How to Heal Your Gut Naturally
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is integral to all other organs and systems within the body. The gastrointestinal system works cohesively to breakdown food, absorb nutrients and assimilate them throughout the body to cells that require energy. When the gut is unhealthy, the effect of this can be seen throughout the entire body.
Sluggish digestion leads to an overall poor vitality (energy) and diminished health (chronic health conditions) – if your gut is damaged, inflamed or in dysbiosis (bad bacterial overgrowth), this can lead to poor nutrient absorption, leading to nutrient deficiencies.
Common signs of a damaged gut including gas, bloating, and pain.
Poor nutrient absorption and assimilation can contribute to skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis, allergies (including hayfever and asthma).
Nervous system complaints such as depression and anxiety, and endocrine (hormonal) disorders (everything from PMS through to thyroid issues).
Have kids that pick up all the common colds & gastro that get around? This is another sign the gut needs attention.
The more that your gut is not functioning as it should, the more likely that other parts of your body are not functioning as they should either.
A damaged gut can therefore appear in many, and often unsuspecting, ways.
There are many reasons why your gut may need healing, or support, to return to natural equilibrium.
Poor dietary and lifestyle choices can affect stomach function and bowel health, nutrient absorption and impact the microbiome (bacteria balance), as well as impact accessory organs like the liver.
Foods such as those high in sugar, salt, & trans fats, can be inflammatory for the gut and lead to further damage. Alcohol can be extremely damaging to the microbiome and liver. Not enough fibre, and water, can also trigger constipation. Overall, poor diets can also increase risk of poor nutrient intake, further impacting the gut.
*Hint: throwing a probiotic on top of these issues does NOT make them go away.
Stress is a major factor when it comes to an unhappy gut, as increased stress can lead to an over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is your ‘flight/fight’ response, which, when triggered, can interfere in food digestion leading to poor nutrient absorption, decrease gastric acid secretion, and impact microbiome.
Many people can link their gut issues to a big traumatic event or stressful time of life.
Medication can damage gut flora, which can lead to overgrowth of ‘un-friendly’ bacteria and increase susceptibility to infection. For example, the Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) and other endogenous hormones can change microbiome (increase bad bacteria) and increase intestinal permeability (AKA leaky gut).
Anti-biotics use can lead to complete eradication of gut bacteria and can take at least six months to four years to fully recover the microbiome. Anti-inflammatory drugs can cause stomach and intestinal damage and can also interact with the microbiome.
Healing the gut is extremely important. Not only does it improve quality of life by decreasing symptoms such as pain and bloating, but it is also vital to good, overall health. Furthermore, the improvement in nutrient absorption can improve energy and sleep, decrease signs of ageing, improve immunity and decrease stress!
There are multiple reasons and pathways in which the gut may have become imbalanced. This means that there are also multiple, and often unique ways of healing the gut naturally.
It’s crucial to work with your health professional who can discover and heal your gut from where your it is currently at.
Functional stool testing is often what I will suggest in order to help figure out what is happening in your gut, and what treatment is necessary to help heal you naturally.
Personalised treatment plans are imperative as what works for some, may not work for others.