Your gut tells you a lot more than if your dinner didn’t agree with you. The gut is known as the “second brain,” impacting nearly every part of the body. An entire ecosystem thrives (or struggles) in your gut and digestive tract, with trillions of bacteria known as gut flora – that's certainly more than you can count on your fingers.
This microbiome helps us in a variety of ways from digestion and energy to our mental health and immunity. In this article, our functional fitness doctor explains how your gut communicates with other parts of your body and can make or break your health. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the guts so you can use this knowledge to upgrade your overall vitality.
Digestive & Metabolic Health
A significant portion of the microbes in your belly are helpful bacteria that aid in digestion, nutrient absorption, and more. However, if the delicate balance within this system is set off-kilter, you may experience various gastrointestinal issues. This can include:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Issues with your gut bacteria may additionally lead to metabolic problems such as obesity, weight gain, and Diabetes.
The brain and gut have a strong connection through the nervous system, which is why some people may feel sick to their stomach in the face of stress and anxiety. Gut imbalances can result in mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and chronic stress.
Your gut health and diversity have a bidirectional impact on your mental health. Imbalances in the microbiome can cause stress and anxiety.
However, the problem can also occur the other way around with mental health conditions negatively impacting the digestive tract. This is why it’s important to work with a holistic medical practitioner such as Dr. Damon at Seed and Soil Wellness.
Our functional medicine providers will get to the root cause of your systems and send you home with a detailed plan of action to support your body and mind on the journey towards ultimate health.
Research has shown that specific kinds of gut bacteria convert the nutrient, choline, into a substance called trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO. Elevated TMAO increases your risk of strokes, blood clots, and other heart issues.
Another study using lab mice discovered gut microbes may help repair heart attack damage by regenerating harmed tissues, but a deeper investigation is necessary to understand what this means in humans.
The Immune System
Over 70% of the immune system resides within the gut where bacteria are highly diverse. The relationship between your gut and the immune system is bidirectional, both impacting one another.
How the Immune System Works
The health of the immune system is composed of cells, proteins, and organs crucial for protecting the body from harmful pathogens that can cause acute and chronic illness. The immune system’s goal is to recognize, identify, and neutralize harmful substances within the body.
Our innate immune system uses killer cells and phagocytes, which protect the body through passageways such as the mouth, skin, and nose. The adaptive immune system functions by targeting pathogens that the body has already encountered, which is why the body has an easier time recovering from a virus it has already seen.
The Connection to the Gut
Your immunity is a highly intelligent system but can become weak or malfunction and confuse healthy cells with antigens, leading to autoimmunity and disease, especially if your gut is imbalanced.
The gut communicates with immune cells, and studies have shown that the gut microbiome begins training our immune system from the moment we are born by helping immune cells distinguish foreign entities from our tissue.
The gut begins training our immune cells from the moment we are born.
In 2018, a study found that babies who are formula fed tend to have a less diversified gut microbiome, which can lead to adverse health conditions. Scientists in the gut health field believe that healthy gut microbiota within an infant may be able to predict whether or not a person develops obesity or diabetes later in life.
How to Support a Healthy and Diverse Gut
While ‘bad guys’ can overpopulate the gut, you have much more control over our biodiversity than you think and can flip the narrative. Changing the way that you eat is one of the first steps in restoring gut health. The helpful bacteria in our guts rely on a fiber-rich diet that our cells are unable to digest on their own. This includes vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Apart from therapeutic food plans, you can support our guts in the following ways:
Multi-strain probiotic supplementation
Adequate sleep and sleep quality
Functional movement and exercise
Elimination or reduction of dietary triggers and toxins
Stress management or transmutation
A personalized approach to gut health is key to supporting the longevity of the unique individual. Improving balance within the intestinal microbiome is the key to not only strengthening resilience for those with chronic disease but also optimizing immunity and preventing disease in healthy patients.
For this reason, we recommend working with a provider who will listen to your specific history and goals and understands that each body is uniquely impacted by the environment.
Our team at Seed and Soil Wellness greatly cares about your story and wants to help you get back on track. Schedule your evaluation with Dr. Damon today!
Learn More > The Second Brain in Your Gut
Trust Your Gut with Seed and Soil Wellness
Your gut is at your core – the center of your being. It communicates with various parts of your body on both mental and physical levels. Because of this, it plays a pivotal role in your health and can determine whether you feel amazing or fall into chronic health struggles.
It’s always a good idea to do a gut check and listen to what your body is telling you. Listen to it whisper, so you don’t have to hear it scream.
Whether you’re dealing with serious symptoms or simply want a checkup to make sure everything is functioning as it should be, come visit our functional medicine practice. We are on your side and will deeply listen to any concerns you may have.