What is a healthy Gut? How it affects intestinal health
The gut microbiome
The incredible complexity of the intestine and its importance for our health in general is a topic of growing investigation in the medical community. Numerous studies in the last decades have demonstrated links between intestinal health and the immune system, the state of mind, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin affections and cancer.
At one time, our digestive system was considered a relatively “simple” body system, essentially composed of a wide tube through which food passed, was absorbed and excreted.
The term “gut microbiome” refers specifically to the microorganisms that live in your intestines. A person has around 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in his digestive tract. If some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary for a healthy body.
According to Dr. E. M. Quigley in his Trusted Source study on intestinal bacteria in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, having a wide variety of these good bacteria in the intestine can improve the function of the immune system, improve symptoms of depression, help fight obesity and provide many other benefits.
7 signs of a healthy intestine
Many facets of modern life, such as high levels of stress, sleeping too little, eating processed foods with high sugar content and taking antibiotics, can damage our intestinal microbiome. This, in turn, can affect other aspects of our health, such as the brain, the heart, the immune system, the skin, the weight, the hormonal levels, the ability to absorb nutrients and even the development of cancer.
There are several ways in which an unhealthy intestine can manifest itself. Here is a list of the most common signs:
Stomach disorders such as gas, bloating, stress, diarrhea and stomach acid can be signs of an unhealthy bowel. A balanced intestine will make it less difficult to process food and eliminate leftovers.
A diet high in sugar
A diet rich in processed foods and added sugars can reduce the amount of good bacteria in the intestine. This imbalance can cause an increase in sugar levels, which can damage the intestines. The high amounts of refined sugars, particularly the jarabe de maíz with a high content of fructose, have been related to a greater inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be the precursor of a series of illnesses, including cancer.
Involuntary weight changes
Gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits can be a sign of an unhealthy bowel. An unbalanced intestine can affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar and store fat. Weight loss can be caused by bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine (SIBO), while weight gain can be caused by insulin resistance or the need to overeat due to decreased nutrient absorption.
Changes in sweat or constant fatigue
A poorly healthy intestine can contribute to sleep disorders such as insomnia or lack of sweat and, therefore, cause chronic fatigue. The main part of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects the mood and the sweat, is produced in the intestine. Therefore, intestinal damage can affect your ability to sleep well. Some changes in the skin were also related to the risk of fibromyalgia.
Skin conditions such as eczema can be related to a damaged intestine. Inflammation in the intestine caused by a poor diet or food allergies can cause a greater “leakage” of certain proteins from the body, which in turn can irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema.
Medical researchers continually find new questions about the impact of the intestine on the immune system. It is believed that an unhealthy intestine can increase systemic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This can lead to autoimmune diseases, in which the body is attacked by the símismo instead of by the harmful invaders.
Food intolerances are the result of the difficulty in digesting certain foods (this is different from a food allergy, which is caused by a reaction of the immune system to certain foods). It is believed that food intolerances can be caused by bad bacteria in the intestine