What is an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You
The gut microbiome
The complexity of the gut and its importance to our overall health is a topic of increasing research in the medical community. Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, immune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.
Here are 7 Signs of an unhealthy gut
1. Upset stomach
Stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut. A balanced gut will have less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste.
2. A high-sugar diet
A diet high in processed food and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can cause sugar cravings, which can damage your gut still further. High amounts of refined sugars, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, have been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation can cause diseases and cancers.
3. Unintentional weight changes
Gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. An imbalanced gut can impact your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight loss may be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, while weight gain may be caused by insulin resistance or overeating because your body is not getting the nutrients it needs.
4. Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue
An unhealthy gut may contribute to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. The majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well.
5. Skin irritation
Skin conditions like eczema may be related to a damaged gut. Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause increased “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema.
6. Autoimmune conditions
It’s thought that an unhealthy gut may increase inflammation throughout the body and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This can lead to autoimmune diseases like Lupus, Type 1 diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Food intolerances
Food intolerances are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods (this is different than a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods). It’s thought that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality of bacteria in the gut. This can lead to difficulty digesting the trigger foods and unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Sherimane Johnson is a Vegan Chef & Transition Guide with a focus on giving personalised one-to-one coaching to help you achieve your health goals. Whether it’s to lower the dependence on medication, improve cholestrol, reduce high blood pressure or lose body fat, Sherimane's mission is to help you get there. Sherimane specializes in Plant-based Transition, Plant-based Diet and Mindfulness.