An Expert Tells You Everything About Gut Health
Probiotics can reduce the frequency and severity of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in premature infants and have been shown to regulate intestinal immunity.
I call 2018 – ‘the year of probiotics’. This year brought kombucha, sauerkraut, and kefir back from dead. I happened to read a significant study published in journal ‘Gut Microbes’ that recently quoted the consensus views of a group of nine European clinicians and scientists on the current state of scientific knowledge on probiotics: “The experts agreed that some probiotics were effective in reducing the incidence and duration of rotavirus diarrhoea in infants, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in adults and, for certain probiotics, Clostridium difficile infections. Some probiotics are associated with symptomatic improvements in irritable bowel syndrome and alleviation of digestive discomfort. Probiotics can reduce the frequency and severity of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in premature infants and have been shown to regulate intestinal immunity. Several other clinical effects of probiotics, including their role in inflammatory bowel disease, atopic dermatitis, respiratory or genito-urinary infections or H. pylori adjuvant treatment were thought promising but inconsistent.” That may sound like French to you, but as a health coach, I can tell you this – probiotics aren’t magical as brands may have you believe… but then again, they’re nothing short of a miracle either. You just have to understand probiotic foods and their function and then reap golden rewards with the knowledge… and I’m here to facilitate precisely that. Here is why your gut health is important and how you can take care of it: What is gut health? Your gut is basically running the whole show! Your gut, the digestive system as a whole, breaks down food, processes it, and absorbs essential nutrition- thereby ensuring that you can keep going on being the Machiavellian anti-hero, carefree sybarite, or even the celestial nightingale you are. Today you can do anything and be anything only because your gut is allowing you to, trust me, so you don’t want to take it lightly. That brings me to a very important issue – the leaky gut syndrome. Intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome is a condition, health practitioners propose where undigested food particles, toxic wastes, or undesired bacteria enter into the bloodstream through the small intestines due to its hyperpermeability. These unwelcome guests are believed to cause an inflammatory response in the body and lead to migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, skin conditions like eczema, and more. In most cases, the condition is triggered by one’s own diet. Warning Signs:
1. Food Sensitivities: Allergies are known to be one of the most widely-ignored leaky gut symptoms. If gluten, lactose, or nuts are suddenly giving you trouble, then there are chances that you may have a leaky gut, my friend.
2. Autoimmune Diseases: Leaky gut can be a trigger to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, or Crohn's in those already genetically susceptible, due to an important protein pathway being disrupted.
3. Thyroid Problems: Have you heard of Hashimoto’s disease? Also known as “chronic thyroiditis,” the symptoms of the disorder are hypothyroidism, metabolic issues, chronic fatigue, depression, and a gamut of other concerns.
4. Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutrient malabsorption that comes with a leaky gut interferes in the absorption of nutrients like vitamin B12 and magnesium.
5. Anxiety, Depression, And Even Autism: A study published in the journal ‘Neuroendocrinology Letters’ linked intestinal hyperpermeability to numerous neurocognitive disorders like anxiety, depression…and here’s an unexpected one – autism.
What Can Be Done: The solution is simple: Uproot leaky gut from its roots.
1. Pay attention to your plate and cut out foods that are causing trouble. Start with the most common culprit – gluten.
2. Next on the list should be sugar and dairy. It may mean a total shock to the germaphobes among us, but gut bacteria perform many crucial functions in the body and there is no two ways about it. If it weren’t for these bacteria, you wouldn’t have gotten so far in life. So, if you disturb this flora by eating overly sugary foods, you are making yourself more susceptible to leaky gut syndrome. Same goes for dairy; milk is difficult to digest for a lot of people because of a protein it contains, called casein. In a significant percentage of the population, casein and the digestive system don’t really get along very well.
3. Begin to heal your gut with foods like high quality bone broth, fermented vegetables, sprouted seeds, and fresh fruits like berries.
4. Lastly, spoil yourself silly with high quality probiotics. While you’re weeding out toxins and undesirable microbes from your digestive tract, it is also important to inoculate the important, healthy strains into the system like Bacillus clausii, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus coagulans. Take a combination of food (80%) and supplements (20%), and watch your whole body glow with health!