I know when I first learned how important gut health is to aging gracefully and staying in good health as one ages, I began researching everything I could get my hands on to better understand how I may help my clients who struggle with digestive issues. Is it me..? or do you hear people talk about the upsets they have with their digestive system? Whether it's an autoimmune disorder, arthritis, acid reflux, IBS, allergies, psoriasis or a number of other chronic diseases, a healthy gut is paramount to overall well being.
Over the past several years, scientists have been finding evidence that many of "today's" illnesses can be traced to the microbes found in the intestinal lining. According to David Kohn, The Atlantic, "Scientists are especially intrigued by how these bacteria influence the immune system. In recent decades, the incidence of many autoimmune diseases has been increasing; many microbiome researchers argue that at least some of this rise is due to changes in our bacterial ecosystem. Altered diet, the explosion of antibiotic use, and decreasing contact with the microbe-packed natural world of animals and plants have all combined to transform the bacteria that call humans home."
Also, according to NYU microbiologist Martin Blaser, "We're losing microbes with each generation; they are going extinct and these changes have consequences."
The gut houses two-thirds of the body's immune cells and this is where microbes have lots of influence. The gastrointestinal tract must deal with toxins that come in through the food we eat (pesticides, non-food like particles, etc.) and try to destroy them. When these bad microbes begin to leak out of the digestive wall, illnesses can pop up. Unfortunately, the leaky gut is caused by years of antibiotic use, various chemicals in the foods we eat, toxins in the body care products we put on our skin, gluten (for some people), dairy (for some people), etc. Inflammation often occurs in various parts of the body - including the joints.
So what does all this have to do with how well we age? When the digestive tract is working well, we are able to absorb the nutrients our bodies need to help with elimination, give us energy and nourish us on a cellular level so everything works better. Our bodies were not meant to fight a war! And, unfortunately, that's what they're doing most of the time -- getting rid of foreign invaders that enter our small intestine and escorting them out of the body. But when these invaders become large in number, the body can only do so much. Some of these bad guys leak into our bloodstream and cause our body to turn on itself. Besides attacking these foreign substances, an all-out attack on the good guys begins. This many times results in some form of autoimmune disease.
If you know you suffer from gut issues, don't rely on medication to mask the problem. Take charge of your health and begin the process of healing your body. Your body has the ability to heal given the right tools. You deserve a healthy body so you can feel good about getting older.. you know the saying, "Your not getting older, you're getting better." Now's the time to make that happen.