This weeks blog is by Stewart Dunlop, the content and marketing manager at TheGoodGut.org (http://www.thegoodgut.org) - a new project devoted to maintaining gut health. Being a passionate writer, he aims to raise the awareness of the importance of gut health to the overall well-being of any individual.
The modern medicine is continuously advancing, but the more we discover, the more we understand that our knowledge of our own bodies is still limited. The best example stands in the gut – a system that was not considered important for anything else than food processing and elimination.
Recent studies and discoveries show that there’s a whole lot more going on down there and many of the modern day diseases are nothing but symptoms of an unbalanced microbiome.
Below we’ll discuss some of the most common affections that signal a problem with the gut bacterial flora.
#1: Colds, Infections, Sinusitis & So On
If you feel like you’re sick all the time and you always have to carry a box of tissues wherever you go, the problem may be buried deep in your gut.
Because about 80% of our immune system’s cells are housed in the gut, the first symptom of an imbalanced microbiome is a weak defense against germs and bacteria. Even more, if it’s cold outside and you’re not well-protected with the regular winter attire your problems may be caused by an imbalance in the nose (the first line of defense).
In any situation, a weak immune system is a strong sign that something is not quite right with the bacterial flora that keeps you healthy. To fix this, try to consume probiotics and avoid antibiotics for as much as possible. They are effective against bad bacteria, but they also wipe out the good ones.
#2: Bloating, Flatulence & General Discomfort
Bloating may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a horrible condition that can totally shift your focus and ruin your day (or days, depending on the seriousness of the situation). The sensation that you’re about to burst is definitely not office-friendly and it’s so much worse when you wear tight clothes and have to sit in a chair all day long!
But the nightmare doesn’t stop here as bloating is most-often- than-not- accompanied by flatulence. While we all know tooting is a natural bodily function (there’s actually special underwear for the average tooter), you definitely don’t want to release a smelly/loud one in a meeting or when participating at a job interview!
Bloating, burping, and tooting are clear signs of small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, meaning that your gut flora is not working as efficiently as it should.
While we know both men and women experience these symptoms, the problem is a lot more mortifying for the ladies, which is why you can find a special line of probiotics for women in most regular stores. These contain other ingredients that help with bowel movements and the general feeling of discomfort.
#3: Mental Problems
Sadly, a microbiome imbalance can get a lot more serious than just bloating and sinusitis (not that these are not serious problems!). Because our lives are always fast-paced and filled with stressful situations, we tend to ignore healthy foods, proper hydration, and exercise, which can easily upset the fragile balance in the gut.
Now, what science just discovered, is that lining the gut, there is a complex neuronal network (also named the second brain) that is in direct connection with our emotions, our general mood, and is in charge of stress and anxiety related issues. This network releases 30 different neurotransmitters that reach the brain, and dictate how the brain will react in a series of situations. So, diseases such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more may actually start with the enteric nervous system in the gut, and only then affect the brain.
#4: Obesity & Other Weight-Related Problems
There’s a logical connection between the digestive system and weight problems, but the situation is not always clear. Recent studies proved that people who have a more diverse bacterial flora and manage to maintain a good balance in the microbiome are most likely to reach and maintain a healthy weigh.
On the other hand, obese people have an abundance of bacteria that is very efficient in separating and storing fat, which is why it gets easier to gain more and more weight. It’s like the organism is specializing in storing more and more fat. So, the key to a healthy weight is in a diverse and well-balanced microbiome.
#5: Acne, Rashes & Other Skin Problems
When we’re young, we’re told acne is a symptom of hormonal changes happening in our bodies. But when you’re a fully-grown adult and pimples are still your number one problem, you should consider checking your gut!
Skin rashes, acne, infections, rosacea and other similar problems are not just embarrassing and downright uncomfortable; they’re also a clear sign that something is wrong inside and you need to dig deeper.
Digestive problems are very common in our stressful world, but with a bit of care and a stricter lifestyle that includes healthy foods and physical exercise, we can help improve our gut’s health. So, if you observe any of the problems we mentioned above, consider them as symptoms, and have your microbiome checked. A specialist will be able to tell you the type of measures you need to take.
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