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Gut Health

An astounding 80% of our immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract.
“Brain fog” is often related to GI issues.

Gut and nervous-system tissue are from the same source. Using Functional Medicine, Dr. Carrick’s testing and treatment are done with these connections in mind.

Common Gut Problems

IBS  (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

GERD  (Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease)

LEAKY GUT  (Intestinal Hyper-permeability)

SIBO  (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)

SIFO  (Small Intestine Fungal Overgrowth)


If the issue is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (bloating, constipation, diarrhea) or Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (a burning feeling or chest pain), a patient may be missing one or more of the following:

  • Digestible food that nourishes us
  • Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid- HCL)
  • Pancreatic and gallbladder enzymes
  • A healthy liver that produces bile
  • Enough water and fiber
  • Motility: well-timed, coordinated movement of food through the GI tract
  • A relatively sterile stomach and small intestine
  • Enough diverse bacteria in the large intestine (microbiome)
  • A sufficient mucosal barrier in the intestines, to protect the bloodstream

Comprehensive Care

Some GI issues disappear with an elimination diet, which can pinpoint offending foods. Others require tests to determine what foods are causing an immune-system reaction and whether there are parasites, pathogenic bacteria, viruses or fungi at work.


A poor intestinal barrier allows tiny food particles, viruses and bacteria to get into the bloodstream. The immune system wastes its resources by fighting against these perceived invaders in the bloodstream, which exhausts the immune system and may lead to allergies or autoimmune conditions. Dr. Carrick uses treatments to increase mucosal integrity in the intestines.


The small intestine should have few bacteria and fungi/yeast. SIBO and SIFO cause problems beyond bloating (brain fog, for instance). Overgrowth occurs when there aren’t enough digestive enzymes or food is moving too slowly through the digestive tract.

SIFO is one cause of Leaky Gut. Fungus spreads by sending out mycelium threads that puncture the intestinal wall. Leaky Gut then steals more energy from the patient; creates more SIBO work for the liver; and accelerates aging. Probiotics and prebiotics help to prevent SIBO and SIFO.


Probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) help to create a good microbiome (microorganism colony) in everyone. It’s amazing that 50% of a stool consists of good bacteria, and probiotics are responsible for about 20% of the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form that the body needs (T3).

The benefits continue. A depression study showed that taking probiotics for 8 weeks decreased depression and reduced C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker). Lactic acid bacteria may reduce cholesterol by breaking down bile in the gut. Conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, IBS, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), obesity and colorectal cancer have all been linked to a lack of good bacteria.


Prebiotics are food for probiotics. A diversity of fibrous foods feed good bacteria: avocados, strawberries, lentils, apples, carrots, bananas, chick peas, black beans, artichokes, etc. Healthy gut bacteria are increased by fermented foods. Also, fulvic acid helps the body to absorb probiotics and is found in organic vegetables that are grown in soil high in fulvic acid.


The benefits of a good microbiome are call postbiotics: good nutrients such as folate, Vitamin K2, CoQ10, short chain fatty acids that nourish the lining of the digestive tract and amino acids that are precursors to dopamine (a brain chemical).