What are the Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut?
There is a reason that you should listen to your gut. The human gut is said to be the body’s second brain. When you have an unhealthy gut, your entire body will tell you. New research revealed the connections between the gut and chronic diseases such as diabetes. An unhealthy gut is also linked to obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, depression, and more.
Many aspects of our life can harm our gut microbiome. These factors can include high stress levels, sleep deprivation, poor diet, and medication.
When your digestive health is compromised, your body manifests different symptoms such as:
Digestive issues including bloating, gas, or diarrhea
Digestive issues are hallmarks of gut dysfunction. When the balance of gut bacteria (microbiome) is compromised, digestive issues take place. The number and diversity of bacteria inside your gut can affect your overall health and wellness. You can support the balance of your gut microbiome is by adding prebiotic and probiotic foods. Gas is a sign that food is fermenting in your gut. It occurs when the body has inadequate stomach acid or an imbalance of the gut microbiome to break down the consumed food. Consequently, you can also boost your stomach acid and break down your food by adding digestive enzymes.
Weight gain or weight loss
Losing or gaining weight without even trying is also among the most common signs of an unhealthy gut. Your body could not absorb nutrients properly if your gut isn’t functioning well. An unhealthy gut also keeps your body from storing fat and controlling blood sugar. When this happens, you may end up overeating to make up for lost nutrients, leading to weight gain or potential obesity. Weight loss may be due to the bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine. Meanwhile, compensating for the lost nutrients through overeating may result in weight gain.
It’s been found that the gut microbiome releases special proteins similar to hunger-regulating hormones. These are leptin and ghrelin that impact food cravings and mood. If you give in to your sugar cravings, you feed harmful bacteria that can exacerbate your sugar cravings. It’s not because you lack willpower that you give in to your urges. It can be your body telling you that you need to look after your gut. Fixing your gut issues can help get rid of the harmful bacteria that make you reduce sugar cravings.
Food allergies and or food sensitivities
Food allergies and or food sensitivities are a result of the leaky gut syndrome. This syndrome happens when the gut barrier is compromised, which is not ideal since your gut barrier decides what goes in and what stays out of the digestive system. Molecules and or large protein escape into the bloodstream when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable and compromised. The body increases its immune response and attacks the protein since it doesn’t belong outside the digestive system. The immune response is manifested through food intolerances and is often related to foods that we mostly consume. Among the usual food intolerances and allergies are gluten and dairy. You may want to test your allergies to fix your unhealthy gut.
Inflammation happens when proteins and food particles pass through the gut lining and get into the bloodstream. An unhealthy gut may alter the proper immune system function, leading to autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself instead of the harmful foreign attackers. Inflammation can be manifested as abdominal pain, headaches, eczema, and unusual bowel movements. We can minimise or eliminate the unwanted side effects of a leaky gut by strengthening the gut lining or avoiding food that can harm us.
Sleep deprivation or disturbances
The body’s hormones are greatly affected when you have an unhealthy gut. You may experience sleep disturbances including poor sleep habits, insomnia, and chronic fatigue. The body’s serotonin, a hormone that is responsible for mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. An unhealthy gut can affect your sleep quality.
As mentioned, the gut is considered the second brain. There’s a well-documented connection between the gut and the brain, which means an imbalanced gut can greatly affect your mood. Gut disturbances and inflammation may result in depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues.
How to Fix an Unhealthy Gut
Understandably, you might experience any of these symptoms and not realise that your gut health is compromised. Sugar cravings, food intolerance, or allergies may seem normal but once we start understanding the role of the gut in the body, we can start fixing the issues.
You can do simple changes to improve your gut health. Consider doing:
● Consume natural and unprocessed food.
● Incorporate probiotic food sources into your diet for your gut bacteria.
● Slow down on sugars and artificial sweeteners.
● Eat fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, etc.
● Support gut healing by consuming chicken and bone broths.
● Get moving to modulate the gut microbiome by 20%
● Manage your stress levels
● Get enough sleep
● Stay hydrated
The human gut is complex and plays plenty of roles besides digestion. A healthy gut supports the immune system, nervous health, and cardiovascular health. It can improve mood, sleep, and digestion and prevent the risks of chronic and autoimmune diseases. Since our bodies are connected intricately, we must approach our health holistically.