We’ve all heard the saying and have likely used it ourselves; “I’ve just got a gut feeling about it.” This saying reflects those moments when something just feels either spot on or really doesn’t sit right with us. It’s usually not based on any type of logic or reason, it’s just a feeling, more of an emotional response that sways our decisions. These feelings can be a flood of affirmation or sense of peace and calm that comes over you. On the other hand, it can be a real physical sense of unease and anxiety, a nagging doubt that you just can’t shake. These kinds of feelings often get labeled as a hunch, a sixth sense, or even intuition.
Although gut feelings can often feel quite random, they don’t just come out of nowhere. There’s something going on internally known as the gut-brain axis, which makes it possible for emotional experiences to register as gastrointestinal distress. That queasiness has an origin outside of the gut. Emotions like anxiety and fear have the power to prompt nausea.
Whilst we consciously make a lot of observations and then make decisions based on these observations, our brains are actually collecting information that we might not even be directly conscious of. Let’s say you get to a fork in a trail when out on a walk and feel pulled to take a particular direction. Not long after venturing down the particular track, you hear a huge branch come down in the direction of the other trail. There isn’t necessarily anything mystical about this, it’s likely that you subconsciously noticed that the winds were strong or that it was more overgrown and the possibility of a branch coming down was higher so you felt driven to take the other possibly more open track. These links between memory and experience and the gut have a lot to do with why gut health is so vital for our overall health and wellbeing. The communication between the brain and the gut is not a one-way dialogue. Research shows that the gut can play a significant role in brain function and emotional wellbeing.
The gut is actually often referred to as the ‘second brain’, since it has the ability to produce the same neurotransmitters as the brain, including things like serotonin, dopamine and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Something known as the gut microbiome is responsible for producing a huge number of chemical messengers, many of these being involved in the process of learning and neural development. Something like serotonin helps to regulate mood, sleep patterns, appetite and pain. Dopamine can assist with concentration, irritability and sleep. A healthy gut has even been found to buffer against the impacts of stress, by helping to reduce cortisol levels.
As if this wasn’t enough, the benefits of good gut health extend far beyond just the cognitive benefits reaped via the axis between the gut and brain. There is also an incredibly strong link between a healthy gut and radiant skin. Healthy gut microbes have been found to have an influence on the skin by inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria and helping modulate inflammatory responses. In this way a healthy gut can act as a shield against skin conditions like eczema and acne.
So, I know what you’re thinking. Having a healthy gut sounds great but how exactly do I promote gut health and go about reaping all the other health benefits that come from it? This is where probiotics come in.
Probiotics are good bacteria that keep your gut in good balance, helping to boost health and vitality more generally. As humans, our bodies require a whole lot of bacteria to perform a wide variety of functions. On average, an adult carries about 3-4 Kgs of gut bacteria at any one time and within that are over 400 different types of bacteria. Just some of the functions that good bacteria perform include:
- Improved digestion.
- If suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) good bacteria has the ability to limit symptoms.
- Detoxify chemicals within your system.
- Produce nutrients that help to repair gut lining. This is particularly important after being ill.
- Immune function is regulated, helping to increase resistance to infection.
- The good bacteria acts as a block for bad bacteria.
There are a number of things that can throw off the balance of bacteria in our guts and actually promote bad bacteria. Some of these include:
- Overconsumption of alcohol.
- Consuming a diet too high in fat and low in fibre.
- Excessive amounts of stress.
- Exposure to toxic substances.
It’s obviously challenging to always make the decisions that are in the best interests of our health. For this reason, a regular probiotic can be really helpful for maximising gut health and as already mentioned, overall health and wellbeing. One such probiotic is Inner Health Plus. Inner Health Plus contains key strains that allow for you to get the most out of your probiotic. The key ingredients include; lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium lactis, which both help to aid in the maintenance of a normal healthy gastrointestinal system and digestive function. These two strains found in Inner Health Plus don’t just work from a maintenance point of view, they also can help to relieve gastrointestinal pain and discomfort. While all probiotics are considered safe, there are only some that are considered beneficial enough to be considered therapeutic. Inner Health Plus utilises the specific strains to ensure that their probiotics can survive the journey through the stomach and into the intestines, where they are really needed. Inner Health Plus uses strains that are acid and bile resistant so they are not simply lost in digestion. Beyond just Inner Health Plus there are a range of other probiotic products in the Inner Health range that can be utilised for a wide variety of specific conditions, benefitting both adults and children.
So, if your gut has been telling you for a while that something is wrong then you should really start paying attention and reap the wide ranging health benefits that probiotics offer.