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Podcast Episode: GI Health with Dr. Cheryl Burdette, NP, Co-Founder at Precision Point Diagnostics

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Podcast Episode: GI Health with Dr. Cheryl Burdette, NP, Co-Founder at Precision Point Diagnostics

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the crucial role that gut health plays in overall well-being. Our understanding of the intricate relationship between the gastrointestinal (GI) system and various bodily functions deepens, so we are better equipped to address the root causes of numerous health issues. 

Dr. Cheryl Burdette, NP, co-founder of Precision Point Diagnostics, a functional laboratory dedicated to gut-based health, is at the forefront of this fascinating field. Let’s explore her invaluable insights on GI health, exploring the underlying causes, diagnostic approaches, and effective treatment strategies.


The Microbiome: A Hidden World Within Us

One of the most profound revelations in modern medicine is the recognition of the human microbiome – the vast community of microorganisms that reside within our bodies, primarily in the gut. 

Dr. Burdette eloquently states, "If we were to boil humans down, we would find we'd be nine-tenths bacterial DNA, and only one-tenth human DNA." This staggering fact underscores our gut microbiome's profound impact on our overall health and well-being.

The Assault on Our Gut Health

Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles have unleashed a relentless assault on our gut health. Dr. Burdette highlights the various factors contributing to this decline, stating, "It's a lot of things that have come together all at once to really create the perfect storm." 

She cites the shift towards processed foods high in sugar and salt, antibiotics in our food supply, and the persistent stress of modern life as key culprits.

"Stress creates less blood flow to the gut," Dr. Burdette explains. "The reason for that is because when you're in a state of stress, you are in the part of the nervous system called 'fight or flight, get away from the bear.' You're not in the part called 'rest and digest,' that parasympathetic. You decrease the blood flow to the gut, and this really changes what's happening there as well."

The Leaky Gut Phenomenon

One of the most significant consequences of an unhealthy gut is developing a condition known as "leaky gut," or increased intestinal permeability. 

Dr. Burdette provides a vivid analogy to help us understand this concept: "I always think about Lincoln Logs. When Zonulin goes up, it tells these tight junctions to open, and these tight junctions are held together what are called kissing points. Zonulin comes into the picture, your tight junctions open up, and now your fortress wall is no longer intact. You're permeable."

In a leaky gut scenario, partially digested food particles, toxins, and bacteria can pass through the compromised gut barrier and enter the bloodstream, triggering an immune response and widespread inflammation. 

This inflammation is believed to be a contributing factor to a wide range of chronic health issues, including autoimmune disorders, digestive problems, and even neurological conditions.

Diagnostic Tools for Gut Health

Recognizing the importance of proper testing, Dr. Burdette emphasizes the advancements in stool testing, particularly the GI360 Profile test. "The GI360 combined both these technologies. They do both PCR and culture. I think that gives us a balanced perspective," she explains.

The GI360 Profile test utilizes a combination of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) and culture techniques to comprehensively evaluate the gut microbiome. It identifies potential pathogens, imbalances in beneficial bacteria, and various immune markers. This approach allows for a more complete understanding of an individual's gut health, guiding targeted treatment protocols.

Treating Gut Imbalances

Once gut imbalances have been identified, Dr. Burdette outlines various treatment options, including pharmaceuticals, botanicals, and targeted supplements. "We can use various pharmaceuticals, we can use various botanicals, and we can use those even in combination or one or the other," she states. "The good news is that this is something that you treat and can go away."

Dr. Burdette also highlights the importance of addressing the root cause of gut imbalances, whether dietary factors, stress, or specific infections. "Basically, if we're trying to conceptualize it, two basic ways that the gut becomes leaky, eating foods that aren't the best for you, and sometimes these are very healthy foods. Just the food test that I help to develop at Precision Point Diagnostics labs, my partner just ran into a patient at the clinic in a parking lot, and they ran up and said, 'Oh, I just want to tell you how much better I'm doing.' She was having migraines and feeling fatigued. The thing that came back positive for her was broccoli. I would have never told her to take broccoli out of her diet. I would have told her to eat more broccoli because it's so good for you."

The Gut-Brain Connection

One of the most intriguing aspects of gut health is its profound connection to brain function and mental well-being. Dr. Burdette explains, "Even if that seems farfetched to you, that the neurotransmitters we make in the gut I mentioned one called GABA, that's our inhibitory neurotransmitter. It helps with rest and relax. It calms the brain down stops racing thoughts, helps us focus. If you were to take different anxiety medications they work on those same receptors that GABA works on."

This gut-brain connection highlights the importance of addressing gut health in the management of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and neurodegenerative disorders. Restoring balance to the gut microbiome can positively influence brain function and alleviate associated symptoms.

The Future of GI Health

Dr. Burdette expresses optimism about the future of GI health, citing the rapid technological advancements and our understanding of the gut-body connection. "Much better because if we were having this conversation, even 5 or 10 years ago, some of the PCR technology wasn't quite where it's at," she states.

As our knowledge of the gut microbiome and its intricate relationship with various bodily systems grows, we can expect more targeted and personalized treatment approaches, leading to improved outcomes for patients suffering from various GI-related conditions.

Dr. Cheryl Burdette's insights underscore the critical role of gut health in overall well-being. We can take proactive steps to restore gut integrity and reduce inflammation by understanding the root causes of GI imbalances, such as dietary factors, stress, and environmental toxins.

Comprehensive testing, including advanced stool analysis like the GI360 test, is crucial in identifying specific imbalances and tailoring personalized treatment protocols. The future of GI health looks promising, with ongoing research and technological advancements paving the way for more effective and targeted interventions.

As Dr. Burdette wisely advises, "Keep looking, you are the expert on yourself. If it doesn't feel right to you, then you need to keep asking the questions and find a practitioner that will work with you to help you ask the questions and find the answers to them as well." We can unlock the path to optimal well-being and longevity by embracing a holistic approach and prioritizing gut health.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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