Scoliosis Gut Health Tips from a Nutritionist

Good gut health is the cornerstone of a healthy body and mind.  Hippocrates wasn’t wrong when he said “all disease begins in the gut”. Yet, is there a link to scoliosis? Nothing definitive has been proven but we are seeing more research come out in this area. However we see daily the commitment to treatment required from scoliosis patients and definitely see the benefits to those who take their nutrition seriously. 

The saying ‘You are what you eat’ is commonly thrown around.  Yet, how many of us take it seriously? We asked our in-house Nutritionist, Kylie Dowling, for some simple reminders about how our gut health affects our lives. 

  1. How does gut health affect our wellness? 

Nutritionist Kylie Dowling : Having good gut health can affect our immunity, hormone balance, behaviour, energy, sleep, mood and can be the difference in how we respond to exercise and recovery. In my opinion, with the commitment and dedication needed for scoliosis treatment, having good gut health is essential.

Our gut health responds to the food that we put in our bodies, It also responds to medications (such as anti-inflammatories and antibiotics), the toxins we breathe and physical and psychological stress. As the gut is our second brain (enteric nervous system) and closely connected to the brain via the vagus nerve, this stress maybe something you face every day dealing with scoliosis. Scoliosis patients often have to fit in exercises, wearing a brace and multiple medical appointments, in with an already busy schedule. All these feelings and thoughts have a direct impact on our gut health.

When your gut microbiome (community of bacteria, fungi, parasites etc) is out of balance and you don’t have diversity of beneficial bacteria, this can affect us in many ways.  Poor immune response, fatigue, low mood, inflammation, malabsorption and food intolerances are just some of the potential manifestations of all these stresses. 

2. Calcium and vitamin D are sometimes spoken of in the world of scoliosis. Can you tell us more about the role of calcium and vitamin D in the body? 

Nutritionist Kylie Dowling: Both calcium and vitamin D are required for the structure and support of the skeletal system. Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphate levels in the blood which supports bone growth and nerve and muscle function. A lack of Vitamin D causes serum calcium levels to drop and triggers the release of Parathyroid hormone (PTH), which elevates the serum calcium by drawing it out of the bones. It will be interesting to see if the future research directly links lowered levels of calcium and vitamin D to scoliosis. 

3. Some of our scoliosis patients suffer from constipation. What do you think about this? 

Nutritionist Kylie Dowling: Avoiding constipation is so important as this is how we eliminate toxins from our body. We also remove toxins from our body though our lungs.  If scoliosis has impaired the respiratory function of the patient, perhaps in a very severe case, then this area of gut health may be something to investigate. The respiratory system is another one of our major detoxification pathways. 

To avoid constipation: 

  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water 
  • Eat a whole food diet rich in fruit and vegetables, eat mindfully and chew your food until liquid
  • Move your body!
  • Support stress response and manage your stress
  • See a practitioner to help work out why
  • Test, don’t guess, through a comprehensive stool analysis.


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