Improving good gut health Our gut instincts are real. Getting butterflies when we’re nervous happens because our nervous systems and our digestive systems are intertwined. The enteric nervous system runs through our digestive system, has around 100 million neurons, and is connected to our brain via our Vagus nerve. Our thoughts can influence the gut bacteria that reside there, causing low-grade inflammation and gastrointestinal distress. Increasing Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium Andakkermansia can improve brain health, according to a study by the University of Bristol. 5 R’SAPPROACH TO IMPROVING GUT HEALTH Remove – Remove any foods that your body may be reacting to. Your body is often in tune with what these foods are if you listen. You may also need to remove microbes that shouldn’t be there, such as yeast and parasites. Replace – It might be that you’re not producing enough stomach acid, or that you lack certain enzymes that break down either protein, carbs or fat. Fixing this can be done using functional testing and supplementation to address the root cause of dysfunction in the digestive system. Re-inoculate – Re-inoculate the gut flora. Probiotics can be used to target certain low levels of beneficial bacteria or an imbalance in the beneficial versus the pathogenic bacteria. Repair – Repair the gut lining. The body needs to repair the damage caused by micro-tears in the lining of the gut if it is going to function properly. Re-Balance – This final step is key, because as we’ve said, it’s a two-way street between our minds and our guts. Adjusting our lifestyle for less stress by doing small amounts of meditation, breathing, walking in nature and having fun will all help to heal us from the inside. The three key elements of a healthy gut are:
- The hormones that regulate hunger, satiety and metabolism.
- The immune system that protects us against pathogens and that mounts an appropriate response.
- The nervous system that regulates the movement of our bowels and the secretion and absorption of nutrients.