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All diseases begin in the intestines. – Hippocrates
Hippocrates made this profound statement more than 2,000 years ago, but we are only now beginning to understand how right he is. Intestinal health is critical to overall health, and an unhealthy bowel contributes to the development of a wide range of chronic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, autism, depression and anxiety. Many researchers, including myself, believe that maintaining intestinal health and restoring the integrity of the intestinal barrier are the two most important goals of medicine in the 21st century.
If you have problems, then naturally maintaining a healthy gut can change your overall health and well-being. If you work in the health and wellness area as a nutritionist, health care trainer or other related provider, an understanding of intestinal health can help you support your clients in their work to restore and maintain a healthy microbiota. Read on to find out why a healthy gut is necessary for creating a healthy body and how you can restore and maintain a healthy gut for life.
Finding natural bowel treatments can help you get rid of a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. Learn how to maintain a healthy gut with diet and lifestyle. #optimalhealth #changeagent #chriskresser
Health coaches: why concentrate on intestinal health?
If you are engaged in professional coaching in the field of health, you will undoubtedly encounter clients with existing bowel problems and chronic diseases. Some may struggle with obvious gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating, which clearly indicate intestinal problems. However, others may have extracellular manifestations, such as dysregulation of blood sugar or mental health problems, which are also associated with intestinal dysfunction. Regardless of who you work with, supporting your clients, as they are taking steps to cure their gut naturally, should be a priority because of the deep impact on intestinal health on overall health.
The idea that the intestines affect the general state of health may seem contrived for some people. Therefore, I recommend starting any discussion of bowel health by briefly describing two interrelated variables that determine bowel health: intestinal microbiota and intestinal barrier,
5 biggest myths about health coaching
If you are committed to helping others achieve perfect health, a career as a health care coach can be a good step forward. Learn more about what health coaches do and what not.
Are we more microbic than human?
The human intestine is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms, collectively referred to as the “intestinal microbiota”. (1) The intestinal microbiota contains a set of genes 150 times larger than that of the human genome. (2, 3)
These microbes are not just passively living their lives; they have a profound effect on our health. In the gastrointestinal tract, intestinal microbes promote peristalsis (the movement of food through the intestines), protect against infection, produce vitamins and support a healthy gastrointestinal layer of mucus.
Outside the digestive tract, intestinal microbes act on other organs and tissues through neural networks and signaling molecules. Through these complex communication networks, intestinal microbes regulate 70 to 80 percent of the immune system and influence the control of blood sugar levels. (4, 5) They also modulate the functions of the brain, bones, heart, skin, eyes, and muscle tissue. (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
When the intestinal microbiome is disturbed, the processes usually regulated by the intestinal microbiota, such as immunity and brain function, are disturbed. Ultimately, this can lead to the development of chronic conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders and mental health problems, among many other health problems.
What destroys the intestinal microbiome?
There are many features of the modern lifestyle that violate the intestinal microbiome. The impact of these harmful factors is widespread in our society.
Treated, inflammatory foods
A standard American diet packed with processed, inflammatory foods, such as refined carbohydrates and industrial seed oils, is an established risk factor for intestinal dysbiosis. (12) The standard American diet reduces bacterial diversity and causes inflammation in the intestines, thereby contributing to negative health effects.
Low fiber intake
Our intestinal microbes ferment dietary fiber to fuel their activities. The lack of fermentable fiber, which is often found in the United States, deprives intestinal bacteria of this fuel and leads to a decrease in the number of beneficial bacteria. (13)
Chronic psychological stress changes the intestinal microbiota; in fact, it can be one of the most important mechanisms by which stress contributes to the development of many chronic health problems. (14)
Bacterial, fungal and viral intestinal pathogens alter the composition of the intestinal microbiota. (15) It is important that the intestinal infection should not be acute in order to cause problems in the intestinal microbiota; some infections fly under the radar for years. Stool analysis is a valuable tool for detecting both acute and subclinical intestinal infections.
Antibiotics and other medications
According to studies, antibiotics and non-antibiotics, such as birth control pills, proton pump inhibitors and NSAIDs, significantly alter the intestinal microbiota. (16, 17) Repeated antibiotics and the use of non-antibiotic drugs are important risk factors for detection.
