Gut Health: Signs Yours May Be In Trouble

The gastrointestinal system a.k.a. the gut consists of the entire digestive tract and while it plays a role in the digestion, it can also influence our health in a number of other ways including sinuses, mental health, and skin concerns.

Often referred to as the second brain, the gut is filled with a hundred trillion microbes – all of which communicate with the brain and affect our general health. Aside from processed food, the gastrointestinal system also needs to maintain its balance of good and bad bacteria.

Gut bacteria

The good bacteria helps to protect our health whilst an overload of bad bacteria can jeopardize it. It can then cause health issues such as leaky gut syndrome.

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Leaky gut occurs when the lining of the small intestine is damaged and thus toxic waste, bacteria, and undigested foods leak into the bloodstream. Once this happens, we become vulnerable to health issues such as migraines, fatigue, food allergies, and autoimmune diseases.

As our guts influence our general well-being, it is important to closely monitor it. Here are the warning signs to look out for when it comes to evaluating the health of your inner-zoo.

Inability to lose weight

Some bacteria located in the gastrointestinal system can grow so large that they affect the body’s ability to absorb food.

Once this happens, the body goes into panic mode and it begins to hold onto more calories from the foods we eat. As the body is concerned about not getting enough nutrients, it will then store more fat and affect your weight loss journey.

Depression and anxiety

There continues to be emerging studies highlighting the effect of gastrointestinal health on mental health (1, 2, 3).

Asperger's Syndrome

Serotonin is a feel-good hormone that helps to boost your mood and relieve stress. Large amounts of serotonin are produced in the gut. In fact, a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology revealed how prebiotics helped to lower levels of anxiety.

Skin concerns

The leaky gut syndrome causes inflammation and this often appears on the skin in the form of rashes, eczema and acne breakouts.

In fact, studies have revealed that those suffering from psoriasis and acne had unbalanced gut bacteria (4,5).

Sleep troubles

Not only is serotonin responsible for boosting your mood, but it also helps to regulate sleep. Thus, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, your gastrointestinal health may be compromised.

It should also be noted that fatigue is another sign of an unhealthy gut. As an unhealthy gut has trouble absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat, this can leave us lethargic and fatigued.

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Incessant sugar cravings

It’s one thing to have cravings yet if your sugar cravings have become relentless, then you may want to evaluate your gut.

Leptin and gherlin are proteins made in the gastrointestinal system. They are responsible for appetite and food cravings. If your diet is high in sugar, these two proteins will have your gut bacteria become accustomed to this diet. Once this happens, your gut will start yearning for its daily sugar dose.

If you’re battling with lowering your intake of sugar, here are ways you can overcome your sugar addiction.

Digestive health issues

As the gut plays a pivotal role in the digestive system, digestive health problems would be the first sign of an unhealthy gastrointestinal system.

An unhealthy gut can cause constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, IBS, IBD and gas.

Food sensitivity

Leaky gut occurs when undigested food leaks into the bloodstream. Once this happens, the body perceives the food as a threat and thus initiates an immune response against it.

Unfortunately, this response can then result in food intolerance or sensitivity.

Creating a healthier gut

If you’re looking to maintain a healthier gastrointestinal system, it is important to first look at your diet.

Probiotics are the best foods for your diet, and they can be found in a range of fermented foods, particularly yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha. You can also add a daily probiotic supplement to your routine and be sure to stay hydrated.

It is also advisable to stay clear of processed and inflammatory foods such as refined grains, fried foods, alcohol and sugar-rich products.