Gut health, gut flora, microbiome….these are just a few of the many buzz words floating around health communities and in health magazines pertaining to gut health. But what does it all mean? What is the big tadoo with gut health, you might ask?
I have spent the last few years researching what it takes to have a healthy body and heal myself of my many food intolerances and persistent acne breakouts. After going Vegan, Keto, and strict Paleo I finally have zeroed in on what I believe to be the root/core of health and wellness. And that is, the condition and health of your gut.
What IS Your Gut???
Your gut is your gastrointestinal tract. It begins in the mouth and ends…well, you get the idea….out the ‘other’ end. It is comprised of your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. (2) (3)
The Role our Gut Plays in our Health
As Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, so simply stated many years ago, “All Disease begins in the gut”. If this is true, then we could also say “A healthy gut prevents disease” and “a healthy gut= a healthy body”.
More and more research is pointing to the fact that the condition of our gut directly affects the overall health of our body. The reason?
Our digestive system is the main immune organ in our body.
It is estimated that round 85 percent of our immune system is in our digestive tract, located in the walls of our gut. Therefore, the condition of your gut directly affects the functioning of body’s immune system. (1)
To go a step further, the mastermind that controls the immune tissue in our gut walls and how everything functions is, our gut flora.
Recent scientific research in Scandinavia now shows that about 90 percent of all the cells in our body are comprised of our gut flora. (1).
It is believed that we have over 100 trillion microbial cells in and on our bodies. The microbes that live in and on our bodies is called our microbiota. (4) The Our gut flora not only control our digestion and immune system but they directly affect our brain and behavior, our skin, our heart, our thyroid, our lungs… the list goes on.
They also directly affect our mood and play a major role in how we look, think and feel. Essentially, we are ruled by the state of our gut flora.
In a healthy person, their gut flora is dominated by beneficial microbes. It may sound crazy but healthy gut flora includes beneficial fungi, protozoa, beneficial viruses, and even beneficial worms. When your gut is healthy, all these beneficial microbes work together to live in harmony and keep your body balanced.
Amidst the beauty of all the beneficial microbes, it is important to recognize that there are also hundreds of bad bacteria and pathogenic microbes that coexist along-side the beneficial bacterial strains. For a person to be healthy and have strong immune system, these good bacteria must far outnumber the bad. And when your gut flora is dominated by healthy microbes, the pathogenic bacteria are outnumbered and kept in check, often remaining neutral.
However…..watch out! These neutral microbes are very opportunistic and when given opportunity, will eagerly take over and turn pathogenic.
How Do You Achieve Balance in your Gut?
Naturally, the question then is…how do you first attain and then sustain the much needed balance with your gut flora? To learn more, please stay tuned for future posts where I will explain the devastating effects of dis-regulated gut flora.
Until then, what can you do right now to make an impact on your gut health??? Get some good probiotics in your belly. Do it. Your gut will be thanking you. 😉
1. ‘Food is the Best Medicine’ Interview with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
2. ‘The Gut’ article (Source)
3. Enders, Giulia. Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ. Scribe, 2015. Print.
4. Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Human Health: An Integrative View: Jose C. Clemente, Luke K. Ursell, Laura Wegener Parfrey, Rob Knight. Cell: Volume 148, Issue 6, 16 March 2012, Pages 1258–1270.