Caesarean section and lack of breastfeeding
During vaginal delivery, the child passes through the birth canal and is “seeded” with the beneficial bacteria of the mother, which creates the basis for optimal development of the intestinal microbiota. On the other hand, babies born by caesarean section are first exposed to germs present on the skin of those who touch them during delivery of caesarean section (doctor, nurses) and immediately after (mother), as well as any restricted swim around sterile hospital environment. The newborn's lack of exposure to beneficial vaginal bacteria of the mother changes the course of the development of the intestinal microbiota in infancy and childhood and may be associated with future health problems, even in adulthood. (18)
Breastfeeding provides babies with breast milk, rich in probiotics, prebiotics and immunoglobulins, which contribute to the development of a healthy intestinal microbiota. (19) Many of these nutritional factors are missing in infant formula, and it is associated with the suboptimal development of the intestinal microbiota. (20)
Circadian rhythm disorder
Disruption of the circadian rhythm, caused by factors such as an incorrect sleep / wakefulness schedule and exposure to blue light at night, causes an imbalance in the intestinal microbiome. It also violates the integrity of the intestinal barrier, the second important variable that affects intestinal health. (21)
How does the intestinal barrier affect our health?
As I mentioned earlier, two variables affect intestinal health: the intestinal microbiota and the intestinal barrier. But what exactly is the intestinal barrier and why is it necessary for our health?
The gut is a hollow tube extending from the mouth to the anus, through which everything that is not digested passes. The gastrointestinal barrier, a multilayer system consisting of intestinal epithelial cells and proteins, prevents the release of non-nutritive (and potentially harmful) substances from the intestine into the bloodstream. When the structural integrity of the intestinal barrier is compromised, large proteins and other molecules leave the intestine to the blood; This phenomenon is called “leaky gut.”
The leakage of unwanted and incompatible substances from the intestines into the bloodstream causes the immune system to cause an inflammatory reaction. Chronic inflammation resulting from a bowel movement is the main cause of many chronic diseases. Therefore, the flowing gut can play a role in many health conditions.
What causes intestinal leakage?
We have learned that many factors that harm the intestinal microbiome, such as antibiotics and unhealthy diets, also contribute to intestinal leakage., a predisposing factor in the development of many health problems.
In addition, there are certain substances that can break the intestinal barrier and cause abnormal permeability. Studies have identified a protein called zonulin as one of the main culprits.
Zonulin increases intestinal permeability, including tight joints between intestinal cells. This has become a critical link between the leaky gut and adverse health effects, such as autoimmune diseases. (22) Gliadin, a component of gluten protein, promotes bowel secretion by increasing zonulin production. You can learn more about the connection between gluten, zonulin, and the loose gut in my podcast with researcher Dr. Alessio Fasano.
Health effects of intestinal leakage
Someone may have a leaky gut, even if he has no symptoms associated with the intestines. In fact, research shows that it can manifest as eczema, autoimmune diseases, obesity, and many other chronic diseases. (23, 24, 25)
If the loose colon is left untreated, it is almost impossible to improve other health problems, such as controlling blood sugar levels and cognitive functions. That is why it is so important to focus on promoting a healthy intestinal barrier.
Seven methods of natural bowel healing
The first step in healing the intestines avoiding destructive factors I listed earlier that they harm the intestinal microbiome and the intestinal barrier.
Although it is not always possible to completely avoid these factors (for example, an adult cannot control whether he was born from a caesarean section or breastfed), there are many ways to improve intestinal health.
1. Remove processed, inflammatory foods from the diet.
The transition to whole foods rich in nutrients. Identify and remove foods that cause inflammation, such as gluten and dairy products. Inflammatory foods can be determined with a food sensitivity test or an exclusive diet.
2. Add fermentable fiber
Eat a lot of fermentable fiber contained in foods such as artichoke, onion, garlic and bananas. These fibers nourish the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria and help heal the bowel that is leaking.
3. Add fermented foods
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics that help restore a healthy intestinal microbiota and intestinal barrier. Unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt and kefir provide an abundance of probiotics. However, make sure that you do not struggle with histamine intolerance before increasing your intake of fermented foods, since fermented foods can exacerbate the symptoms.
4. Look for treatment for any intestinal pathogens.
Intestinal infections are an important cause of intestinal dysbiosis and leaky gut. If you or your clients are currently seeking treatment from a functional physician, ask about testing such as Genova GI Effects or GI-MAP. They can identify specific bacterial, fungal, or parasitic imbalances that cause intestinal dysbiosis.
5. Emphasize healthy sleep habits.
Get from seven to eight hours of high quality sleep per night to maintain your intestinal health. I recommend that you follow the rules of sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule and avoiding exposure to blue light at night. The impact of blue light can be minimized with the help of glasses blocking blue light and f.lux and Iris applications.
6. Develop an exercise routine.
Develop a sustainable exercise program that will keep your intestinal germs in shape. If you are an endurance athlete, you may need additional bowel support to mitigate the adverse effects of frequent endurance exercises on the intestinal microbiota, such as increased intestinal permeability. (26)
7. Manage Stress
Make stress reduction practitioners such as yoga or meditation a part of everyday life. Mindfulness applications, such as Headspace or Calm, can be useful for people who are new to meditation.