If you’re just starting or in the middle of your health journey, then this is the perfect time for a gut check. Here are five facts about gut health you should know.
The Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract is similar to a tunnel going through a mountain.
The tract, unattached to our body, is just a tube passing through us and our bodies’ job is to extract nutrients from the food passing through “the tunnel.” From good and bad bacteria, yeast, and acid to parasites and toxins, the tract has to decide who’s friend or foe and what to invite into our system.
Once in, it flows to the liver and blood. Unhealthy GI tracts are developed based on our diet and lifestyle, which reduces protection from diseases and cause inflammation and chronic illnesses.
Your gut bacteria produces 90% of all your serotonin.
Serotonin, our “happy” hormone, is produced in the GI tract. From there, it travels to the brain and has it influence. This explains why the foods we eat have a direct impact on our mood. If we are eating unhealthy foods and don’t have good bacteria in our gut, our production level of serotonin becomes reduced, eventually leading to an avalanche of health issues.
Our health choices can alter our genes.
Diets and lifestyles can change the expression of our genes by influencing a network of chemical switches within our cell collectively known as epigenetics. The way we choose to eat and live affects how our genes are expressed. These choices, if unhealthy, is the basis for all chronic disease. Just because it’s in our genes doesn’t necessarily mean we have to inherit it.
Processed foods are interpreted by the gut as “attackers”.
Studies show that high carb/high sugar diets, which typically comprises processed foods, amplify inflammation and lead to a host of diseases. Replacing processed foods with prebiotic and probiotic foods is a good pivot to make to increase your gut health. For example, fiber is a prebiotic that bacteria converts to healthy chemicals for nourishment, which also help prevent colon cancer.
Altering bacteria in the gut through specific diets helps treat stress-related and neurodevelopmental disorders.
In functional medicine, the healing process for leaky gut syndrome, which is caused by bad bacteria, requires the 5 R’s: removing, replacing, reestablishing, repairing, and rebalancing. By effectively balancing the right bacteria, enzymes, and acids in the gut, we can heal our gut and positively influence our overall health outlook.
Dr. Thornburg has dedicated his career to providing personalized, patient care for families to live their best, healthy existence. Stay connected and be the first to know about upcoming webinars and wellness tips by subscribing to our newsletter.
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