Why is gut health so important?
Jun 09, 2023
Have you ever listened to your gut? No, we don’t mean your intuition, we mean your actual gut. That little voice inside us controls so much of our overall health and well-being. It turns out that gut health is crucial to our physical and mental well-being, influencing everything from our skin to our mood.
As science investigates the role our gut plays in our overall health, the conclusion is becoming clearer: our gut health is the key to improving all areas of our health and it cannot, and should not be ignored.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what gut health is, why it matters, and how to improve it. We will share what science has discovered so far, and what is going to be investigated further.
Quick takeaway on the importance of gut health
Gut health, and the gut microbiome, has been shown to have a noticeable impact on both physical and mental health:
- An unhealthy gut can negatively impact your nutritional intake.
- Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions have been linked to poor gut health.
- Science has found links between poor gut health and IBS, autoimmune disease, diabetes and more.
What Is Gut Health?
Our gut is home to trillions of microbiota - microorganisms that live within us and help us digest food, fight off infections, and regulate our immune system. There are pretty much the same number of micro-organisms as there are human cells, which provides a good indication of how important it is to ensure a healthy and balanced gut.
The balance of beneficial (sometimes referred to as ‘good bacteria’) and harmful microbes affects everything from our digestion and metabolism to our brain function. When there is an imbalance in our gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, it can lead to a range of health issues.
If you consider the importance of digestion alone, it is easy to understand why your gut is the key to keeping yourself fit and healthy. The enzymes produced by some of the microbes in your gut help break down some food items that in turn aid our body to absorb key nutrients that are necessary for our development and survival, especially as far as healing is concerned.
Beneficial enzymes produced in the gut
Examples include glycoside hydrolases, which break down complex carbohydrates like dietary fibres that are present in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Humans lack the necessary enzymes to digest many fibres. Still, through fermentation by our gut microbiota, these fibres are broken down into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetate, propionate, and butyrate. SCFAs have numerous health benefits, including providing a source of energy for cells in the colon, promoting gut health, and potentially reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
It is partly because of our innate inability to break down these carbohydrates that some people find great discomfort in eating certain fermentable foods, but thanks to JUVIA, which breaks down challenging carbohydrates before they reach the gut, you can now comfortably enjoy carbohydrates without the negative consequences.
Another class of enzymes that gut bacteria produce is proteases, which aid in the digestion of proteins. While our bodies produce proteases, the additional proteases from gut bacteria ensure more efficient protein digestion, leading to the production of amino acids that can be absorbed and utilized by the body.
Lactase is another enzyme produced by some gut bacteria, which is essential for lactose digestion. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and dairy products, and many people have a deficiency in lactase production, leading to lactose intolerance. However, certain gut bacteria, like Lactobacillus, produce lactase that can help in lactose digestion.
Additionally, gut bacteria are involved in the synthesis of essential vitamins, including vitamin K and certain B vitamins. For instance, gut microbes can produce biotin (vitamin B7), which is essential for fatty acid synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and the Krebs cycle, a key energy-producing process in cells. Your gut health thereby affects your nutritional intake, meaning that an unhealthy gut can prevent your body from absorbing nutrients and vitamins properly.
Why Does Gut Health Matter?
Your gut is a complex network that communicates and regulates so much of your body’s other functions. There is no escaping the fact that your gut health has much wider implications for your overall health. Imbalances in your gut microbiota can lead to a range of conditions, some of which can be quite severe.
To date, science has established a link between poor gut health and autoimmune disease, IBS, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and others. Science is constantly updating itself to establish further links between gut health and other conditions, but more research is required to fully understand this phenomenon.
What is clear, however, is that the gut flora of those suffering from such conditions tends to be different to healthy individuals and is often similar to those of other patients suffering from the same conditions, which is what has prompted the scientific enquiry.
Aside from physical health impacts, gut health also affects our mental well-being, with research showing strong links between gut health and various mental disorders.
