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ETSU Wellness

East Tennessee State University

Health Tips

Is your gut making you sick?

It's cold and flu season again and one important way to stay well is by keeping your digestive tract healthy. It's a huge chemical factory that helps you digest your food, produces vitamins, helps regulate hormones, excrete toxins and produce healing compounds.

There are five hundred species and 3 pounds of bacteria in your gut. Too many of the wrong ones like parasites, yeasts or bad bacteria, or not enough of the good ones like lactobacillus or bifidobacteria can lead to serious damage to your health. In fact, the NIH reports that about 70 million Americans are affected by diseases of the gut.

So what can you do to make your tummy happy? Read on...

What are the major gut-wreckers?

  • Low fiber, high sugar, processed food, nutrient poor, high calorie diet makes all the wrong bacteria and yeast grow in the gut.
  • Overuse of medications things like anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, acid blocking drugs, and steroids.
  • Chronic low-grade infections or gut imbalances with overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
  • Lack of adequate digestive enzyme function which can come from acid blocking medication use or zinc deficiency.
  • Stress can alter the gut nervous system causing a leaky gut.

To heal your inner tube of life you simply need to:

  1. Eat whole unprocessed foods.
  2. Cut out food allergens like gluten, dairy, yeast, corn, soy, and eggs for a week or two and see how your gut feels and what happens to your other symptoms.T
  3. Treat any infections or overgrowth of parasites and yeasts. Yuck.
  4. Take broad-spectrum digestive enzymes with your food to replenish your stock.
  5. Take probiotic supplements. They will help rebuild the healthy bacteria so essential to good gut health.
  6. Take "good fat," omega-3 supplements, which help cool inflammation in the gut.
  7. Use gut-healing nutrients such as glutamine and zinc to repair the lining in your gut.

Researchers say probiotics have been known to enhance the immune system and, therefore, may represent a significant therapeutic advancement for treating viral respiratory tract infections like the cold or flu. Taking a supplement is an easy way to start improving your digestive health and there's no better time than fall to begin!

Some additional reading on digestive health during flu season:






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