Gut Health Series: Formation
We’ve all been told to eat right and exercise, but the reasons to do so extend far deeper than how we fit into and feel in our clothes.
The health of your digestive tract or “gut” plays a key role is your overall health and well-being. Your gut runs from your mouth to your anus and affects every system in the body.
Around 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many more people have other digestive problems and are affected by poor nutrient absorption and inflammation. These digestive problems are not only painful but can lead to other more serious conditions.
The Community Gastrointestinal section will be featuring a series of 6 blog posts dedicated to education on:
- How gut health is formed
- Leaky gut
- Symptoms of poor gut function
- Prebiotics and probiotics
- Gut health’s link to mental health
- Inflammation and autoimmunity
How Gut Health is Formed
Gut health starts at birth. Our first interaction with bacteria occurs in our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth through the birth canal. Therefore, our mother’s microbiome, and the environment around us play a role in our overall gut health. Our second introduction is via colostrum from the first breast milk feeding. Because we don’t have much control over how we came into this world or if we were breastfed, paying attention to lifestyle factors that contribute to poor gut health and working towards healthy gut flora across your lifetime will be extremely important for your overall health.
Factors that contribute to poor gut health
Lack of exercise/movement
Lack of diversity in the diet
Lack or prebiotics in the diet
Overconsumption of antibiotics
Alcohol and tobacco
Toxins in our physical and chemical environment
Not drinking enough water
Painkillers, NSAIDS, over the counter medications
Travel to other countries-parasites, infectious diseases
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is lined with microbes, which includes bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. Gut bacteria perform many important functions in the body, including immune system support, assistance with serotonin production, digestion and processing of food, and disposal of toxins and other foreign substances that come into the body.
We need a diverse balance of good bacteria, but when bad bacteria get introduced or good bacteria get out of balance, dysbiosis can occur which can lead to a host of health conditions including digestive issues, inflammation, weight fluctuation, skin conditions, mental health impairments and chronic illness. It is extremely imperative to keep your gut bacteria as friendly and abundant as possible.
The Health Nucleus features a microbiome test – an analysis of a stool sample that provides a summary of microorganisms and their genetic material that reside in the GI tract. We also provide a multi-targeted stool DNA test which is a colorectal cancer screening alternative.
With this health intelligence, certified nutritionists can provide individually-tailored guidance to help restore gut functioning through targeted nutrition, supplements and lifestyle recommendations.