6 Interesting Facts About Your Gut Health
The importance of gut health is often neglected. Your gut does so much more than just assisting digestion. Your gut plays a very important role in your health by maintaining your digestive system, immune system and much more. An unhealthy gut can affect the normal functioning of your body and may contribute to various health disorders. Here we tell you some amazing facts about gut health!
Your gut is called the “second brain”
The gut has its own set of the nervous system, the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). It contains millions of neurons in its lengthy coil that stretches from the esophagus to the anus. The ENS contains more neurons than that are present in the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system!
The ENS controls everything from digestion to eliminating waste from your body and functions independently on its own. This is why the gut has been nicknamed as the “second brain”!
A healthy gut can make you happy
Serotonin is a hormone that enhances your mood, feelings, and acts as an anti-depressant. Around 95% of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut. The production of such hormones is affected by the type of food you eat. Fat, for example, increases the feeling of happiness and pleasure because it triggers the release of a hormone called dopamine – the body’s feel-good hormone.
Similarly, carbohydrate consumption stimulates the release of serotonin that regulates your mood and happiness. Thus, a healthy gut will not only make you healthy but also happy!
Some best foods for a healthy gut are:
- Jerusalem Artichoke
The gut controls your immune system
The gut houses 70% of your immune cells in the form of gut-associated lymphoid tissue or GALT, which plays a huge part in killing and expelling pathogens.
The GALT is richly populated with special clusters of immune cells known as ‘Peyer’s Patches’. They help identify harmful bacteria present in your gut and eliminates them before they can enter the bloodstream.
Your gut contains more bacterial cells than human cells
There are more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Approximately 100 trillion microorganisms exist in the human gastrointestinal tract. In fact, there are approximately 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body and only 30 trillion human cells.
The human genome consists of about 23,000 genes, whereas the microbiome encodes over 3 million genes producing thousands of metabolites, consequently influencing your fitness, phenotype, and health.
The acid in your gut is strong enough to burn the skin
The gut contains an acid called hydrochloric acid or HCl. The pH of the acid is 1.5 to 3.5 which means it’s acidic enough to burn your skin. So why doesn’t it burn your stomach?
This is because a thick layer of mucus protects the stomach lining and keeps the acid inside, preventing burns. When gastric acid sometimes leaks up into the esophagus which lacks this mucus layer, a symptom called heartburn occurs.
Your gut health is sensitive to emotions
When we are nervous we’ve probably heard the expression “butterflies in the stomach”. That is because our gut is sensitive to emotions such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Yes! They have a direct impact on your gut health.
Some studies have also shown that emotions affect the functioning of the gut as well as how it processes digestion. For example, negative emotions such as fear can cause indigestion.
Moments of stress can trigger and exacerbate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) including symptoms such as:
- chronic abdominal pain,
- diarrhea and/or
Moreover, stress can result in the food staying in the stomach longer, creating gas, indigestion and bloating. Additionally, studies have shown that stress may disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, which increases intestinal permeability and even causes inflammation. Click here to know how to improve gut health!
These were some interesting facts about gut health. Do you know some other facts? Share with us in the comments section below!