It is estimated that 70% of our immune system is regulated by the digestive system, otherwise known as the gut. Interestingly, gut health is often overlooked even though the gut contains ten times the health-determining bacteria than the rest of the body and is one of the most important factors in immune health. With COVID-19, many of us are now even more concerned about our immune systems. Having a healthy gut means having a strong immune system, which is more important now than ever.
There are millions of microbes living in our bodies that serve various functions; in fact, we wouldn’t be alive without them. These microbes are particularly plentiful in our digestive tract. We each have between three and five pounds of microbes living in our gut, made up of good and bad bacteria.
In a balanced system, the good bacteria make up about 85% of the bacteria in our digestive system, with the bad bacteria making up the remainder. The good microbial flora is supposed to keep the bad bacteria under control. Unfortunately, for most people today that ratio is inverse: 85% bad bacteria to 15% good bacteria. This is known as gut dysbiosis. Good bacteria have a significant role to play not only in the digestive system, but also in the rest of the body. Today, many people are suffering with digestive complaints, some previously unheard of a generation ago. Acid reflux, indigestion, heart burn, constipation, and IBS, along with more serious diseases such as diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease are becoming quite common.
Why “Bad” Bacteria Are Bad
When the bad bacteria begin to run rampant, we experience significant health problems. Not only can the bad bacteria cause damage to the small intestine, they also release toxins into the body and hinder important functions in the body and brain—meaning that gut health influences many diseases, not just digestive complaints. Autoimmune illness, autism, food allergies, and eczema are strongly linked to gut flora imbalances. These microbes have the ability to affect our mood and behavior as well.
The gut is actually known as the second brain, because it is so closely tied to and regulates so many functions of the brain. The gut manufactures neurotransmitters (brain chemicals); 80% of serotonin is manufactured in the digestive tract. Scientists have actually found neurons (brain cells) living in the digestive system.
Symptoms seemly unconnected to the digestive system, such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, brain fog, headaches, skin conditions, and mood or behavioral problems are all related to a compromised gut. Doctors and scientists now know that issues in the gut are far reaching and extend beyond the digestive system.
One only has to look at the diet of a typical American to understand why these conditions are on the increase. Bad bacteria feed on sugar and foods that convert quickly to sugar in the body. With sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption at an all-time high, it is no wonder health issues related to the gut are following suit. While some people may not currently have significant symptoms, if they are consuming the standard American diet it is likely that their health will begin to suffer.
We have grown up thinking that we can eat anything and our bodies will accept it. Unfortunately, almost two generations of eating a diet of processed, convenience food high in sugar and low in nutrients has begun to affect our health.
Babies guts are sterile until birth, at which time they take on the gut bacteria balance of the mother. It is believed that many women have an imbalance in gut bacteria and pass it on to their children. This generation of children are plagued with allergies, food allergies, asthma, and ADHD, all of which can be traced back to an imbalance in gut bacteria.
Doctors confirm that all children with autism have a gut bacteria imbalance, which contributes to their symptoms and accounts for the continuing rise in autism diagnosis. Additionally, we see many children today suffering with anxiety, depression, and even bipolar disorder, like never before.
Improve Your Digestive and Overall Health
The good news is that there are steps we can take to heal and protect our digestive systems. These are traditional principles that we have lost over time, combined with new measures to protect ourselves from the world we are living in. To learn more about rebalancing your digestive system, strengthening your immune system, and eliminating these health issues, visit: www.theresaedmunds.com.
Theresa Edmunds, is a Certified Health Coach focusing on all aspects of natural health. Using her Foundations for Health, she helps clients transform their health and their life. “Being healthier leads to feeling better which makes people happier, and happiness is what we are all striving for.”
Contact her today for a free 20-minute consult to see how she can help you feel better and happier.
Theresa@theresaedmunds.com or 734-308-7105. Available for speaking engagements and seminars.