Gut Health Explained

Root Cause of Disease

Only recently has Functional Medicine research discovered that the root of almost all chronic diseases starts in your gut.

…80 percent of your immune system is in your intestinal tract. So a functional medicine perspective—and maybe also common sense—would indicate that in order to heal your immune system, you first have to heal your gut.

What we call chronic diseases are really just different forms of survival mechanisms for our body.

[A]ll chronic diseases—regardless of how different each disease seemed or where each disease presented in the body—shared one common condition: inflammation.

[Inflammation] is the crux of the body’s healing response, bringing more immune activity to a place of injury or infection. But when inflammation persists and serves no purpose, deep inside the body and through systemic pathways, it causes illness. In fact, it’s implicated in such diverse conditions as obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, autism, asthma, arthritis, coronary artery disease, multiple sclerosis, and even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Inflamed Gut

Before chronic disease comes [systemic] inflammation. But before [systemic] inflammation comes gut dysfunction…

[M]ost of the “diseases” being diagnosed in epidemic proportions—such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, insomnia, depression, asthma, diabetes, and arthritis—can all be traced back to your injured or irritated gut.

Gut Microbiota

The latest research links systemic inflammation directly to the state of your gut microbiota, which is the complex ecosystem of bacteria that live in your gut. The gut microbiota is also commonly referred to as intestinal flora, gut flora, gut microbes, microflora, or microbiome.

Gut Microbiota

You have about 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut and only 10 trillion cells, so collectively they outnumber you ten to one. These bacteria provide a large number of incredibly important benefits such as:

  • Optimizing your immune system and helping you resist infections
  • Helping you digest food and absorb nutrients
  • Detoxifying heavy metals and chemicals you have been exposed to
  • Providing B vitamins and vitamin K
  • Balancing your nervous system by serving as a source of neurotransmitters

These beneficial bacteria also train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens (disease-causing microbes) and nonharmful microbes. They prevent your immune system from overreacting, which is the genesis of allergies.

Your intestinal flora in fact has everything to do with inflammation and whether or not you can combat free radicals…

The balance of and diversity of gut bacteria regulates how much inflammation occurs in the body. Healthy levels of a variety of good bacteria limit the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body and in the brain…

Imbalances in gut microbiota (dysbiosis) are actually quite common, considering how vulnerable gut bacteria are to environmental insults…

Lifestyle can and does influence your inner environment on a daily basis. Your gut bacteria are extremely sensitive to antibiotics, chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, agricultural chemicals, and pollution…

But poor diet—particularly one that is loaded with processed foods and sugars—is the number-one enemy of healthy gut bacteria.

Diet has the dominant role in shaping gut microbiota, and changing key populations may transform healthy gut microbiota into a disease-inducing entity...

Put simply, everything about our health—how we feel both emotionally and physically—hinges on the state of our microbiome.

1     2     3     4     5