The gut is the center of all health in the body and gut issues cause that health to rapidly deteriorate. This ancient principle has been reaffirmed by modern science and research. We just aren’t healthy unless our guts are healthy too.
But what if you don’t have gut issues?
It’s obvious that issues like chronic diarrhea or constipation or even cycling between the two is indicative of a gut issue, but what if you have a normal bowel movement everyday? What if everything seems fine?
Could you still have gut issues?
The answer is yes. Not everyone will have gut issues to the severity that they will notice daily symptoms. And not everyone will respond with gut symptoms even when their gut is compromised.
Here are 5 sneaky signs you might have gut issues even if you don’t feel like you have gut issues.
We call the gut the second brain because of it’s unique connection and influence on our emotions and feelings. The gut is connected directly to the brain by the vagus nerve, which gives it a powerful influence over how we think and behave.
In fact, our guts probably have more influence on our moods than our hormones!
The research continues to show that mood disorders like anxiety and depression, along with ADHD, and potentially autism and other mental health issues, are rooted in a dysfunctional microbiome (the collection of bacteria that live in the gut).
Issues with anxiety and depression are so ubiquitous in our culture that many people feel they are just part of the human condition. That couldn’t be farther from the truth!
We weren’t meant to be depressed or anxious and psychotherapy, while helpful, often doesn’t recognize the important biological role that nutrition plays in the management and elimination of these conditions.
Bottom line: anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are often a sign of a dysfunctional gut and fixing that issue can lead to great benefits for your mood.
Like mental health issues, hormone imbalances are often an indicator of gut issues.
There is really a hierarchy of things the body takes care of. First, it maintains the gut and blood because these are the center of health. Then, it keeps the adrenals (energy) properly functioning. Lastly, it works on the hormones that impact fertility.
Think about it: why would you need to be fertile if you weren’t healthy? It doesn’t make biological sense.
Instead, the body diverts its energy to trying to heal the gut first. This is tough when the gut is bombarded day in and out with toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, and other burdens.
To re-balance hormones, we must always look at the gut first and foremost. Is there an infection? Is there permeability? There can be many things causing and contributing to these gut issues which ultimately lead to hormone issues.
Any autoimmune condition, including rheumatoid arthritis (see my post on that topic here), lupus, or others, indicates a profound breakdown not only in the immune system, but in the gut itself.
70% of our immune system lives in our gut and when we see issues related to the immune system, it’s important to look there first.
Autoimmune disorders are often a result of something called intestinal permeability or “leaky gut” which is where particles from foods, chemicals, or toxins get into the blood stream through spaces in the gut wall that should normally keep them out. The immune system sees them as invaders and attacks them. But since we are exposed to these foods, chemicals, and toxins on a daily basis, our immune system is constantly in attack mode and begins attacking its own tissue.
Healing with autoimmune disease is a complex issue that requires the health of a qualified nutritionist, doctor, and rheumatologist but it is something that has a growing body of evidence. These conditions respond very well to nutrition intervention. (Contact me here if you’re interested in learning how to approach autoimmune issues with nutrition)
Many skin issues like eczema, random rashes, keritosis pilaris, and acne have a basis in the gut.
Despite what many dermatologists try to tell us, what we eat plays a huge role in the health of our skin!
When the skin is reacting, it is often a reaction to a food or toxin of some kind. It’s different for each person but the goal is to find what foods are flaring the immune system response or causing our “detox” systems to work overboard.
When we work on healing and repairing the gut, these foods naturally become more clear to us so that we can avoid them for the time being. Eventually, with a robustly healthy gut we can reintroduce many of these foods skin-issue free!
Most of us have taken antibiotics at some point (which we should all work to recover from) but if you were a C-section baby, were not breast fed, or were given antibiotics early on in life, there’s a good chance you have gut issues.
The research continues to show us that the human microbiome is dependent on these early moments for its health throughout life.
Unfortunately, many of us were unable to get the best start possible for myriad reasons. Still, it is possible to restore the gut greatly even with all of this up against you!
In my practice we often work on removing offending foods and toxins and then repairing the gut with therapeutic, doctor-grade probiotics and PRP powder that contains colostrum to help heal the lining of the gut along with other interventions.
I do not recommend beginning a gut healing protocol without the help of a nutritionist because there are a number of things that can be tricky, confusing, and trip you up. In addition, some supplements targeted to help with the gut, like l-glutamine can also trigger issues in the neurotransmitters. A good nutritionist can avoid these things for you!
A gut-healing food protocol is quite restrictive and requires the support of someone who can walk you through each step as well.
If you are interested in working with a qualified nutritionist in San Antonio or surrounding areas, please contact me here. I also work remotely for those who live far away.