Greetings House of Buckle Blog readers! I want to talk today about gut health. This is something that many people either take lightly or just don’t think about at all and that is a massive mistake! In this blog article I want to give you some signs to watch for that may indicate that you have a gut health problem and I will also give you some advice on how to fix it. Let’s get down to business.

Let’s take a moment and talk about your gut:

Our digestive system is very complex. Unfortunately, many people see it as a simple system: a long tube that food passes through while being absorbed by the body with the ‘waste’ pooped out (yeah, I said ‘pooped’). As a result, when you look at it this way, it becomes a non-factor in your life. The truth is, our digestive system is more complex than that. Begin to view your gut in a different light. Consider that there are anywhere from 300 to 500 different types of bacteria living in your digestive tract. Some of these may be harmful, but most are very helpful to your entire well-being. In this light view your gut as its own “microbiome”, or an ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms.

Gut health affects many areas:

This microbiome affects a lot of things in your body for better or for worse; things like your immune system, weight, mood, etc. Depending on whom you talk to, we carry 60-80% of our immune system in our gut as an example. Speaking of weight, if your microbiome is in bad shape, you will not get the nutrients from the food you eat, and this in many instances causes overeating to make up for it!  Further, Most of your body’s serotonin (hormone that helps with sleep and mood) is produced in your gut. If your gut health is bad, if can affect your serotonin levels!

Another area that ties in to our gut health is our sleep. The fine folks over at Mattress Advisor wrote a nice guide in regards to gut health and sleep. You can check it out here

How is YOUR microbiome?!

Top 5 signs you have an unhealthy gut:

  • High sugar diet: sugary foods, processed foods, etc. decrease good bacteria in your gut. This causes imbalance in your system and leaves you with sugar cravings, which when you feed, exasperate the situation and start a vicious cycle.
  • Upset stomach: gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut situation.
  • Skin irritation: Believe it or not, your gut health can and does affect skin issues. As a result, things like jock itch, eczema, etc. can all be rooted in bad gut health. I know a guy who suffered from jock itch for years. He got on a good probiotic and it cleared up in less than a week!
  • Autoimmune conditions: an unhealthy gut situation can compromise our entire immune system. If you have leaky gut, buildup of toxins in your gut begin to get back into your system, infecting you from the inside out!
  • Fatigue: if you have an unhealthy gut it can give you sleep disturbance such as insomnia and/or poor sleep cycles. This leads to fatigue. To combat this, people amp up on caffeine, which lowers blood sugar and causes sugar cravings causing people to eat excess sugar; another bad cycle begins. And recall, as I’ve already noted, most of the serotonin your body produces gets produced in the gut. Serotonin affect both sleep quality and our mood!

What you can do:

Here are a few things you can do to help improve your gut health:

  • Probiotics: These put good bugs into your gut. A good solid daily probiotic will have anywhere from 10+ different strains and 30-50 billion live cultures. They make them specific to men, women, and even age if you so choose. They work optimally with a good prebiotic. The strains vary from one probiotic to another so pay attention to what you are buying as different strains do different things. Also be aware, if you have an autoimmune issue, start with a low level probiotic and build up from there. On the other hand, if you are coming off of heavy antibiotics, you should get a probiotic specifically created for this situation. Garden of Life has a good one.  Also remember, fermented foods count too! I am hooked on Kombucha! Give it a try!
  • Digestive Enzymes: These help break down the food you eat and this results in better absorption of the nutrients. Different enzymes break down different types of food. A good place to start is Betain HCL, Ox Bile, and Bromelain.
  • L-Glutamine: This amino acid helps heal the intestinal lining of your gut.
  • Bone Broth/Collagen: Good for your overall gut health. This brand is really good.
  • Slippery Elm Bark: this herb provides terrific support if you suffer from things like IBS or Colitis!

I work in a health food store in the supplements department assisting folks who are looking for natural healing options. Because of this, I talk to a LOT of people every week and let me say that regardless of the particular ailment, I generally start by asking them about their gut health, if they are on a good probiotic, etc. This also leads to discussions about diet (dairy inflames our system, etc.) but that is a discussion for another time. Bottom line, your gut health is THAT important!

That’s it for today folks and remember, at Bucklebury, we believe your best wealth is your health! Until next time, have a great day!