5 Things you may not know about gut health

Some of the most common complaints I hear in clinic are tiredness, bloating, abdominal discomfort, constipation and/or diarrhoea. All related to Gut Health.
1 in 5 adults in western countries suffer from gut health issues.(1)
These symptoms are quite obviously gut related, but did you know there are 5 areas related to the microbiome and good gut health that may surprise you…

1. Gut health makes you happy

We now recognise that over 85% of the happy hormones in our brain is actually produced in our gut. Serotonin, that happy hormone that makes us feel well, comfortable, satisfied, and happy, that makes us able to sleep well, is largely produced in our gut. We always thought these neurotransmitters were only produced in our brain, but now we are finding that gut function is essential for our overall happiness.

2. Gut health may affect your sleep

Poor sleep is an interesting one that has also been linked to gut health.
Insomnia is another very common complaint. Interestingly the insomnia statistic is parallel to gut health statistics. One in five Australians have insomnia, which makes you wonder if there is a stronger connection there.

3. Gut health can reduce inflammation

Most disease states involve a degree of inflammation. Even the effects of ageing are accelerated with increased inflammatory processes. Genes are triggered and oxidation occurs and deterioration of cells.
Cytokines are proteins that are mediators of immune responses. Elevated levels of plasma pro-inflammatory interleukins have been observed in patients with IBS symptoms. (3)
Increased numbers of lymphocytes have been reported in the colon and small intestine in patients with imbalance and overgrowth of the wrong bacteria in their gut flora.

4. Gut health affects allergy

The microbial environment of the gut (microbiota) provides a major stimulus to the gut immune system. Specific patterns of microbiota colonisation, such as colonisation in large number by probiotics or greater microbial diversity, may favour tolerance, possibly through increased production of IgA and IL-10. (4)

Caesarean delivery may increase the risk of IgE-mediated sensitisation to food allergens as a result of alterations in the gut microbiota (5).

One study showed that treatment with probiotics during the last month of pregnancy and first six months of infancy may decrease IgE-associated allergic disease, particularly eczema, and sensitisation to food allergens in children at high risk for atopic disease born by caesarean delivery (6) .

Breast milk decreases intestinal permeability, colonises the infant gut with probiotics, and supplies numerous cellular and secreted components that enhance immunocompetence and cell growth and repair(7). Breastfeeding — Exclusive breastfeeding for the first four to six months of life may prevent the development of food allergies.

5. Gut health can make you look better!

The skin is an organ of elimination, it is affected by hydration and inflammation.  Acne, eczema, psoriasis and the effects of ageing are linked with gut flora imbalance.  Immune and inflammatory reactions are directly related to the balance of the micro biome and overall gut health.
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The Microbiome, cartoon by Rob Stein.  A beautiful depiction of the orchestra of balance that occurs in nature, and inside everyone of us.
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 (for a complete list of all references please email ask@drrachelwyndham.com for a list)

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