What to Expect

Gastrointestinal symptoms can be daunting, confusing, and frustrating to evaluate and treat. You could be experiencing:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating/Belching/Gas
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • Skin rashes/acne
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver
  • And so much more…

 

Dr. Maria Belluccio sitting on bench - Gut Health Asheville
stylized nude mail torso holding fire over the gut

How do we determine the root cause(s) of your digestive complaints?

At our center, you start your healing journey by filling out a comprehensive patient history.

You will keep a 10-day diet log which includes fluids consumed and time, frequency, and characteristics of your bowel movements. 

You will provide us with blood work within the past year and any other testing you may have had done with another healthcare practitioner. We may require a more in-depth profile of your blood work.

An integral part of treating digestive disorders is to run a comprehensive stool analysis to look at functional markers, gut bacteria, yeast, parasites, and viruses. It is a window into the gut microbiome that can give us a starting point correlated with signs and symptoms and past medical history to prioritize your treatment plan. 

After all, data is compiled, we can then start organizing your treatment plan. Often time, it requires several phases of treatment to treat the complexities of an unhealthy gut.

The treatment plan could encompass:

Dietary and lifestyle changes

This might include detoxification, exercise, testing for gluten and other food sensitivities, and/or reduction of toxins in your immediate environment (food, body products, cleaning products,etc.).

Supplementation and Testing

Supplementation with high-quality pharmaceutical grade ingredients is often used to help heal and maintain the gut. Organic Acid Testing and Hormone Testing are used to help us better understand the issues you are facing.

Gut healing takes time.

A gut healing program can take time to execute and see improvement. It is dependent on your compliance with the program and commitment.

Since this is a functional nutrition approach to treatment, monitoring every individual regularly is required to evaluate if changes are to be made to the existing treatment plan. 

After the treatment is complete and symptoms are abated, there may be a need to re-evaluate with repeat testing when warranted. 

Supported Conditions

Candida

Candida is a type of yeast that naturally exists in the human body. Individuals who have an altered natural flora or are immunocompromised are more susceptible to candida overgrowth that cause infections.

Candida can grow out of control and populate the mouth, throat, genitals, skin, and digestive tract causing yeast or fungal infections in other parts of the body. Several factors can contribute to Candida overgrowth with the most significant factor being the use of antibiotics.

Stress is another factor for the development of Candida in the digestive tract due to its negative effects on the immune system. In reaction to stress, the adrenal glands release Cortisol, a steroid hormone.

Candida’s impact on the body is severe; however, it has often been under diagnosed by the current medical community. Candida overgrowth can be responsible for many chronic illnesses and can have a profound health impact to the entire body even if Candida remains confined in a local area.

Candida overgrowth in the stomach can cause irritation to the stomach lining. The overgrowth can cause the gut wall to develop openings, which leads to Leaky gut syndrome due to the destructive enzyme activity of the SAP proteins and their irritation to the intestine. Candida overgrowth and the resulting leaky gut syndrome can directly lead to many other systemic inflammatory and immune-related symptoms beyond food allergies, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, eczema, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, chronic urticaria (hives), and inflammatory bowel disease.

 

Leaky Brain Syndrome

Just like your gastrointestinal (GI) tract has a protective barrier protecting it from its surroundings, your brain has its own casing that protects it from your body and bloodstream. It’s called the blood-brain barrier (BBB). And, just like you can get a leaky gut, you can also get a leaky brain.

Basically, when the blood-brain barrier is punctured, ruptured, or loosened, things like heavy metals, toxins, molds, fungi, and chemicals produced by our post-industrial world seep in and wreak havoc. In this article, you’re going to find out a little bit more about the mechanics behind the BBB, what can damage it, and then how to repair and maintain it.

Leaky brain can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s Disease. There are treatment protocols that can assist the brain to heal.

What weakens the Blood-Brain Barrier?

Sleep Deprivation – Your body needs you to sleep and enjoy appropriate amounts of each sleep phase in order to properly regulate the functions and integrity of the BBB.

