The Importance of Gut Health
There is no health without a healthy gut. The gut performs three functions crucial to your health:
- it breaks food down to nutrients, and
- facilitates the absorption of nutrients into the blood through intestinal walls,
- prevents foreign and toxic molecules from entering the bloodstream.
Add to it that a healthy intestine has a major role in detoxification by neutralizing or breaking down toxins ingested with food (by good intestinal bugs, so-called probiotics, as well as in the intestinal cell’s) and it becomes clear that any gut malfunction will adversely affect health.
You can have the best quality food, low exposure to toxins and most positive attitude – if your digestion, nutrient absorption, and gut detoxification are not functioning properly, your health will deteriorate.
“All Disease Begins in the Gut.” ~Hippocrates
You are what you eat. Actually, you are what you absorb and assimilate. Over two-thirds of neurotransmitters are made in the gut. The gut is considered the second brain since the majority of serotonin (90-95 per cent) is made in the gut, not the brain.
If your gut is inflamed or not functioning optimally, the production of serotonin will be impaired and the end result can be depression. Bear in mind that an inflamed gut = an inflamed brain = increased risk of depression and dementia.
Poor gut health can be the root cause of most of your current health problems, like type 2 diabetes, weight gain (or struggle to lose weight), insulin resistance, obesity, poor digestion, food cravings, poor immune system, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), Candida, bloatedness, constipation, diarrhoea, fatigue, etc.
As your immune system revolves around the gut, poor gut health can manifest in different ailments with horrendous symptoms.
Poor Gut health can have symptoms like:
- Diffuse or localized abdominal pain (contractions, spasms, heartburn etc.)
- Bloating & gas
- Changes in digestive transit, such as bouts of constipation or diarrhoea, and sometimes both alternately.
There are many different conditions related to the digestive system. Some may not last long and could be symptomatic of other things – such as constipation and diarrhoea. However, some are long-lasting, life-changing and need proper care and support to help manage the condition.
Conditions related to poor gut health can be:
- Acute Diarrhoea
- Bad breath
- Changes in brain function
- Coeliac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Fatigue (chronic fatigue syndrome)
- Food intolerances (sensitivity to grain and dairy)
- Foul-smelling excretion
- Haemorrhoids (Piles)
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Skin problems
- Ulcerative Colitis
The transit time of food should be between 24-36 hours from eating to elimination.
Causes of Gut Health Problems
The culprits that can play a part in damaging your gut health.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen relieve pain and inflammation by blocking an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase.
The problem is that this enzyme also performs important functions, such as protecting the stomach from the corrosive effects of its own acid, which strengthens the activity of the immune system. Because of this, they can cause intestinal inflammation, damaging the lining of the intestine and causing intestinal permeability.
This process can turn on an autoimmune response in the body. Among people who chronically use NSAIDs, research estimates that 65% will develop intestinal inflammation and up to 30% will develop ulcers.
Frequent use of antibiotics can decrease your beneficial, protective gut bacteria (good flora). With your body’s natural defenses down, antibiotics are more prone to damaging to your gut’s lining. What’s worse is that without some healthy intervention, your body’s unique diversity of trillions of beneficial bacteria won’t automatically be recovered after it’s lost.
Chronic stress will weaken your immune system’s response to infection. Your brain and intestines are mediated by many of the same hormones (which is why your gut is referred to as your second brain). This connection is referred to as the gut-brain axis.
Overuse of alcohol has a negative impact on just about every system in your body. As far as your intestines go, alcohol can irritate the stomach and intestines and suppress the hormones which protect against the inflammation that contributes to leaky gut syndrome.
The negative impact of gluten is well documented now, but in a few years research will find a similar, possibly even worse, negative impact from other gluten-free grains. With their abundance of amylose sugars that cause inflammation, anti-nutrients such as lectins and phytates that bind to the intestines and make nutrients inactive in the body, grains can cause a wide array of damage to your gut and your health.
How to repair Gut Health
Remove the bad. The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract such as inflammatory foods, infections and gastric irritants like alcohol, caffeine or medication (if possible).
Inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and sugar can lead to food sensitivities.
Follow the Manna 7-day damage control program to get rid of all the “bad” foods.
Infections can be from parasites, yeast or bacteria.
A comprehensive stool analysis is key to determining the levels of good bacteria as well as any infections that may be present.
Removing the infections may require treatment with herbs, anti-parasite medication, anti-fungal medication or even antibiotics.
Replace, restore and repair
Replace the “bad” food with “good” food, which is beneficial to your gut health. Add back in the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption that may have been depleted by diet, medication (such as anti-acid medications), diseases or ageing. Restore the balance in the gut with the correct digestive enzymes, probiotics, and l-glutamine that are required for proper digestion.
The Manna GUT Support product was specially formulated with all the essential ingredients to repair the damaged gut.
Consuming foods high in soluble fibre is very important.
Other key nutrients to include in your diet are zinc, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin A, C, and E.