“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates
Researchers today are beginning to understand just how right Hippocrates was. In fact, gut health is critical to overall health.
An unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, autism, chronic fatigue, and cancer.Most people, physicians included, are unaware that digestive problems extend throughout the entire body. Most of us could fix our chronic health problems by fixing our guts.
However, over 100 million Americans suffer from digestive disorders that include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, heartburn, and acid reflux. This is why improving intestinal health may in fact be one of the 21st century’s most important medical goals.
The digestive tract has three main functions: to digest food, to absorb and distribute nutrients, and to prevent toxins from entering the body.
When working correctly, a healthy gut determines what nutrients to absorb and what toxins to keep out. Sounds easy enough right? Not quite.
Optimal digestion depends on a few factors.
First, bacteria play a major role in the gut. A mind-blowing 100 trillion bacteria call our guts home. Friendly bacteria aid in food breakdown, help produce vitamins, and regulate metabolism and hormones. Bad bacteria, however, can wreak havoc by shifting the makeup of the gut flora. The American College of Physicians found that the usage of antibiotics might cause alterations in gut flora that “may be important in the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).”
Second, the digestive lining acts as part of our immune system by preventing toxins from entering the bloodstream and lymph. This lining is only one cell thick! Should this barrier become damaged, the immune system may go into overdrive and food intolerances and allergies may result, along with illness and inflammation. The small intestine measures roughly 20 to 25 feet long, so just imagine the vast surface area susceptible to leaky gut syndrome.
Third, the gut must remove the byproducts of metabolism and seek out vitamins and minerals within food. The byproducts of metabolism can become toxic if you suffer from constipation. If the gut fails to absorb vitamins and minerals, the body and brain will starve for nutrients.
According to Science magazine, these tasks of the digestive tract “appear to be breaking down, with chronic inflammatory diseases of the gut commonplace.” If you suffer from any digestive disorders or chronic health issues, your gut may be responsible and in need of some TLC.
To-Do For a Healthy Gut
- Choose a diet high in fiber, nutrients, and healthy fats, such as avocados and Omega-3s
- Follow my time-tested Digestive Health Detox.
- Take probiotic supplements to help restore healthy bacteria
- Find a qualified, licensed clinician (like a Naturopathic Doctor) and treat any intestinal pathogens, such as yeast and parasites.