Your Gut Microbiome
The digestive system is a very complex and important organ in our body. As a Naturopath we have always known how important good gut health is and now the science is catching up. You may not realise but our gut is actually not considered as an internal part of our body and it is exposed to outside threats of potential pathogens and a poor diet meaning we are constantly exposing our intestinal immune system to more foreign antigens than any other part of our body.
As there is many pathogens entering our body through our gut mucosa, we need to make sure that the lymphoid tissues (called Payer’s patches) provide an effective immune response. Unfortunately, when our digestive system has an overload of these pathogens, poor diet and lifestyle we trigger an inflammatory response both in our gut and more widely in the body.
There are many microorganisms living within our digestive system that work synergistically to help breakdown food so we can better absorb nutrients, fight back against not-so friendly microorganisms that have entered our system and help build and protect our gut lining being compromised a condition called Leaky Gut.
There are many ways that signals an unhealthy gut following is seven of the most common to watch out for
If you are experiencing bloating, smelly gas, heartburn, reflux, constipation and diarrhoea are all signs that you may not be digesting your food properly and eliminating waste products.
2. A diet high in processed and sugary foods
Our good bacteria needs fresh foods to thrive and when our diet is filled with processed and sugary foods we compromise the health of our microbiome and ultimately our health. Signs might be cravings for sugar, being hungry shortly after eating or even having that afternoon crash in energy.
3.Constant Fatigue and impaired sleep
Serotonin a hormone that is produced mainly in the gut is our ‘happy’ hormone and affects mood and sleep. If we have an unhealthy gut our body’s ability to produce this will be impaired and lack of sleep and there may also be a risk of a condition called fibromyalgia.
4. Skin conditions
Poor gut health has been linked to skin irritations like eczema, hives, urticaria etc. as the inflammation in the gut causes intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut) allowing proteins to spill into the body causing irritation of the skin
5. Weight gain or loss
Unexpected weight changes can be caused by an inability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar and even causing thyroid condition as our metabolic process is weakened. SIBO(Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), dysbiosis and malabsorption of nutrients can cause weight loss and weight gain may be caused from overeating as the nutrients missing in the diet makes cravings increase and raises the risk of insulin resistance (precursor to diabetes type 2)
Digesting certain foods can be difficult causing an intolerance. (not to be mistaken with food allergy). There is a belief that poor quality bacteria in our gut can cause food intolerance as we are unable to breakdown and digest these foods. Food intolerance symptoms can be very unpleasant like bloating, cramping, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, smelly gas and fatigue
7. Autoimmune Conditions
An unhealthy gut can cause systemic inflammation altering the proper function of our immune system. When contents of pathogens (viral, bacteria, candida) or undigested food particles spill into the rest of our body our immune system becomes switched on and gets confused, not differentiating between good and bad and begins to attack everything including itself causing an autoimmune response.
SO you if you have any of the above symptoms you need to start looking toward making your gut happy again