Intro to Gut Health
Just like the brain powers the body, the gut fuels the brain... and the rest of the body functions. Lately, the rise in gut health awareness has kicked into gear (which I'm very excited about, for YOU) and turning towards maintaining optimal gut health is becoming more important than ever as we realize and connect symptoms to their root cause stemming from- in some form or fashion- a gut imbalance.
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What is Gut Health?
“Gut health” describes the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Ideally, organs such as the esophagus, stomach, and intestines all work together to allow us to eat and digest food without discomfort.
Did you know that in the US alone, it is estimated that 70 million people have a digestive disease? (source: UC Davis Health)
Another fun fact for you - Although all humans have grossly similar microbiota, no two people have exactly the same composition of bacterial species in their guts—in fact, each individual’s microbiome may turn out to be as unique as a fingerprint! Cool, right? This also means that having a personalized and customized approach to healing your gut imbalance is also very important.
Immunity starts from the Gut
A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being.
You've more than likely heard of the term 'microbiome' which eludes to the tiny ecosystem that should be thriving in your gut. Your gut microbiome is comprised of all the bacteria in your body - the good guys and the bad guys... trillions of them. When the good bacteria (probiotics) outnumber the bad bacteria (pathogens), you are at optimal gut health.. the gut is happy and healthy. When you have a happy gut, more often than not, your immunity is functioning at your best level and you can eat most foods without symptoms of distress or discomfort.
If there is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria, and the pathogens are outnumbering the probiotics, that's when more surface-level symptoms start to be noticed. Typically landing you in the doctor's office being told that you're a medical mystery -- in most of my clients' cases. This is the gut screaming for help by way of another organ system.
But here's the thing, you aren't a medical mystery. You're a medical marvel! Your gut microbiome is trying to tell you something, and decoding that message is made easier with a nutritional intervention (more on that to come -- this is something I can assist you with!).
Environmental effects on the Gut
Just as important as what's inside of our gut (probiotics and pathogens), what goes on outside in our environment is equally as important.
A number of previous studies have shown that exposure to environmental pollutants can alter the composition of the gut microbiome, leading to disorders of energy metabolism, nutrient absorption, and immune system function or the production of other toxic symptoms (Jin et al., 2015c, Zhang et al., 2015b).
You may be wondering 'What exactly is included as an environmental effect?' - that includes things that are capable of entering the human body through inhalation, ingestion, or skin penetration. Most predominately things like antibiotics, nanoparticles, emulsifiers, and food additives. One of the worst is glyphosate aka weed killer which has made its way into most of our (non-organic) food supply.
Question: "Rhya, as a Registered Dietitian specializing in Functional Medicine, what conditions do you typically work with?"
➡️ Skin issues (eczema, psoriasis)
➡️ IBD (Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's)
➡️ Celiac/Non celiac gluten sensitivity
➡️ Autoimmune Diseases (connective tissue disorders, Hashimoto's)
If you're experiencing any symptoms that require medication or avoiding certain trigger foods and you want to compliment or adjust your approach, I can help with that too!
Your quality of life is so important, being on medications and avoiding foods diminishes that. Something to note is that as a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, I have access to more advanced tests which come into play to find the underlying cause of those gut imbalance symptoms.
Next Steps for healing your Gut
Struggling with being told you're a medical mystery or any of the gut imbalance symptoms I listed here? Let's chat. I offer free 15-minute intro calls so that we can get a better understanding of each other and you can ask any questions holding you back from booking an appointment! Simply tap the button below to sign up!
You can also receive a FREE week of Gut Friendly meals by signing up via this link!