Importance of Gut Health During Cold and Flu Season
Gut health is a hot topic these days around dinner tables, locker rooms and doctor’s offices as western and eastern medicines begin to find a balance between fact and fiction. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Much of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine is focused around balancing the gut and preventing disease through the health of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Recent headlines blame gut microbiome for numerous autoimmune diseases, and bone broth has taken center stage in acting as both a preventative measure and a holistic treatment for those suffering from various illnesses in the bowels. Exactly how is our digestive health connected to so many other diseases of the body? Can our gut really determine the health of our lungs, blood, mental health and longevity? Absolutely!
Body Gut Connection
Science is frantically piecing together what ancient healers have known intuitively for centuries. Bacteria, cells and bio-particles are being created, destroyed, manipulated, injected and removed all to be studied carefully under a microscope for their actions and reactions in given environments with varied sets of conditions. Do you remember the scientific method in grade school? The old hypothesis, experiment, result construct that let you determine whether your initial scientific theory was correct or not? This is what is currently being done in labs around the world as we draw the connections between gut health and the body. It all gets extremely technical, and at the moment the data seems to be all over the place, but there are some things that we know for sure.
- 70-80% of your immune system is housed in your gut.
The immune system is not like your respiratory system or your cardiovascular system. It is not made up of organs and veins. It is what works in and through your organs and veins. The immune system is a conglomerate of cells, most of which reside in your GI tract. When the cells are kept healthy, they work to keep your body healthy.
- Leaky gut exacerbates disease.
When studying leaky gut, you may find that some say it doesn’t exist. That is more a matter of terminology. Science refers to leaky gut as intestinal permeability. And permeability issues have been definitively linked to autoimmune diseases, digestive discomfort, depression, fatigue, increased inflammation, allergies and much more.
- The gut lining protects you from the rest of the world.
Even the hardcore traditionalists of western medicine cannot debate the fact that our intestinal lining is what separates our internal from the external. We are essentially a closed system with a giant, sealed tube running from our mouths and down to allow things to go in and come back out. When the lining of the GI tract is healthy and functioning properly, it only permits what we need to pass into our bloodstream and nourish our body. When the permeability is compromised, large particles and toxins can pass through setting off immune responses in the body.
Waiting on Science
We may still be waiting for all the technical terms and medical advances to come from the study of the gut in connection with the rest of the body, but we can start taking action now with the things we do know. If our gut is directly connected to our immune system, then our overall health is directly impacted by the health of our intestinal tract.
When you are chronically ill and always treating symptoms, it’s time to take another approach and look for the root of disease. If you get the classic cold or flu every year, start protecting your gut to fortify your immune system. If your immune cells are not fighting themselves, autoimmune disease, or off fighting toxins from leaky gut, then they are ready to defend against common illnesses.
Confirmed Gut Connections
Science has spent a considerable amount of time and research drawing connections between the gut and other areas of the body. These connections are called axis. The most commonly discussed connection with the greatest number of studies is the gut-brain axis. The gut can actually change your brain chemistry and how you feel through cytokines which communicate for the immune system and are controlled by the gut’s microbiota.
There is also evidence for the gut-liver axis. This is because 70% of the blood that travels around and absorbs from the gut is then processed by the liver. When the gut lining has increased permeability, then the blood is what carries the different combinations of microbes, bacteria and food particles.
Science is also studying the gut-kidney axis as an imbalanced microbiome affects the microbiota passing through the kidneys.
Lastly, is the gut-lung axis. When avoiding respiratory infections, you want to start by healing your gut!
How to Support Your Gut Now
For those who suffer from severe leaky gut, the recovery process may take some time, but the steps to heal your body and to reduce the risk of impermeability to begin with are the same. If your symptoms are severe, it will take more time, dedication and conscious tracking of cause and effect through your diet. For those who want to fend off the seasonal cold while strengthening their immune system, these basic steps will get you on your way.
- Digestive Enzymes
Aiding your digestive tract to break down food faster and more efficiently can assist the stomach, liver and gall bladder. Enzymes help to reduce symptoms of IBS, IBD and digestive discomforts. They are naturally found in fermented foods such as kimchi, pickles or sauerkraut, but that can be a bit much to have on a daily basis. Consider supplementing with Terra Origin Digestive Enzyme Capsules.
Probiotics are key in rebalancing the gut’s microbiome and bringing in strains of good bacteria, such as acidophilus and bifidobacterial, to reduce the proliferation of disease-causing bad bacteria. Yogurt, kefir and miso are all great sources of natural probiotics, but a daily supplement will greatly improve your gut health. The Digestive Enzyme Capsules mentioned above also have a strong probiotic blend making them the perfect gut health combo. If you want to add a little more flavor to your enzymes and probiotics, add a creamy smoothie using Terra Origin Healthy Greens Superfoods which is also fortified with an enzyme and probiotic blend.
This is one of the most effective and natural healers of the gut walls and mucosal lining. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and it helps to protect and rebuild the gut mucosal structure which improves the body’s immune response. The highest natural sources for L-glutamine are meat and dairy which is why bone broth is a natural gut healer, but this is not the best nor always acceptable choice for all people. That is why Terra Origin has formulated Healthy Gut to give you Sustamine® L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine, along with N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine and several holistic herbs that work to increase mucilage and seal the gut.