OK, OK I know, you’ve heard it all before.
“The immune system lives primarily in the gut!”
“Your gut health and hormones go together like PB and J.”
“It’s not normal to feel bloated all day or run to the bathroom after meals.”
But do you know why the bacteria in your gut is so important and powerful? And do you know why many of my clients struggle to conceive a child, rid themselves of infections, lose weight or stop their chronic fatigue until we rebalance their gut bacteria?
Here is a short scientific summary on the role of gut microbes and why you need to treat them like your favorite purse or pair of shoes:
Your Gut Microbes…
Protect Against Autoimmunity
Dig into the research and you will find that a microbial imbalance, thus leading to intestinal permeability of the gut comes FIRST before autoimmune disease is diagnosed. It is one of the known precursors to conditions such as Celiac Disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Graves Disease, Multiple Sclerosis among other autoimmune diseases. These conditions are becoming more and more prevalent and while there are no guarantees in life, monitoring gut health early on in life may save you from years of prescriptions and doctor’s visits.
The most well respected scientists agree that microbes influence the brain via various mechanisms. In fact, ~90% of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA and dopamine are produced in the gut. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in mood regulation and sleep.
In addition to managing inflammatory pathways and producing short chain fatty acids, even more interesting is the fact that our gut microbes help to synthesize vitamins. When we eat a balanced diet, full of foods that foster good gut microbes (prebiotics and probiotics!) our gut microbes can take the food we eat and make vitamins such as B vitamins and vitamin K.
Communicate with Hormones
Our gut microbes influence every hormone in the body. In fact, many experts believe that our balance of gut bacteria plays the most important role in hormone regulation! Think of your gut microbes as the conductor of an orchestra, producing hormones over here, signaling glands over there and then telling each hormone when to be created and released. Therefore, it’s no surprise that an imbalance of gut bacteria has been linked to poor thyroid function, dysregulation of hormones, and even an insufficient production of melatonin, a hormone critical for deep, refreshing sleep.
Strengthen The Immune System
Healthy gut bacteria are your biggest ally when it comes to immune defense. Our gastrointestinal system is the largest surface in the body that comes in contact with the external environment. The “good bugs” within our gastrointestinal system act like goalies on the ice rink and serve as a physical barrier against opportunistic pathogens and other toxins from the outside world. When too many “bad bugs” overgrow, pathogens will colonize and cause a shift in the immune system to an increased inflammatory state. So, instead of maintaining a strong barrier, the intestinal lining becomes permeable (“leaky gut”) and food sensitivities, fatigue and disease may be the end result.
Alright friends, I hope you now have a better understanding of why proper gut health is everything and the sooner we address this, the better!