13 Fascinating Facts About Your Gut
1. The gut is not only your intestines, it signifies the entire passage between your mouth and anus, including the oesophagus and stomach. It is your pipe to life. What goes in the top of the pipe (mouth) will either build you up or tear you down. You are choosing your fate.
2. Your digestive tract is roughly 9 metres in length, about the same as a double-decker bus.
3. Your digestive tract, or gut, is home to roughly 100 trillion bacteria, (called the microbiom) weighing 1.5 to 2kg.
4. The ideal balance is 80% friendly and 20% unfriendly. They all have important roles to play in the correct ratios. A low fibre, sugary, processed diet will affect the ratios and lead to all sorts of gut problems from irritable bowel to bowel cancer and wind, bloating and diarrhoea in-between.
5. It is about 37degrees in your gut which means that food, sitting longer than necessary (due to sluggishness) will lead to a rotting and putrefying process (a grave yard of dead festering animal and other foods). This sets up toxicity which absorbs into your blood and goes to the liver which can then put the liver under immence stress and set up a whole cascade of health issues.
6. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) will affect more than 1 in 5 people in Australia at some point in their lives.
7. 66% of the body’s immune cells reside in the gut. An unfriendly gut (from diet and lifestyle choices) will lead to a weak and compromised immune system.
8. Good bacteria such as acidophilus is passed from generation to generation.
A baby literally takes a gulp of bacteria as it passes through the birth canal, hence establishing a foundation for its natural probiotic levels! This is why it is so important for mothers to optimise their friendly bacteria levels before giving birth and to give birth naturally wherever possible.
9. 95% of your serotonin is located within the gastrointestinal tract. This is why people feel strong emotions in their gut as well as their minds. Follow your gut feeling.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps prevent depression, anxiety and moods as well controlling your guts peristaltic wave which keeps your faeces moving so you have satisfying bowel motions (preferably 2-3) every day.
This is also why when taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) anti depressant medication (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac and others) you can end up constipated. When the serotonin is diverted from the gut to the brain the peristaltic wave which keeps your faeces moving slows right down. This can lead to other bowel and liver related issues.
10. Every year over 1 million people are diagnosed with a digestive condition or disease. Bowel cancer is one of the biggest killers.
11. There are more neurons (nerve cells that transmit and process information) in your enteric nervous system (which includes the intestines) than there are in your central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord.
12. You have 2 brains. 1 in your gut and 1 in your head. Each have around 100million neurotransmitters. These psychoactive chemicals include serotonin, dopamine, glutamine, nor epinephrine, opiates, benzodiazepines etc. If you do not have a happy gut then there is a big chance your head will not be happy either.
13. Traveller’s diarrhoea affects up to 50% of healthy travellers under tropical or hot climate latitudes. So think about taking some acidophilus with you on your next holiday!
HELP YOUR GUT and YOUR HEALTH!!
Your GUT Health is dependent on the quality of your food and lifestyle choices, how much fibre you eat and water you drink.
- Drink 2-3 litres of clean water www.apostle.com.au
- Eat whole, fresh (preferably organic food),seasonal foods that are fresh from the tree, ground, paddock or ocean.
- Cut sugar and processed foods with artificial additives. (these feed the unfriendly gut bacteria and organisms).
- Fed your gut bacteria well. Find out how here.
- Use environmentally friendly house hold and body care products.
- If you have any sort of gut issue or have ever been on antibiotics take a high quality probiotic to repopulate your gut with friendly bacteria.
- For persistant and serious issues consult a health professional who specializes in gut health.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about your gut. Feel free to share and spread the word; please link back to this page if you are quoting any of the facts. Many thanks.
1. Mitsuoka, T. (1992), Intestinal Flora and Aging. Nutrition Reviews, 50: 438–446.
2. McFarland, L. V. (2007) Meta analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveller's diarrhoea. Travel medicine and Infectious Disease. Vol. 5, Issue 2, pp 97-105
3. Goyal, R. et al., (1996) The Enteric Nervous System, The New England Journal of Medicine, 344: 1106-1115.
4. Kim, D., (2000) Serotonin: A mediator of the Brain-Gut Connection' The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 95(10)