Our gastrointestinal system, and the population of microbes it harbours, play and enormous role in our health and wellbeing. Together, our gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and microbiota work synergistically to breakdown the foods we eat into smaller molecules, which can then be absorbed across the intestinal wall. There is a very specific sequence of processes that occurs when we eat, and a disruption anywhere along the production line is likely to impact processes further down along.
GIT conditions commonly arise when there is significant or prolonged disruption to our normal gut processes. Symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn or reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort or pain indicate there is some degree of GIT dysfunction and microbial imbalances. Of course if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please see your doctor or healthcare practitioner.
Our modern lifestyle has greatly contributed to disruptions in the functioning of our GIT system and the balance of our microbes. We are no longer eating diets high in plant foods, fibre and phytochemical compounds that feed our lovely microbes. Excessive exposure to medications such as antibiotics, PPI's (reflux medication), the oral contraceptive pill and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories all negatively influence the microbial balance of our microbiome. We are increasingly exposed to environmental toxins and chemicals that affect the efficiency of our digestive system and contribute to gut dysbiosis.
Is there any good news for our guts?
Yes. It is possible to restore healthy gut function with a little love and TLC. Herbal medicines work wonders in relieving symptoms and shifting infections. Addressing nutritional deficiencies can improve GIT function and efficiency. And, of course, changing our diets to nourish the growth of our beautiful microbes.