Why a healthy gut = a healthy body

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 19 June 2018

There is a reason why Hippocrates said all disease begins in the gut.

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is considered a foundational system in the body. It extends all the way from your mouth to your anus, and covers a surface area of about 1/10th of an acre. In order for it to function, it uses approximately 40% of your body's energy expenditure.

If the GI tract is not healthy, no other system can reasonably expect to be healthy either.

Think of it like the foundation of your house. If you have a crack, you don't need to worry about putting in brand new windows.

You need to fix the crack in the foundation. 

Here are 6 reasons a healthy gut is so important for a healthy body and why it should be considered the foundation of your "house".

  1. It is the initial contact between external elements - such as food, bacteria, viruses or other microbes - and your internal environment. It acts like a gatekeeper and is the basis for most of the body's immune function.
  2. It houses the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) - 80% of the immune cells in your entire body are located here.
  3. It is a host to commensal organisms - these are often described as good bacteria that are important for immune balance, nutrient availability, and making certain B vitamins.
  4. It breaks down and assimilates macro (carbs, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, and minerals) - all of these nutrients are essential to support all other body systems.
  5. It disposes of toxins and nonessential elements - imagine what would happen in your house if you never took out the garbage.
  6. It regulates body composition - one of the key barriers to losing weight is an unhealthy gut.

It only takes 3 days of unhealthy eating for your gut to spiral into dysfunction and for the beginning of a crack to form. On the flip side, it takes at least 14 days to reverse the effect of those 3 days. Imagine if that crack was developing over months or even years.

I like to remind patients that healing your gut is a marathon not a sprint. Take care of your gut and it will take care of you.

Now I would love to hear from you! Have you underestimated the importance of your gut? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!


2 Replies to “Why a healthy gut = a healthy body”

Tammy Little

Wow I had no idea.
How do you go about reversing the effects in 14 days?

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Hi Tammy,
Yes, surprising right? Most NDs will follow a 4R Protocol: Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate & Repair. Supplements & dietary changes are individualized to the patient.

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