What Is Gut Health?

“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates

Even though Hippocrates made this statement over 2,000 years ago, we are just now understanding how correct he was. Gut health is critical to overall health and an unhealthy gut may contribute to chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety.

The human gut is home to 100 trillion microorganisms – these microorganisms have a profound impact on our health. They promote the movement of food through the intestines, protect against infection, produce vitamins, and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal mucus layer, all contributing to our overall health. However, modern lifestyles may disturb the gut and overall health.

  • Processed foods. The Standard American Diet is packed with processed foods which causes inflammation in the gut and contributing to many adverse health effects.
  • Low fiber diets. Fiber helps fuel our gut microbes and a lack of fiber is common in many peoples’ diets.
  • Added sugar. Sugar feeds the harmful gut bacteria and can contribute to yeast overgrowth, all which can make the gut inflamed.
  • Chronic stress also may lead to inflammation in the gut, making it harder for the microorganisms to do their job.
  • Chronic infections and antibiotics. Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections alter the composition of the gut, and repeated rounds of antibiotics to treat such infections also alter the gut microbiome.
  • Circadian rhythm disruption. Abnormal wake/sleep schedules and poor-quality sleep also causes an imbalance in the gut microbiome.

When the gut is inflamed and compromised, it may lead to ‘leaky gut’ which is when substances from the gut leak into your bloodstream and could be playing a role in many health conditions.

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