Why is Gut Health important?
The gut can be likened as the 'engine room' or "centre of your universe" (as Chinese medicine practitioners would describe it) and is critical for our general health and well-being.
Proper absorption of nutrients, ease of digestion, good bowel function, elimination of toxins, resistance to germs, avoidance of food reactions, and our overall good health are all related to the integrity and health of our digestive system.
Stomach and intestinal linings act as a front-line immune defense and barrier protecting the tissues underneath making gut health a major focal point for maintaining optimal health - 80 percent of our immune system is located within the digestive system which is our number one defense system against all disease.
What are the symptoms of poor Gut Health?
Poor diet and digestive health may be related to:
- Bad breath
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Psoriasis and eczema
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Adrenal Fatigue ???
3 Main Factors affecting Gut Health - Diet, Age and Lifestyle:
Our intestines require a delicate balance of healthy flora for optimal function and this balance can easily be disrupted by:
A decrease in traditional, naturally fermented foods (enzyme producing) and an increase in processed, over-refined or sterilised foods, together with greater amounts of chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics are endangering the 'friendly' bacteria that are required for maintaining this balance.
Research has shown that at around 60 years of age, the number of bacteria in our gut can drop significantly causing our bodies to become less efficient at digesting food and producing the natural probiotics required to keep our intestines healthy.
Studies revealed increased levels of disease-causing microbes and decreased levels of "friendly" bacteria in seniors (as much as 1,000-fold less in those over 60 years of age compared with younger adults) causing greater susceptibility to gastrointestinal infections and bowel conditions such as IBS.
"Friendly" bacteria are significantly affected by lifestyle factors such as stress, consumption of alcohol and caffeine and medications such as antibiotics.
How can I improve my Gut Health?
Digestion begins when food and/or liquids enter our mouths, and is completed in the small intestine.
If your digestive system is not working effectively, even the healthiest diet will not provide you with optimal health as your body will be unable to obtain and absorb the chemical 'building blocks' your body requires.
Naturally fermented foods, digestive enzymes and probiotics are all great ways to increase the efficiency and health of your digestive system.
Traditionally, people that have consumed large quantities of probiotic-containing foods have had especially long life spans. Unfortunately, most of us no longer have the diet or lifestyle that keep large numbers of these important bacteria in our bodies.
Miso, tempeh, kefir, cultured yogurt and sauerkraut are all foods that can help maintain your gastro-intestinal flora, but some people prefer probiotic or enzyme supplements if they are not keen on trying these foods that we are not so familiar with in our western diets.
Digestive enzymes are complex proteins required to process food as it passes through your intestines and are created in your liver, pancreas and gall bladder.
There are three classes of digestive enzymes:
- Proteolytic enzymes to digest protein (meats, eggs, fish, chicken, sea-foods, etc)
- Lipases to break down fats (meats, oils, etc)
- Amylases to digest large carbohydrates chains (breads, biscuits, flour products, sweet drinks, confectionary, etc).
Although they are naturally produced in our bodies, our enzyme levels can be depleted by diet, age and lifestyle as discussed above, and this affects the processes which support the efficient digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Digestive enzymes supplements can be helpful for many digestive complaints including those on weight-loss programmes as an optimised digestive system will mean that your food is:
- utilised better
- broken down more efficiently; and
- absorbed and excreted more effectively.
The word "probiotic" literally means "for life".
Probiotics, sometimes called “friendly bacteria,” are beneficial microorganisms that naturally inhabit the human digestive system.
Taking a probiotic supplement can provide your intestines with the vital bacteria it is missing as well as help your body produce its own brand of B vitamins to combat stress and disease.
The right probiotic will go to work directly in your intestines to help digest your food and purge wastes from the body. In order to perform these key functions, it is vital to maintain a balance of friendly probiotic bacteria.
We recommend that you speak with your natural health practitioner about your gut health and how to improve the levels of healthy bacteria in your system.
How do I support my patients in improving their Gut Health?
Nutrisearch is proud to offer an extensive range of protocols and products to support digestive and gut health, including quality digestive enzymes, pathology tests (eg. helicobacter pylori) and most recently our unique probiotic containing 4.3 Billion CFU of Dr Khem Shahani's DDS-1 strain of L.acidophilis.
The Role of Probiotics : Michael Shahani
Gut Health and Autism : Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
If you are a practitioner and would like to access these unique products and services please contact our friendly customer service team or alternatively on Freephone NZ 0800 88 44 33 or AUS 1800 177 959.
If you are a patient and would like to access these products and services please click here to request your nearest practitioner