor metabolism, and a myriad of other whole-body ailments.

Do any of these ring a bell for you?

  • Food sensitivities
  • Feeling bloated or gassy
  • Ulcers
  • Heartburn, acid indigestion, or GERD
  • Diarrhea, constipation, and/or irritable bowel
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Poor sleep
  • Yeast infections
  • Frequent colds, sinusitis, or respiratory infections
  • Arthritis and other inflammatory problems
  • Persistent unexplainable aches and pains
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Skin problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Hormonal imbalances

All of these can be tied to a disruption in gut health and balance. In my experience, people struggling with these symptoms benefit from honing in on one of four nasty Colon Corruptors: yeast, parasites (they’re more common than you think!), antibiotic resistant superbugs, and food sensitivities.

There are unique approaches to combating each of these assaults, but they all involve the same general philosophy: fortify and cleanse the gut along with establishing healthy probiotic and digestive enzyme levels. Many of my clients have been able to restore their digestive function through a simple threeweek plan. It’s so important to balance cleansing along with reintroducing beneficial bacteria.

But, one often forgotten step in this process is preparing and fortifying the gut before cleansing. It’s best to take a whole week to do this, equipping the body with prebiotic and probiotic support. I recommend Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics 12 PLUS, which is fermented for three years using 12 carefully selected strains of probiotics along with their culture medium of nutritious vegetable extracts. That culture medium gives you prebiotic support—an energy source to sustain the supplemented probiotics. It also acts as “food” for the friendly bacteria that are already in your gut, many of which are totally unique to your body.

During this time and the entire length of the cleanse, it’s vital to rule out all sugars, sweeteners, and starches that are probably acting as a food source for yeast and other unfriendly guests. Keep away from dairy, fill up on soluble fiber and Omega- 3’s, and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

When you prepare appropriately and focus on not only cleansing out the bad, but also introducing beneficial probiotics, it is possible to discover a new level of health. Your whole body will benefit as all your cells begin to receive the nutrition they need to function optimally.

Cleansing is best done with the oversight of a nutritionist or health care practitioner.

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.

Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.