All these statements are pretty common, however a lot of people don't realize that they are not just fun catch phrases, there actually is a physiologic reason behind them.
“All disease begins in the gut” is a quote attributed to the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates nearly 2500 years ago! Our gut is like the emcee of our health, a healthy gut is integral to overall wellness. GI problems can causes issues like gas and bloating, however they are also directly related to other chronic health issues like autoimmune disease, diabetes and heart disease. How we feel emotionally and physically also hinges directly on the health of our gut microbiome.
I started my gut healing journey about a year ago after finally finding someone who would really listen to what my issues were and dig deeper to find the root cause. I had tried to "doctor" myself for several years, doing allergy tests, food elimination diets, you name it I tried it. About 2 years prior to finding my Functional Medicine Provider, I went to my primary care doctor who gave me a prescription for a drug for my upper digestive discomfort and told me to see my GI doctor who gave me samples of Linzess and told me I had IBS. That was it! They said it was "normal" in women "my age"! Bloating, constipation, skin issues, brain fog, food sensitivities, fatigue- I had it all. I was eating all the right foods and just felt like I wasn't really absorbing the nutrients that I was eating. Guess what... I was right! I am so grateful to know that I don't have to accept these things as a normal part of aging. I am getting ready to send in my follow up GIMAP test to see the tangible results of the work we have been doing over the last 8 months to heal my gut. I will post results in a follow up blog post.
You might have heard the term leaky gut but most conventional doctors don't recognize this as a true diagnosis. Increased intestinal permeability(leaky gut) can be caused by a variety of factors including:
poor dietary choices
Once you have leaky gut, it can impact your health in multiple ways:
food allergies or sensitivities
immune system activation
The conventional medical model would write you a prescription for these symptoms mentioned above and send you on your way. Anxiety disorders alone affect over 40 million Americans and 1 in 10 Americans are said to have some form of depression.(1) Turning your attention to the gut to heal mood disorders might seem a bit off the wall, but the gut brain connection is a real thing. In fact, 80-90% of the serotonin(feel good chemical) is manufactured by the cells in your gut. Gut bacteria also produce a number of other neurotransmitters or messengers, critcial to proper brain function and a lack of these good bacteria (or crowding out by bad bacteria)means that our brain doesn't get the raw materials it needs to function optimally.
Here's the good news.... You DO have control over your gut health. You CAN reverse chronic issues by taking a whole systems approach vs. a "bandaid" approach. How?
Eat real food
Eat more plants
Develop a mindfulness practice
Move in a way that supports YOUR body- whatever that looks like for you
Seek a Functional Medicine Provider to help with Gut testing