The importance of gut health
I can tell you with confidence that
scientific studies have linked disturbances to the gut and gut microbes to all
possible diseases on this planet. Yet the assault will not stop.
I remember years ago when I used to
approach Dr P M Bhargava with questions he would say, "Study about the
gut, gut microbes and epigenetics and you will find all your answers."
He was right. The gut is also
important for other reasons. It is also called the primeval brain. It is the
middle portion of the body that forms first in the fetus and then the rest of
the body grows out of it.
The gut is linked to the brain in
several ways. The microbes communicate with the brain. The gut is connected to
the brain through the intricate network of the vagus nerve. It has a dedicated
nervous system called the enteric nervous system. It is also one of the largest
organs of the body. Clearly it performs more functions than is ordinarily
Anger, fear and anxiety are linked to
the disturbed gut. A healthy gut can give you a sense of peace and grounding.
Several studies have shown how persons with disturbed gut microbes fall a prey
to wide range of physical and mental ailments.
In ayurveda there is a saying, you
have to take care of the gut to ensure a stable mind. The entire digestive
system is slowly being acknowledged to be the most important factor in health.
The reductionist concept of intake digestion assimilation and elimination is no
Much more goes on in this area. The failure
and dangers of bariatric surgery and the multifaceted problems faced when the
vagus nerve is severed ought to warn all. What can we learn from this? We must
be very careful about our food and should return to the food habits of our
ancestors. We must be mindful while eating. We must not disturb the digestive
process. We should take care to keep the gut healthy and should be more
proactive about issues like constipation and irritable bowel.
We must also ensure a healthy
environment as the microbial system in the body is constantly interacting with
the outside world. And yes we should stay the heck away from all interventions
that adversely affect the gut. Antibiotics, caesarian chidbirths, vaccines,
processed and junk foods, chemicals in daily use items and cosmetics top the
list. Everything that is not compatible to the body must be kept at an arms
Today when we talk of malnutrition,
obesity, stunting, and diarrhoea we should not forget the interventions that
damage the gut.