Just think for one moment ….. how many times have you had a “gut feeling” or a “gut reaction” to a particular situation? We describe it as an intuitive sense of something, without really knowing why. But we feel it in our gut! It goes without saying, most of us experience our emotions in our stomach or gut area. And for some, the manifestation can be less than desirable! So, why is gut health essential for the proper functioning of the human brain?Could our gut health really influence our overall mental and physical wellbeing? How do I know, if my gut is crying out for help? What are some of the warning signs?
I have listed below some of the symptoms or manifestations of a digestive system that is struggling to function at an optimum level.
- Brain fog
- Memory Problems
- Difficulty focussing
- Fatigue and low energy
- Depressed mood
- Inability to lose weight when overweight
- Abdominal Pain
- Bloating and Gas
- Feeling too full and that food is just sitting in your gut and not being digested.
- Anal itching
- Dry Skin
- Hair Loss and Dull Lifeless Hair
Did you know that the human gut has more nerves than the entire spinal column?
Recent scientific studies have shown that the network of neurones, (nerve cells) lining our gut is so vast, that our gut is now being referred to as our “second brain.” While our so-called “gut brain” doesn’t literally do the thinking for us, it does play a huge role in disease prevention and wellbeing. Our “second brain/gut brain” is known as the enteric nervous system. This complex gut nerve network plays an essential role in transmitting messages to and from our brains. Interestingly, a growing number of researchers argue, that if we are to truly treat mental and psychiatric problems effectively, we cannot afford to ignore the importance of gut health. 95% of our body’s serotonin is located in the gut, where it helps regulate digestion.
You’ve probably heard of Serotonin ( the feel good happy chemical). It’s the one that helps you feel happy, optimistic, self-confident and positive, while also helping you get a good night’s sleep. Our “second brain”, (gut) normally produces brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that help us stay calm, focused, positive and energised. A gut that is overwhelmed with toxins or unhealthy gut flora (bad gut bacterial colonies) can’t do this. When our gut is not functioning properly, our serotonin levels are disturbed and we can start feeling down, depressed, hopeless, anxious, agitated and even start finding it harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep (insomnia). This lack of sleep further compounds a more stressful and overwhelming day, as we struggle to cope with our daily activities. Our brain further fires up our adrenal system to flood our bodies with stress chemicals that disrupt our digestion. As a result, we begin to experience symptoms like gas, bloating, heartburn and in the long term, even weight gain.
Interestingly enough, 80% of our immune system is also found in the gut.
It makes sense when you consider that one of the functions of our immune system is to protect us from harmful bacteria, viruses or toxins that may come in via our food consumption. Is it any wonder then? Our intestinal health is absolutely vital for an efficient metabolism, weight control, properly functioning immune system, mood modulation, appearance and energy levels.
Let me ask you a very simple question?If you could figure out how to heal your gut and have it firing at an optimum level, what would your average day look like?You know, I often wonder myself! Could a supercharged, bulletproof gut be the long overlooked key factor when it comes to treating modern day ailments? I believe, if we can fix our gut, we can fire up our health!