How Gut Health Importance Affects Your Overall Well-Being

How Gut Health Importance Affects Your Overall Well-Being

gut health importance

 

Your Gut – A System Of Living Things

Your body is home to trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic organisms. The large portion of them live inside your gut and is collectively referred to as the gut microbiome – a system of living things, primarily concerned with maintaining your body’s digestive and immune systems.

A healthy gut doesn’t only mean healthy digestion, it’s also critical to:

  • Mineral and vitamin absorbency,
  • Vitamin production,
  • Hormone regulation,
  • Immune response,
  • The ability to eliminate toxins and, most certainly not least,
  • Overall mental health.

Gut health importance equals overall well-being importance.

gut health importance

The relationship between gut and brain health is still not understood completely but that’s not to say it’s not there. People suffering from bowel-disorders such as Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut are also at a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Many people falsely believe that an unhealthy gut presents as digestive problems only (bloating, abdominal pain, reflux, and flatulence).

In reality, however, the signs of a poor gut microbiome can be as subtle as recurring headaches, fatigue and joint pain, and immune system weakness. In my case it was responsible for many of my chronic fatigue symptoms. Your gut health affects your entire well-being.

 

So How Exactly Does Your Gut Affect Your Entire Well-Being?

Gut Health Has An Effect On Weight.

You can’t really cleanse your gut microbiome from all the bad bacteria: it’s actually the balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microorganisms that ensures the healthy gut.

That being said, having too many unhealthy microbes can lead to diseases. This imbalance is referred to as gut dysbiosis and research suggests it can contribute to weight gain. You can read more about the gut microbiome here.

A healthy gut is able to absorb the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients from the food you consume. If you suffer from poor gut health, your intestines are not able to draw the right nutrients from the food.

Too much gut bacteria, for instance, can transform fiber into fatty acids, which can cause fat deposits to build inside your liver.In turn, this has been linked to a higher prevalence of weight-related disorders such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

In fact, a recent study found that the gut microbiome had an integral role in promoting HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and triglycerides. Certain unhealthy microorganisms in the gut, on the other hand, contribute to heart disease by producing trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO).

The Link Between Your Gut And Brain

Your brain function is dependent on certain brain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters. One of the primary neurotransmitters, serotonin, is particularly linked to the good health of your gut: it’s mostly made inside your intestines and its levels depend on how well your gut manages to extract nutrients from the foods you eat.

gut health importance

What’s more, the gut is connected to the brain thanks to millions of nerve connections: the unhealthy gut can, therefore, interfere with the signals sent to the brain through these nerves.

This link is known as the gut-brain axis and studies have shown that gut bacteria may contribute to certain disorders of the central nervous system, such as anxiety, depression and even autism disorder.

 

Diseases Seemingly Unrelated To The Gut

Have you thought your arthritis, psoriasis or eczema can actually be attributed to the health of your gut? Scientists have long discovered that an altered intestinal microbiome can contribute to the development of various arthritis types.

This is so because a large percentage (about 80%) of your immune cells live inside the gut where their interaction with the gut microbiome can activate certain immune responses in the body, such as the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, is actually a chronic inflammation, an immune hyper-response that can be provoked or exacerbated by the overgrowth of certain pathogenic bacteria, or the lack of immune-modulating organisms inside your gut.

Psoriasis and eczema, on the other hand, can be attributed to side effects resulting from a leaky gut. The hyper permeability of your intestines can lead to overgrowth of undesirable bacteria.

A leaky gut is also not as effective at absorbing the nutrients your skin needs – such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Learn here about the best foods to heal a leaky gut for better overall health.

Additionally, a poor gut microbiome won’t be able to excrete the metabolic byproducts of digestion or cleanse the toxins your liver is excreting via the bile in the gut. What happens is that all of these toxic elements get reabsorbed, clog up your lymphatic system, which then eliminates them out through the skin.

 

What Damages Gut Health

Your gut health can impact how well your body absorbs the nutrients you consume but the opposite is also true: the food you eat can have a tremendous effect on the health of your gut microbiome. A diet low in fiber but high in pesticides, herbicides and added chemicals is amongst the main reasons for the development of leaky gut syndrome or other related conditions.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame have also been found to stimulate the growth of unhealthy bacteria like Enterobacteriaceae so it’s best to stick to natural alternatives if you have a sweet tooth. Stevia, a plant used for its sweet taste that has no effect on blood sugar and can be used in drinks and baking.

Try to take antibiotics only when necessary: they can kill both the good and the bad bacteria in your gut, and taking them too often can lead you to develop an antibiotic resistance. If you do have to take antibiotics, make sure you add probiotic foods to your diet to repopulate your gut with the good bacteria it needs.

