Your gut houses trillions of beneficial bacteria. This highly sophisticated system happens to be where 80% of your immunity resides. And according to Dr. Mercola, 95% of your body’s serotonin (the body’s “feel good” hormone) is found not in the brain, but in the GUT.
This is just scratching the surface of the gut – but even in those few sentences, you can see how imperative it is to good health and well-being. In scientific literature, the gut is even referred to as our “second brain”.
Your gut is intertwined with every other system in your body, and when the lining of its wall is damaged; it can cause systematic inflammation and trigger and autoimmune response in any of those systems in your body. This is obviously something we all want to avoid – so I’m going to present you with the 5 most common offenders that play a part in harming your gut in hopes that you can do your best to avoid them!
The impact of gluten and its harmful effects are becoming more widely known and documented as of late. However, in a few years; the negative impact of gluten-free grains may begin to pop up in research as well. With their abundance of amylose sugars that cause inflammation in addition to anti-nutrients such as lectins and phytates (which bind to the intestines and make de-active nutrients in the body), grains can cause a wide variety of damage to your gut and your health.
Overuse of alcohol has a negative impact on just about every system in the body (surprise, surprise). Alcohol can irritate the stomach and intestines as well as suppress the hormones which protect against the inflammation that contributes to leaky gut syndrome.
I don’t know of a single person who enjoys being stressed or says that being stressed benefits their health in any sort of way. Chronic stress can actually weaken your immune system’s response to infection. Your brain and intestines are mediated by many of the same hormones (hence, why your gut is referred to as your second brain). This connection is known as the gut-brain axis.
Frequent use of antibiotics can decrease your beneficial, protective gut bacteria. With your body’s natural defenses down, antibiotics are more prone to damaging your gut’s lining. Worse yet, without some healthy intervention, your body’s unique diversity of trillions of beneficial bacteria won’t automatically be recovered after it’s lost. It can take many months.
5. NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
NSAIDs are pills such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen that relieve pain and inflammation by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. The problem is that this enzyme also performs important functions such as protecting the stomach from the corrosive effects of its own acid, which strengthens the activity of the immune system. Because of this, they can cause intestinal inflammation, damaging the lining of the intestine and causing intestinal permeability. This process can turn on an autoimmune response in the body. Among people who chronically use NSAIDs, research estimates that 65% will develop intestinal inflammation up to 30% are likely to develop ulcers.