GUT in a layman language may mean NERVE (not the nerves but nerve to perform bold acts), with a slight drift to the medical world or anatomy it may mean Stomach, belly, Abdomen and in literal medicine term it may mean, “gastrointestinal tract”.
The gut is the largest mucosal organ of the body and as such is at the forefront of the body’s immune (ability to fight foreign invasion) homeostasis (also, in regulation of temperature and the balance between acidity and alkalinity (pH). Read through for its importance and its necessity for good health and its role in diabetes, arthritis and other common disorders on the rise!
The first steps in gastrointestinal development involve the formation of the foregut, midgut, and hindgut from the embryonic gut tube in neonates.
Animals (we may have heard dogs can lick their wounds all the way to healing themselves) have developed multiple mechanisms to control bacteria that enter the digestive tract, which can be broadly divided into those that suppress their growth (eg, salivary lysozyme, gastric acid, secretion of defensins) or those that separate them from the host by creating a physical barrier (eg, the mucus barrier). They exhibit a coordinated response to environmental challenges, resist antibiotics, and can evade the host’s immune response and are thus able to persist under extreme conditions.
Hippocrates said this more than 2,000 years ago, but we’re only now coming to understand just how right he was. Research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health, and that an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That’s such a big number our human brains can’t really comprehend it. One trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch from the earth to the sun – and back – with a lot of miles to spare. Do that 100 times and you start to get at least a vague idea of how much 100 trillion is.
Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:
- Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
- Diets low in fermentable fibers
- Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
- Chronic stress
- Chronic infections
There is growing evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a pathogenic role in various autoimmune diseases including [celiac disease] and [type 1 diabetes]. Therefore, we hypothesize that besides genetic and environmental factors, loss of intestinal barrier function is necessary to develop autoimmunity.
Some easy steps to restore your GUT and get the nerves back are:
- Remove all food toxins from your diet
- Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
- Eat fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc., and/or take a high-quality, multi-species probiotic
- Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
- Take steps to manage your stress