Gut health is the basis for which all our other body systems function. When our digestive system is happy, our bodies are happy, and here’s why:
- Nutrient absorption – we absorb most of our nutrients in the small intestine, some in the mouth and stomach, and mostly absorb water in the large intestine. If we don’t break down foods well in the stomach, have an unhealthy gut flora, or inflammation or damage in the gut lining, we limit our ability to absorb nutrients from food. The most common issues with absorption are in people who have SIBO, Crohn’s, Celiac and GERD. We often see low levels of Vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and more, which causes symptoms including fatigue, low mood, bone density issues, and others.
- Gut micro biome – we’re still learning about how the gut flora impacts our overall health. We know that the microbes living in our gut influence our immune system, inflammation, nutrient absorption, and hormone production and more, so having a healthy gut flora is one of the most impactful elements o how our digestive health influences our health as a whole.
- Hormone production – we make most of our hormones, including 90% of our serotonin and 50% of our dopamine (think anti-anxiety and anti-depression), in the gut lining using building blocks from food sources, primarily healthy fats and proteins. If our gut health is off-balance, often seen in people with IBS, boating, IBD and SIBO, our ability to produce hormones impacted, and we can develop concerns with menstrual irregularities, mental health and more.
- Immune system – 70% of our immune system originates in the gut. This means our ability to recognize and fight infection, and to regulate chronic #inflammation and limit threats like cancer and autoimmune disease is initiated in the gut lining. A healthy gut flora and gut barrier helps to balance and regulate our immune system.
- Waste elimination – our bodies are continually breaking down, detoxifying and eliminating waste through the bowels. When our bowels move too quickly we don’t absorb nutrients well, but if they move too slowly wastes are reabsorbed and build up in the system. A healthy digestive pathway helps keep our bodies from a high toxic burden, which can result in things like fatigue, brain fog, acne, and hormonal concerns.
How do I know if my gut is happy?
We should be having at least one fully evacuated, well-formed, easily passed bowel movement daily. There should be no blood, mucous or undigested food (except corn…) in the stool. You should not feel bloated, excessively gassy, or have abdominal pain. The best way to think about it is that if your gut is happy, your bowels should be something you rarely think about – you go when you go, and the rest of the time your digestion is not a concern.
Our bowel movements are one of the best indicators we have for our overall health. If you are having digestion challenges, it may be your body’s way of telling you that it needs support. When we improve your bowel health, we usually improve many other symptoms across the whole body – pain, headaches, acne, autoimmunity, eczema, fatigue, anxiety… they all originate in the digestive tract.
The healthier the gut, the healthier the body!
Book an appointment to get your digestive health back on track here.