Gut Health

By Aliya Santosa

In January 2021, Chrissy Rigby from 21 Days Healthier discussed fascinating truths about our gut and how our gut health might impact our general health. The microbiome comprises trillions of bacteria, fungi, and microflora which are crucial for the human body. There are over 500 species of bacteria and the tens of trillions of microorganisms in our gut end up adding an extra 4lbs to our body weight.

Chrissy Rigby suggested that diet, lifestyle, and environment are the major issues for health and that the changing food industry does not help promote gut health. In the 1920s, our great grandparents used to travel a couple of miles a day to get fresh air and find seasonal fruits, such as apples which are full of nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, carbs and fibre. However, things have changed with the majority of people driving to their local supermarket to buy fruit. Apples in the UK are also sprayed 17 times with pesticides and are stored nine months in cold storage which further  depletes the nutritional value and makes the produce significantly less healthy than in the past. 

Additionally, the talk suggested the avoidance of food containing more than 5g of sugar per 100g. Overeating sugar can contribute to health problems, weight gain, stress and anxiety. Being overweight increases the risk of heart disease, and diabetes. Additionally, extra sugars, especially at night, might lead to sleep problems. 

Brain Health

The gut is known as the second brain. Our gut and brain are connected; they share the same tissue and structural features to resemble each other. The vagus nerves are the most important connection between our gut and brain. Additionally, the gut also connects to the brain through hormones and neurotransmitters that send messages to each other. There are many types of hormones that act on different aspects of bodily functions, such as hormone responsible for regulating mood (Serotonin), calmness and relaxation hormone (GABA), deep sleep hormone (melatonin also known as the darkness hormone) which encourages good sleep, and fertility hormones (Oestrogen and Progesterone).

Recently gut health has been implicated in Parkinson’s disease, for example changes in gut bacteria composition, the presence of alpha-synuclein deposits in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and persistent constipation in patients with clinically-confirmed and prodromal (early) Parkinson’s, all indicate the gut plays a key role in the development of the disease.  

Gut Health and Obesity

Research was recently conducted to establish a link between obesity and the gut microbiota. An experiment was performed by microbiota transfer from twins discordant for obesity using genetically identical germ-free mice, which suggested there is a link between obesity and the gut microbiota (Bäckhed et al., 2014)

Furthermore, is dieting a good way to lose weight and improve health? Cellular detox is the key to permanent weight reduction. Cellular detox is a cleansing process that involves removing harmful toxins that accumulate in the body at the cellular level. Fat stores toxins to protect the body, and when fat is burned, toxins do not redistribute throughout the body, resulting in better overall health (less fat, more energy and muscle). In contrast, dieting stresses the body by limiting nutrients. When fat is burned, toxins redistribute throughout the body, and then the body reacts to increased toxins by producing more fat.

Leaky Gut 

Our intestinal lining forms a tight barrier that controls what gets absorbed into the bloodstream. A leaky gut lining may have cracks or holes, allowing harmful bacteria, toxins, and undigested foods to leave the gut which may trigger inflammation and changes to the microbiome that could lead to gut health problems. Additionally, inflammation and changes in microbiomes may play a role in developing several common chronic diseases, such as systemic inflammation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, skin problems, food allergies and nutrient malabsorption.

Food Plan

The initial step toward a healthier gut is to avoid foods known to trigger inflammation in the gut microbiome. The talk suggested the creation of a food plan with microbiome friendly meals. It is recommended to eat more lean proteins and leafy greens.

Conclusion

This talk summarises the complex network of microbiomes residing primarily in the gut and how they impact every system’s health in the human body. It is recommended to avoid foods known to trigger inflammation in the gut microbiome to promote a healthy lifestyle. If you are interested in finding out more contact 21dayshealthier@gmail.com team for more info on how you can reset your microbiome in 21 Days with their Purify Programme.

References

Backhed, F., Ding, H., Wang, T., Hooper, L., Koh, G., Nagy, A., Semenkovich, C. and Gordon, J., 2004. The gut microbiota as an environmental factor that regulates fat storage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(44), pp.15718-15723.

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