What Is Gut Health and Why Should I Be Concerned About It?

What Is Gut Health and Why Should I Be Concerned About It?

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With a healthy gut, food digestion is optimized and people can enjoy good general well-being. Gut health refers to the balance and function of bacteria that exist within the digestive tract. Although bacteria often calls harmful germs to mind, there are a number of beneficial strains that are absolutely vital to both digestive performance and the body’s performance overall. Much of a person’s digestive flora is inherited during birth. When children are born, they take on all of the same organisms that support heir mothers’ digestive health. They also encounter new, healthy bacteria over the course of their lives by interacting with others, being exposed to new environments, and eating a variety of bacteria-rich foods.

When a person has a generous array of beneficial bacteria in the gut, fighting off illness, maintaining mood balance, and avoiding digestive distress are all easy for the body to do. However, when the balance of beneficial bacteria is tipped, people can suffer from chronic constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and more. Currently, the absence of essential bacteria is even being associated with a variety of mental health issues including chronic depression and anxiety. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about health is that germ-free is always best. As such, consumers have filled their homes with a vast range of sterilizing agents that are capable of killing both harmful surface germs, and the beneficial bacteria that are vital to their own well-being.

Beneficial gut bacteria can also be killed as the result of exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals that are commonly found on mass-produced foods. Even taking prescription medications can lead to problems. Broad-spectrum antibiotics will both eliminate the infections that they’ve been prescribed for, and sterilize many aspects of the gut. Given the very vast range of environmental and lifestyle factors that can impact a person’s gut health, there are few people who haven’t felt the effects of having insufficient good bacteria to support them.

Common Signs of Poor Gut Health

There are a number of things that people can do to offset the effects of environmental exposure to agents that sterilize the gut or kill both good and bad bacteria off. For instance, limiting the in-home use of professional-grade disinfectants and pesticides is an excellent start. After taking a course of antibiotics, it’s always a good idea to consume foods with live, active cultures to replenish bacteria stores. High-quality yogurt, kimchi, and other fermented foods can all help to this end. However, it’s important to note that even eating well and avoiding exposure won’t guarantee that a person has a diverse array of beneficial organisms in the gut.

Each strain of beneficial bacteria has its own unique role in fostering good digestion and supporting overall health. When multiple strains are missing, various problems can occur. In addition to general digestive distress, among some of the most common signs of an unhealthy gut are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unintentional weight changes
  • Insomnia
  • Skin rashes and other forms of skin irritation
  • The development of new food allergies

Sadly, when treated in conventional medical environments, issues like these are rarely connected to the health of the gut. As such, although their symptoms may be alleviated, these same issues may linger and even progress until their underlying cause has been both identified and corrected. One of the best ways to restore gut health is by taking probiotics. Probiotic supplements are designed to introduce select strains of bacteria into the gut. The formulations of probiotics can be determined based upon the symptoms that a person is experiencing, his or her life history and environment, and individual health goals.

Various diagnostic processes including blood screening can additionally be used to better pinpoint the exact bacterial strains needed. Not only does taking probiotics have the ability to restore gut health, but this strategy can also offset the ongoing ravages of continued exposure. Certain factors that diminish a person’s gut health simply cannot be avoided. People can enhance the efficacy of these treatments by improving their sleep hygiene and diets, getting plenty of exercise, and practicing good stress management. Even choosing to eat more slowly and to chew foods thoroughly before swallowing can be beneficial to this end.

These strategies boost nutrient absorption, limit shock to the digestive system, and foster better digestion overall. If you’ve been experiencing the signs of poor gut health and want to find a natural and effective way to resolve your problems, we can help. Call us now at 205-352-9141.

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