Four Essential Functions of a Healthy Gut

Illustration of female small intestine anatomy

You’ve been ignoring one of the most impactful organ systems for your overall health.

Your gut.

Yeah, I know. You’ve heard all this before, but you’re still not listening.

The gut has been grossly overlooked by individuals as well as main stream medicine.  It is my personal belief that if we can work on fixing your gut, it makes our job a lot easier fixing everything else, whether it’s hypothyroidism, adrenal issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, WHATEVER!  It’s all an uphill battle unless we work on building and maintaining a healthy gut.

Ultimately, the gut and bacteria living there perform 4 major functions.

The most apparent of these is that the gut helps to digest our food and provide our bodies with nutrition.  Much along those same lines, the gut and, more specifically, gut bacteria can help regulate metabolism and facilitate the appropriate use of nutrients.

The gut also plays a key role in regulating the immune system and a poorly functioning gut can lead to autoimmunity and other immune dysfunction.  Lastly, the gut provides a protective barrier against pathogens.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these functions and how a healthy gut should function.

Turning Food into Nutrition

When you ingest food, that food is in the form of complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The body is not capable of absorbing these nutrients as they are ingested.  They must be broken down into monosaccharides, amino acids, and smaller lipids in order to cross the gut barrier and be utilized by the body.

Vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients are found in large quantities in the foods that you will be eating as part of a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, but the gut must be able to do its job in order to unlock these micronutrients.

While it seems like a fairly ho-hum task, the digestion of the food that you put into your mouth is a vitally important role.

If the body is not producing the appropriate amounts of salivary enzymes, stomach acid, bile acids, and other digestive enzymes, nutrients are going to pass straight through without being absorbed in significant quantities, leading to nutrient deficiencies and potential chronic disease, if not corrected in a timely manner.

Stoking Your Fire

A healthy gut is going to help make sure that your body is using food appropriately.

It is tied to metabolic hormones like GLP-1 and Peptide YY that help regulate the metabolism of cholesterol and sugar in the blood.  These two hormones also play a role in regulating body weight.

Likewise, ghrelin and leptin are hormones that oppose each other in regulating your appetite.  If your leptin levels are too low or your body is no longer responding to leptin, you’ll be more likely to overeat.

The chewing process increases the release of digestive enzymes, as well as insulin.  Proper insulin secretion is vital to maintaining a healthy weight and warding off diabetes.

Gut microbiota are even in part responsible in part of converting the inactive T4 thyroid hormone to the active T3 version.  This conversion is crucial for appropriate thyroid function.

Balancing the Ying and Yang of Immunity

Autoimmune disease rates are on the rise in the United States and worldwide.

Over 20 million people in the US suffer from some form of autoimmunity.

These autoimmune diseases are poorly understood by mainstream medicine, but research has shown that maintaining a healthy gut decreases your chances significantly.

I have written about the connection between gut health and thyroid autoimmunity and that same information can be applied to other forms of autoimmune disease.

On the other side of the immunity coin, healthy gut bacteria have shown to help bolster the immune system and help the body fight off various infections.

Maintaining a healthy gut is going to help the body fight the bad guys, while leaving your own body cells to do their respective jobs.

Your First Line of Defense

The immune system obviously provides us with a huge level of protection against infections, but the fact is that most potential pathogens never even make it to your blood stream.

… If you have a healthy gut that is.

This is not new information.  In fact, a review published over 20 years ago stated the protective mechanism of gastric acid, intestinal motility, and intestinal flora.   They suggested that pancreatic enzymes and epithelial cell turnover may also be involved in this protective role.

Even More Evidence

Recent evidence has linked gut health to skin issues, such as eczema, psoriasis, etc.  It also has found that many psychiatric conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), schizophrenia, and depression are correlated with poor gut health and a disarrayed microbiome.

As it relates to chronic fatigue, poor gut health has been tied to autoimmune disorders, poor thyroid function, and hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) dysfunction.

Unfortunately, a lot of this evidence has been ignored by main stream medicine.

So now it’s up to you.  Do you want to get your gut health under control and finally get over that hump and get your health back or do you want to keep doing what you’re doing and getting the same results?

If you’re wanting to make that change, click here and get signed up for a free initial consultation.

This is your opportunity.  Take it!

The post Four Essential Functions of a Healthy Gut appeared first on Dr. Brandon Allen.

Read more here::


- Enter Your Location -
- or -