In non life threatening cases such as cold and flu viruses, stomach infections etc., you can take natural herbal antibiotics like oregano oil instead.

gut health importance

A course of probiotic supplements after the antibiotic course finishes can help restore your gut microbiome once the treatment is finished. Including probiotic foods like unsweetened yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, miso and fermented vegetables will also ensure your gut receives a steady supply of probiotic bacteria.

Last but not least, the relationship between gut health and obesity is not a one-way street. A leaky or unhealthy gut can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Leaky gut can also be the source of many autoimmune conditions. If leaky gut is contributing to your poor gut health start healing it with this comprehensive gut supplement. 

A number of studies have shown that the gut microbiome differs significantly amongst identical twins, one of whom suffers from obesity. This means that the differences in the gut microbiome are not genetics, but rather, attributed to the effects of obesity. This only highlights the importance of a good, well-balanced diet.

Putting It All Together.

Give your body what it needs, stay away from alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and low-fiber foods, help your gut and your entire health and well-being will thrive!

Please feel free to leave a comment below.

 

12 Comments

  • Bailey Boudreau August 19, 2018 at 2:09 am

    This is a very informative article on the importance of gut health. All the systems in our bodies are more interconnected than it would seem at first. Considering this, treating only a part of the body seems a short-sighted approach. This makes me wonder about the possibility of healing chronic conditions by improving gut health. I hope more research is done in this area.

    • Ann August 19, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Hi Bailey thanks for commenting. For sure everything in your body is connected and the importance of gut health to overall health is becoming increasingly clear.

  • Kit August 28, 2018 at 3:35 am

    A lot of elder men develop the beer belly. Maybe I am still young. I do not drink beers. I just do not understand why these men have round and bulging belly. It looks very bad. Could this be health problems? I am not sure whether these pregnant looking belly contains mostly air or there are a lot of fats collect in there. It may be stubborn fats. What do you think?

    • Ann August 28, 2018 at 3:56 am

      Hi Kit thanks for your comments. I think those so called beer bellies are mostly fat. It seems this area is where men seem to store fat. However if they are fat it would be difficult to tell if they are also bloated due to gut disturbances from simply looking at them. THEY would know I suspect due to the uncomfortable feeling that goes along with bloating. 

  • Marlinda Davis November 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Hey there! Thanks so much for this post! I tell people ALL the time about how important gut health is. Now I’m glad that I came across your post because instead of having to type out my reasons I can just share this. I can agree that I notice a big difference when I’m eating probiotic rich foods like Greek yogurt compared to when I don’t. My energy level and weight are so much better.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Marlinda

    • Ann November 12, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Marlinda thanks for stopping by. Great to hear you ‘get’ the importance of good gut health and have already included probiotic foods in to your regular diet.

  • Richard Hoffmann November 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Hello Ann,

    It is of great interest to me all articles offering advice on natural alternatives or ways to cope with stress. Being in the construction industry, there is always the pressure of deadlines and stress and I like how you have illustrated the link of stress and fatigue to the heath of ones gut. 

    You mentioned in the closing comments that one should stay away from alcohol to improve gut health, does this include read wine in moderate amounts or is this a statement related to all alcohols?

    Rich

    • Ann November 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Richard thanks for your comments. I think red wine in moderation is OK if you are healthy. 

  • Chris November 12, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    I suffer from, and have suffered from a stomach problem over the last several years – IBS. I’ve tried my best to improve my health as a result of this condition, and frequently seek out the correct vitamins a natural minerals to boost health. 

    I’m really surprised to discover that gut health can effect mineral and vitamin absorbency – this is something I hadn’t factored into the equation. 

    What supplements, if any, would you recommend for poor gut health?

    • Ann November 13, 2018 at 2:28 am

      Hi Chris thanks for leaving a comment. IBS tends to be a catch all phrase given to gut problems when doctors don’t really know what is causing the issues. I suggest you find a good naturopath or integrative therapist experienced in gut issues to help you work out what is going on. 

  • Sharon November 12, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Hello Ann. This is the first time I’ve read such a detailed and easy to understand article about gut health. It makes me wonder though if my teenage son who is underweight for his age has anything to do with his gut health. He eats plenty but probably the nutrients aren’t absorbed properly. Could this be the issue?

    • Ann November 13, 2018 at 2:21 am

      Hi Sharon thanks for stopping by. I’m not a doctor so I cannot comment on your son’s weight. I suggest if you are concerned that he could have a problem, you take him to see a naturopath or integrative health practitioner.

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