Understanding Gut Health
The optimal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, especially the intestines and stomach, is referred to as Gut Health. Being called the “second brain” because of its effect on numerous bodily functions and extensive network of neurons, it maintains your overall health.
Symptoms of Digestive Disorders
Digestive discomforts like excessive gas, persistent bloating, troublesome constipation, unexplained weight changes, irregular sleeping patterns, and certain food intolerances such as lactose intolerance are the main symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
Causes of Digestive Disorders
Unhealthy and untimely eating habits, difficulty in digesting gluten or lactose, antibiotics or NSAIDs, viral or bacterial infections, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and excessive smoking and drinking can lead to an irritated gut.
How Common is it?
of the Indian population suffers from gastrointestinal issues
of Indians suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
of peptic ulcer disease prevails due to the unhealthy gut
of Indians experience GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
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Dt. Zubeda Tumbi
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Aparna is a 28-year-old unmarried woman with a 21.9 BMI who had been irritated with her gut health issues for the past 3-4 months. She occasionally used to experience indigestion and mild bloating. Her energy in day-to-day tasks was decreasing due to which she thought that taking expert advice would be a better approach. By following a simple gut health treatment plan suggested by a certified doctor of Nirvasa, she started feeling a lot better than before. Her abdominal pain and discomfort improved and burping stopped too. The doctor made a few alterations in her diet and lifestyle habits and those worked wonders for her gut health.
Meet Satyam, a 43-year-old married man of 80 kg and a BMI of 25.3. He had been extremely upset and stressed with his gut health issues which he had been suffering for 1.2 years. He frequently used to have food cravings for junk and unhealthy foods. Due to moderate exercise and unhealthy eating habits, Satyam used to experience frequent belching, bloating and heartburn. His irregular bowel movements and abdominal pain and discomfort made him realise that he needs a piece of expert advice. After a doctor consultation from Nirvasa, he got suggested an effective gut health treatment plan of 9 months. He was advised to have gut-healing supplements, make necessary dietary alterations and commence with stress-relieving techniques. Satyam is energetic, completely confident, and stress-free not only in his personal as well as professional life too.
Cheers to Chitra, a 35-year-old married woman who was suffering from intense gut health issues for the past 8 to 9 months. She felt low in energy and extremely weak during the day's tasks. She was going through burping, belching and even indigestion. She had gastric issues and frequently suffered from constipation. Just in a few months, by following a simple yet effective gut health plan from Nirvasa, she improved her immunity and felt more energetic. Her abdominal discomfort and the pain got vanished and the burping stopped. All this happened with a change in diet, a bit of exercise and altering some lifestyle habits. Now she is completely fine and has a healthy gut.
Why is good gut health crucial for general well-being?
Our immune system and the central nervous system are linked with our gut which depicts that from digesting the food we eat to absorption of nutrients and utilizing them to keep our body healthy and maintain nutrition level.
What is the connection between the gut and the immune system?
The gut microbiome is closely connected with the gut and plays a major role in training and development of the immune system. As the gut keeps harmful pathogens at bay and absorbing necessary nutrients, it is crucial to keep it healthy for better immunity. Poor gut health can lead to leaky gut syndrome where harmful substances and toxins escape the gut and impact the immune system. Chronic immune activation due to disruption in gut health may result in autoimmune conditions interconnected to a plethora of health issues, such as obesity, allergies, and cancer.
How much time does it take it reverse gut health naturally?
Adopting necessary lifestyle modifications and making required dietary adjustments can lead to a healthy gut. Although, it is crucial to understand one thing – natural healing of the gut is a slow process which might take some time. Here, you need to maintain consistent efforts and abide by a healthy diet plan. This will surely result in a healthy guy over time.
Are acidity and constipation also a problem of the gut?
Stomach issues like acidity and constipation are concerning symptoms of unhealthy gut. While antacids and laxatives may give temporary relief, they do not provide a permanent solution. Instead of having a pill on a daily basis, it is important to evaluate your issue and its root cause by bringing some dietary and lifestyle changes in your regimen. By making these modifications to your nutritional and lifestyle choices, you can eliminate these issues and support healthy gut.
Which foods promote a healthy gut?
There are numerous foods that impact your gut and supports it in the development of beneficial gut bacteria and provide proper nutrients. Including the following foods in your diet can keep your gut healthy and happy – Fibre-rich Foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc.), Fermented Foods (kefir, yoghurt, tempeh, miso, etc.), Prebiotic Foods (leeks, garlic, onions, bananas, etc.), Omega-3 Fatty Acids (walnuts, salmon, chia seeds, flaxseeds, etc.), Bone Broth, Ginger, Turmeric, Green Leafy Veggies (kale, broccoli, spinach, etc.), and Probiotic Supplements.
