A friend of ours got so frustrated at the doctor’s the other day. The scale hadn’t moved. There were new aches and pains in her joints, and she just wasn’t feeling like herself. The doctor listened, sympathetically, and then handed her a stack of prescriptions.
Technically, there was nothing wrong with this doctor visit. However, while there were a lot of questions asked and answered, one thing was NEVER discussed. Her gut health.
Come again? Yes, you heard me. The health of her gut.
As it turns out, gut health is more important than we ever realized when it comes to overall health—and how it relates to some very specific health concerns. Here are just a few:
- Alzheimer’s disease. One of the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s is the presence of a certain plaque built-up on the brain. Early studies have linked specific gut bacteria with greater buildup of this plaque. Just as telling is the fact that when those same gut bacteria were missing, much less plaque developed. In another study, patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s actually showed an improvement in symptoms when given a probiotic drink every day.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. The link between RA and gut bacteria is becoming clearer. In studies, the destructive inflammation associated with RA simply didn’t develop when gut bacteria was balanced and healthy.
- Heart disease. The bacteria in your gut eat the same things you do. And when some bacteria are fed foods high in saturated fats, like eggs and beef, they release a chemical that has been linked to heart disease. The more they eat, the more they release. The more they release, the greater your risk of heart disease. On the other side of the equation, other bacteria in the gut are connected to a healthier cardiovascular system. This is a prime example of why balance and diversity are so important in your gut!
- Mental health, especially depression and anxiety. An overabundance of certain gut bacteria has been linked to anxiety and depression in animal studies. By controlling the quantity of these bacteria, researchers were able to improve the animals’ behaviors and apparent mental health. Once the same bacteria were restored to previous levels in the gut, the anxious and depressive symptoms returned.
- Obesity. For years, we’ve heard “calories in-calories out.” Well, it might not be that easy. Studies are indicating that overweight people have less diversity among their gut flora. So, even if they have the same amount of gut bacteria, they have fewer types—and this could be contributing to their weight issues. When bacteria is out of balance, it may allow the body to absorb more calories, rather than burning them off. At this point, it’s mostly animal studies, but researchers are beginning to identify which of the bacteria are making losing weight harder.
- Immune system. No, this isn’t a health problem or a disease—but it’s the system that is in control of health problems and diseases, and we are learning it’s heavily impacted by your gut health. 75% of immune function is based in your gut, so when it’s not healthy, you’re not healthy. However, when you’ve got the right kind, and right amount, of healthy bacteria, they really can fight off the unhealthy bacteria that wear down your immune system and make you sick.
If you’re concerned about any of these conditions, it’s time to ask your doctor about ways to heal your gut, including a high-quality probiotic supplement like Beyond Biotics. It’s time to stop treating symptoms and get to the heart of the matter. Or in this case, the gut.