Why is gut health important?
It determines the rest of your health! Luckily, with a rise in access to information, and interest in holistic health, more research and attention surrounding gut health is emerging. Besides digestion, here are just a few of many reasons why we should pay more attention to caring for our gut
Our gut makes up 75-80% of our immune system! It is essential to provide it with the right nutrients (prebiotics) and beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in order for it to protect us from harmful toxins, substances, and illnesses.
Many studies have shown that the gut acts as a second brain, and has been directly linked to mental health. This is largely due to its role of producing up to 75% of our neurotransmitters and up to 95% of our body’s serotonin, which is important for mood stabilization, sleep, and digestion.
Lastly, our guts help up to produce and absorb the nutrients that we get from our nutrient-dense foods and supplements.
Compromised Gut Health/Key Words to Know
“Leaky gut” – the lining of the gut is damaged and becomes permeable causing food particles and toxins to enter the bloodstream and overtime causes issues like inflammation, Irritable bowel syndrome/Inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, decreased immunity, food sensitivities, and more.
Dysbiosis – an imbalance in the amount and types of bacteria in the GI tract. This happens when we have too little or too much of certain types of bacteria in our gut that causes an imbalance and can lead to overgrowth. This is called SIBO, or small intestine bacterial overgrowth which can lead to serious malnutrition.
Causes of gut damage/compromise
There are many factors to what can be causing your gut damage. However, the main culprits in research are medication and/or antibiotic use, poor diet or hygiene, chemical exposure, heavy metals/mold, stress/not enough sleep, over-exercise, and alcohol abuse.
Signs you may have a gut imbalance or damage
- Food sensitivities
- Frequent indigestion, gas or bloating
- Irregular bowel movements such as frequent diarrhea, constipation, blood in stool, etc.
- Frequent fatigue or irritability
- Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, eczema
- Autoimmune disease diagnosis such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Hashimoto’s, fibromyalgia
How do I really find out?
See a functional medicine practitioner and get testing done. Remember, everyone is different, and there may be more going on in your body than you think. It is better to get answers from professionals who are highly trained, and have your best interest in mind, helping you get to the root of the problem. We are here to address you as a whole person, and really help you find vitality to thrive.