We Take a Deep Dive into the Importance of Gut Health
How this can Change your life?
A deep dive into the importance of the gut wouldn't be complete without starting with some fun (and mind blowing) facts about our gut.
- The gut refers to the entire tube from mouth to anus where food goes in and essentially comes out
- It is considered somewhat external being a tube from one end to the other
- The surface area of the digestive tract is around the size of a tennis court, with the intestines (small and large) being about 6.7m in length
- Over 95% of the body's serotonin (happy hormone) is produced in the gut
- Over 70% of our immune system is in the gut
- The microbiome (in the mouth and gut) amounts to around 46 million bacterial genes, 10x that of humans.
- The gut and brain communicate
"Over 70% of our immune system is in the gut"
Following that I don't feel like I need to say more but lets really drive this home. Being a tube essentially exposed to the outside world, the gut sits alongside the skin and our biggest defence to outside onslaughts such as pathogens. Knowing this it makes perfect sense that the majority of our immune system sits within the gut which leads me to the vital relationship between gut health and overall health.
"...the immune system is suddenly attacking ingested food proteins - cue food intolerances, histamine sensitivities or basically feeling like you pick up every single cold/flu/bug going around."
When the gut has been compromised, the most common reason being leaky gut due to medications, alcohol, drug use, parasites, gluten, dairy, processed foods, stress, sugars… the list goes on. Suddenly the immune system is exposed and instead of purely reacting to things that have permeated the gut barrier such as small microbes or viruses, the immune system is suddenly attacking ingested food proteins - cue food intolerances, histamine sensitivities or basically feeling like you pick up every single cold/flu/bug going around.
"Poor gut health --> Poor mental health --> Poor sleep --> inability to handle stress --> worse gut health -> cycle continues."
This leaky gut picture can then impact things like our serotonin production. While famous for being our happy hormone, thus playing a huge role in our mental health. Serotonin also converts to melatonin to help us sleep. Poor gut health --> Poor mental health --> Poor sleep --> inability to handle stress --> worse gut health -> cycle continues.
"...emotions are felt in the gut..."
Further to mental health, with millions of nerves connecting the gut and brain via the Vagus nerve, emotions are felt in the gut such as feeling sick to the stomach, the environment in the gut also affects cognition driving brain fog, mental clarity, memory, headaches as well as smaller functions like feeling full, hunger and cravings.
So why is gut health important and how can a healthy gut change your life?
I think the facts speak for themselves.
- Rowena Bendbow (In-house Naturopath)