Gut Health Impacts Your Whole Body

Our body is connected. When part of it suffers, problems and pains begin to arise in other parts of our bodies. Let’s look at gut health. What is it and how does it affect more than just your gut?

What is gut health?

In your gut you have microbiome which are microorganisms that live in your digestive tract and help break down food. These “good” bacteria also help keep the “bad” bacteria in check. When there are a lot of the “good” ones, the “bad” are crowded out and don’t have room to grow. Achieving this healthy balance in your gut is called equilibrium. 

Gastrointestinal impacts

Studies have shown that an unhealthy balance of microbiome increases your chances of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome(IBS). Although you are born with certain gut microbiomes, your diet and environment can alter this. 

Link to heart disease

When you have certain gut bacteria, foods like red meat and eggs trigger your liver to create trimethylene N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO can encourage the buildup of cholesterol in your blood vessels. There is a hypothesis that a natural substance called DMB, which is in olive oil and grapeseed oil, might be the answer in these cases to prevent the buildup. 

Tied to kidney disease

Your gut health is also tied to your kidneys. TMAO doesn’t just negatively impact your heart but too much of it can also lead to kidney disease. And when you have kidney disease, you aren’t properly getting rid of TMAO which can lead to heart disease.

Impacts to your brain

Your gut health has a direct relationship with your brain. Your brain may be the centralized control desk for your body, but your gut definitely talks back. An imbalance in your gut can cause brain fog, irritability, and more. Having an imbalance can prevent your brain from properly processing emotions and senses. There is a hypothesis in the medical community that poor gut health could play a role in anxiety, depression, chronic pain and even be related to conditions like autism spectrum disorder. 

Your brain may also get mixed signals from your gut regarding when it is hungry or full. If the signals aren’t sent correctly this can lead to obesity. 

How can you improve your gut health?

Probiotics and prebiotics play a big role in your gut health. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts. They exist in your body but you can take additional supplements to add to the friendly microbiomes. Prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria in your intestinal tract.

If your gut health is out of balance, you can look to probiotic and prebiotic supplements or you can increase your intake of certain foods.

If you are looking for probiotics that are right for your condition, be sure to reach out to a doctor who is well informed in these. Probiotics aren’t regulated by the FDA and aren’t all the same. Certain ones are better for some conditions than others. The wrong ones could even worsen your condition. If you are looking for foods that might have lesser quantities of probiotics than a supplement, you can consider:

  • Yogurt and kefir
  • Cottage cheese
  • Miso soup
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut and kimchi and other fermented foods
  • Pickles and pickle juice

Using prebiotics to feed the good bacteria is pretty easy. The foods microbiota love include:

  • Bananas
  • Barley
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem artichoke 
  • Kiwifruit
  • Legumes
  • Oats
  • Potatoes

If you think your gut health might be imbalanced, talk to your doctor. You can make a plan to help you get your health back on track. Our team at Healthstar Physicians Premier Medical provides osteopathic medicine as well as family medicine, obesity medicine and podiatry. We are taking new patients at our two offices in Newport and our Sevierville office. And we accept most forms of insurance. To make an appointment in one of our Newport offices or our Sevierville office, please contact us.

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