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Anyone that has ever experienced ‘stomach problems’, will most likely have been experiencing gut problems without realising it. A common mistake that many people make is confusing the gut with the stomach, as until recently not enough importance was placed on our gut and how it works. Here’s why gut health really matters.
Gut issues affect many people
A huge number of people experience problems with their gut at some point in their life. This can be occasional bloating or discomfort here and there, but many people experience prolonged gut issues including bloating, gas, constipation, diaorrhea and other symptoms.
Large studies show that more than 1 in 4 people experience gut symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating or changes in bowel habits. In some studies, this figure is as high as 2 in 5 people. When some of these gut symptoms happen frequently, they are referred to as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a ‘syndrome’, which means it has no single cause and no single treatment, plus symptoms can be different between individuals. Similarly, triggers of gut symptoms can also vary from person to person and can come and go at different times.
Treating an unhappy gut
Improving your general gut health by maintaining a healthy diet and introducing a scientifically-backed live bacteria supplement can help to manage gut symptoms. At Sons, we believe that our gut health supplement (which is based around LP299v), could be the key to treating many gut issues that people face.
However, good gut health isn’t just important for those that experience gut issues - gut health can have an impact on many other aspects of your life.
Gut health influences your general health
Your gut is connected in some way to every other part of your body. Therefore, your gut health affects almost every other aspect of your overall health and well-being. Here are just a few examples of the influence of your gut on other parts of your body:
Roughly 70% of your immune cells are located in your gut, therefore your gut plays a hugely important role in your immune system. These immune cells recognise the healthy bacteria in your gut and communicate with them to keep things in check. They also ‘taste’ everything passing through your gut and signal to other immune cells if there are disease-causing bacteria that need to be destroyed. This careful balance between your gut bacteria and your immune cells is important for protecting you from infection. Various studies show that people with more diverse gut microbiomes have reduced risk and severity of infections, including seasonal colds, flu and maybe even COVID-19. As your gut is a centre-point of your immune system, it also controls inflammation in your body, which occus when your immune system is over-activated. If this happens for a long time, it can contribute to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and many other conditions.
Your gut controls all of the nutrients that enter your body and those that are removed. Therefore, your gut health plays an important role in your weight. Some gut microbes feed on sugar and fats, whilst others prefer fibre. This careful balance between your gut microbes and your diet may control how much of your energy gets stored as fat and hence your weight. A number of studies have shown that people with higher gut microbiome diversity and higher fibre intake have lower long-term weight gain.
Your brain and gut are connected in many ways, through the peripheral nervous system that is part of a larger network known as the gut-brain axis. This includes a major nerve called the vagus nerve that connects your gut and brain. This means that your gut cells can send signals to your brain and vice versa, which may be the reason that you get unique feelings in your gut when you are nervous or anxious. IBS is generally considered a gut-brain condition that can be triggered by stress. In fact, up to 30% of people with IBS symptoms also report symptoms of anxiety or depression. There is also a strong link between stress and gut health.
Your gut and its microbes regulate the digestion and absorption of fat and cholesterol and therefore control your risk of heart disease. As well as controlling cholesterol levels, your gut microbiome can also produce certain chemicals that may be harmful for heart health. When certain gut microbes digest red meat, they produce a compound called trimethylamine N-oxide which can increase your risk of heart disease. Although red meat in moderation is perfectly health, this is another reason to feed your gut microbes with fibre.
Your gut health may even be linked to your physical fitness, although this research is still quite new. Diet is an extremely important factor in fitness and therefore your gut microbes may be involved. A study from professional rugby players found that they had significantly higher gut microbiome diversity than non-athletes, although their diets and lifestyles were also very different. Other studies in marathon runners and laboratory animals have shown that particular microbes can break down lactic acid during exercise. Sedentary individuals who begin an endurance exercise also see changes in their gut microbiomes.
In summary, your gut microbiome has been linked to almost every aspect of your health. Although a lot of this research is still quite new, it all points towards one thing - maintaining good gut health could have a major impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
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