Looking after the health of your gut is probably the most important thing you can do if you want to support your health and be free of illness.
Understanding of the significance of your microbiome (the trillions of bacteria living within your body and on your skin) in your health has building with speed over the past few years, as scientists glean just how important our bacteria – and their metabolites – are to health. These bacteria appear to have the ability to keep our immune system in check as well as control our appetite, food choices and metabolism. They also impact our mood and behaviour. One could argue that our bacteria control us!
Understanding more about the health of the gut can be very helpful for those suffering from on-going digestive issues, and many of my clients find benefit from specific tests that shine a spotlight on this immensely fascinating system of the body.
Specific stool analysis tests can provide a wealth of information about the diversity and levels of your gut bacteria. It’s also possible to determine how well you are digesting food and whether or not you have enough of the right kind of fuel around to help your beneficial bacteria thrive. What’s more, screening for potentially problematic bacteria, yeasts or parasites can be extremely helpful.
Learning more about the health of your gut can be hugely helpful in getting to the root cause of illness. And once we know what’s going on from a bacterial point of view we can target diet and lifestyle recommendations in a far more specific way.
However, a word of caution. Testing should only be undertaken if there is a sound clinical argument to do so, and this is only understood from taking a case history and weaving in your own unique set of circumstances.
Something else that I think is really important for us all to remember: We still know very, very little about the gut. This is an area of health science that is deeply interesting and ever changing. The longer I work as a nutritional therapist the more respectful I become of the gut, and the less inclined I am to go in with strict, rigid, programmes designed to ‘kill things off’. To my mind approaching a problem in the gut in such a way works against its functioning in the long run, and ultimately your long-term health and wellbeing too.
My approach to solving digestive problems is to help the body to manage things more effectively by itself. This is done by nourishing rather than punishing, and supporting your microbiome and wider immune system nutritionally. In addition to this I focus on helping the cells in your gut to produce energy and thrive! Addressing gut health in this way focusses on building you up to a point at which things can be dealt with in a lasting and positive way.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how I work to support digestive health please do get in touch.
Learn more about about nutrition and wellbeing support to get you feeling better here.