Happy 2019! At the start of the new year, many of us are thinking about getting back on track after holiday indulgence. Past statistics of the top New Years resolution indicate eating healthier and losing weight continues to be the top resolution for most people. I suggest we add balancing our gut flora as a part of our top resolution.
In this newsletter, I would like to discuss the importance of your digestive health and microbiome including how if affects your overall health.
Most of us are surprised to learn that our body contains 10x more bacteria than it does human cells. 99% of these are found in our gut flora (our microbiome). They play a very important role in the major functions within our body. Numerous studies indicate our gut flora has a direct impact on our weight, metabolism, mood and can be involved in the development of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (metabolic syndrome). These gut bacteria supply essential nutrients to keep the cells lining our gut healthy. They help us break down and absorb nutrients from the food we eat. They support the production of bile acids which is essential to break down fats and keep our immune system healthy in our gut. Our intestinal flora synthesize Vitamins K, B12, Folate and Biotin. These essential nutrients are very important for circulation, energy, brain health and our hair/skin/nail health. As you can see, our microbiome plays a big role in our health.
The gut is also often referred to as our “second brain” because our microbiome is directly connected to our nervous system by the vagus nerve. Most of the serotonin in our body is made in the gut and depends on a healthy microbiome. The toxins produced by pathogens in our gut can directly affect our brain and lead to symptoms of anxiety, brain fog and depression. I know it sounds strange, but we should test the microbiome and the presence of any pathogens when managing anxiety or depression.
If you are interested in improving your overall health, I highly recommend a microbiology stool test Weight loss, energy, skin health, mood disorders and long term prevention of chronic diseases are all influenced by our gut microbiome. Treating infections, improving digestion, repairing the gut lining and balancing good flora should be a part of any health maintenance program. January is the perfect time to get your stool tested.
The doctors are Vitalia Health Care are trained in functional medicine. They can help you to understand your microbiome and what you can do to optimize digestive health and improve your overall wellbeing.
I wish you an amazing new year filled with laughter and good health!
Yours in health
Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND