Your gut is your second brain, and is responsible for multiple bodily systems functioning. When your gut health is neglected, your body is unable to reach homeostasis and as a result does not function optimally and you can become unwell. The good news is, if you look after your gut and focus on healing and optimising its health, you will experience some pretty incredibly benefits.
Strengthen Your Immune System
The gut microbiome and immune system are a good team, they stimulate and modulate each other to manage inflammation and keep your body in homeostasis and absent of illness. However, like many relationships if one starts misfiring then the other will feel the knock-on effect. Therefore, your immune system requires a balanced microbiome.
The gut supports the immune system in so many ways, directly and indirectly. For example, good bacteria help break down short chain fatty acids into anti-inflammatory immune cells, these are known as T regulatory cells. There are many T cells and they ensure the immune system does not overreact, causing chronic inflammation, fight parasites and infections and help reduce inflammation from the immune response.
Different good bacteria promote production of different T cells, so it is essential that you have a diverse microbiome. If you lack good bacteria, have bacterial overgrowth or gut dysbiosis, or have been taking antibiotics that have wiped out your good bacteria, then your immune system will be heavily inhibited. This leads to allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Prevent Leaky Gut & Autoimmune Conditions
A leaky gut is when you have increased permeability of the intestinal wall. This means your intestinal wall has become damaged or loosened, allowing toxins and bacteria to make their way out of your gastrointestinal tract and into the rest of your body.
This can lead to a whole load of issues, such as chronic inflammation and this is a factor in ALL autoimmune conditions and diseases and puts HUGE stress on the body. Stress only makes any mental or physical health condition worse. So, I think we can agree it’s best to try and heal and avoid chronic inflammation.
Additionally, leaky gut puts the immune system in overdrive. The toxins, bacteria and even small food particles that have escaped via the intestinal wall are seen as ‘foreign invaders’ which the immune system attacks. This can cause the immune system to become depleted from overactivity or cause it to misfire meaning that it can mistake your own tissue for a foreign invader, leading to autoimmune conditions.
Fatigue is a symptom of every gut health issue out there. This is because the gut helps regulate your immune system, endocrine system, stress response and so much more. If the gut is imbalanced or unhealthy, it is not well equipped to do the jobs that are required of it, this results in exhaustion.
Not only that, so much of what the gut regulates is linked to maintaining your energy levels, therefore if the gut isn’t able to regulate and support your essential bodily systems, then they will suffer and not perform optimally. As a result, you become chronically fatigued.
If you have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, then your first port of call should be healing and rebalancing your gut.
The gut is responsible for producing hundreds of hormones and is a HUGE part of your endocrine system. Did you know that 95% of serotonin (aka “happy hormone”) is manufactured in the gut? Consequently, if you have poor gut health you won’t be producing enough serotonin to combat an overactive stress response, keep you feeling happy and optimistic and enjoy restorative sleep! And that’s just the impact on one hormone, just think how much your body could be affected by poor gut health with 100s of hormones being created there!
Additionally, the gut helps detoxify hormones and endocrine disruptors (such as pesticides and toxic cosmetic chemicals) from the body. For example, the gut is extremely important for regulating estrogen levels. If your gut is not able to facilitate this task, then you can end up with estrogen dominance, resulting in health concerns from acne and hair loss to infertility and even breast cancer.
A healthy gut maintains hormonal balance.
Support Your Brain & Mental Health
Your gut and brain are intrinsically linked, chemically and physically. Therefore, when something goes wrong in your gut, your brain is going to be impacted.
An imbalanced or unhealthy gut can lead to anxiety, cognitive decline, poor mental health, brain fog and can even lead to Alzheimer’s.
Leaky gut can cause leaky brain, resulting in dangerous levels of inflammation in your brain.
Your Skin, Hair & Nails Will Flourish
Your skin is a reflection of your body’s inner environment. So, if you’re suffering from skin issues then your body is telling you there is an internal issue that needs addressing. Eczema, rosacea and psoriasis are all inflammatory conditions. If you reduce inflammation by healing your gut, then naturally, these conditions will improve if not be eliminated.
From what I have seen in clinical practice, the root cause of inflamed skin begins in the gut, 9 times out of 10. An unhealthy gut is one of the main root causes for inflammation. However, inflammation can occur from hormone imbalances, excess toxicities, nutrient deficiencies, chronic stress and excessive immune reactions. Guess what? Healing your gut can help counter all of those issues too!
Also, if your digestive health is poor, you will not be absorbing nutrients properly. Nutrients are vital for maintaining good skin, hair and nail health. If your gut and digestive system are healthy then you will absorb everything from a nutrient-rich diet and your supplementation, allowing your hair and nails to strengthen and grow and your skin to truly glow. They don’t call it the ‘picture of health’ for nothing! When you are healthy, you feel healthy and you look healthy!
Additionally, acne is most often the result of hormonal imbalance and/or toxic load in the body. The gut is crucial for keeping your hormones balanced and also supporting the liver detoxify your body.
Eliminate Bloating & Symptoms of IBS
Gut dysbiosis is one of the main root causes for IBS and poor gut health naturally contributes to bloating. Bloating has been normalised, but it is absolutely not normal!! Our gut microbiota is essential for so many bodily functions, including digestion.
Due to an unhealthy lifestyle, many people’s gut microbiome tends to become imbalanced: bad bacteria in the stomach and intestines start to outgrow the good bacteria. This is known as gut dysbiosis.
There is usually an alteration in the gut flora which, in most cases, can be heavily linked to diet. This can be amplified by antibiotic use and/or overgrowth of bad bacteria. Additional causes or things that aggravate gut dysbiosis include candida overgrowth, parasites or H pylori. This strain on the digestive system results in uncomfortable ‘IBS’ symptoms such as pain, cramping, loose stools, gas, bloating, constipation, anxiety, depression and fatigue. A healthy gut will eliminate these digestive issues. Goodbye cramps and uncomfortable bloating – no more having to unbutton the top button of your jeans after eating!
When you heal your gut, you should see that your sleep vastly improves. This is because your gut plays a big part in keeping your melatonin levels healthy! Melatonin is the hormone that makes you fall asleep and keeps you asleep throughout the night.
What you might not expect is that often the low levels of melatonin are down to poor gut health. When you have a build-up of pathogenic bacteria, yeast, parasites and/or H. pylori your digestive system will not be functioning at its optimum. As a result, your body’s ability to manufacture serotonin is affected. Serotonin is required to produce sufficient melatonin because it is a pre-cursor to it! Too little melatonin over an extended period causes severe insomnia, which can drastically impact your overall health. Heal your gut and catch those zzz’s!
How To Reap The Benefits Of Good Gut Health
You need to reset and rebuild your gut health. If you want to identify your specific imbalances, then lab testing is the way to go, and it will also allow for a more personalised protocol. Otherwise, you can jump right in with the GI Protocol, which has helped hundreds of people and my clients rebalance and heal their guts. The result? They saw their health concerns melt away and watched the benefits bloom!