A Holistic Approach to Gut Health

There has been re-discovery into how important digestive health is to our overall health. It has been said that all health starts in the gut. This is very true on many levels. Our bodies cannot perform without the intricate dance of chemical, hormonal and physical interactions that take place every second within our digestive system. Discoveries have led to the emergence of mental health and the gut brain axis. There is a two way communication that takes place between our gut and brain. Even low grade inflammation can interrupt this delicate balance. Probiotics that travel along the vagus nerve have been recently discovered to contribute to mental health. Autoimmune diseases are exacerbated by poor gut health and low grade inflammation and gut dysbiosis. Stress profoundly affects gut health and dramatically alters the chemical balance found within our gut. Even respiratory illness, rotavirus and some forms of cancer have benefited from the use of probiotics to bring our gastrointestinal system into balance.

​This course is designed to educate on the anatomy and physiology of the digestive system, offers explanations of probiotics, enzymes, and their uses, describes leaky gut and its causes, methods for healing gut dysbiosis, and discusses the 5 R's of the functional medicine model to heal leaky gut and improve digestive health.

Questions? Check out our FAQs page and How Online IV Certification Works!


Upon completion the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss digestive process definitions.
  2. List the anatomy of the digestive tract and accessory organs.
  3. Discuss how the digestive tract and accessory organs work together to complete digestion.
  4. Explain the role of the vagus nerve and the gut brain axis.
  5. Identify the requirements of a healthy gut.
  6. Explain what causes an unhealthy gut.
  7. Explain how probiotics are classified.
  8. Explain health benefits of probiotics.
  9. Discuss Prebiotics and their role in improving digestive health.
  10. Explain what enzymes are and the types of enzymes in the body.
  11. Identify leaky gut.
  12. Discuss the 5 Rs of healing leaky gut.


Chapter 1:  Digestive Process Definitions

  • Digestion
  • Absorption
  • Secretion
  • Excretion
Chapter 2:  Anatomy and Function of the Digestive System
  • Mouth and teeth 
  • Pharynx/esophagus
  • Stomach and layers of stomach
  • Gastric glands and secretions
  • Three phases of gastric acid secretions
  • Gastric glands anatomy
  • Small intestine
  • Layers of small intestine
  • Duodenum
  • Jejunum
  • Ilium
  • Villi and microvilli
  • Appendix
  • Large intestine
Chapter 3: Accessory Organs
  • Definition of accessory organs
  • Salivary glands
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Pancreas
Chapter 4: Gut Brain Axis
  • What is the gut-brain axis
  • Vagus nerve anatomy
  • Functions of vagus nerve
  • How vagus nerve contributes to digestive health
Chapter 5: Obtain and Maintain a Healthy Gut
  • How to obtain and maintain a healthy gut
    • Food choices
    • Time to eat
    • Relaxed atmosphere
    • Good bacteria 
    • Enzymes
    • Absence of pathogenic bacteria
  • Causes of unhealthy gut
    • Poor food choices
    • Environmental pesticides, genetically modified foods
    • Additives put in foods
    • Stress
    • Pathogenic organisms (gut dysbiosis), a cause of leaky gut which will be discussed in depth in chapter 10
    • Eating in a hurry
Chapter 6: Probiotic Review
  • What are probiotics and how are they classified and measured?
  • Probiotic terminology: CFU, genus, species strain
  • Probiotic examples
  • Health benefits of probiotics
  • What to look for in a probiotic
  • Cautions when taking probiotics or consuming probiotic rich foods
Chapter 7: Prebiotics
  • What are prebiotics?
  • Soluble fiber
  • Inulin
  • Food sources of inulin
  • Oligofructose (FOS)
  • Food sour5ces of inulin
  • Insoluble fiber which is broken down into
    • Non fermentable fiber
    • Fermentable fiber, also known as resistant starch (RS)
  • 4 types of resistant starch
  • Short chain fatty acid butyrate- what it is
  • Health benefits of butyrate
  • Food sources of resistant starch
Chapter 8: Enzymes
  • There are three types of enzymes that affect the body and can improve digestive health:
    • Metabolic
    • Plant
    • Digestive
      • Digestive enzymes secreted by different exocrine glands
      • There are 8 types of digestive enzymes
  1. Protease
  2. Amylase
  3. Lipase
  4. Cellulase
  5. Maltase
  6. Lactase
  7. Phytase
  8. Sucrase
  • Causes of lack of digestive enzymes
    • Pancreatic dysfunction
    • Brush border dysfunction due to disease
    • Low grade inflammation
    • Intestinal permeability
    • Other diseases
    • Chronic stress (most common cause)
    • Low stomach acid
  • Symptoms of low digestive enzymes
  • A word about stomach acid
  • Treatments for high and low stomach acid
  • What to look for in a digestive enzyme formula 
  • How to take digestive enzymes
Chapter 9: Leaky Gut
  • What is leaky gut?
  • Causes of leaky gut
  • Dysbiosis
  • Stress
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Diet 
  • Leaky gut management
  • The 5 Rs of healing the gut (Functional medicine model)
    • Remove offending substance
    • Replace
    • Repopulate
    • Repair
    • Rebalance
Chapter 10: Further Resources

Chapter 11: References
  • California Bill 241
  • Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • What is Implicit Bias?
  • Implications of Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • How to Reduce Implicit Bias
Chapter 12: Course Transcript

Price: $10.00

Contact Hour: 1

Course Author

Brooke Lounsbury

Brooke Lounsbury, RN, has over 26 years of experience as a nurse. Her primary field was in Home Health and Hospice until leaving mainstream nursing in 2008 to teach holistic health classes devoted to helping people empower themselves through education, public speaking engagements, classes, and coaching -online and in person.  Topics include digestive health, fermentation, sleep hygiene, and the effects of our technology (computers, wifi, cellphones, etc) on our health and traveled to Austria to receive further training and is an EMF consultant and home assessment mitigation expert.
Her latest project is her "Intro to Writing CE", a course to empower nurses on how to write a continuing education course!

She is available for writing course consultations, and can be reached at basicsrn@gmail.com.

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