Right this minute, we’re all drawing our energy from the chemical reactions that take place in the gut. Digestion is the furnace and the foundation of all our human abilities. Even sitting still, we owe our brainpower, our awareness, and our connection with the outside world to what goes on in the gut. Not a glamorous organ, perhaps, but you just can’t get more essential than what it does for us.
For a lot of reasons, the gut and its work remain a mystery to most people. To start with, the term itself refers to not one organ, but two: the small and large intestine. (The stomach starts the process and holds food until the gut is ready to go to work.) The small intestine is the major worksite, extracting nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the food we eat. It transports what’s left to the large intestine, where electrolytes and water are further salvaged from the food, sending the residue on for elimination.
Yet this tract is a lot more than a hollow tube. It is home to a billion microbes that participate in the digestive process, including helpful bacteria and protozoa. The balance of that billion, and its exact composition and proportion, have everything to do with whether your digestion works efficiently and effectively. Consider how easy it is to rock the boat when a billion moving parts are involved, and then it’s easy to imagine the importance of taking care of that balance, called the microbiome.
How to Know When it is Wrong
When your gut is not happy, there are at least seven signs that may emerge. Any one, or all, of these are worth paying attention to, when you begin to heal yourself by healing your gut.
- Disturbances such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn could be signals of an unhealthy gut.
- Sugar cravings are a kind of chicken-or-the-egg spiral in gut health, because a high-sugar diet, especially with today’s ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup, actually creates a hunger for more sugar.
- An unhealthy gut can ruin your sleep, or make you feel tired all the time.
- Gaining or losing weight without a change in diet can be the result of poor nutrient absorption in the gut.
- When gut inflammation leads to “leaking” some kinds of protein into the body, it can cause skin irritations, including eczema.
- Food intolerances may me caused by something other than an allergy in certain cases, when the microbiome balance isn’t up to the task for certain foods.
- Food allergies themselves may in some cases have a gut health component. And evidence is accumulating that some immune conditions may stem from the systemic inflammation that comes from an unhealthy gut.
How to Get It Right
As practitioners of functional medicine, your team at Genesis4Wellness is committed to helping you heal the cause of disease and not just its symptoms. We’re experienced in guiding people through an awakening to nutrition and balance as tools for achieving this. Find out about the difference this could make in your life. Just call us at 470-787-2160. The combination of health and happiness is our work here, and we would be honored to offer it to you.