We hear about the importance of gut health a lot these days, but why does it really matter? Why is this something that we need to make sure that we take care of now and prioritise it amongst everything else in our life that needs to be prioritised?
Aside from the impact that gut issues have on your life in the short term, there are also long-term consequences to leaving things until ‘the right time’.
If you have a gut problem, right now I’m willing to bet you’re putting up with a lot of things – fatigue, stomach upsets, bloating, pain, embarrassing symptoms, missing out on things, fear of eating out – all these things that happen when you’ve got an unhappy gut.
You’ve probably been to various doctors and tried many different tactics but haven’t found a solution. Maybe you’ve realised by this point that you’re going to have to look outside the conventional medical system to get answers, but if you’re someone who is used to putting yourself last, this is going to bring up all sorts of resistance.
We all know that prevention is better than cure, but when it comes to our health it often takes a catalyst to act.
Historically, if I need a doctor’s appointment, supplements or even a restorative yoga class I’ll procrastinate for weeks until things get ridiculous and I have no choice but to book it in, and in the meantime things are simmering away in the background getting worse and I’ve been feeling awful!
However, if I’m worried about my dogs, I’ll rush straight to the vet and spend whatever is needed, no questions asked.
Gut issues aren’t an imminent threat to your life, so they often get pushed to the back of the list. However, the reality is that there are long-term consequences to neglecting gut health.
The gut is lined with a complex intestinal barrier, and this is what keeps the gut bacteria and food particles inside the gut, where they should stay. The balance of gut bacteria affects this intestinal barrier. An overgrowth of bad bacteria and low levels of the good is called dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis means that there has been a change in the gut bacteria that is causing harmful effects and is caused by many factors including poor diet, alcohol and stress.
Dysbiosis is the root cause of many chronic disease states, and it also creates gaps in the intestinal barrier, causing bacteria and toxins to leak out into the bloodstream.
When the intestinal barrier is compromised, it is called intestinal permeability or more commonly, leaky gut. The bacteria that leak out induce systemic inflammation in the body and damage body tissues and organs.
It’s a bit like the cane toad problem in Australia – cane toads are useful in their natural habitat, but when they were brought to Australia, they attacked all the native animals, disrupted the ecosystem and have changed the face of the environment.
The correlation between leaky gut and autoimmune disease (AD) is an area of research which is advancing very rapidly.
AD occurs when the body no longer recognises the difference between itself and invaders and attacks itself. This is as a result of genetic and environmental factors, and the research indicates that leaky gut is also a cause of AD, rather than a consequence.
Research specifically links leaky gut with type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and SLE, amongst others. The exact mechanism is unclear, but it is thought to be a combination of inflammation, overstimulation of the immune system and alterations to cellular signalling (resulting in confusion between body cells and invader cells).
My work is all about making sure things never get to this point.
I help you to fix your gut now and set you up so that you know what you need to do long term to feel healthy, happy and whole within yourself and make sure that you live a long and independent life.