Importance of gut health for mental health
The relationship between the gut microbiome and mental health has been a topic of increasing interest in scientific research. This connection, often referred to as the "gut-brain axis," involves bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, meaning each can influence the other. Recent research suggests that the gut microbiota can affect mental health through this axis, with dysbiosis or imbalance in the gut microbiota being linked to various mental health conditions.
This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “food for thought” and dislodges any notion that our diet does not impact our mental health.
Mental health conditions that are linked to poor gut health:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Neurodegenerative Disorders
Below, we dive into these conditions and the links between them and poor gut health in more depth.
Depression and Anxiety: Multiple studies have indicated a link between gut microbiota and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. For instance, one study found significant differences in the gut microbiota of patients with depression compared to healthy controls, suggesting that depression may be associated with gut dysbiosis.
“This is an exciting new field but the role of manipulation of the gut microbiome in the treatment of these conditions has yet to be proved in clinical practice. We hope to be able to support strongly the progress of neuroscience.” ~ Professor John Hunter, Gastroenterologist and founder of JUVIA
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Several studies have found alterations in the gut microbiota of individuals with ASD compared to those without the disorder. Research suggests that these microbiota alterations could contribute to the symptoms of ASD, possibly by influencing brain development and function.
Schizophrenia: Some research has suggested a potential link between gut microbiota and schizophrenia. A study found significant differences in the gut microbiota of patients with schizophrenia compared to healthy controls, which could suggest a role for the gut microbiota in this condition.
Neurodegenerative Disorders: Emerging research also suggests a potential role for the gut microbiota in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. For example, a study found alterations in the gut microbiota of patients with Parkinson's disease compared to healthy controls, suggesting a possible link between gut health and this neurodegenerative disease.
It's important to note that while these studies suggest associations between gut microbiota and mental health conditions, more research is needed to fully understand these relationships, including the mechanisms involved and whether gut dysbiosis is a cause or a consequence of these conditions. Nevertheless, these findings underscore the potential importance of gut health in mental health and provide a promising avenue for future research and potential therapeutic approaches.
These research findings signify the complexity of the microbiome's impact on the brain and mental health. There are promising opportunities for future studies and interventions, such as treatments that target the gut microbiome to alleviate mental health conditions. However, the precise nature of the gut-brain relationship and the mechanisms behind it are still being unravelled. As our understanding of the gut-brain axis deepens, there is potential for significant advances in mental health treatment and prevention.
Steps to improve your gut health
So, how can you improve your gut health? Luckily, there are many steps you can take to promote a healthy gut microbiome:
- Eat a balanced and varied diet, with plenty of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats.
- Reduce your sugar, alcohol, and processed food intake.
- Manage your stress levels, explore mindfulness and meditation, and get plenty of rest.
- Consider trying targeted supplements such as omega-3s, which support the balancing of your gut flora.
Looking for a reliable way to improve your gut health? JUVIA is loved by people across the UK.
A healthy gut is the key to overall health and well-being. If you haven’t given much thought to your gut health before now, it is imperative that you shift your perception and prioritise your gut health from now on. As far as your health is concerned, there is no other path that promises so many benefits to your longevity, health, and well-being. Exercise, sleep, meditation and hydration are also important factors, but again, these all contribute to your gut health and we recommend improving upon all of them.
Here at JUVIA, we want to see you thrive as your best self. We have made it our mission to ensure that you can enjoy the foods you love most, while balancing out your gut bacteria because JUVIA starves the unfriendly bacteria of its carbohydrate food source, enabling your friendly bacteria to flourish, giving you the gift of a happier gut.
We truly believe that we are onto something special and we want to share it with everyone, so that you, yes YOU, can live a longer, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
If you haven’t tried JUVIA yet, consider it. You will be pleased that you did.
With that in mind, give JUVIA a go and feel free in 2023. Your gut deserves it.