All disease begins in the gut. What does this mean? There is mounting medical evidence to show that the health of our gastrointestinal system, from top to bottom, has profound effects on the health of our entire body.

Our old ways of thinking in Medicine are undergoing a revolution. The old way taught us that a rash means there is a problem with your skin and you need a dermatologist. Sinus congestion means you need to see an ENT specialist. And achy joints require a rheumatologists’ expertise. But this is changing.

Healthy Gut, Healthy You

We now know that all these problems – skin rashes, congested sinuses and achy joints – are often related to the health of our digestion.


Well, for starters, we now know that:

  • About 70% of your immune system is housed in the gastrointestinal system.
  • You have an elaborate, complex “ecosystem” within your gut that is the home to thousands of different types of bacteria
  • The bacteria in your gut are responsible for a wide range of important functions from making vitamins, to protecting you from infections, to helping digest food and maintaining an ideal body weight. They also produce 80-90% of the serotonin in your body. Serotonin is the “happy hormone” which plays a key role in balancing mood.
  • This ecosystem is affected by the food we eat. The typical American diet laden with processed foods, sugar, too much animal protein and saturated fat harms the “beneficial” bacteria and promotes overgrowth of species of bacteria that can contribute to illness.

How many people do you know that have digestive problems such as bloating, gas, reflux, constipation or more serious afflictions such as colitis, diverticulitis or Crohns Disease? Are you amongst them? What happens in the gut, does not stay in the gut. Digestive issues can create diverse symptoms throughout the body.

The good news is there is a lot you can do to improve your digestive health (and the overall health of your body will benefit as well). Hopkins Medical Group offers a Functional Medicine based program that understands the importance of gut health and provides:

  • An assessment of your current GI Health using our unique scoring system.
  • A factor analysis identifying the diet, lifestyle and environmental factors that may contribute.
  • Additional tests you may benefit from to help guide your treatment regimen (these tests have out-of-pocket associated costs): 
- Food Inflammation Testing (FIT) by KBMO Diagnostics. This is an IgG food sensitivity test that assesses your reaction on a mild (+1) to severe (+4) scale for 126 foods or additives. 
- GI Effects Comprehensive Stool Test by Genova Diagnostics. 
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Breath Test by Genova Diagnostics.
  • An Action Plan with detailed recommendations that include a nutrition plan with recipes and menus, a medication and/or supplement schedule and additional resources such as articles, websites, and more to support you.
  • The Twine Health mobile app which allows us to track your progress in between visits.

Here are the areas we have expertise in:

  • Bloating and Gas
  • Constipation and/or Diarrhea
  • Gastro-esophageal Reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Colitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Crohns Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Celiac Disease and non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

– Patricia Hopkins, MD

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