What is the gut?
Your gut refers to the gastrointestinal tract that extends from the mouth to the anus and includes all the organs of the digestive system in your body. With digestion being one of the most important functions of the body, diseases in the gut or gut health issues can lead to secondary complications. That is why doctors recommend to get a complete gut health check done to test the gut microbiome and overall performance.
What are the conditions related to poor gut health?
There are several minor and acute health conditions that can arise in the body as a result of poor gut health. Some of the most critical issues are listed below.
Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and ulcers (sores) in the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus.
Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac sprue is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine's lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications.
According to a research in Cleveland Clinic, when gut microbes feed on a chemical called choline (found in eggs, red meat, and dairy products), they produce a compound called TMA. In the liver, TMA is converted to TMAO, which causes hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in mice and is linked to a higher risk of heart disease in humans.
According to several researches, the gut microbiome is altered in kidney disease which leads to an imbalance of gut bacteria (dysbiosis) and thus,contributes to the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
This is because there is a generation of excessive amounts of potentially toxic compounds while production of beneficial short chain fatty acids is reduced.
Uraemic toxins come from the metabolism of partially digested protein by specific species within the microbiome, and these are known to promote CKD. These enteric toxins include protein bacterial metabolites such as urea, indoxyl sulfate and p-cresyl sulfate.
Dysbiosis is also associated with increased intestinal permeability (or ‘leaky gut’), this allows small particles, like bacteria or small bits of food to escape into your bloodstream, where they are marked as intruders and trigger your immune system into action.
Studies have found that some people with depression experience dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria)
Animal studies also show that gut microbiota helps regulate anxiety. It may also influence the development of neurological conditions caused by circuit dysfunctions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Researchers think this is because gut bacteria release metabolites, tiny bits of food broken down by digestion that influence brain function.
Metabolites may impact mood regulation by acting on the endocannabinoid system, which is a complex cell-signaling system consisting of fat based neurotransmitters and their receptors.
Gut bacteria play several important roles in our health, such as communicating with our immune system and producing certain vitamins.
Certain types of gut bacteria are essential for maintaining a healthy gut barrier and preventing inflammation, which can contribute to weight gain.
They may affect our weight by influencing how different foods are digested in our body. Dietary fiber is digested by certain species of gut bacteria, which may aid weight loss.
They can also affect how fat is stored and whether we feel hungry or full.
A few signs and symptoms of an unhealthy gut include -
Diagnosis & Treatment
Tests includes :
Food intolerance testing detects antibodies like IgG to determine if a person is sensitive or intolerant to certain foods due to lack of digestive enzymes or other conditions like metabolic diseases, Irritable bowel syndrome, or celiac disease. Food intolerance cannot be easily differentiated from a food allergy and hence a food intolerance testing can help individuals with symptoms of sensitivity to eliminate specific foods from their diet.
This as at home metabolic screening tests measures the following parameters-
This metabolic test helps in measuring body composition, hormone levels weight and percent body fat according to which various metabolic diets may be referred to lose weight and boost the metabolic rate.
This test includes -
IgE (Immunoglobulin E) is an antibody protein that causes allergic reactions. A Food allergy blood test measures the IgE levels to detect an allergy to a particular food
Gut health foods
Best easily available gut cleansing foods inclde -
The importance of including probiotics for your gut
Top prebiotics for improving health of the gut