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 agreed.
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 longer sufficient.
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 length.
Today when we talk of malnutrition, obesity, stunting, and diarrhoea we should not forget the interventions that damage the gut.