Myths & Misconceptions about our Gut

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Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly

We have so many misconceptions about our gut, it is hard to know where to start.  Did you know that if you go inside the gastro-intestinal tract, you are actually outside of your body?  Bet you never thought of that one.

But, let’s look at some gut issues that have an impact on our health.

Your body needs a wide variety of nutrients on a regular basis so that it can make:  over a million blood cells a minute; over 29 different types of connective tissue (collagens); over 100 different types of neurotransmitters; over a 10,000 different enzymes/co-enzymes; over 50 different types of hormones; never mind all the constant repair work that it has to keep doing.  Where does it get all these nutrients/compounds/molecules?  They come from your diet.  Even when the body can make various compounds, the raw materials have to come from the diet.

What is one of the most lacking components of our lives?  Our diet!  Our food is grown in nutrient deficient soils, which means that the food itself no longer has the capacity to make the nutrients that we need.  Those same soils are toxic.  Man has introduced over 90,000 toxic compounds into our lives in the last 100 years.  The majority of these can be found in the soils/foods we need.  Even when they are found in personal hygiene and general cleaning products, it means they are also found in our water sources and soils.

In addition, we find all kinds of toxins in the pharmaceutical medications that MDs prescribe.  They are used as colorants, stabilizers, to regulate breakdown or uptake, used to protect the machinery that makes the pills.  And of course, these medications usually also deplete our bodies of the nutrients we require.

Then we have all the issues that deplete the microbiota we require in the gut.  The good guys that work interactively with our immune system.  The good guys that help protect the mucosal lining in the gut.  The good guys that kill off the bad guys.

The gut, has to deal with all of these issues.  Are you taking care of your gut?  It is here that we not only break down our foods but determine what we need to absorb and what we need to eliminate.  This impacts on every other system in the body!  So if the gut is not working properly, anything and everything can go downhill.

So how do we support our gut?  We eat good pre and probiotics:  yogurt (without fruit & sugar), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, and other fermented and pickled foods.

We need to eat fiber – both soluble and non-soluble fiber (throw away the juicers!).  Blend your fruit and vegetables and make sure you keep all the fiber in.  The fiber regulates the blood glucose uptake in the liver; regulates the stool movement; provides the transport for glutathione (and an attached compound) to go out of the system; and also provides good nutrient/transport for the good bacteria in the gut.

We also need to eat good anti-inflammatory compounds like omega 3s.  Help the inflammatory component of the immune system in the gut.

Some misconceptions about the gut have to do with pH balance.  Many people think that we need to be alkaline and attempt to alkalize their gut.  We actually need the gut to be acidic.  In fact, many of the good bacteria we find in the gut (and you actually have more bacteria in your gut than you have cells in your whole body!!) secrete acidic compounds that we need.  Your stomach can go down to a pH of 1.8 – great way to kill off many of the pathogens that we find in our food as well as, break up the protein links in our food.  Further down, we have a number of different types of good bacteria that produce acidic compounds that eliminate bad bacteria or convert food compounds into compounds that we require.  Just as an aside, our skin, hair, and a variety of other components in our system also need to be acidic.  It is our blood that is slightly alkaline.)

Another huge component of the gut is the microbiota.  As noted previously, there are more bacteria in the gut than cells in your whole body.  And the last few years has revealed all kinds of information about the impact that those little guys can have throughout our body.  Those little guys can have a huge impact on your thoughts, your emotions and your actions.  When out of balance and/or depleted they can cause all kinds of problems throughout your entire body, not just in your head.  Everything from cardio problems to liver problems to obesity to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s has been linked with those little creatures.

So for the above reasons and all kinds of other reasons, it is important to keep the gut healthy.  Learn how to feed it; support it; restore it; so that it in turn can provide your body with the nutrients that your body requires and help you to live an optimal life.

 

Here’s to your health!
For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca
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