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GUT HEALTH SERIES - PART 1

by Nicole van Heerden on July 03, 2020

House of Health - Gut Health Series: Part 1

Gut Health Series - Breaking It Down
What is your gut & What does it actually do?

What organ is comparable to the immune system, contains more than 100 trillion bacterial cells, can be modified by external factors and in its absence nearly all physiological aspects of the body would be affected? You guessed it, the gut. There is so much information regarding gut health, especially on social media and its incredibly overwhelming… we know! What is Gut Health? How do I heal my gut? What are fermentable foods? Probiotic vs. Prebiotic? What is the gut-brain-axis? Good bacteria vs. bad bacteria? What the heck is fibre? To gluten or not to gluten? The list goes on… Fret no more. We are here to give you the facts. We are going to provide you with answers – all of which will be based on scientific evidence. This is a series we are calling Gut Health: Breaking It Down … get it ;)

 Okay so let’s start right at the beginning. What is gut health? When you think of “gut health” you need to think of the gut microbiome. A microbiome is essentially a collection of beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, mostly the large intestine. The microbiome plays a role in immunity, inflammation across the body and your bowel movements (Marchesi JR, Adams DH, Fava F, et al, 2016). So here is a fun fact, scientists do not actually know what a healthy microbiome looks like exactly (in terms of the specifics and the quantities of each type of bacteria), however what we do know is that a diverse microbiome is a healthy one.

 So now that you know what the gut is, what does it actually do? Well, this is where it gets complicated and I could talk about this forever. So I made a little summary of the main roles of the gut microbiome, we will go into more detail in the upcoming blogs (Sekirov, Russell, Caetano, Antunes & Brett Finlay, 2010):

  1. Immunomodulation: A big word, we know. So to break it down (pun intended) essentially this means the gut microbiome plays a vital role in the development of both the intestinal mucosal and systemic immune systems.
  2. Protection: The gut microbiome plays a very important role in being a physical barrier to incoming pathogens. Here’s an analogy: There’s a strong community of people in a healthy and happy environment. The people of the town get notified that there is a weak force of bad guys trying to enter into their town, you have seen this movie before – the good guys always win.
  3. Structure & Function of the Gastro-Intestinal Tract: Essentially this means it plays a role in the peristaltic movements/ contractions of the GIT as well regulating your bowel movements.
  4. Beyond the Gastro-Intestinal Tract: Here we are talking about various physiological factors such as appetite and mood regulation, skin appearance, it also plays a role in the nervous systems perception of pain and many more.
  5. Nutrition & Metabolism: The gut microbiome is essential with regards to regulating body weight as it essentially ‘controls’ your metabolic rate, it can also effect the way your body responds to various pharmaceutical drugs.

 

If you haven’t noticed already I love talking all things Gut. But I’ll leave you with a little infographic to summarise the roles of the gut:

 We can’t wait for what’s to come – some very exciting things are on their way, so keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram. Have a happy and healthy day xxx

References:

  • Marchesi JR, Adams DH, Fava F, et al. The gut microbiota and host health: a new clinical frontier. (2016),

65: 330 - 339. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309990

  • Sekirov, I., Russell, S., Caetano, L., Antunes, M., & Brett Finlay, B. (2010). Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease |

Physiological Reviews. Retrieved 26 June 2020, from https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00045.2009

 

 

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