Gut health has become really trendy in the last decade or so, but we’ve known about its importance for centuries.
After all, Hippocrates first said, “All disease begins in the gut” over two THOUSAND years ago.
Here’s why that’s not so far from the truth!
Meet Your Microbiome
Your gut contains a vast ecosystem known as your microbiome made up of trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, but also fungi, viruses, and parasites. This diverse ecosystem helps you digest and absorb the nutrients from your food, regulates metabolism, makes up nearly 80% of your immune system, and so much more!
We are at the infancy of understanding this complex network of microbes but, with what we do know, these organisms play an integral role in not only our digestive health, but they influence a whole host of systems and functions throughout the entire body.
Connecting the Dots
In medicine, we have the nasty habit of trying to separate all of the body’s systems from one another. You see the gastroenterologist for your digestive issues, an endocrinologist for hormone imbalances, a dermatologist for skin complications, a pulmonologist for lung health, and so on.
These systems are not independent, they are all connected and rely on each other for optimal function. Your gut is no exception.
We now know the gut regularly communicates with various systems and organs throughout the body. So if there is a problem with one connecting system, you cannot expect your gut to fully recover without addressing that neighboring system as well.
There are many two-way connections between your gut other major organs and systems, including but not limited to:
- Gut-Thyroid Axis
- Gut-Pancreas Axis
- Gut-Endocrine Axis
- Gut-Liver Axis
- Gut-Skin Axis
- Gut-Lung Axis
- Gut-Brain Axis
The gut relies on each of these systems, and each system relies on the gut for optimal function.
What this Means for Virtually Every Chronic Illness
It is essential to remember that brain fog is not just a head problem and fatigue isn’t a simple consequence of getting older.
Anxiety and depression are not caused by a deficiency of Prozac or Zoloft. Hormone imbalances are not corrected simply by removing your ovaries or taking birth control.
Allergies and eczema don’t start because your body needs steroids. And autoimmune disease isn’t just a consequence of bad genetics.
What we now know based on the latest research and what we see in clinical practice is that these health issues, and many others, are the consequence of physiologic imbalances and inflammation. And how they develop, worsen, or resolve depend on what is happening in your gut!
For the rest of May, we’re taking a deep dive into common gut issues and how to overcome them, be sure to follow along!
About the Author: Dr. Seth Osgood is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner. Dr. Osgood received his post-graduate training in Functional Medicine through the IFM and from working with Dr. Amy Myers. He has helped people from around the world improve their health utilizing a Functional Medicine approach.
Want to work with Dr. Osgood and the GrassRoots team? Become a patient in our West Lebanon, New Hampshire Functional Medicine clinic, our Burlington, Vermont Functional Medicine clinic, or our Austin, Texas Functional Medicine clinic!