Updated: Aug 13, 2021
When there's an imbalance in your digestive system, you may notice your bathroom habits change; but, are you aware of the other systems that may take a hit? Your immunity, sleep, mood, stress response, behavior, metabolism, weight, hormones, and skin health all depend on the health and integrity of your gut. Many of our clients notice these favorable "side effects" as they start to improve their digestion and gut health through diet and lifestyle changes - I guess you could say they "glow" from within!
Primer on the gut microbiome:
The gut microbiome refers to all of the microbes in your intestines, and the balance of these buggers can dramatically influence your health. The bacteria are essential in helping to digest foods, produce vitamins, regulate hormones, and assist with the excretion of toxins. (1)
1) The gut-brain axis refers to the physical and chemical communication network that runs between the gut and the brain. These two organs are connected physically and biochemically in a variety of ways. Physically, the vagus nerve is one of the largest nerves connecting the gut and the brain, sending signals in BOTH directions. (2)
Your gut and brain are also connected by chemicals called neurotransmitters. Serotonin. dopamine are GABA are some of the more well known neurotransmitters produced in the brain, but a great deal of these chemicals are also produced by the bacteria within the gut. (3, 4)
Other chemicals produced within the gut affect the brain in a number of ways, but for the sake of nutrition, let's hone in on weight management. Gut microbes produce short chain fatty acids by digesting fibers. One study found that consuming the SCFA propionate, can reduce food intake and reduce activity in the brain related to reward from calorically dense food. (5)
Altering gut bacteria can influence brain health.
2) Like the digestive tract, your skin is home to millions of bacteria. When the integrity of the gut lining declines and the balance of bacteria gets disturbed, it can have a dramatic impact on your skin. This connection between the gut and skin is commonly referred to as the gut-skin axis.
The gut and skin are closely intertwined by the bacteria and its byproducts that interact closely with the immune system, endocrine pathways and metabolism. When the digestive system is compromised, stress related responses in the skin may be revealed through the gut-skin axis - and appear as acne, eczema, rosacea, etc. (6, 7)
Food for thought: one study found that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth was 10 times more prevalent in people with Rosacea than normal controls. After SIBO was resolved in the subjects, Rosacea cleared as well.
Research about the gut microbiome and its connection to skin health is mounting, see for yourself how a healthy diet, hydration, and stress management impact your skin.
3) When it comes to weight loss, the bacteria living in your gut influence:
Amount of fat stored
Blood sugar level balance
Appetite hormones (feeling hungry or full) after meals
Within my practice, I have observed the power of a healthy gut microbiome and its impact on satiety and cravings. This is crucial when it comes to weight management and long term sustainability. I have always said, nutrition is not about will power - its' about fueling your body (and gut bugs) appropriately in order to feel satisfied enough to stay on track.
When you improve gut health, you're uncovering a root cause that may be impacting any of the systems with your body mentioned above. I have had clients report an improvement in a wide range of body systems with the help of a simple to use, non-invasive test.
If you are interested in healing your gut with delicious foods and plenty of support, get started with us today! We are currently enrolling new clients that are highly motivated to change their lives from the inside out. Book your FREE discovery call here.
Let’s heal your gut and get down to the root causes of your concerns.
In good health,
Kristie Butler, RD