It was Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, who was quoted as saying, “All disease begins in the gut” nearly 2500 years ago. Known as the “father of medicine,” he could not have been more accurate.
The complexity of our gut and its importance to our overall health have been on the forefront of medicine and research for generations. We now know there are clear links between a healthy gut and our immune system, mental health, the development of an autoimmune disease, skin conditions, endocrine disorders, and even cancer.
As long as everything is working well, you probably don’t give much thought to your digestive tract or gut. Most of us think of our digestive system as one long tube. However, research has proven that it’s a bit more complex. One could say our gut, known as our “microbiome,” is a carefully engineered ecosystem with multiple functions that can change depending on our diet, stress level, or sleep habits to name a few. Having a diverse microbiome is a good thing. Studies show that one course of antibiotics decreases your gut diversity by 30%.
So, what is our microbiome anyway? Well everyone’s microbiome is just as unique as they are. We know there are trillions of bacteria, both good and bad, that reside in your digestive tract. Collectively, they’re known as your gut microbiota. Although there are hundreds of different bacteria, there are certain combinations and collections found in healthy people. They not only help us process food, but they also help us maintain our state of health. These microbes can protect us from infection, regulate our metabolism and help to balance our hormones. When there is an imbalance in our microbiome, such as increased inflammation or an underlying infection, this most likely results in the individual developing symptoms or discomfort and in some cases disease.
Some signs you may have an unhealthy gut: