When you hear someone talk about “gut health,” what they’re referring to is basically an optimally functioning gastrointestinal tract. All of the tissues and organs between your mouth and your anus affect digestion and absorption of nutrients.
If your gut is not healthy, you’re not going to get the nutrients that your body needs in order to function optimally.
Plus, your gut is one of the first lines of defense for your immune system. Most people with autoimmune conditions have an unhealthy gut. An unhealthy gut can also lead to hormonal imbalances. You need a healthy gut with healthy microflora in order to metabolize your hormones properly.
In the small intestine, the endothelial lining allows micronutrients like amino acids, fatty acids, glucose, and vitamins and minerals to pass through to your bloodstream. If your gut is not functioning normally, you will not absorb nutrients properly.
You have a transpermeable membrane lining your colon, which functions to pull water in or out of the feces so that it’s formed and easy to pass. If the colon lining becomes damaged by infection or inflammation, the cells are too far apart. This leads to a leaky gut. A leaky gut allows toxins and allergens to pass from the feces into the bloodstream. This can trigger an exaggerated immune response, including autoimmunity where your immune system attacks normal cells.
Another reason why gut health is so important is the brain gut connection.
Your brain and your gut talk to each other by way of your hypothalamus. Your hypothalamus is incredibly sensitive to the neuro endocrine function of the gut. This means the nervous system and the hormone production of the gut. Yes, your gut makes hormones too. Imbalances in the brain-gut connection can lead to mood disorders, and affect memory, weight, and metabolism. There’s also a connection between the lungs and the gut. An unhealthy gut can cause an inflammatory reaction in the lungs, leading to respiratory diseases.
Maintaining optimal gut health is more than taking probiotics to replenish the good bacteria in your intestine. There are prebiotics and postbiotics to consider. Probiotics function as food for the probiotics, and postbiotics are the bioactive compounds produced by the probiotics. Plus, diagnosing functional gut issues can be difficult without a comprehensive digestive stool analysis.
So are you producing enough digestive enzymes and bile salts?
Is your gut pH proper for digestion and absorption? Do you have enough beneficial bacteria, as well as a variety of commensal microflora, to support your beneficial bacteria? Are your microflora producing an adequate amount of postbiotics to keep your gut healthy? Do you have any pathogens in your gut, including overgrowth of Candida? Do you have any signs of immune reactions or inflammation?
There’s so much information we can get by evaluating your stool to determine whether your gut is healthy.
If you have any questions about gut health, please join me in our Hormone Support Group. You’ll get access through our free Hormone Reboot Training.