Our gut is a huge (and I mean, HUGE) part of our overall health.
Think of your gut as essentially a gateway.
It’s where our external environment meets our internal ecosystem, but also where we digest every food we eat, and every experience we live.
In clinic, gut health is something that I work on with almost every single one of my naturopathic clients in some way or another.
Studies have linked poor gut health to skin conditions, the immune system, mental health, autoimmune disease, endocrine + thyroid disorders, weight gain, and even cancers.
Unfortunately, one in five of us will suffer from some kind of digestive discomfort or disorder during our lifetime. Sad face.
We're talking everything from food intolerances to IBS, SIBO to leaky gut. All of these gut issues can, in different ways, be linked to the health + quality of our skin, and to skin conditions like pesky old acne.
But how do you know when you're gut healthy, or when your gut needs some old fashioned TLC?
Here are some classic, common symptoms of poor gut health...
1. I N D I G E S T I O N
Lemme break this down right about now. Our gut is responsible for two of our most basic bodily functions:
- Digesting (breaking down our foods), passing through what we do not need
- Assimilating + absorbing nutrients from what we're chowing down on
With this in mind: if you ain't digesting (aka breaking foods down) properly, your gut health is going to be suffering.
And you can betcha bottom dollar you're going to know about it: whether you've got symptoms of indigestion like burping or heartburn, or whether you're bloating like a blinkin' balloon, or a gassy gal... When you know, you know.
And guess what? If you're not breaking foods down + digesting them properly, you're not going to be assimilating + absorbing nutrients properly. Which is an issue, considering allllll of yo' organs (including the biggest one - yo' skin) really damn-well need nutrients.
2. F O O D (O V E R) R E A C T I O N S
Ever eat something and feel like your body's punishing you for a large portion of some of the greatest war crimes in the history of the world as we know it?
We're talking pain, bloating, running to the bathroom... You get the picture.
Sometimes this is the fault of a food allergy. Which means the particular food that's grinding your gears is setting off an immune reaction for you. And it likely will for the rest of your life.
Important side note here: your gut houses 70-80% of that very immune system.
Orrrr, sometimes it's a food intolerance or sensitivity. This means, very basically, that your body struggles to digest that food. Big. Time. And, if this is the case, we're back to my previous point - it's because your gut health ain't healthy RN.
3. S K - I (N) S S U E S
Suffering with your skin - anything from rashes to breakouts to dermatitis to eczema to full-blown acne - is a pretty good sign that something fishy's going on with your gut health.
There could be a few reasons as to why your poor gut health = poor skin health. But here are a few possibilities:
- histamine intolerance, which is a surprisingly common food intolerance, can throw out symptoms like itching, hives, rashes + acne
- IBS (or Irritable Bowel Syndrome) doesn't just contribute to symptoms in your tum-tum - 40% of IBS patients also experience symptoms outside of their gut, with the skin being the second most commonly impacted organ
- SIBO (or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is usually at fault for around 80% of acne + rosacea cases
H pylori (a nasty bacterial infection requiring some quite heckers antibiotic treatment) is very closely associated with acne
4. R U N D O W N H . Q .
As I mentioned before: 70-80% of our immune system is housed in our gut. So, if your gut ain't healthy, and your body isn't digesting foods or absorbing enough nutrients, it's really not a surprise that you're getting sick on the reg, is it now?
5. M E N T A L (U N) H E A L T H
If you're battling anxiety and/or depression, it might be worth taking a look at the health of your tummy.
The gut is often referred to as our ‘second brain’. This is because 90% of the body's neurotransmitters (aka chemical messengers) responsible for modulating our mood are produced in the gut.
Serotonin, for example, is our 'happy' chemical. And if we're not making feel-good chemicals like serotonin real good, our mood's gonna struggle to be real good too.
So there you have it. Five pretty gosh darn common symptoms of poor gut health. And five pretty gosh darn good reasons to take a better look at the health of your gut!
So what's next? Stay tuned for my next post, where I'll share more on the ways you can start giving your gut some good old, well-deserved TLC.
Or, if you're impatient (like me), head over here to download my f r e e eBook, 'Ready, Set, Glow' which features a whole snazzy little section on gut health AND a good gut health to-do list!
If you feel like your gut health's gone out the window, why not book a one-on-one consult with me, and start your totally personalised journey towards better gut goodness?