The definition of the gut is a tube that connects the mouth to the anus which is the stomach digestive system that passes out anything that our bodies do not digest. However, the gut as a whole is not that simple. The gut has a lining that has the surface area of 400 square meters and uses roughly 2 times the amount of energy as the brain in order to function properly. Many researchers support the idea that gut health is the key to our overall health.
The idea the gut affects your overall health may be hard to believe. But it comes down to two related variables, the intestinal barrier and gut microbiota.
In the human gut there are approximately 100 trillion microorganisms, these are the “gut microbiota”. These microbes are responsible for a large part of our health. Gut microbes promote peristalsis, the movement of food through the intestines. They are also responsible for protection against infection, producing vitamins, and maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal mucus layer. However, gut microbes have other jobs outside the GI tract.
When outside the digestive tract, gut microbes have influence on other organs and tissues. Through the complex interactions between other organs and tissues, gut microbes are responsible for regulating 70-80% of the immune system as well as influencing blood sugar control. If you thought that’s all gut microbes do, think again! They also regulate the brain, bone, heart, skin, eyes, and muscle tissue. If the gut microbiome is disrupted, certain functions that are usually regulated by the gut microbiota, immunity and brain function, can become impaired. When these functions stop working effectively, you can develop chronic conditions such as autoimmune disease, metabolic dysfunction, and mental health issues as well as a host of other health problems.
What exactly disrupts the gut microbiota? There are many influences from modern day lifestyle that play a role in the disruption of the gut microbiota.