Gut health is critical for overall health. About 85% of our immune function lies in our gut. Neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine line our intestinal tract, which is why our gut is called our “second brain”. We have an ecosystem that needs to be maintained in order for our body and brain to be working optimally.
There are many things that influence our gut that can lead to a “leaky” gut. Medication and chronic alcohol use, antibiotics, poor food choices, emotional and physical stress and trauma, and viruses and offending bacterial infections are just a few examples that cause disruption of our gut flora.
A leaky gut can cause us to over load the liver and result in deficient detoxification ability. This can lead to a whole host of problems leading to disease risk. So how can we support and heal our gut? Eat as closely to nature as possible and reduce toxic load. Exercise regularly to help circulation and detoxificaiton. De-stress through meditation, mindful quiet time, low impact exercise, deep belly breathing, etc and get good quality sleep!
Eat foods that support the bacteria in the gut. Fermented foods are fantastic choices along with avoiding sugar and processed grain choices. Reduce the amount of cooked meats and choose wild caught fish and organic eggs for protein. Choose fermented vegetarian protein sources and limit the amount of estrogenic soy products. Eat more GREENS!! Choose healthy fats and be careful when cooking at high heat temps so you turn your fats into oxidized harmful fats. Increase your fiber through whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and to simply put it…..plants from the earth!
Lastly, support your gut via supplementation such as digestive enzymes and probiotics. Probiotics are the helpful bacteria you find in many fermented foods such as kefir and yogurt. In higher doses, they have been found to support gut health and immune function. The use of daily probiotic supplements can greatly improve gut health, decrease gas and bloating associated with gut inflammation or disruption. If you currently take medication, have a history of immune sensitivities or deficiencies, have a history of antibiotic use, or have bloating or gut issues, you are a candidate for supplementation.
What do our healthy gut bugs do for us?
-they protect our bodies from external and internal toxins
-they support the immune system and moderate inflammation (keep it in check)
-they help break down and metabolize carcinogens
-they make B vitamins which are critical for detoxification and many other metabolic functions of the body
-they produce butyrate and short chain fatty acid that nourishes the intestinal lining. Butyrate is also found in butter
-they ferment non-digestible fibers to help increase nutrient absorption
A healthy gut = a healthier mind and body. Contact me for more information on different strains and dosing for individualized health.