Once you identify the signs to look for, you can come up with a plan to get your gut back on track. It is said that the gut is the body’s second brain and when the gut is not healthy, the whole body can suffer. To understand why this happens, you first need to know how a healthy gut is supposed to work.
Signs of Good Gut Health
Your digestive tract begins with your mouth and ends with your anus. Its role is to absorb food, digest it, absorb nutrients and expel the remaining waste products. But how do you know if it is working well? A healthy bowel is usually functioning properly when you have a bowel movement once or twice a day, and the stools are well formed and easy to pass. These daily bowel movements should be free of symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, and loose stools. Other signs of a healthy bowel are the absence of rectal symptoms like hemorrhoids and abdominal symptoms like gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.
In other words, l gut just works. With a well-functioning digestive system, you are not reactive to food or outside inputs such as stress or environmental factors. You are also less susceptible to conditions such as skin disorders, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory reactions and other health conditions.
Common signs of a bad gut health
On the other hand, an unhealthy gut can be linked to various symptoms throughout the body, including:
1 The discomfort of stomach
If your stomach is frequently upset with symptoms such as gas, bloating and abdominal pain, these may be signs of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) , a common condition that affects the large intestine. A review published in July 2018 in the journal F1000 Research suggested that imbalances in bacteria diseases, called dysbiosis, may play a role in the development of IBS in some people.
A study published in April 2017 in the journal Microbiome found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome may have imbalances in the gut microbiome, which consists of the bacteria, microorganisms, fungi, and viruses present in the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers also found that nearly half of people with fatigue also had irritable bowel syndrome.
3 Food cravings
Eating too much sugar can lead to an abundance of “bad” bacteria in the gut and dysbiosis. Research published in August 2014 in the journal Bioessays suggested that one way to change your eating habits is to change what’s in the microbiome.
4 Unintended weight changes
Research has found differences in the gut microbiomes of lean and obese people. A study published in July 2014 in the journal Nutrition Today suggested that a Western-style diet high in fat and refined carbohydrates may promote gut bacteria linked to ‘obesity.
5 Skin irritation
Research has also shown a link between an unhealthy gut and skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. A review published in July 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology stated that the gut microbiome influences the skin through complex immune mechanisms and that probiotics and prebiotics can help balance intestine and thus prevent or treat these inflammatory skin problems.
Another review published in July 2018 in Frontiers in Microbiology found that an unhealthy gut can play a complex role in allergic conditions, including respiratory allergies, food allergies, and skin allergies. Thus, the intestinal microbiome can influence nutrition, the skin and even the lungs.
7 Autoimmune diseases
A study published in August 2018 in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology showed that a particular gut bacterium, called Bacteroides fragilis, produces a protein that can trigger the onset of self-induced conditions. diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis.
8 Mood issues
There is a link well documented between the gut and the brain, and the influence of the gut can also extend to your mood. In fact, intestinal disturbances and inflammation of the central nervous system can be potential causes of anxiety and depression, and that probiotics can help treat these conditions.
A study published in February 2020 in The Journal of Headache and Pain found that, although the link is not not entirely clear, the gut-brain connection may also impact migraines. The review found there is also a link between migraines and other gut health-related conditions, including IBS.
How to Balance Your Gut Health
If you have any of these various symptoms, it is best to see a doctor to determine if your symptoms are due to an unhealthy gut or other factors. From there, you can also see a naturopath who specializes in gut health.
A naturopath may choose to have you follow a specialized diet or perform tests to see if you have any dietary triggers and sensitivities that could cause an imbalance in your gut. The very first step in healing the gut is to identify and eliminate the offending foods. If you stop eating the food that affects the intestinal lining, it can give your digestive tract a break and give it a chance to heal.
A naturopath can also help you determine if you have an overgrowth of bacteria, yeast or parasites that are affecting your gut health. From there, he’ll likely recommend suitable foods and supplements that can help repair your gut, including probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, glutamine, fish oil, and more.
It can also help you change your lifestyle. Balancing other aspects of health can restore your gut to optimal functioning. For example, it is amazing how much stress plays a role in digestion, as well as sleep.
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