Naturopath Coolum

Gut Health

Have you ever wondered where the old adage ‘follow your gut’ came from? Your body is a good communicator, and when something is wrong, it will try to tell you. You just have to listen!

If you’re having bouts of anxiety, panic attacks followed by depression, constipation alternating with diarrhoea, feeling confused and foggy headed, your body could be trying to tell you there’s a problem with in your gut.

You may not realise it, but you are a home for a dynamic population of microbes and bacteria that are so large in number they make up their own organism. There are over 500 species of these in the gut and they can weigh up to 2kg. Everyone’s bacterial environment is unique to them and the colonisation of these bacteria in the gastro intestinal tract (G.I.T) starts at birth. This is affected by your type of birth delivery (natural or caesarean) , your mother’s bacteria, initial diet (breast fed, formula fed, etc.), and your geographical location. Most of the colonisation of your G.I.T occurs in the first two years of life.

This amazing organism of microbes/bacteria plays many important roles in your health, including:

  • The production of nutrients like B12, Folate, Biotin, Choline, Inositol, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, CoQ10, B2, B5 and Vit K- all crucial for energy production, motivation, alertness, and detoxification.
  • The production of enzymes such as lactose which improves your tolerance of milk and DDPIV which aids your digestion of Casein (protein in milk) and Gluten (protein found in many grains). Two major food sources that the Australian population has trouble tolerating.
  • Increasing the absorption of the minerals Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc, which are necessary for your immune system, muscle contraction and relaxation and energy production and healthy bone formation.
  • Assisting to synthesise short chain fatty acids which are essential for the health of the cells lining the bowel wall preventing bowel cancer, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
  • Assisting in detoxification of heavy metals as they are able to attach and move them out of the body such as –Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Copper
  • Converting approximately 20% of the Thyroid hormone T4 to its active form T3, especially important for those with Thyroid issues.
  • Producing key neurotransmitters that regulate the motility of food through your digestive system and support your brain in staying calm, relaxed and feeling good about life. There is a saying “your gut is your second brain”.
  • Sets up how your immune system is going to respond. Whether it will be pro inflammatory, over reacting or just nicely primed to respond appropriately when being challenged.

We all host good and bad bacteria. It is when the bad bacteria (-strains like helicobacter, candida albicans, staphylococci, clostridia, enterococci, streptococcus) become overgrown and crowds out the good bacteria so it can’t attach to the intestinal walls that bad bacteria plays havoc with our health.

All bacteria produces an end product called lactic acid. However the bad bacteria and some of the good ones produce a different type of lactic acid called D-Lactate that the body has problems breaking down and clearing. When D-Lactate is produced in high levels it can easily cross over from the intestines into the blood causing brain dysfunction such as cognitive and behavioural problems often associated with autistic spectrum disorders. This D-Lactate also changes the pH of the bowel environment making it more acidic so species of good bacteria can’t grow as well as causing damage to the intestinal wall, along with reducing the production of short chain fatty acids and slowing the motility of the intestinal track.

The state of your G.I.T is a critical part of regaining and controlling your health. It is your opening to the inside of your body.

Specific testing can be done to identify what levels of bacteria you have in your large intestine. Once identified, we can easily start to specialise your treatment to bring balance to the intestinal track and move you out of the fatiguing fuzzy head and depression to a calm, relaxed and energised way of life.