Gut Health: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
What is the Meaning of ‘Gut’?The “Gut” refers to the gastrointestinal system of your body. It mainly comprises the pipe in which the food passes after you engulf it. A lot of people mistake the terminology Gut for the immune system. The gut and immune system are two whole different systems inside the human body. However, 70 per cent of the immune system is located in the gut. Therefore, strengthening gut health will directly impact immunity.
Components of GutThis alone is not a complete organ. It is a set of organs and parts that join together to perform indigestion, digestion, and excretion of the food and energy that we consume in our day-to-day lives. The digestive system comprises various organs, and the gastrointestinal system is one of its parts. The GI or gut comprises components including:
- Oral Cavity
- Small Intestine
- Large Intestine
- Anal Canal
Gut MicrobiotaGut microbiota refers to a group of good microorganisms that reside inside the human gut. They form a symbiotic relationship with humans as both species benefit from each other. The microbes present inside the gut ensure the digestion of the foods that cannot be digested by the juices present inside the human stomach and intestine. Moreover, it also regulates the growth of bad and harmful microbes inside the stomach and suppresses its growth. Similarly, humans provide a hostile environment for the microorganisms to live and the foods that cannot be digested by the humans serve as food for the bad microbes. For example, human bodies are not capable of breaking lactose sugars present in the milk and lactobacillus microbe present in the gut breaks it down.
Why is Gut Health Important?Gut health is very important as it supports multiple processes occurring inside the body. The gut breaks down the foods that you consume and is responsible for absorbing essential nutrients important for the functioning of your body. The gastrointestinal tract or gut is not only involved in the ingestion, digestion, absorption, and excretion of food, but it also affects other body organs in different ways: Immune System: Your gut comprises almost 70 per cent of your immune system. Therefore, good gut health is important for overall health. The microbes present in the gut protect you from the attack of other harmful organisms. As soon as bad microorganisms enter the human gut, the good microbes present there kill them by deleting the food sources and competing for nutrients present there. Digestion of breast milk: From the neonatal phase, i.e. as soon as the child is born the gut starts to develop and microbiota inside stars to flourish. Microbes inside the gut of a baby are important for the digestion of healthy sugars present inside the milk which is important for growth. Enables Fiber Digestion: The gut microbes are responsible for digesting certain fibers which present them from a number of diseases related to high lipids inside the body. The gut microbes digest the fibres and convert them into short-chain fatty acids which are easy to use. Therefore fibre is good for the weight loss process, and diabetes and reduces the risks associated with heart health. Improved Heart Health: Bad microbes present inside the gut are observed to increase toxic species in the body which in turn results in increased chances of heart disease and stroke. Increased healthy microbiota regulates the population of bad microbes and reduces the risks of heart complications. Prevention of Obesity: It has been observed that the increased concentration of bad microbes can seriously affect fat deposition and cause obesity. A comparison shows that people with imbalanced concentrations of good and bad microbes where the concentration of good microbes was high showed only a small number of obesity cases as compared to those with high bad microbes.
What Causes Bad Gut Health?Changing lifestyle and eating habits have been contributing to poor overall health for a long time. It has also been shown to affect the gut microbiota. Some of the common contributing factors include:
Not Including Much Foods in DietNot eating a variety of foods and not including essential nutrients in the diet can lead to a lack of gut flora. Essential components and food that we consume are essential for good gut bacteria to grow. One should include whole foods such as high-fiber foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables to increase the diversity of the gut flora. Diversity in the diet is important for the gut flora to grow and recover. Different nutrients are essential for different gut flora to grow. People who generally eat clean food and less processed food tend to show better microbial diversity in the gut than those who frequently consume processed foods.
Not Having Enough ProbioticsProbiotics are high-fibre components that promote friendly microbial growth in the gut. They are not ingested by the body and hence are excreted as such. Fruits and fresh vegetables available in the market provide natural probiotics therefore to improve immunity, a doctor suggests a high fruits and raw vegetable diet. A rich probiotic diet can help people cope with obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol and can promote good heart health. They have also shown a reduction in inflammation and promote good digestive health.
High Consumption of AlcoholAlcohol is toxic to the human body and has various side effects. Apart from major side effects on the liver and kidneys, high alcohol consumption can also reduce the amount of gut bacteria that is good for health. Certain shows of alcohol especially gin and whiskey have potentially been shown to reduce good bacteria and increase the growth of bad bacteria.
Taking too Much StressStress is a strong stimulus that can affect the overall health of an individual. It does not solely affect mental state but is also responsible for impacting physical health and body functioning. Excessive stress can show signs of reduced sensitivity and reduction in the flow of blood. All of it in turn affects the percentage of good gut bacteria in the body. Social factors can severely affect the gut flora of an individual and can alter the overall gut profile. High levels of stress have been shown to reduce the growth of good bacteria lactobacillus and promote bad bacteria growth. Excessive stress can also alter the pH of the inside environment and suppress the growth of microbiota.
