THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING WRONG with your inner tube, and it could be making you sick and fat.
You may not even realize you have a problem … but if you have health concerns of any kind or if you are overweight, your inner tube could be the root cause. Of course, I’m not talking about a beach toy. I mean the inner tube of life – your digestive system!
It is likely that you suffer from (or have suffered from) some type of digestive disorder – irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, reflux, gas, and other things too gross to mention. And you are not alone.
Visits for intestinal disorders are among the most common reasons for trips to primary care physicians. Digestive problems wreak havoc in the entire body, leading to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, cancer, and more.
So having a healthy gut means more than simply being free of annoyances like bloating or heartburn! It is absolutely central to your health. It is connected to EVERYTHING that happens in your body.
Why is your gut is so important?
How Your Gut Keeps You Healthy Or Makes You Ill
The health of your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, allergens, and microbes are kept out. It is directly linked to the health of your whole body. Intestinal health could be defined as the optimal digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food. But that is a big job that depends on many other factors. Let’s look at a few of them …
First, there are bugs in your gut that form a diverse and interdependent ecosystem like a rainforest. In fact, there are 500 species and 3 pounds of bacteria in your gut which form a HUGE chemical factory that help you digest your food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins, and produce vitamins and other healing compounds that keep your gut and your body healthy.
This ecosystem of friendly bacteria must be in balance for you to be healthy. Too many of the wrong bacteria, like parasites and yeasts, or not enough of the good ones, like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria, can seriously damage your health.
So keeping a healthy balance of bugs in your intestines is one factor to good gut health.
It’s important to understand that many diseases that seem to be totally unrelated to the gut – such as eczema, psoriasis, or arthritis – are actually CAUSED by gut problems.
Second, there is your gut-immune system. Your entire immune system, and the rest of your body, is protected from the toxic environment in your gut by a lining that is only ONE cell-thick layer. If spread out, this lining would take up a surface area the size of a tennis court, and the entire thing is covered by a sewer!
If that barrier is damaged, you can become allergic to foods you may normally be able to digest perfectly well, you will get sick, your immune system will become overactive, and it will begin producing inflammation throughout your body. Filtering out the good from the bad molecules and protecting your immune system is yet another important factor in gut health.
Third, there is your second brain – your gut’s nervous system. Did you know your gut, actually contains MORE neurotransmitters than your brain? In fact, the gut has a brain of its own. It is called the “enteric nervous system” and it is a very sophisticated piece of your biology that is wired to your brain in intricate ways.
Messages constantly travel back and forth between your gut-brain and your head-brain, and when those messages are interfered with in any way your health will suffer.
Fourth, your gut also has to get rid of all the toxins produced as byproducts of your metabolism, which your liver dumps into bile. If things get backed up when you are constipated, you will become toxic and your health will suffer.
And last but not least, your gut must break down all the food you eat into its individual components, separate out the vitamins and minerals, and shuttle everything across the one cell-thick layer mentioned above so it can get into your bloodstream and nourish your body and brain.
Your gut has quite a lot to manage. Even in a perfect world it is hard to keep all of this in balance. But in our modern world there are endless insults that can knock our digestive systems off balance making it much more difficult to maintain excellent digestive health.
How To Know If Your Gut Is Out Of Balance
To fix your digestion, you first need to understand what is sending your gut out of balance in the first place. The list is short:
- Our low-fiber, high-sugar, processed, nutrient-poor, high-calorie diet, which causes all the wrong bacteria and yeast to grow in our gut, damages the delicate ecosystem in your intestines.
- Overuse of medications that damage the gut or block normal digestive function – like acid blockers (Prilosec, Nexium, etc.), anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin, Advil, and Aleve), and overuse of antibiotics, steroids, and hormones.
- Undetected gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or low grade food allergies to foods such as dairy, eggs, or corn.
- Chronic low-grade infections or gut imbalances with overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, yeast overgrowth, parasites, or even more serious gut infections.
- Toxins like mercury and mold toxins, which damage the gut.
- Lack of adequate digestive enzyme function, which can come from acid-blocking medication use, or zinc deficiency.
- Stress, which can alter the gut nervous system, cause a leaky gut, and change the normal bacteria in the gut.
What happens then is obvious. You get sick.
But what’s important to understand is that many diseases that seem to be totally unrelated to the gut – such as eczema, psoriasis, or arthritis – are actually CAUSED by gut problems. By focusing on the gut, you can get better.
7 Steps To Optimal Digestive Health
To heal your inner tube of life you simply need to:
- Eat whole unprocessed foods. Make sure to include plenty of fiber from foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Eliminate food allergies. If you think you have food sensitivities, try an elimination diet. Cut outgluten, dairy, yeast, corn, soy, and eggs for a week or two and see how your gut feels and what happens to your other symptoms.
- Treat any infections or overgrowth of bugs. Parasites, small bowel bacteria, and yeasts can all inhibit proper gut function. You must treat these infections if you want to heal.
- Replenish your digestive enzymes. When you don’t have enough digestive enzymes in your gut, you can’t properly convert the foods you eat into the raw materials necessary to run your body and brain. Take broad-spectrum digestive enzymes with your food to solve the problem.
- Rebuild your rain forest of friendly bacteria. Take probiotic supplements. They will help rebuild the healthy bacteria so essential to good gut health.
- Get good fat. Take extra omega-3 supplements, which help cool inflammation in the gut.
- Heal your gut lining. Use gut-healing nutrients such as glutamine and zinc to repair the lining in your gut so it can resume its normal function.
Fixing your digestion may take some time, but it can be done. And it is absolutely essential if you want to achieve vibrant health. So work on your inner tube of life using the steps above and watch as your symptoms (and those extra pounds) disappear.