What is the gut?
The correct term is the gastrointestinal tract. This consists of; Alimentary Canal, Mouth, Pharynx, Oesophagus, Stomach, Small and Large intestine, Rectum and the Anus. These are supported by our Teeth, Tongue, Liver, Gallbladder and the Pancreas. All areas need to be working effectively for good gut function.
The main functions of the gut;
- The gut digests food so that our body can absorb and use the nutrients within the food before removing the waste from our body.
- 70% of our immunity is based in the gut
- 95% of serotonin produced in the gut
- The gut is home to a 100 million neurons.
What typically goes wrong with the gut?
- A bacterial imbalance – common causes are diet, yeast/bacterial overgrowth and parasitic infection
- Low stomach or high stomach acid – often confused between the two. Influenced by stress, age, h pylori, vitamin deficiencies, medications
- Poor production of digestive enzymes from the pancreas and small intestines.
- Poor bile flow
- Poorly functioning gut lining – sometimes known as ‘leaky gut’.
- Diarrhoea/constipation or a combination of the two
- Excessive burping or flatulence
- Stools which are pale in colour, dark in colour or float
- Brain fog
- Low energy
- And the list goes on…..
Key things to look for in your lifestyle
- Common triggering foods, diary, wheat, nightshades
- Prescription medication – do not stop taking your medication
- Processed foods,
- High levels of stress
- Lack of fibre
- Too high intake of fats,
- High alcohol intake
- High intake of carbohydrate
- Low intake of a variety of foods
- Inadequate chewing of food to a baby food like consistency
- Stomach upset whilst on holiday abroad or very shortly after returning
- Stomach upset after visiting anywhere with animals like a farm park
Whilst simply correcting the above may help to some extent, depending on the severity of the symptoms, but more targeted interventions may well be required to support the body and help it to heal. An important point to note here, is that any elimination diet should be overseen by a qualified practitioner and the aim is to reintroduce the food sources which are causing a concern.
Gut imbalances can extend to other areas of the body, for example hormonal imbalances and candida (originating from the gut) related conditions like psoriasis. The effect of an unhappy gut can be felt throughout the body and is often a primary cause of so many illnesses today.