Antibiotic AbuseAntibiotics have been a boon to mankind. However, antibiotic abuse can be harmful and can potentially disrupt gut flora. Antibiotics have the potential to kill bacteria and cannot differentiate between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Therefore, antibiotic administration can kill good microbes inside the body so it is essential for a person to consume a good diet and probiotics after an antibiotic gut treatment. Moreover, people who do not complete the antibiotic course are more likely to disturb the microbiota because it will become difficult for the body to work on the same doses after some time making the doctor prescribe more potent antibiotics.
Not Working Out MuchWorkouts and physical activities are essential for maintaining overall health. It not only helps in reducing fat content inside the body but also ensures adequate good gut microbial growth inside the body. One can include any physical activity in a daily routine. Moderate to intense workout daily is essential to maintain overall gut health. It has been shown to promote weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease and lower stress levels. Butyrate is a component essential for the growth of good bacteria that produce butyrate. Increased levels of physical activity have been shown to improve butyrate levels inside the body. It also promotes the growth of good bacteria that helps in reducing lipid content inside the body.
Excessive SmokingThere are more than 7000 elements present in cigarettes amongst which more than 70 are harmful and can potentially cause tumors. Smoking can cause maximum harm to the human body. Even more than what a person can imagine because it poses harmful effects on every organ. The gut is also affected by smoking and the person can experience irritable bowel syndrome or irritation in the stomach. Additionally, smoking can cause peptic ulcers and Crohn's in the worst cases (a disease in which the entire GI tract is inflamed). Smokers who chose to quit smoking showed an increase in gut microbiota diversity.
Sleep DeprivationSleep is very important for the maintenance of ensuring proper functioning of the human body. Not having enough sleep can directly increase the risk of obesity and heart disease. Furthermore, sleep is important to maintain the circadian rhythm or biological clock. The biological clock is the body's ability to function properly and on time and sleep patterns are also modified by the boy as per that. Not having enough sleep can also disturb sleep cycles and can have a negative impact on gut flora.
How Common is it?Almost 27 per cent of the total Indian population suffers from problems related to gut and poor gut flora. Moreover, 11 per cent of the population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (irritated bowel movements) majorly due to poor gut health. Bad gut flora can pave the way for digestive complications such as gastric reflux and heart burn. All of these problems are very common and can be improved by improving the gut flora.
What are the Symptoms of Bad Gut Health?The signs and symptoms of an unhealthy gut are visible and can be spotted. Once you start experiencing the symptoms it's better to seek immediate cure. The following signs can indicate that your gut is suffering and you need to seek a cure before it worsens: Stomach Issues: A bad gut can be recognised as an unhealthy gut. You may frequently experience a bloated stomach, gas, constipation, improper stool and gastric irritation in most cases. You may feel like taking frequent antacids (substances that neutralize stomach acids). Since your gut flora is not sufficient, you may experience difficulty in processing and eliminating food. Inflammation: Poor gut5 flora leads to increased inflammation. This is caused due to excessive consumption of sugars. High sugar content has been shown to decrease good gut flora and promote the growth of bad microbes. Inflammation can indicate that the abundance of bad microbes is exceeding the good ones. Weight Fluctuations: A significant increase or drop in weight can indicate poor gut microbiota. It is usually unusual as the person neither changes the diet nor indulges in any physical activity leading to weight changes. The poor gut is responsible as the bad microbes hamper nutrient absorption. It majorly leads to malnutrition. Malnutrition refers to poor absorption of nutrients from the food. The reasons for it can be any but in cases of bad gut, there is excessive growth of bad microbes. Change in Sleep Patterns and Disturbed Sleep: Poor gut impacts metabolic function, causes inflammation and also shows psychological effects on the human body causing disturbances in hormones. This in turn causes problems with sleep and drastic changes in sleeping patterns. The person cannot sleep much and the body does not get proper rest causing fatigue. Irritated Skin: The gut bad bacteria are responsible for causing skin inflammation. Its overgrowth can directly impact the skin and can cause inflammatory problems such as psoriasis. Additionally, the body is not able to fight off the bacteria due to a compromised immune system. Therefore, poor growth of good gut microbiota indicates problems with the skin and can lead to damaged derma cells. Autoimmunity: Since the immune system is compromised in cases of bad gut health and the body does not have sufficient good microbiota tonight diseases, the person may experience diseases due to autoimmunity. Furthermore, it increases systemic inflammation and the body is unable to recognise it;’s own cells causing autoimmunity. Intolerance to Certain Foods and Products: Bad gut health can hamper the digestion and absorption of certain foods. Food allergy occurs due to immune response to foreign stimuli, whereas food intolerances due to poor gut are majorly due to bad absorption due to lack of good gut microbes. One such common intolerance due to a lack of good microbes in the gut is lactose intolerance. The microbe lactobacillus is responsible for digesting sugars in milk. However, in the absence of good microbe lactobacillus, the body is not able to digest lactose properly causing lactose intolerance. This can lead to various complications accompanied by signs such as:
- Stomach Ache