How Our Gut Controls Our Health
It’s Wellness Wednesday!! Halfway through yet another week. I know I talk a lot about the gut and how important it is, but only in recent years have I realized HOW important it is keeping a healthy gut for a healthy body. I wanted to break some of that down today and show that keeping a healthy immunity isn’t just about taking a shot of vitamin C. That will probably won’t do shit if you’re digestion and gut is shit.
So as some of us know, our gut is the home to the majority of our human microbiome- aka the good microorganisms that inhabit our body. Meaning- 75% of our entire immune system is stationed in our gut!! Our gut microbiome (good bacteria) works very hard to keep our gut safe and protected because that’s where all our nutrient absorption happens (specifically the small intestine)!! Our small intestine is our main protector from the outside world. Our skin is also very good at protecting our bodies from foregin invaders, which is also to the home to much of our microbiome, but our gut defense is way more strict on substances it lets in.
So back to nutrient absorption. If our gut isn’t absorbing nutrients properly then all the good vitamins and minerals we consume that serve so many important functions in our body are not able to perform their jobs. In turn, our immune system crashes and results in a whole-body meltdown. That’s dramatic, but whether you realize it or not it happens. You might not even notice. Anything can affect this gut distress from abnormal changes in stress, illness, antibiotics, dietary habits or lifestyle.
Vitamins and minerals serve us through many biological processes such as, glucose and energy metabolism, bone and tooth formation, neutralizing free radicals, signaling thyroid hormones, protein and fat synthesis, and building and protecting body tissue. They do everything, the list goes on!!!
When your gut is damaged, your intestinal lining is compromised. As Melissa Urban describes it like going to a bar in her book, It Starts With Food, normally if substances want to enter your small intestine there are bouncers and ID checks at the door only letting in good bacteria and particles. With a damaged gut, ANY substances can easily get in because there’s no bouncer or ID check. Yup, and all these bad bacteria wreck havoc and disrupt nutrient absorption.
Think of it this way, it’s never an advantage to have an open wound on your skin where the potential of an infection can occur so why wouldn’t it be the same for your gut?
Having your intestinal lining compromised, or in other words “increased gut permeability,” can lead to intestinal inflammation linked to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, etc.
So here’s why maintaining and taking care of your OVERALL health is so important. It’s not enough just to eat a clean diet or just go to the gym 5-6x a week. It’s ensuring you’re fueling your body with proper nutrients, moving your body often, finding positive coping mechanisms for stress, getting enough sleep, and taking care of your mental health. It’s clear our gut reacts to body AND mind changes. PLUS, if our gut microbiome is damaged, unwanted microorganisms and bacteria can mimic neurotransmitters and send messages to our brain that affect our anxiety, depression and other mental factors. WILD! Like I always say, everything is so intertwined and our gut is the hub of it all. That’s why I work so hard to maintain great digestion, because I know that when my gut is upset, my mind is upset and I’m not myself. I want to feel good, have tons of energy, and be present for the important things in life.
If you want to learn more about your gut, obviously google, but Melissa (Hartwig) Urban and Dallas Hartwig’s book, It Starts With Food really breaks it all down in a super easy way to understand.
My whole blog journey started because of my digestion, so I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned and absorbed over the years. Plus I’m a nerd and think it’s freaking cool.