By Robert Claridge


Robert Claridge N.D.

Specialist Naturopath, Holistic Nutritionist, Herbalist, Homoeopath, R-System Specialist

The human body is a complex entity.  It is made up of many connected parts, that like players in an orchestra, are hopefully working together to create a symphony.  When it comes to creating rhythm in an orchestra, the percussion section is a key component. 

In your body, your gastrointestinal tract (GIT) plays a similar role.  It should be no surprise that when you see a Naturopath we are always enquiring about your GIT function.  We know when your GIT is out of balance, your health will inevitably be out of tune.

Your GIT has multiple functions.  Arguably its most important, is that it provides a protective/selective barrier between ‘foreign invaders’ and your inner sanctum.  You may not have thought of this before, but every time you eat, you are introducing alien substances that are ‘non-self’ to your body.  That’s why you have approximately 70% of your total immune population located in your GIT helping you with border control.  You may not realise that your bowel contains a myriad of food particles, microbes, viruses, pollutants, and metabolites.  If you were to take a syringe full of this concoction and then inject it into your bloodstream you would be dead.  It is amazing that despite walking around with a 9 metre toxic sewerage pipe within you that you are still living.  This only happens because your amazing GIT is designed to protect you.  Through complex physiology it lets the ‘good stuff’ in and keeps the ‘bad stuff’ out, whilst also delivering many other incredible functions.  This is why you need to always prioritise GIT health.


The first step is to connect to it and observe its constant communication.  Like most things in life when things are working well, they tend not to distract you.  But once they get off track they start making noise!  (With the GIT this can literally be the case!)  The key signs that your GIT may not be working well are as follows:-

  • Irregular defecation- Normal healthy bowel motility is 1-2 times per day.  Less or more is a problem.
  • Poorly formed stools- Not too hard, not too soft – just right.  The goal is to have fluffy floaters and not stinky sinkers!
  • Incorrect colour- They should be mid brown, not yellow brown or black-brown.
  • Foetid odour- You shouldn’t leave an indelible mark in the air after you ‘sit on the throne’.
  • Discomfort &/or difficulty before, during or after defecation. Ultimately, you should feel that passing a stool is one of the pleasures of the day.

It might seem like a gross subject to talk about, but understanding the rules of the GIT game allow you to play, win and celebrate.  Many people come to see me with great deviations from these basic healthy expectations.   But what’s most concerning is that they don’t realise that this is a problem and are, therefore, unaware of the potential gravity of these deviations.  Sometimes they have been told that there is nothing to be concerned about and even that their signs and symptoms are a good thing??!!


  1. Using your bowels less than once per day means that you are leaving toxic waste in your ‘permeable’ bowel for longer than it is able to cope with. This will create both local and systemic effects.
  2. Using your bowels more than twice a day on a regular basis means that your GIT is irritated in some way.
  3. Unformed stools primarily occur because of damage to the mucous membrane layer of your GIT.
  4. Hard and difficult stools can indicate that the neuromuscular aspect of your GIT is dysfunctional.
  5. If your stools continue to have a yellow tinge it is fairly likely that you are suffering from a liver issue.
  6. If your stools are black, (and it is not obviously associated with the intake of foods such as liquorice or squid ink), you could have GIT bleeding which is a medical emergency.
  7. If your bowel motions have a ‘stinky’ odour it is normally associated with microbial fermentation. Put simply your GIT bugs are out of balance and are having a party with your food choices. Certain microbiome imbalances, when combined with certain dietary decisions can be diabolical.
  8. Discomfort before, during and after defecation is always an alarm bell. It could be indicative of any of the following causes… a faecal or structural blockage, dysbiosis (microbiome imbalance), food sensitivities, GIT disease, nutritional deficiencies, poor stress coping, GIT infection, poor diet, poor lifestyle etc…

The bottom line with all of the aforementioned issues is that they are not normal or okay.  Furthermore, they are often precursors to more serious afflictions.  For this reason, it is important that you are always connected to your bowel messages.  If you don’t like what you are hearing it is important that you act as soon as possible.  To help support this awareness we would like to give you our FREE TOXICITY Pop Quiz. You can use this quiz anytime, pass it on to family and friends and most importantly become clear on the signs and symptoms that can help you to move to action where it is applicable.


Well you have many options.  For instance, if your complaint is recent and minor, you might simply improve the quality of your diet, increase exercise, improve your sleep focus and then observe the impact.  Whereas, if your GIT concern is more prolonged and distracting you should seek further help.  Your GP will focus on ruling out the more sinister explanations, whilst your Naturopath will holistically assess physiological dysfunctions and lifestyle deviations which are the fundamental cause of GIT afflictions.  Initially, it doesn’t matter who you see as long as you don’t put your head in the sand and do nothing!

It seems that the time of the year when your GIT is most likely to go south is in the months following the festive season.  Change to daily habits and diet seem to conspire to unravel GIT function.  For this reason, we have developed the REFRESH GIT DETOX PROGRAM.  Run by our newest team member, Matthew Burrell, it provides a comprehensive 6-week program that offers an all-inclusive plug and play strategy to help you renovate the anatomy and physiology of your GIT.  Using strategic supplementation and health promoting dietary change it will help you to quickly move toward a healthier and happier you.

With regard to improved mood, were you aware that the key neuro transmitters that your brain needs for ideal function are produced by your GIT microbiome?  These include, GABA which helps you to relax and sleep, Serotonin which helps with happiness, cognition and memory and Dopamine which improves your motivation and sense of pleasure and satisfaction.  So as stated at the beginning of this post, the GIT helps keep rhythm in your ‘Biological band’.  Keeping your GIT fit and healthy is a sure way to improve the chance of living a melodious life.

If you have any questions about this post or wish to follow up on our REFRESH GIT DETOX PROGRAM please feel free to contact us.  We always look forward to helping you.


Rob and the amazing Claridge Naturopathics team.

Robert Claridge

Specialist Naturopath, Holistic Nutritionist, Herbalist, Homoeopath, R-System Specialist

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