Excessive Alcohol Intake – The alcohol you drink is essentially ethanol (EtOH), which, among other things, enhances reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage brain cells.

High Blood Pressure – One study found that the BBB dysfunction present was quite clearly related to the combined effects of elevated blood pressure and cerebral vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels in the brain).

How do you fix a Leaky Blood-Brain-Barrier?

  • Sleep
  • Limit Alcohol
  • Control Blood Pressure
  • Caution With High-Fat Diets
  • Drink Coffee and/or Tea
  • Supplementation
  • Magnesium
  • Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve
  • Limit Snacking
  • Nourish Your Gut
  • Cryotherapy

Symptoms of Leaky Brain Syndrome:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain Fog
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Loss of Balance
  • Forgetfulness
  • Cognitive Decline

Call Dr. Maria at 813-964-0847 for a consultation.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut, or “intestinal permeability” is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the blood stream. The foreign substances entering the blood can cause an autoimmune response in the body including inflammatory and allergic reactions such as migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and more.

With leaky gut, damaged cells in your intestines don’t produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion. As a result, your body cannot absorb essential nutrients, which can lead to hormone imbalances and a weakened immune system. In many cases, leaky gut is caused by your diet. Leaky gut can also be caused by medications including antibiotics, steroids or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen, which can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut include:

  1. Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
  2. Nutritional deficiencies
  3. Poor immune system
  4. Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  5. Excessive fatigue
  6. Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
  7. Cravings for sugar or carbs
  8. Arthritis or joint pain
  9. Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
  10. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac  disease or Crohn’s

Call Dr. Maria at 813-964-0847 for a consultation if you think you may have Leaky Gut.

Thyroid Disease

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone. It is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. Thyroid hormones control how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. Thyroid disease is one of the most common, yet misunderstood and overlooked, conditions in Americans. Women make up the majority of thyroid patients.

Everything in your body relies on thyroid hormone—including digestion, the growth of your hair and nails, your sex drive, and the function of your organs and glands. Your brain, heart, and metabolism are especially dependent on the right levels of thyroid hormone to function properly and well.

Thyroid problems include:

  • Goiter – enlargement of the thyroid gland
  • Hyperthyroidism – when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs (Graves’ Disease)
  • Hypothyroidism – when you thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones (Hashimoto’s Disease)
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid nodules – lumps in the thyroid gland
  • Thyroiditis – swelling of the thyroid

Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to lose weight with diet and exercise
  • Constipation
  • Infertility
  • Feeling cold
  • Hair loss (including the outer edge of the eyebrows)
  • Brain fog
  • Muscle and joint pains/aches

Common Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panicky feeling
  • Tremors
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Diarrhea or loose stools
  • Feeling overheated
  • Unexplained weight loss

It is important to have a complete serum panel to determine the type of Thyroid Disorder a person might have.

Contact Dr. Maria at 813-964-0847 for a consultation.

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Schedule A Call with Dr. Maria

