6 signs of an unhealthy gut
A troubled gut, poor digestion and IBS are a very common problem - our own research shows more than 4 in 10 people regularly suffer digestion issues, and 1 in 4 people suffer symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Poor gut health can not only be uncomfortable and debilitating, it is very likely to cause symptoms around your body and in your day to day life.
Why is gut health important?
Your gut is responsible for the digestion and absorption of nutrients which are the building blocks for almost everything in your body, from your energy, immune health, your stools and your sleep, to your concentration, skin health and much more!
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An unhealthy gut can present obvious symptoms such as diarrhoea but also less obvious symptoms, such as insomnia or poor skin, and can be an indicator of more serious health conditions that need to be looked at by your doctor.
Wondering what the causes and symptoms of diverticulitis are? Our expert nutritionist, Shona, explains everything you need to know.
6 signs of bad gut health
1. Skin conditions
The gut is a great detoxifier! Research shows you're 40% more likely to suffer poor skin and hair if you suffer from poor digestion, gut issues or IBS.
Frequent and healthy bowel movements sweep toxins out of the body, and proper elimination is part of natural detoxification. If natural detoxification doesn't occur, toxins will be reabsorbed through the gut, and the body has to push them out through the skin, causing inflammation, redness and acne.
2. Poor Concentration
Research shows you're more likely to suffer from poor concentration and focus if you suffer poor digestion or IBS. This is because 70% of the chemicals in your brain originate from the gut - known as 'The Gut-Brain Axis'. These chemicals are created from amino acids and transported into the brain.
The main chemicals needed for concentration are acetylcholine, dopamine and noradrenaline, and they're produced in the gut by probiotics. Disruptions to probiotic numbers will decrease these chemicals and in turn your ability to concentrate and focus.
If you find yourself switching off easily, struggling to maintain focus, or feeling less than sharp, review your diet and the foods you're eating which support your gut health. Also consider Brain Fuel, a plant-based formula of clinically proven ingredients to improve memory, focus and concentration.
You may be interested in 'How to look after your gut through your diet.'
3. Gas and bloating
Gas and bloating can occur for a few reasons. Low stomach acid and enzyme production can inhibit the breakdown of foods, fibres, sugar, fats or protein, and allows bacterial fermentation which creates gas and bloating.
Low FODMAP foods are low in FODMAP fibres which can otherwise be difficult to digest for some people. FODMAP foods are short-chain carbohydrates and sugars that are poorly digested by your body.
Great low FODMAP foods include carrots, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, oranges, bananas, quinoa, and there are many more!
Too much candida yeast in the gut can also cause gas and bloating. This can occur after taking antibiotics, during stress and in high-sugar diets. Candida triggers gas, pain and bloating. The best way to deal with candida is to avoid refined carbohydrates. You may enjoy our blog '7 best foods to help you debloat'.
Constipation is an obvious sign of an unhealthy digestive system. Constipation can be caused by a lack of probiotics which provide most of the weight of faecal matter.
Constipation is also a common cause of bloating. Infrequent bowel movements allow bacteria to ferment food particles, leading to gas. Constipation also makes the exit of gas more difficult, leading to painful bloating.
Low fibre in your diet can also cause constipation. Fibre holds onto water and promotes healthy stools, and fibre provides food for the friendly bacteria to thrive.
Diarrhoea occurs when the gut is irritated due to parasites, detrimental bacteria, poorly digested foods or food sensitivities.
Insomnia is a common problem and affects life quality, and research shows you're more likely to suffer poor sleep or insomnia if you suffer poor digestion or IBS. More than 1 in 3 people suffer from poor sleep - you can learn more in our research 'The Sleep Problem'.
Good sleep requires the hormone melatonin, which initiates the onset of sleep and is converted from another hormone - serotonin. Serotonin is produced in the gut and requires the amino acid l-tryptophan and probiotics for its creation. A healthy gut can improve your ability to get to sleep and also your quality of sleep.
You might enjoy our nutritionists' blog: How your diet can help your sleep.
You may also enjoy reading:
- Why your gut is your second brain
- How your gut and vagina are linked
- The gut-skin axis
- Estrobolome, your gut & oestrogen
- The 'Gut-Hormone Connection' explained
- How your gut and vagina are linked
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