Why is it important to have a healthy gut? Our digestive tract is a huge barrier to the outside world and all of the foods that we eat. If this barrier is not taken care of properly, then this will begin to cause issues with inflammation of the body but also symptoms which we consider “common” in our society. Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.
80% of our immune system is found in our gut which is made up of bacteria which is naturally occurring in the gut to fight off all invaders that enter the digestive tract. The term “gut microbiome” refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. This is important to understand because when you take an antibiotic it is going to kill off all bacteria in our body. This includes the gut bacteria and this needs to be something that is replenished or your chances of getting sick again are going to be higher following the prescription due to the depletion of your good gut bacteria.
Mental health is influenced by the gut due to the “gut-brain axis.” This is a complex connection that has been recently discovered that shows massive effects on our brain function when the gut is compromised. Dysbiosis and inflammation of the gut have been linked to causing several mental illnesses including anxiety and depression, which are prevalent in society today. Hormones, neurotransmitters and immunological factors released from the gut are known to send signals to the brain either directly or via autonomic neurons. These neurotransmitters can have positive influences on the brain and result in good mental health and function or they can do the exact opposite and be a prime cause of mental health disorders. Probiotics have the ability to restore normal microbial balance, and therefore have a potential role in the treatment and prevention of anxiety and depression.
Autoimmune diseases can be initiated by a poor gut function. This can occur if we begin to see extensive damage to our gut lining. A recently discovered condition called “leaky gut” is a prime example of damage to the gut. We actually begin to see large holes being created in the gut lining due to damage of a poor diet. This allows large amounts of undigested food to cross into our bloodstream without being broken down first. When this happens we will begin an immune response to this tissue to get rid of it but if this is something that occurs for long periods of time the chronic nature of this will lead to increased damage. Most autoimmune diseases are large scale inflammation in our body and that doesn't just begin randomly.
These reasons talked about above are why I chose to participate in a gut resetting cleanse at least twice a year. Our gut is instrumental in many different functions to our body and an important system to maintain properly. Unfortunately due to our low quality food and water supplies our gut is constantly under attack. This is a perfect solution to give your gut a break and elevate its function.