The gut is an infinitely important and under considered organ. When well, it underpins a healthy life. When ill, it can act as a wrecking ball. As the start of a new year dawns, now is the perfect opportunity to discover the links between a fully functional digestive system and wellbeing, and find the motivation for an inspired gastric year.
Did you pledge the ubiquitous New Year’s weight loss resolution? Hoping that maybe, just maybe, this is the year that you manage to shed those unwanted pounds and keep them off for good? A focus on gut health could be exactly what you need to finally make your dream a reality.
Research shows that poor gut function can lead to metabolic dysfunction and a widened waistline. The diversity of digestive microbiota and the integrity of the gut wall play key roles in the development — or not — of insulin resistance and adiposity. These factors determine how well your body deals with blood sugar and how much fat you gain.
The good news is that improving your gut health through supplemental probiotics can significantly boost weight loss. To find out more read our article, A Healthier Microbiome Can Lead to a Healthier Weight.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has noted that a staggering 30% of Americans have symptoms of insomnia, whether trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or experiencing non-restorative slumber. Unsurprisingly, as the resultant fatigue sets in, motivation plummets. This sets up a double edged sword and depletes the enthusiastic embrace of positive lifestyle change.
However, the study Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans found that a greater diversity of gut microbiome promotes all three aspects of healthier sleep. To rest sufficiently and have the energy required to march through the day, your gut needs to work well.
The digestive secret to a longer life
Cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes are considered diseases of modern civilization. Our latter-day lifestyle choices have led many down the slippery path to an early grave. Gut health is a significant contributor to each of these conditions and caring for your digestive wellbeing appears to be protective.
In CVD, the microbiota makeup is different from those who are free from this illness. In one mouse study, supplementing with probiotics significantly reduced atherosclerotic plaques, that is hardening of the arteries. The authors believe that probiotics may prevent plaque development.
In cancer, it has been found that the assortment of gut bugs change and the resultant dysbiosis can “produce high levels of toxins capable, in turn, to trigger both inflammation and tumorigenesis.” Altered microbiota propagate and propel tumor growth.
In diabetes, the gut is often sluggish, the microbe balance altered, and the gut wall is more permeable than ideal. The increased permeability leads to inflammation, a potential driver of diabetes, as well as CVD and cancer.
Research shows that whether you wish to become or stay healthy, these two components are required: flourishing, diverse microbiome and perfectly balanced gut wall permeability. Make 2020 the year you supercharge your gut health and achieve the wellbeing you deserve.