“All diseases begin in the gut.”
– Hippocrates, c. 400 BC
Hippocrates may not have been entirely right, but current medical thinking is increasingly emphasising the importance of the intestines and the links between digestion, mood and health. According to the Real Meal Revolution, many, if not all Banters who are overweight and insulin resistant appear to have poor gut health.
In my own case, I know this to be true as I had digestive problems for decades. When I began to feed my gut biome and eliminate harmful substances, my depression and anxiety disappeared and were replaced with stable, upbeat moods.
Here’s what we know for sure about this enormous organ:
- It is considered to be “the second brain”
- The small intestine is responsible for around 95% of the digestion and absorption of the food we eat.
- The total surface area exposed to both the nutritious and harmful things we consume has been calculated to be anywhere from the size of a badminton court to the size of a tennis court!
- Key to the effective and healthy functioning of the small intestine is the symbiotic relationship it enjoys with our gut flora. These trillions of microorganisms line the intestinal wall, forming a vital living interface between the partially digested food on the inside and the intestinal wall on the outside.
- Gut flora manufacture vitamins B and K, and act as an organ of the body by releasing hormones into the bloodstream. (As we have seen, hormones interact with the brain and signal the body to change its behaviour in response to a change in its environment. Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS and other bowel problems such as constipation and bloating are now thought to directly affect our mood, contributing to emotional shifts and even anxiety and depression.)
- Our gut flora also plays an important hand in managing the body’s metabolism, and it forms part of the body’s immune system by making antigens from potentially harmful bacteria that the immune system can use to ward off disease.
Regardless of what diet you may sign up for, it is critical that it should take into account the healthy development and maintenance of your gut flora.
Abrupt changes, such as a wildly fluctuating diet, the excessive use of antibiotics or the infestation of harmful bacteria, can seriously compromise this vital organ. Rebuilding and supporting the gut flora should be regarded as a foundational step to metabolic health and is therefore focused on in detail in LCHF Banting 2.0.
For more on gut health read…….
Gluten Freedom by Alessio Fasano (Wiley, 2013) or find his videos on YouTube.
Real Meal Revolution Banting 2.0 by Jonno Proudfoot and the Real Meal Revolution Team, (Burnet Media, 2016)