Do you know how many bacteria live in your gut? Trillions, literally. It’s no wonder 70% of your immune system is in the gut. Yet this very busy organ often doesn’t get the attention and love it deserves despite it being the lynch pin organ for metabolism and health. An alteration in the gut microbiome (dysbiosis) can result from exposure to environmental factors such as: What you eat, toxins you may be exposed to, certain medications (think antibiotics and proton-pump inhibitors) and pathogens. This can cause, a lack of needed bacteria or an overgrowth of bacteria or fungus. This imbalance in the eco system of your gut can lead to inflammation and a whole host of health issues not all of which are GI related. Published research has listed dysbiosis as the cause of:
Arthritis, diarrhea, autoimmune illness, B12 deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic acne, cystitis, early stages of colon cancer and breast cancer, eczema, fibromyalgia, food allergy or sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, restless leg syndrome, and steatorrhea.
So, if you experience:
bloating, abdominal pain and cramping.
constipation, diarrhea, or alternating.
indigestion, reflux, heartburn.
Bad breath, excessive flatulence, foul-smelling poo
fatigue, brain fog, lowered mood.
joint pain, arthritis.
You may want to give your gut a little more attention. After all, if you make it feel better, you’ll feel better! Oh, and what goes on in your gut, doesn’t necessarily stay in the gut. As the lining of your gut gets compromised things leak out, often referred to as leaky gut syndrome. This can cause an immunological reaction as these particles are going where they ought not. This can lead to systemic inflammation in the body, which is the root of most (if not all) preventable diseases.
For those of you that haven’t had Anatomy & Physiology in a while I want to remind you that the liver is part of the Gastrointestinal organ system (GI). For instance, blood travels from the heart to the small intestine, then into the mesenteric vein, and to the hepatic vein and into the liver and finally back to the heart. When things are leaking out that shouldn’t leak out they get a direct flight to the liver and the liver does what it’s supposed to and tries to detoxify it. However, the liver can get overwhelmed and then toxins get into systemic circulation leading to a host of problems. And some studies suggest this can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which involves the accumulation of fat (steatosis) in liver cells, as well as a more advanced form of the condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). When fat takes the place of liver cells the liver can’t work at full capacity leading to decreased detoxification.
Do you want to get some insight into your gut bacteria and find out which foods might help adjust your microbiota?
See a Functional Medicine Provider https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/
Eat unprocessed organic whole food diet
Eat a rainbow of foods to maximize polyphenol consumption
Incorporate fermented foods into your daily diet (my personal favorites Gut Shot and Kraut by Farmhouse https://www.farmhouseculture.com/gut-shots Kombucha is also great but keep an eye on sugar content!)
Stay away from meats or dairy with antibiotics
Read the book Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN
Could your gut be healthier?
What could you do to improve your gut health?
What action could you take today to start improving gut health?