Gut microbiota for gut health
“All diseases begin in the gut” Hippocrates
You’ve probably already heard about the importance of a healthy gut to our overall wellbeing and the link between the gut microbiota and the brain, so I’m going to go a little in to the how and why. In the next newsletter we will look at what you can do to improve and support the health of your gut.
Our Gut Microbiota
- The human body contains 10 x more microbes than cells meaning that we share our life with around 100 trillion organisms which comprise something called our microbiome.
- These microbes live on or inside our body, helping us to perform life-sustaining functions that we couldn’t perform without them.
- The word microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes or microorganisms that inhabit an environment, creating a sort of “mini-ecosystem”
This gut microbiota is fundamental to the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. Without it, the majority of our food intake would not only be indigestible, but we would not be capable of extracting the critical nutritional compounds needed to function. If our gut microbiota is out of balance, it cannot only impact our digestion and absorption, but also can have a devastating impact on our overall health in general.
The Gut plays a significant role in our overall health
- Immunity: – Physical barrier of defense against bacteria, viruses, etc. The largest part of the immune system (70%) is found in the gut
- Neurotransmitters: (“Gut-Brain Connection”). The greatest amount (90%) of the “brain chemical” serotonin is found in the GI tract and Amino acids (absorbed from protein digestion) are precursors for neurotransmiters
- Digestion/Full Body Function: Vitamins/minerals absorbed in the gut are cofactors for enzyme reactions, metabolism, conversion of nutrients and fats and breaking down proteins to prevent food sensitivities
Chronic stress (and other negative emotions like anger, anxiety and sadness) can trigger symptoms and full-blown disease in your gut. As Harvard researchers explain:
“A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system. “
If you’re feeling stressed, it’s essential to realize that not only could this affect your gut health, it could be caused by your gut health, or more specifically, your lack thereof. Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the friendly bacteria with fermented foods or probiotics is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control.
Next Time I will cover what you can do to optimise the health of your gut. If you have any questions, please contact me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Nutritional practitioner Alison Wright – available for consults at Balance Osteopathy.