Signs Of A Healthy Gut

Signs of a healthy gut featured image

Your gut health directly influences every aspect of your body. The gut is your doorway for taking in all the nutrients your body needs, but also acts as a communication centre and a disease fighter. 

When discussing ‘the gut,’ we are really talking about the ‘microbiome.’ In this article we focus on the signs of a healthy gut and how this can help you to know if your microbiome is out of balance.

The microbiome is the collection of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that live within your body. These microorganisms can change based on environmental factors, which include your diet, amount of exercise, medication, and other factors.

Keeping your microbiome healthy is crucial as having a healthy gut microbiome helps to control your gut health by communicating with the intestinal cells, digesting certain foods and preventing disease-causing bacteria from sticking to the intestinal walls.

The Gut microbiome also helps to control blood sugar and may also affect brain health by producing brain chemicals that communicate with nerves that connect to the brain.

What Are Signs Of A Healthy Gut

Knowing the signs of a healthy gut can help you determine whether your gut is working optimally and whether you potentially have any underlying issues with your gut and your microbiome. The signs of a healthy gut and microbiome include: 

Regular and pain-free bowel movements 

Being wary of your bowel movements is a crucial step in helping to determine your gut health.

While different people's bowel movements vary by how they use the bathroom, it is important to keep track of whether there is any change in these movements, whether they are increased or decreased in nature. 

Ideally you should be having at least one bowel movement per day, anything less than that is constipation.

Bristol Stool Chart (types of poop, healthy poop)

Even if you are going everyday and it is small and pebbly then this is still considered constipation as you are not eliminating wastes effectively.

If you have an urgent need to go to the bathroom, or it is liquid or not formed this is also a sign of an unhealthy digestive tract.

Energy Levels 

High energy levels are a good sign that you have a healthy gut and microbiome.

Because digesting food takes a lot of energy, if your digestive system isn’t working properly, your body can send extra energy to your gut to help digest the food, which in turn will leave you more fatigued.

Plus low energy may indicate that you are not absorbing key nutrients for energy, like vitamin B12 or iron and this can be from poor gut function. 

Monitor your energy levels, and if you feel like you need to take excess naps or coffees to offset fatigue, it may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. 

Gas And Bloating

Most healthy people pass gas up to 21 times per day, so it isn’t a cause for concern nor should it be considered embarrassing as it is a sign of a healthy gut.

The release of gas prevents build up within the stomach and intestines. A buildup of gas that causes bloating maybe a sign that you are eating too many gas-producing-foods, or you could have intestinal infections, digestive disorders or medications that is causing excess gas.

 However, if the gas has a strong smell, that may be an indication of dysbiosis and a build-up of too much of the bad bacteria. 

Food Intolerance

Being unable to consume certain foods may be a sign of poor bacteria within your gut.

Abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, or diarrhea might signify you have food sensitivity to certain foods that your microbiome can’t handle. Even eczema may be a sign of an unhealthy gut.

Try cutting out some of the most likely culprits, this can include dairy, gluten or other grains, soy and eggs. Another option is to do food sensitivity testing.

Even some healthy foods can trigger symptoms, this is where a short term low FODMAP diet can be helpful to work out what your food triggers may be.

Clear Mind 

Your ability to focus and mental alertness are linked to your gut.

Brain fog, headaches and mental fatigue may be signs of poor gut health. Certain diseases can affect your body's ability to effectively absorb nutrients making it more difficult for your body to get the energy it needs.

There is a lot of research into the Gut-Brain connection, and this has shown that stress and low mood can affect digestive symptoms, but also an imbalance in your microbiome can also affect your mood.

What Are The Causes Of An Unhealthy Gut

Knowing the signs of an unhealthy gut is just half the battle. It is just as important to know some of the reasons that are the cause of an unhealthy gut and how you can address the issue. Here are some reasons as to what causes an unhealthy gut. 

Poor Diet 

If you are consuming foods that are highly processed, have a lot of sugars, or are low in fiber, they can negatively affect gut health.

Processed foods can affect the diversity of the gut microbiome by decreasing essential bacteria and promoting the growth of unhealthy ones. 

Insufficient Fiber Intake

Fiber is one of the crucial elements in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Having a lack of dietary fiber can lead to an imbalance in your gut bacteria, which contributes to issues such as constipation and inflammation.

However, if you don't tolerate fiber this can be a sign of small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO).

Overuse of Antibiotics

Antibiotics can be integral for treating bacterial infections, but excessive or inappropriate use can be harmful to beneficial gut bacteria along with harmful bacteria.

An excess in antibiotics can lead to an imbalance in your gut microbiome, causing the previously mentioned systems of poor gut health.

If you have to have probiotics there are some key steps you can take to help prevent digestive problems, read this article on how to restore the microbiome after antibiotics.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can affect the entire body, including the gut. It can alter gut motility and secretion, and the overall gut function, which can influence the composition of the gut microbiome.

Alcohol Consumption

Those who consume alcohol excessively can damage their gut lining, leading to a condition known as "leaky gut”. Leaky gut is where toxins and microbes pass into the body more freely. It can also negatively affect the balance of gut bacteria.

If you’re looking to test for leaky gut, consider using the Vibrant Wellness Gut Zoomer Test, and the Vibrant Wellness Wheat Zoomer together for comprehensive leaky gut analysis and receive a discount when both are purchased together. Or, The Cyrex-Array 2 Test for Leaky Gut.

Lack of Regular Physical Activity

Partaking in regular exercise directly contributes to overall good gut health. Physical activity can help speed up your digestion and help to reduce constipation, which in turn can promote a healthier gut microbiome.

Inadequate Sleep

A lack of sleep can be detrimental to your gut health. Poor sleep can disrupt the circadian rhythms of gut microbes, impacting their function and composition.

Smoking 

Smoking has been linked to numerous health issues, including gut health problems. It can change the composition of the gut microbiome, increase gut inflammation, and increase the risk of gut diseases.

Genetics 

It is a sad reality of life that some people are unfortunately predisposed to certain medical conditions.

Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, and Ulcerative colitis can significantly impact your gut health, altering the microbiome and leading to symptoms like inflammation, pain, and disrupted digestion.

To Test whether or not you may be predisposed to diseases like Crohn’s or any other illness, we recommend you try the SelfDecode genetic test to help determine the likelihood of you encountering these illnesses in your future.

Conclusion

As we have seen, gut health is a crucial component of your overall well-being. It influences not only digestive efficiency but also your immune function, mental clarity, and energy levels.

Keeping track of the signs of a healthy gut helps you monitor your digestive health effectively and helps you avoid potential problems in the future.  

To keep or help recover a healthy gut, it is vital that you have a balanced diet rich in fiber with a moderate use of medications like antibiotics, manage your stress effectively, get plenty of sleep, and engage in regular physical activity. 

Your gut not only reflects your current health but can also predict your future well-being. By focusing on the elements that lead to a healthy gut, you can improve your overall gut health and have the peace of mind knowing you will have a better quality of life. 

Tests To Consider

Gut Zoomer

This is an advanced microbiome test for assessing levels of beneficial bacteria, plus pathogenic bacteria, parasites and viral infection. This test can also measure many intestinal health markers that are signs of a health gut.

Wheat Zoomer

Wheat Zoomer

This test measures for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, plus it gives you a detailed assessment for leaky gut markers.

Food Sensitivity

Have you ever wondered what foods or food additives you maybe sensitive to? This test can help to take out the guesswork and identify food triggers.

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