The Link Between Gut Health and Your Overall Health
It might amaze you how frequently the gut is the key to health – and to health problems. Researchers are looking more and more at the gut and considering it to be the most important bodily system to keep healthy. And it makes sense, as it affects everything from your metabolism to your mood.
So let’s explore what gut health means and what you can do to ensure that your gut is healthy.
What Does ‘Gut’ Actually Mean?
The term gut most accurately refers to the small intestine and the large intestine together. So, discussing gut means discussing the wellbeing and function of those two organs.
Why Is Gut Health Important?
An unhealthy gut has consequences, sometimes debilitating ones.
Gut health plays an important role in:
- immune function
- digestive function, including the absorption of minerals
- energy levels
- brain function
- mental health
- how you respond to stress
Gut health is also the key to neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.
Much of this has to do with the quality, quantity, and composition of the bacteria in your gut.
What Makes Up a Healthy Gut?
Trillions of microorganisms, called microbes, live in your gut. This community is often referred to as the microbiome. Maintaining a healthy microbiome is extremely important because these microbial critters help you to break down food while playing a key role in immune system function, as well as making vitamins and some hormones.
The vast majority of microbes in your gut microbiome are bacteria, both good kinds and bad kinds. In general, what you want is for good bacteria to be plentiful and greatly outnumber the bad bacteria. When these good bacteria crowd out the bad, the bad ones don’t have a chance to multiply and cause you health problems.
Even though you will always have bad bacteria in your gut, it’s the balance that’s important.
Top Microbiome Disruptors
Several things can cause your microbiome to go out of balance:
- Processed foods and chemical additives
- Excess alcohol and/or other drugs
- Genetically modified foods
- Lack of sleep
- When you take antibiotics and other drugs that destroy all types of bacteria, not just the bad guys, that’s a major microbiome disruptor. Remember, the good bacteria are needed to crowd out the bad. This is why it’s so destructive to your health if you take an antibiotic for let’s say a viral infection – antibiotics won’t kill a virus – or when your body could have dealt with infection on its own.
Signs That Your Gut Microbiome Could Be Out of Balance
- You have digestive issues like gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
- You get sick frequently with things like colds or the ‘flu.
- Skin problems like acne, eczema, or psoriasis.
- Problems with brain function and mood, through symptoms like depression, memory loss, and low energy. Gut health has a powerful connection to your brain.
Healthy Gut Lining = Tight Junctions
The health of your microbiome plays a huge role in maintaining the integrity of the gut lining. That’s the barrier between the microbiome and the rest of your body.
Remember, the good and natural condition is for your healthy bacteria to greatly outnumber the harmful bacteria. This contributes to a healthy condition called tight junctions, where the individual cells of the lining of your gut are close together and tightly connected. That creates a barrier, so that only the proper items like digested food can make their way into the bloodstream through proper channels.
Damaged Gut Lining = Problems
But what happens if your harmful bacteria greatly outweigh your healthy bacteria? When the lining of your gut becomes damaged, it becomes permeable. That can create a situation where you no longer have tight junctions. Food, toxins, and bacteria become able to pass through these spaces – between the cells – and leak into the bloodstream where they don’t belong. This is problematic and is often a significant factor and/or cause for:
- autoimmune conditions
- systemic inflammation
- allergic reactions
- joint pain
- brain fog
- irritable bowel syndrome
- skin conditions
- other problems that I’ve covered in some other videos and blogs.
What’s The Secret to a Happy Gut?
So, how do you keep the microbe community in your gut happy? How do you ensure that good bacteria flourish?
- Get plenty of prebiotics through your diet. Prebiotics are things like fiber and other non-digestible food items that actually feed the good bacteria. I include plenty of these prebiotics in my product called Leaky Gut Support. Click on the link and see the list of nutrients that support the gut microbiome. These are the nutrients you want to regularly consume plenty of.
- Cut back on alcohol. If you do have an occasional drink, it should be organic red wine because it contains polyphenols, which may have a positive effect on your gut bacteria.
- Be very responsible when using antibiotics. This means using them only when absolutely necessary.
- Take a good probiotic. When you check out Leaky Gut Support, you’ll see I’ve included probiotics. I’ve also included probiotics in the protein shake and several other products all to support gut health.
This has been just an introduction to gut health. If you take anything away from this blog, let it be that you must give some attention to the health of your gut. That includes consuming the right foods and taking quality dietary supplements.
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