Why Your Gut is the Key to Your Health

Do you have IBS type symptoms and suffer from fatigue and exhaustion? Do you suffer from depression, anxiety, low mood? Then read on…

Having a healthy gut is one of the keys to feeling happy and healthy.

The gut is involved in many functions in the body and some of the most important are:

  • Digestion and absorption of nutrients⁠

  • Production of vitamins and the storage of fat

  • Immune system (70% of immune cells are located in the gut)

  • Brain health (60% of feel good chemicals are made in the gut, in particular the neurotransmitter serotonin) (1)

  • Hormone production and the excretion of substances such as cholesterol and hormones

The gut houses healthy bacteria (made up of trillions of bacteria) and is known as the microbiome. After birth, your gut microbiome plays a role in your health and as you grow the gut bacteria begin to diversify. (2)

Scientific research has shown that these bacteria influence our health both physically as well as mentally. There are thousands of different species of bacteria but a few of the main ones are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

If there is an imbalance in the gut, this may affect your immune system and physical and mental health because the gut is where much of the immune system lives and where inflammation often begins. Research has shown that inflammation is the root of many diseases and, therefore, the gut is key to health and the prevention of many chronic illnesses. (3)

The gut can be called the second brain because it affects mood and mental health.  The signalling pathway between the gut and the brain occurs via the vagnus nerve and can be referred to as the ‘Gut Brain Axis’. (4)

Research has demonstrated that patients with depression and anxiety tend to have an imbalance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.  In clinic, with my experience as a Nutritionist and Naturopath, I have helped many clients with anxiety and depression by improving their diet and gut health.

Our gut has such a huge influence over our health therefore we need to optimise gut health for a healthy happy mind and body.

About the Author

Tash McGill

Tash McGill works as a strategy consultant in tourism, hospitality and digital transformation. She is co-founder of The Feed, President of Food Writers NZ, Chair of the New Zealand Whisky Association.

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