Healthy Gut, Healthy You!

Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Do certain situations make you “feel nauseous”? Have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason. The gut-brain connection is no joke; it can link anxiety to stomach problems and vice versa. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut. 

Hidden in the walls of the digestive system is what’s being called your second brain. This “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think. The communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis.

The brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause OR the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected. 

Studies show that an unhealthy gut may play a role in addiction to alcohol and substance relapse for some people! The imbalance in the intestinal flora is known as “Leaky Gut”. Leaky Gut is linked to inflammation and Crohn’s disease, food allergies, asthma, arthritis, anxiety and depression, and may other health issues. Compelling evidence has shown that an unhealthy gut and an imbalance in the intestinal bacteria is capable of driving changes in the central nervous system, especially focusing on changes in behavior and is often associated with addiction!!! 

There are likely multiple other contributing factors to leaky gut syndrome but here are a few factors that are believed to play a role: 

  • Excessive sugar intake: An unhealthy diet high in sugar, particularly fructose, harms the barrier function of the intestinal wall.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): The long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can increase intestinal permeability and contribute to leaky gut -Excessive alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol intake may increase intestinal permeability.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc have each been implicated in increased intestinal permeability. 
  • Inflammation: Chronic inflammation throughout the body can contribute to leaky gut syndrome 
  • Stress: Chronic stress is a contributing factor to multiple gastrointestinal disorders, including leaky gut.
  • Poor gut health: There are millions of bacteria in the gut, some beneficial and some harmful. When the balance between the two is disrupted, it can affect the barrier function of the intestinal wall. 
  • Yeast overgrowth: Yeast is naturally present in the gut, but an overgrowth of yeast may contribute to leaky gut. 

Throughout decades we have been lead to believe that the only importance to what we eat and the only importance for our stomach is the way it looks. Where in fact we are learning that caring for our belly has far more importance than having 6-pack abs!! God created us in His likeness and we are fearfully and wonderfully made!! Science is beginning to uncover and teach us of the amazing details that we never knew. We can heal and we can live healthier by simply choosing to make some minor adjustments in our lifestyles!! It’s time to get back to the way we were made and truly begin to LIVE, healthy and whole, Mind ~ Body ~ Spirit!!!!

Angie Hawkins – “I Am” Kinda Fit Ministry