Pathway to Better Health: Gut Health
Heal your gut, heal your health – while it may not be quite that simple, there’s quite a bit of truth to the concept that the pathway to better health is through the gut. Many people refer to the gut as the second brain, and for good reason. The enteric nervous system that regulates the gut relies, on the same type of neurons and neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord. The mind-gut connection plays a vital role in both physical and mental health. At its core, this is the basis behind why some people experience gastric distress when they’re feeling anxious, sad, depressed, excited, or other emotions.
What is the Gut?
When we talk about “the gut,” we’re referring to the digestive system including the gastrointestinal tract. Also referred to as the GI tract, the gut refers to the intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. Then there are also the mouth, esophagus, stomach, anus, appendix, cecum, colon, and rectum
The digestive tract enables the body to absorb the nutrients it needs to function properly. Each part helps move food and liquid through the body to be used for energy, growth, and cell repair. When one part of the gut isn’t working correctly, it can impact everything else in the body and lead to digestive disorders.
What Is Gut Health?
Gut health refers to a gastrointestinal system in which all parts are generally working as they should. When something is amiss, as in the case of a digestive disorder, gut health and overall physical and mental health can become significantly disrupted.
Problems in the gut look different for everyone. Some of the most common digestive disorders include:
- Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- Lactose Intolerance
- Stomach Ulcers
- Celiac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- …and many others
Symptoms of gut distress may include severe bloating, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty digesting certain foods, gas, weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, heartburn, and more. These symptoms differ from person to person and according to condition. While some gut health issues are relegated to just the gut and stomach area, others experience systemic symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, and joint pain. This is common in conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and SIBO.
Finding the root cause of issues with gut health can be challenging, but there are several testing methods such as fecal tests, endoscopies, colonoscopies, blood tests, and other gut health tests that providers may use to help determine the cause of your issues. Once they do so, the next step is to implement treatment.
The PLMC Approach To Gut Health
At the PLMC, our goal is always to help our patients find the most natural, all-encompassing solutions for their overall health. Rather than analyzing just one aspect of health, we take a holistic approach and consider all 5 pillars of health: sleep, exercise/movement, nutrition, stress management, and relationships/community. We focus on these 5 areas in conjunction with what we call the 5 Functions of Health to help patients establish a baseline for optimal health. The 5 Functions of Health are:
Gut health plays a role in each of the 5 Functions of Health. We work with patients to analyze their gut health as a microcosm of their overall health. By running gut health tests, discussing their daily habits, and analyzing other facts (i.e., gut health and weight, energy, nutrition, mental health, etc.), we develop individualized plans that help support their overall well-being. This could mean suggesting supplements for gut health, exploring things like SIBO antibiotics, or developing a nutrition plan that supports improved gut health.
Are you ready to take control of your gut health and feel better today? The PLMC can help. Learn
more when you schedule a consultation now.