Gut is a very loose term for the whole digestive tract, pretty much anything you put in your mouth and the tunnel it goes through to come out the other end. I do love all talk digestion and poo, as a naturopath it’s a big focus and rightly so, since it’s the system that fuels all the rest!
We now know that 75% of your keeping you well, immune system lies in your gut, 90% of your feel good happy hormone, serotonin is produced in the gut, your control centres for absorbing nutrients, minerals and water and the protection against pathogens and bacteria is in your gut, your enteric nervous system is in your gut and is connected to the largest cranial nerve, which talks to your brain and vice versa. We also know that we have over 39 trillion bacterial cells in the body living in and on us, compared with only 30 trillion human cells in the body.
So, I have lots of bugs living inside me and on me?
Well yes! It’s a great thing, as long as those bacteria are behaving themselves and you are looking after them. If not you may be getting those unfortunate gassy symptoms, pain from bloating, even bad breath and nausea. These bad bacteria over populate, the by-products produced by these such as methane and hydrogen can ramp up, and cause the unfortunate increased size of your stomach and discomfort you feel. These symptoms can be a warning sign that some imbalances are happening and that you need to get to the cause before it turns more sinister.
Feeding the good guys and starving out the baddies.
What makes it go so wrong?
Eating a standard diet high in processed foods, sugar and low nutrients unfortunately feeds mostly the bad guys, and increases inflammation. As does the lifestyle we live, that may include smoking, alcohol, high stress, lack of movement and environmental toxins. So, feeding these bad guys what they want makes us crave more of that. Feeding the cycle making you more and more bloated.
When you change your diet and nourish your body, you will eventually get an increase in the good guys, however, consulting a gut specialist like a naturopath you can push this process along so you get faster results.
Let’s talk about inflammation.
It’s the number one issue when it comes to aging and disease! So, where does inflammation come from? Good question! It happens from poor food choices, the intolerances we have to foods, the stress and lifestyle choices we make, the viruses and bacteria that imbalance our body, plus lots more. What does this do to your gut? it’s not pretty. Histamine reactions are one issue, autoimmune can be another, dysbiosis (imbalance of the bacteria), leaky gut (holes in your intestinal wall), toxin overload from reabsorption of metabolites and the endo (internal) and exotoxins (external). These causes of inflammation further increase bad digestive symptoms and overgrowth of the bad bacteria. These issues can be easily and quickly resolved with just a little dedication and knowledge.
So how can I look after my friends?
Lucky for us our bodies are very forgiving and love to look after us. The intestinal cells turn over new cells every 4-5 days. So, in a way a fresh start every week.
Treating imbalances comes down to removing the causative factors, the poor lifestyle and diet choices, the intolerances or allergies to foods and giving the intestinal cells a helping hand with medicinal supplements such as glutamine, aloe, turmeric and slippery elm which are some of the many ways you can help.
Diet is a massive part but it’s not everything, and it may not rectify the unfortunate damage that’s already happened straight away. An antibacterial protocol is sometimes needed to push out the bad and allow the good to thrive. A gut repair and refeed protocol as well as a gut health diet that focuses on your key issues. Functional testing for identifying what bacteria and possible parasites you have may also be needed. A functional naturopath like myself will be able to give you direction on the how’s and when. Doing this correctly can ensure you don’t get unbearable symptoms as well as making sure you are looking after and refeeding your good friends.
These bacteria we talk of are also on your skin, in your mouth and in your hair. So not only do we need to look after our inside friends but also watch out for those on the outside. This is where reducing your chemicals in your personal care products and toxins within the home and work environments come in. (look out for my next workshop on health in your home to learn more)
Be kind to yourself!
We are all human, so some of these changes can seem overwhelming and bearing in mind a habit can take up to 21 days to form or break, so more often than not it’s a mental and emotional issue we need to be working through as well as the external influences.
So the next time you ask yourself…
Why am I so bloated? My bacteria did it! Why am I so gassy? My bacteria made me do it!!
If you need support to get your gut health back on track, give me a call on 94468322