5 Things You Didn’t Know Your Gut Could Do!
By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
Your gut, AKA your digestive system (or gastrointestinal tract), does so much more for you than simply break down your food and make you poop. You gut is like its own little world, run by different strains of bacteria that interact with each other and thrive in the right environment. This is called the microbiome. More research about the gut is emerging, suggesting that it is way more important than we give it credit for. So, let’s find out what all the hype is about!
What can your gut do for you?
1. Make you feel happy
Did you know that up to 90% of the happy hormone serotonin, is produced in your gut? Serotonin is responsible for producing a happy, stable mood and is also the precursor to melatonin- the wonderful sleep hormone. Research has shown that those with lower levels of good bacteria in their gut, have lower serotonin production. The gut also acts like a second brain, using a pathway called the gut-brain axis. Basically, the gut is lined with neurons that send messages to your brain and back. If your gut is damaged, inflamed or overrun by bad bacteria, these messages can be interrupted and contribute to low mood. Have you been feeling blue? Maybe you need to give your gut some TLC (Tender Loving Care)! Tyrosine can also help to lift your mood.
2. Strengthen your immune system
Your microbiome is a complex colony of probiotics that help to ward off invading bacteria and keep candida at bay. Your gut acts as a shield from the outside world, protecting your body from pathogens that enter your body through your mouth. About 70% of your immune system actually resides in your gut, filtering the good from the bad. Your digestive enzymes also have the role of dissolving substances that could potentially be harmful to the body. If your gut is out of whack, so is your immune system! If you suffer from allergies, frequent infections or an autoimmune disease, addressing your gut health should be top priority.
3. Give you glowing skin
Your skin is a reflection of what is happening within your body. If your detoxification organs are working effectively, and you are eliminating waste efficiently, your skin should look and feel healthy. When your gut is in poor health, this can show up on your skin. Your body produces immune complexes to repair the gut lining, and these can be deposited in the skin causing a flare up. If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes and acne, the underlying cause might be damage, inflammation and dysbiosis (imbalance) in your gut. Treating your gut may be more beneficial than putting harmful chemicals on your skin.
4. Keep you slim and trim
Bacteria in the digestive system break down fibre, and may play a role in fat storage, metabolism, blood sugar stabilisation and hunger hormone regulation. Studies have shown that infants born via C-section and bottle fed (who are not exposed to their mother’s bacteria) have a higher risk of developing obesity and diabetes. It has also been found that obese individuals have less diverse bacteria in their guts. Whilst the research is not concrete at the moment, improving your gut microbiome to maintain a healthy weight is definitely worth a try!
5. Enhance your nutrient profile
When you eat food, the nutrients don’t just magically enter your blood stream. The food is broken down by saliva, digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, before entering the small intestine. This is where the cells lining the intestinal walls extract vitamins, minerals, amino acids and lipids from the food for absorption. When the lining of your digestive tract is inflamed or damaged (such as leaky gut), the intestinal cells are less able to absorb nutrients, and deficiencies can occur. If you are deficient in iron, B12 or any other nutrient, healing the gut is just as important as addressing the diet. Ultimate Gut Health powder has healing amino acids, soothing fibres and a probiotic to restore gut health.