Why Health Resides in the Gut
All disease begins in the gut
The gut: is basically one long (very long) tube that is open to the world beginning and end.
How the flip then do we stay healthy when we have two ends exposed to the elements? How is it that we not sick all the time? Well the whole length of the digestive tract is covered by a bacterial layer on the surface of the gut (science word alert!) epithelium which acts like a barrier. The bacteria also engages our immune system, creates the right PH balance and helps digest food. It acts like our suncream on a hot hot summers day, but as you know when you forget to put any sunscreen on the results can be pretty painful…
Our gut in years past was readily acknowledged as the ‘second brain’, of equal importance to our actual brain. It contains many similar cells and nerves, and as many of you will have experienced is completely linked to our brain functioning and emotions. In previous years the connection between our overall health and gut health was readily accepted, but our culture now cultivates a very disconnected attitude between our health and our gut and for that matter our bodies, food and emotions.
What happens then when it gets damaged? What happens when the good bacteria reduces and bad opportunistic bacteria flourishes? What happens if undigested food ends up in it? Well, in my personal opinion (and that of some medical professionals) I think a whole host of medical problems ranging from autism, schizophrenia, IBS, asthma, arthritis etc*, all can be rooted in the health and effective functioning of our gut.
I will focus quickly here on gut flora or good bacteria in the gut, and the importance of the right balance of it. If you imagine a large and very complex hotel, with lots of different visitors coming in and out, think of how important the housekeepers are to the success of that hotel. You may not notice them when they are there but boy you notice when you walk into a room with a disgusting bathroom, dirty sheets, bad smells and rotten food everywhere! Same for our digestive system, the many million types of bacteria in your gut (there is on average 1.5-2kg of bacteria in a healthy adult) are the house keepers for our bodies. They keep us clean, ward away disease, assist the immune system, encourage healthy elimination of toxins (poo) and protect our gut lining from the outside world. So all those adverts about friendly bacteria are in fact true – but please don’t buy those sugary pro-biotic drinks!
Want to know more about ensuring you have tons of these bacteria lining your gut , well stay tuned and share the knowledge – people would be gutted to miss out … sorry I just had to.
*please note I am not saying all of these conditions are caused only through gut damage, but I do believe it can be a contributing factor to all and therefore improving gut health can help alleviate many of the above.