Compromised gut health has repercussions beyond the gut -- allergies, diabetes, etc. Intestinal microflora make up 75% of your immune system. Disruptions impact your overall health. A leaky gut barrier abnormally retains toxins and sparks a heightened immune response, often leading to autoimmune diseases. Avoid antibiotics and refined foods. Supplement with probiotics.
I’m sure in your lifetime you have experienced bouts of gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, all of which are signs of an unhappy, unbalanced gut. But did you know that a damaged gut can lead to a whole list of other conditions and diseases, including lowered immune function, imbalanced hormones, skin issues, allergies, dizziness, and toxic overload, which untreated can lead to chronic disease?
Our Digestive System Runs Our Body
This is my absolute favorite system in the body, and you could say that I’m kind of obsessed with it. So much so that I get excited when a new client comes in for a visit and begins to explain all their digestive issues. Why does this excite me? Because I have worked with digestive issues for so long with myself and my clients that I have become very good at uncovering the underlying causes and repairing this system, and I know that I can help these clients feel great again and have vibrant healthy lives again.
I know how it feels when your health problems start interfering with your daily life: feeling uncomfortable and tired at work; not having the energy to enjoy your social life or time with family; waking up every day with unexplained aches and pains; missing work because of illnesses; not feeling good in your own skin because you are always bloated, gassy, and constipated no matter what you eat or take; dealing with unsightly and irritating skin rashes, brain fog, mood disorders, psoriasis, and so many other frustrating symptoms that never seem to end!
Why Is Gut Health Important?
Hippocrates stated over 2,000 years ago that all health begins in the gut, but research has only recently begun to uncover the connection between the gut and the health of the whole body. I always tell my clients “heal the gut, heal the body.”
There are two variables that dictate a healthy gut: the gut flora and the gut barrier. There are many things we do and are exposed to that can affect those two very important balances within our digestive system.
Gut flora helps ensure proper gastrointestinal function. What a lot of people don’t realize is that it makes up about 75% of our immune system guarding against infection and inflammatory diseases. An imbalance in gut flora can lend to autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and IBS/IBD.
What Causes Gut Flora Imbalance?
There are many things that can destroy our gut flora, such as:
- Antibiotic use
- A diet of processed foods and sugar
- Inadequate digestive enzymes and HCL
- Toxic overload from metals, chemicals, mold, etc.
- Pathogen infections (parasites, virus, bacteria, yeast, fungus)
- Chronic stress
- Certain medications or overuse
- Birth control pills
Our intestinal barrier is what keeps things that don’t belong in our body from entering. It acts as a gatekeeper, only allowing in what belongs and sending what doesn’t straight out through our colon. When this barrier becomes disrupted, foreign particles begin to leak through this barrier and create what’s known as “leaky gut.” When these unwanted particles enter the body, it sets off an immune response and begins to fight. These attacks often contribute to autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The integrity of the intestinal barrier once damaged begins to affect other body systems. The body can no longer filter out toxins as it used to and it becomes overloaded and more sensitive and begins to affect organs like the brain, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and skeletal system, bringing on a new host of symptoms that you may not have experienced before.
Once the intestinal barrier is damaged, you are also less likely to be able to deal with pathogens that enter your body as your immune system becomes more suppressed and more inflammation is created leading to viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infection, again creating more symptoms.
Can you see where I’m going with this and why the gut is so vital to your overall health? I see clients in the office who have imbalanced flora and a damaged gut who have never had any digestive issues but are suffering with hormone imbalances and autoimmune conditions.
How To Maintain Gut Health?
- Avoid damaging processed foods and eat whole real foods.
- Consume healthy prebiotic and probiotics in the form of supplements or foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, sweet potatoes, yams, yucca (healthy prebiotic starches).
- Test for and treat any underlying infection.
- Include lots of anti-inflammatory omegas from plants and animals.
- Heal and seal the gut with specific gut-healing supplementation.
- Reduce stress.