Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. This is called your gut microbiome. When these bacteria are in balance, your gut is healthy. When the balance is upset, it can lead to a number of health problems, including digestive issues, allergies, and even mental health problems.
Do you feel tired, sluggish, and bloated all the time?
Living with constipation, diarrhea, and gas?
Do you have unexplained skin problems, mood swings, or brain fog?
Many things can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut, such as diet, stress, lack of movement, and toxins. If you are feeling unwell to begin with, it might be hard to notice when your gut microbiome is being adversely affected. In other words, it might feel like your symptoms are all in your head.
It’s true. Your symptoms might be in your head, but they also might be in your gut. This is called the gut-brain connection and can affect not only your digestion and mood but also your skin, hormones, and your entire body.
Have you ever wondered why you crave junk food…even when it makes your body feel bad? The gut-brain connection plays a role in a number of functions, including digestion, mood, and cognitive function. When the gut is healthy, it produces neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which help to regulate mood and sleep. When the gut is unhealthy, it can lead to inflammation and changes in the production of neurotransmitters. This can lead to a number of mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and brain fog.
The good news is, it also works in reverse. Repair your gut = repair your overall health. There are a number of questions you can ask yourself to help determine whether your gut microbiome is out of balance.
- Am I eating a healthy diet? A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and low in sugar is good for the gut. Check out the Mediterranean Diet as an example.
- Am I getting enough sleep? We recommend 7-9 hours of deep restful sleep. If you are struggling with sleep check out our last blog here.
- Am I managing stress effectively? Try cutting back on caffeine, adding movement to your day, and practicing mindfulness on a regular basis.
- Am I taking any medications that could be affecting my gut health? Especially after surgery, be aware that antibiotics and other medications interfere with the health of your gut microbiome. Consider probiotic foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, to name a few or professional grade supplements like Xymogen’s ProBioMax, which is high in beneficial microbes important to replenish the gut.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to check in with your gut. Simply pay attention to how you feel after eating. Do you feel energized and light, or do you feel sluggish and heavy? Do you have any digestive problems, such as gas, bloating, or constipation? If you’re not feeling your best after eating, it’s a sign that your gut needs some attention.
Don’t give up when it comes to your gut health; there’s a lot you can do to get back on the path to optimal health. In addition to the simple steps listed above, at CNMA we offer additional functional testing specific for GI issues (which we will go into more depth about on next week’s blog.)
If you’re struggling to improve your gut-brain connection on your own, or if you’ve asked your doctor for help and feel dismissed, I specialize in gut health and offer a complimentary call for new patients to discuss their symptoms. Natural medicine is excellent at testing, treating and restoring optimal function of your digestion as well as your entire health! I can help you develop a personalized plan to transform your digestive health and feel your best. Contact me by calling 303-688-6698 or scheduling online.