Why should you care about your digestion?
You probably have been hearing more and more about digestion and the increasing interest and importance of it. At least I hope so !
As scientists and medical practitioners have been making ground breaking discoveries in the world of digestion we still have barely touched the surface of this subject.
There is still so much we do not know. But we sure do know a lot, especially since the past decade. Let me break it down for you so you can understand exactly what all the hype is about and why healing your digestion is at the core of your overall health and vitality.
1. Most of our immune system lies in the gut
As studies progress, we now know that about 70% of our immune system actually resides in the gut. I mean how crazy is that?! There are more than 500 different species of organisms found in the gut (good and bad) but the good guys are responsible for digesting certain foods and attacking harmful pathogens. In certain conditions, such as intestinal permeability and celiac disease, it is so important to heal the gut lining. As the intestinal membrane becomes permeable, particles of indigested foods and other foreign substances such as toxins and bacteria can enter your bloodstream and create havoc. This can also lead to autoimmune diseases down the line. The intestinal lining is your first line of defence against outside invaders, but it is actually only 1 cell thick, which is really nothing.
All of this to say that taking care of your digestive health means so much more than having the perfect formed poop, it can also make a huge difference on how often you get sick, avoiding chronic diseases, and feeling your best.
2. The second brain
Our gut has been named our "second brain" because it is connected to the brain by the vagus nerve, which is how it communicates with the brain. This second brain is also known as the enteric nervous system. Major neurotransmitters are made here such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. In fact more neurotransmitters are made in the gut than in the brain. Up to 90 % of serotonin (that feel good hormone we are all chasing after) is made in the gut. This may also explain why a lot of mood disorders are gut related and many people report feeling a change in mental health and clarity once they address their digestive issues. Mood disorders, depression, and anxiety are also more common with people who suffer from digestive issues such as IBS or SIBO. In addition, many vitamins and minerals that are important for brain health are absorbed through the gut walls. So if you can't absorb them, you probably won't be feeling your best.
3. You are what you don't eliminate
So we have all heard that we are what we eat, but we are also what we don't get rid of. Let me break this down for you. The digestive system, and more specifically the colon, is a very important part of our elimination system. We tend to immediately think of the liver when talking about cleansing or detoxing but the colon should be the first topic of cleansing. If your colon is backed up you won't be eliminating those toxins very well and risk re-absorbing them into your bloodstream, which can then become even more toxic to your body. If you are accumulating more toxins than the body is able to get rid of this will start showing up in other areas such as the skin, hormonal issues, and liver problems. So if you aren't regularly eliminating (this means at least 1 bowel movement per day) those juice cleanses or herbal detoxes aren't doing much good and can end up doing more harm than good. Make sure you work on your digestion before tackling liver stuff and your body will thank you!
4. You are what you digest and absorb
Many of us are spending tons of money on superfoods and supplements in the hopes of reaching optimal health. But if you aren't actually absorbing these nutrients... well let's just say you may have pretty expensive urine. Your small intestine is your main vessel of absorption through the intestinal membrane. You may often be feeling famished, fatigued, moody, or lacking essential nutrients because of some digestive dysfunction because you are not able to absorb these foods efficiently. In addition, if your food isn't being digested properly it can putrefy in your digestive tract and become toxic. These byproducts feed bad bacteria and require additional detoxification by the liver.
So there you have it. Just a few reasons you should maybe have a closer look at your gut.
Hippocrates was really on to something when he said "all disease begins in the gut". And today scientists have been proving his theory. If you are suffering from any type of disease it may be worthwhile to check out your gut health and support it with diet, lifestyle, and supplemental protocols. Your gut health really does dictate all other areas of your health and should be your first stop on your health journey.