Talking gut health on the “House of Wellness”
Hope some of you caught our recent chat about Gut health on “House of Wellness”. If you missed it, it will be available to watch online – go to www.houseofwellness.com.au (Episode 14).
If you are interested in gut health, for more info, download my free ebook on my website which will go into what was discussed in more detail – www.dramygajjar.com
Now, let’s discuss a bit further on stress!
Stress has been described as the “21st century epidemic” by the World Health Organisation
Much of what we are seeing today is lifestyle related- stress is a major factor.
What is stress?
Most people would relate to this as the day to day emotional and mental stress of daily life but stress to our system also includes poor food choices(e.g. artificial sweeteners, additives/preservatives) gut dysbiosis (imbalance of good and bad bacteria, fungi, parasites – i.e a disturbance to our ecosystem) , too little or too much movement, inadequate sleep, environmental toxins and electro-magnetic radiation,
There are two arms of our involuntary nervous system- sympathetic (“fight and flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”). Briefly, if there is a lot of stress which then activates the sympathetic system more so than it should be , there is less parasympathetic activation- this is what the gut needs to function. Think of an unbalanced see-saw. Hence, there is often a link between stress and gut issues. Apart from current stressful factors, we are also the only species that can cause a stress response by thought alone! e.g. worrying about the past or the future.
With less emphasis on gut function because of activation of the fight /flight stress response, this can mean reduced digestive enzymes and stomach acid meaning food doesn’t get digested properly and this impartially digested material further damages the gut lining and also the reduced acid means that bugs that are meant to get killed in the stomach, don’t and can further contribute towards leaky gut.
Stress also increases inflammatory mediators (cytokines) released during stressful times which damages the gut lining and there is translocation of bacteria and reduced microbial diversity- having a healthy and diverse gut micobiome is a key aspect of our gut health and hence overall health. There are also changes in gut motility, secretions, reduced blood flow and the pain threshold changes. Recent studies also show that the microbiome can also affect our resilience to stress.
Lifestyle factors are key to addressing stress and if indicated, there are also various nutrients and herbs that can help both the gut and the nervous system. Lay the foundations as much as possible. Like any building, strong foundations are important.
• A balanced diet with mindful eating. Time restricted feeding can be helpful new with lots of great studies (always check with your health professional first as it may not suit everyone)
• Exercise- not too much, not too little. Sitting is the new smoking!
• Sleep-is critical for detoxing and balancing the stress hormones.
• Reduce environmental toxins e.g plastics, heavy metals.
• Other stress management strategies –e.g mindfulness, meditation, yoga, NATURE!
• Last but not least, having a sense of purpose and leading an authentic life cannot be emphasized enough.
“The gut is not like Las Vegas – what happens in the gut does not stay in the gut!”
– Dr Alessio Fasano