The gut, although integral to our overall health and well-being, is misunderstood.
From the time we first put food into our mouth the digestive process takes over and turns it into energy, cell renewal, and ultimately waste product. As food is broken down, the digestive system is producing vitamin K and other nutrients, short-chain fatty acids, folate and supporting our immune system, maintaining our gut lining health, and breaking down fiber and cellulose to support all of our bodily systems including the endocrine, immune, cardiovascular, circulatory and integumentary. A healthy digestive tract also supports the muscular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory, urinary, and reproductive systems.
When dysbiosis (imbalance of the microbes and bacteria) occurs in the gut, it can wreak havoc not only on your digestion, but all the interconnected systems as well. There are over 100 trillion (yes, trillion) of these microbes in our body, with most residing in our gut microbiome. There are mainly four types in our gut microbiome: Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria. And they all require different nutrients for healthy growth.
Problems that lead to an imbalanced gut are also linked to insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer and obesity.
That is why it is so important to maintain a healthy gut
What causes imbalances in the gut? So many things can affect our digestive system, some which you well know and others that may surprise you. Diet, lifestyle and the environment all have an impact on our microbiome.
Yes, when we get sick and take antibiotics, this can affect the diverse flora in our gut, causing an imbalance.
Speaking of diversity, it is important to eat a wide range of different foods to help maintain a healthy gut. You are encouraged to eat “a rainbow” – that is a colorful array of fruits and vegetables every day to support your gut.
When it comes to dysbiosis, much of it is directly related to lifestyle. For example, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and lack of physical activity can all contribute to an unhealthy gut by decreasing the amount of necessary bacteria to maintain a healthy balanced system.
A lack of prebiotics (or fiber) has been found to contribute to an imbalanced gut as well. Again, these are found in fruits, vegetables and grains and create an environment in which the “good” bacteria needed for gut diversity can flourish.
Did you know that a lack of sleep can also contribute to an unhealthy gut? Sleep deprivation has been found to contribute to a change in the gut flora that is linked directly to obesity, diabetes and weight gain, by increasing the bacteria associated with these conditions.
Additionally, high levels of stress, especially chronic stress, can alter the gut flora and reduce the diversity that is needed to function optimally.
And recent research suggests that an unhealthy gut is also affecting our mental capacities, emotional states and may contribute to dementia and depression. The “gut-brain” axis has been established, yet more research is necessary to pinpoint exactly which system is impacting the other and how.
This nascent field of study is providing us with new insights into how our systems work together harmoniously and what happens when things go awry.
As a wellness practitioner, I am always interested in how we can support our bodies and minds, wholistically and healthily.
And I am delighted to share with you a new offering that includes microbiome testing:
to find out how efficiently your digestive system is functioning now,
then based on these findings, develop an individualized and comprehensive wellness plan for you
with results that can be measured at the end of the 90 -days we spend together.
So, here’s my gutsy offer to you!
If you are interested in finding out more, please email me with the subject heading: GUT and I will share more with you about this game-changer for your personal wellness, including a special discount for the first five emails I receive.