5 Signs Your Gut Health is Suffering
Gut health is a hot topic - and for good reason! A happy and healthy gut can help to optimise your overall health and wellbeing, as well as protecting against digestive disorders and more serious conditions. But how do you know if your gut is thriving or just surviving? Instead of going with your gut feeling, look out for these five common signs of poor gut health.
1. GASTRO GOINGS ON
One of the most common signs of poor gut health is gastro symptoms. Things like wind, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea are more often than not the result of poor gut function. We all experience these gut problems some of the time but if you suffer with any of these symptoms frequently it could be a red flag for 'dysbiosis' - an imbalance of gut bacteria.
This microbial imbalance produces digestive by-products such as methane which are often the root cause of gas, wind and bloating. If you notice that eating certain foods is directly related to these symptoms then it could be that you have a food allergy or intolerance. Try to keep a diary of symptoms and food intake to work out what it could be, and let your GP know the outcome!
2. GETTING SICK EASILY
Did you know that 70% of the immune system lives in the gut? Fascinatingly, your gut is in constant bidirectional communication with the brain - passing it vital info about potential pathogens and threats it has identified from the environment in the gut. This allows the brain to initiate an immune response to defend against harmful pathogens and bacteria.
So, it makes sense that getting sick often could be a sign of poor gut health. If you suffer with common colds and illnesses more often than most, it could be a sign of that dysbiosis of the gut mentioned earlier. Looking after your gut health is one of the best ways you can boost immune function and reduce how often you get sick.
3. SLEEP DISRUPTION
Studies have found that low levels of certain gut bacteria have been linked with increased sleep disruption in children and adults. Taking antibiotics has also been linked with sleeplessness, thought to be a result of depleting the body of good gut bacteria. The underlying mechanism of this is thought to be the role the gut plays in regulating hormones such as GABA, melatonin, serotonin and dopamine – which all play a role in the sleep-wake cycle.
Remember, when it comes to sleep quality and gut health, it's a two-way street - not getting enough sleep has also been linking with worsened digestive symptoms. So, be sure to prioritise sleep to support your gut function and overall wellbeing.
4. CHANGES IN YOUR MOOD
The gut brain connection we mentioned earlier, also known as the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA), is not only for initiating immune response but also helps to modulate mood. The gut produces around 90-95% of the body's serotonin, a neurotransmitter which contributes to feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
People with gut disorders such as IBD and IBS often experience low mood as poor gut function reduces circulating levels of serotonin. So, by boosting your gut health you can help to lessen the severity of symptoms experienced with anxiety and depression.
5. SKIN BREAKOUTS
The connection between poor gut health and skin breakouts links back to the connection between gut health and the immune system. Most chronic skin disorders such as acne, eczema and psoriasis are the result of an autoimmune response - where the body attacks its own healthy cells.
Skin breakouts, especially associated with certain foods, are often a sign of a digestive disturbance and may indicate a food intolerance or allergy. By nurturing your gut and avoiding foods which aggravate it, you can help the immune system to function properly and protect against autoimmune responses, helping you to look and feel better!
By knowing how to spot the signs of poor gut health you can nurture your microbiome back to health and reap the many amazing benefits of a happy gut. Fermented foods such as Yumchi Kimchi provide the body with good bacteria to help protect against digestive discomfort and disorders. Including more fermented foods, fluids and fibre should be your first steps on the journey to naturally healing your gut. Get this right and you can help your gut to thrive – not just survive!