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Julie Klever
Julie Klever
February 26, 2021.
I discovered Dr. Maria while searching for an alternative treatment vs. Pharmaceuticals for a lung issue 2 years ago. What we discovered went beyond the initial reason I contacted her and I could not be happier and healthier! Her knowledge, experience, support and candor has helped me in prioritizing my health! I'm truly blessed to have her on my care team and look forward to what we continue to accomplish together!
Rileyzmomm
Rileyzmomm
September 2, 2020.
I've worked with Dr. Maria for a number of years. She has helped me with so many issues that western doctors could not address. She has balanced my hormones, healed my gut and has helped with my severe allergies. I highly recommend her! She is easy to talk to, very smart and is up on the latest research.
Chloe Grimes
Chloe Grimes
August 28, 2020.
Dr. Maria has been my doctor for the last 5/6 years. I had really been looking for a doctor closer to home in Tampa. When I got her card and realized she was in Tampa, I made an appointment. She is a kind, caring and compassionate doctor and a good listener. She has helped me through my thyroid problem and continues to do so. My gut problems was one of my major concerns. She has guided me through that, which included Leaky Gut. Wherever she can find the supplements, the tests needed for you, she'll research and get them for you to feel well. My gut problem is so much better, because of the time and effort she has put in finding the right diagnosis and treatment. I am so grateful to her for her help, so I could live a healthier, happier and more productive life. And, I'm sure she'll do the same for you. Thank you, Dr. Maria.
Carrol Christian
Carrol Christian
July 7, 2020.
I started working with Dr. Maria 2 years ago and it has been a blessing! She has and continues to work with me through all my medical experiences. Over the years, she has proven to be very sound and knowledgeable in her field of study and is always willing to go the extra mile. She has made a very positive impact in my life medically, and continues to fill the gap of unanswered questions that so many were unable to do. From my experience, I am confident that I will continue being a patient for a long time.
angela krueger
angela krueger
July 7, 2020.
I have been a patient of Dr. Maria for 12+ years, initially for breast thermography followed by natural hormone replacement therapy, treatment of thyroid imbalance and allergy testing. Additionally, each year after my annual blood work, I have a thorough review with Dr. Maria where she explains in detail each result, how it affects my health and a course of care if any is needed. I have complete faith in the care and knowledge I receive from Dr. Maria. I would highly recommend Dr. Maria's vast knowledge and expertise in the treatment of any life change, illness or just to keep your body healthy.
Urmilla Buch
Urmilla Buch
July 4, 2020.
I have known Dr. Maria Bellucio for the past 15 years and she has made an impact in my life. She is friendly, smart, hardworking and compassionate in her field of work. Over the years, she has helped me and my family tremendously with various health issues and with great results. She is so caring - I always remember when I was in the hospital for thyroiditis she called me to make sure I was okay and gave me great words of comfort. With her practice, there is always continuity of treatment between visits and she proactively follows up with her patients. She is extremely knowledgeable in so many areas and she always keeps up to date with the latest advances. She is an awesome doctor. You will not regret seeing her.
Sharon Pike
Sharon Pike
June 30, 2020.
I originally started with Dr. Maria years ago for thermography testing. Then as I reached menopause age, she has been helping me with my needs for this stage of life. She is very thorough and very knowledgeable. I am doing very well on her regimen!
Susan Robinson
Susan Robinson
June 26, 2020.
I have been seeing Dr. Maria for about 15 years and she has been my primary care doctor. I had so many issues when we first met and through the years we eliminated and managed them without pharmaceutical drugs. All these years later I am still following her recommendations and protocol for any issues that come up.
Sue Hopping
Sue Hopping
June 25, 2020.
Dr. Bellucio has been my physician for 12 years now, and has been a great blessing in my life. She has worked with me on several health issues, educating me and devising plans to improve my health, all the while thoroughly answering all my questions and listening attentively to my desires. I appreciate her sensitivity to my wishes to approach treatment from a functional medicine standpoint. I am also grateful for how she is continually educating herself so as to provide the best care for her patients. Her move to a different state has not compromised her services in the slightest. She is just as responsive as she was while living here in Florida. I therefore highly recommend Dr. Bellucio.
Brenda Davis
Brenda Davis
June 25, 2020.
I started seeing Maria about fifteen years ago when I was having a bad reaction to Synthroid a lab thyroid med. I was looking for a natural alternative and she started me on Nature-Thyroid and have taken since with no negative side effects. Maria also diagnosed me as having Hashimoto's disease which an Endocrinology doctor I had been seeing never thought to tell me in her 15 min appointments with me. I also started having bad side effects of menopause, and Maria explained the need to supplement hormones, so I started taking a hormone test yearly and using the hormones she prescribed from the results of the tests. The horrible night sweats, and all the other bad symptoms went away and I still get tested and feel great with no symptoms. Maria has always taken the time to listen to me, I never feel rushed when talking to her. I have called her with various medical questions over the years, such as when my son brought home scabies, she offered natural ways to get rid of it. I have always looked at natural remedies first rather than going straight to an MD and she always helped me figure it out. I could go on and on about how much she has helped my overall health through the years and as long as she will still offer the testing and coordinating of prescriptions, she will have me as her patient!

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