Integrative Health Blog

Holistic Primary Care Approach to Digestive Health

Posted by admin on Wed, Dec 14, 2011

Tracy Freeman, MD

Did you know that 70 -80 % of your immune system is in or around the digestive tract? It’s holistic_primary_caretrue. Now consider what would happen to your health if the digestive tract were compromised. Malnutrition and lowered immunity would become a real health concern.

There are several things that can compromise the bowel including:

  • Parasites ( bacteria,  fungi, viruses, multiple cell organisms such  as pinworms)
  • Food allergies-inappropriate immune response to foods causing inflammation
  • Diverticula - herniations or pouches in the walls of the intestines that can trap foods and bacteria causing inflammation / infection of the bowel wall.
  • Antibiotics- while they can clear infections, they also kill good bacteria necessary for the health of the gut
  • Constipation- slow transit due to poor peristaltic motion can cause  the  bowel to become toxic due to bacterial overgrowth as well as tears in the walls of the intestines that easily become infected.

As part of my holistic approach to primary care, we discuss your digestive health and I will assess or order tests if needed. Through simple at home testing, we are able to assess bowel health.

A digestive health assessment can look at:

  • Food allergies
  • General bowel health
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Digestion

Through interpretation of these labs (most covered by  major insurers) we can work together to develop a strategy to :

  • heal the gut
  • improve digestion and nutrition
  • reduce food allergy symptoms
  • restore a healthy balance of gut flora (probiotics)

 And most important, improve immune function and quality of life. 


Tracy Freeman MD is a holistic medical physician at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, an integrative medicine and dental center  serving Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Primary care with a holistic approach is for your optimum wellness, not just freedom from disease. Her areas of focus are Holistic Primary Care of adults and children, Autism, and Women's Health.

Topics: holistic primary care, bowel health, immune system, integrative health, holistic approach, primary care, digestive health, holistic doctor