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Facts About Gut Health You Must Know About

By Saksham Bhatia +2 more

You’ve probably heard of the gut-brain connection. However, recent research has revealed that gut health can have an impact on your entire body. The gastrointestinal (digestive) system is the primary “portal” for nutrient intake and processing, but it also serves as a communication hub and disease fighter. A healthy gut influences everything from your nervous and immune systems to your mental health and digestive function. Gut health overall correlates with your general wellbeing, your bone and skin health & your power to fight infections. 

What does gut health mean and how does it affect bodily functions? 

Also known as the digestive tract or the gastrointestinal tract, the gut covers the parts of the body involved with food intake and output from top to bottom. The mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, colon and rectum are all included. 

However, when we talk about gut health, we’re talking about the bacteria in the microbiome and most of the “microbiome magic” occurs in the large intestine. Our body has a symbiotic relationship with our microbiome. It consumes all of these microorganisms, digests them and then produces other compounds that our body can use. So, while some bacteria are harmful to our health and others are beneficial, both must exist and the right balance is maintained. The gut system is the largest endocrinological system too as it produces large amounts of substances that help in various functions and interactions. It ranges from fulfiling your satiety, making you happy, producing love hormones and preventing you from getting acne too !!!.

The bacteria in the gut help to break down food, turning it into nutrients your body can use. Your gut microbiome impacts both your physical and mental health as research has time and again shown that there is intrinsic relation between gut microbiome and immune system, sleep, cardiovascular system.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Here are some ways in which your gut bacteria can impact your health

Digestive health

Many of the microbes in your gut are types of good bacteria that aid in digestion, nutrient absorption and other functions. However, when the bacteria in your gut become out of balance, you can develop a variety of gastrointestinal issues. Irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease are examples of these issues.

Obesity, weight gain and diabetes

Gut bacteria affects the body’s metabolism and an imbalance in gut bacteria levels may increase the risk of diabetes and obesity. Researchers are investigating how gut signals affect metabolism and contribute to problematic health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.

Brain health

The brain and the gut are inextricably linked, which is why some people feel sick to their stomachs when stressed. The brain and the gut constantly communicate with one another. As a result, issues with your gut or gut bacteria can exacerbate anxiety, depression or stress. However, these types of conditions can also cause digestive issues. Some researchers believe that gut health has an impact on chronic pain, as well as mood and behaviour. Some experts, therefore, call the gut your second brain. 

Heart health

Researchers have discovered that eating foods like eggs and red meat is bad for our digestive tract. Certain gut bacteria convert the nutrient choline into a dangerous substance known as trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Unfortunately, elevated TMAO levels can increase the risk of stroke, blood pressure, blood clots and other conditions.

The immune system

By communicating with immune system cells, the gut helps to build and boost the body’s immune system, as well as protect against infection. A study discovered that a baby’s gut bacteria differ depending on whether they are breastfed or formula-fed and that these bacteria can affect their immunity. Breastfed babies have healthy gut microbiota and may be more resistant to certain health conditions. Researchers believe there is a link between a healthy infant’s gut microbiota and the ability to protect against diseases such as obesity and diabetes later in life.

Skin diseases

Skin and gut microbiota are interrelated. Various diseases usually occur due to poor gut health. Some diseases like acne, dandruff and rosacea are due to direct dietary habits like increased consumption of sugar, red meat, alcohol and unhealthy fats. While certain other diseases are due to leaky gut. For Example- atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten sensitivity.

Bone disease

Chronic inflammatory diseases are often supposed to be initiated due to abnormal microbes present in the guts. This often results in an increased inflammatory state of the body and more prone to acquiring rheumatoid arthritis and low bone density in form of osteoporosis. There are ongoing studies, in which probiotics can help absorb calcium better and promote bone-forming cells.

Reproductive system

Gut microbes can affect your fertility status. Indeed, new studies have revealed how poor gut health can cause an estrogen imbalance, which may lead to infertility issues ranging from endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome to testicular dysfunction. That is, it may affect both males and females.

Gut and eye

There are scientific studies that show how a leaky gut may prone an individual to develop dry eye, Uveitis and Glaucoma.

By consuming a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes in the diet one can improve the overall health of the gut to a great extent. It has also been proved that Antibiotics can wipe out good and bad bacteria from our bodies. Therefore, reducing the consumption of antibiotics and taking more pre and probiotics, can help maintain a healthy gut. Making small changes to our diets can have a big impact in the long run. Certain foods that you can take daily and are excellent probiotics are curd, greek yoghurt, buttermilk, lassi, overnight soaked rice with its water, smoothies, onions, whole wheat, cottage cheese, garlic, apple, soy milk etc.

Eat right to stay fit. Now that you know how important is your gut health, be mindful of keeping it healthy.

Also Read: What Is Leaky Gut: Exploring the Facts and Debunking the Myths

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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