“All disease begins in the gut.” said Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine and 2,000 years later this idea still holds true. The gut is one of the most important organs of the body and good gut health is essential given its role in the immune system, mental health, autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, cancer and many other health disorders.
The gut microbiome are the trillions of bacteria that line the digestive tract and operate in a delicate balance. A disruption in this balance due to exposure to harmful bacteria or other causes is called Dysbiosis and presents itself through various physical and mental health disorders. Furthermore, the bacteria throughout the gut lining also serve as a tight barrier which controls what enters the blood stream, an unhealthy gut can allow proteins from partially digested food, toxins and bacteria pass through it, often triggering an autoimmune response and is known as a ‘leaky gut’. Likewise, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a further example of health disorders related to the gut which occurs when bacteria that is normally found in other parts of the digestive tract are found in the small intestine; a condition associated with various chronic health conditions. An unhealthy gut can manifest itself in various ways so here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:
Discomfort after eating such as feeling bloated, constipated, excess gas, diarrhoea and heartburn may be signs of poor gut health. When the microbiome of the gut is operating in a balanced way, the processing of food and the elimination of waste should occur smoothly, without uncomfortable side effects. These digestive issues may also be linked with a food intolerance or sensitivity whereby the gut microbiome is not able to breakdown the food properly, proteins from the undigested food pass through the gut and into the bloodstream due to a ‘leaky gut’ which creates digestive issues and may also cause brain fog and migraines in addition to other conditions.
Disturbed Sleep & Fatigue
Insomnia, poor quality sleep and feeling constantly tired could well be linked with poor gut health as some 90% of the hormone serotonin is produced by the gut. Serotonin is also known as the ‘happy hormone’ and plays a role in mood regulation as well as the sleep-wake cycle (known as the circadian rhythm) so an impaired capacity to produce this hormone can disturb sleep patterns. This in turn disturbs the complex interplay between hormones and neurotransmitters such as melatonin, cortisol, serotonin, and dopamine which regulate sleep, wakefulness and the capacity to feel rested.
Moodiness, Anxiety & Depression
The onset of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety without identifiable triggers may well be a sign that the health of your gut requires closer examination. Research has shown that the trillions of bacteria that reside in your gut play a crucial role in gut-brain communication which influences the neural, immune and endocrine pathways which impact on psychological function. When your gut microbiome has a deficiency of certain ‘good bacteria’ that enhance mental wellbeing, it can create feelings of stress, anxiety and depression as well as worsening the symptoms associated with more severe mental health issues.
Skin Rashes & Irritation
Skin rashes and irritation such as eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, acne and psoriasis could well be linked with an unhealthy gut due to the close connection between the digestive system, brain and the skin. Poor gut health is a common cause of acne as 40% of acne sufferers have low stomach acid which makes it harder to break down proteins causing systemic inflammation in the body and the skin. Furthermore, a published study also found that people suffering with rosacea were 10 times more likely to have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) compared to those without rosacea and that eradication of the SIBO resulted in almost complete elimination of this common skin condition.
Scientific research is increasingly showing complex links between gut health and the immune system. An imbalance in the flora and fauna of the gut can create systemic inflammation which impairs the immune system’s ability to function well, which can lead to autoimmune conditions whereby the body’s defences turn on their own cells. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and suffering repeated illnesses or infections such as yeast infections may be indicative of Dysbiosis or leaky gut.
If you are suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, an examination of your gut health by a qualified medical practitioner is the best way to establish what is behind your symptoms. Poor gut health can be remedied through changes in your diet, identification of food sensitivities as well as through taking probiotics that serve to rebalance the presence of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
At Seraphim Medical Center, our team of experts including Doctors and Nutritionists are available to help you in establishing the root cause of your symptoms through relevant laboratory testing and advise on the correct treatment path to help you feel healthier and happier.