About six months ago, I was posting on Instagram about my journey to discovering my stomach issues and included that the recommended doctor that tests these things was not taking new clients. Dr. Cole commented on the photograph saying he does the same tests if I needed them. I looked him up, saw him on Goop, and was amazed by his wellness knowledge.
We met shortly after via FaceTime, and he was so dedicated to getting to the root of my health issues. I was so thankful, and after several intricate tests, we came to the bottom of it for the first time in years. I was so relieved that I could stop my own self-diagnosing and desperate research and start his healing plan for my gut health!
That being said, we are so grateful to have Dr. Cole here on LSK today! Below he is sharing 10 shocking facts about your gut + microbiome health, as well as links to further your research on the subject. Knowledge about your gut is truly so valuable, because a lot of people do not realize the significance of the gut and microbiome in relation to overall health and wellness! We hope that this information helps you on your wellness journey. Enjoy, xo.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine once said “All disease begins in the gut.” The wellness world is finally starting to agree with this age-old thought with science beginning to provide proof to what we have known all along – if you want a healthy body, you need a healthy gut. As a functional medicine practitioner, I often see the gut playing a pivotal role in a person’s health, regardless if they are coming in with digestive symptoms or not. Here are some facts you may not have known about your health powerhouse:
- It is extremely vast
The collection of bacteria in your gut is known as your microbiome. There are approximately 100 trillion microbes living in your gut. To get an idea of how much that is, you can line up 1 trillion dollar bills back to back and they would extend from the earth to the sun and back again. That’s just a small percentage of what is living inside of you.
- It has amazing healing capabilities
The surface area of your gut is roughly the size of an entire tennis court and covered in special cells called enterocytes. These cells regenerate so rapidly you actually get a completely new gut lining every 2 to 3 weeks. As long as you don’t have any chronic health conditions like inflammation or autoimmunity studies have shown, you can heal your gut in as little as 12 weeks with gut bacteria improving in just three days of changing up your diet. Even if you do have chronic health problems, due to the nature of your gut’s regeneration, healing is only a matter of time and consistency.
Running gut labs can give you a baseline idea of where you stand in order to know how to start healing. Eliminating inflammatory foods and replacing them with gut healing superfoods like bone broth, healthy fats, and supplements like probiotics and l-glutamine are great ways to jump start the process.
- It controls your weight
Studies have shown that lower microbiome diversity is associated with increased weight. People who struggle with weight loss resistance tend to have a higher amount of the bad bacteria Actinobacteria and Firmicutes and lower amounts of the beneficial bacteria Bacteroids and Verrucomicrobia.
- It plays host to your immune system
Close to 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. It is no surprise then that many autoimmune conditions are linked to microbiome dysfunctions.
- It is your second brain
Your gut and brain were formed from the same fetal tissue when you were growing in your mother’s womb and is inextricably connected for the rest of your life through the gut-brain axis. A whole area of research known as “the cytokine model of cognitive function” is dedicated to the connection between your gut and brain health. In fact, lower levels of Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum are linked with increased rates of anxiety and depression. Also, close to 95 percent of your happy neurotransmitter serotonin is produced and stored in your gut. If you want a healthy brain look no further than the status of your microbiome.
- It influences your entire health
You do not have to have digestive symptoms – like diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating – in order to have digestive problems. In reality, close to 22 percent of people struggling with underlying gut problems actually experience traditional gut symptoms. Instead, it will cause a cascade of chronic inflammation that will contribute to everything from autoimmune disease, cancer, skin problems, and even heart disease.
- It is powerfully controlled by food
The food you eat can either harm your microbiome or heal it. Certain inflammatory foods like gluten, sugar, or artificial sweeteners can actually alter your microbiome and create an imbalance of bacteria leading to an overgrowth of bad bacteria. However, eating probiotic rich fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir provide your gut with all the good bacteria it needs to thrive.
- It is more of you than you are
There are only 10 trillion human cells. When you compare that to the 100 trillion bacteria in your microbiome, we can safely say that you are actually 10 times more bacteria than human. Also, the genes of your microbiome bacteria outnumber your own genes 100 to 1.
- It plays a role in inflammation levels
When your gut lining is compromised, undigested food particles and other toxins end up entering your blood stream causing elevated ongoing inflammation throughout your body.
- It controls the health of your skin
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and one of the biggest ways your body rids itself of toxins. Chronic inflammation due to gut dysfunctions and immune-responses to different foods can appear in the form of rashes and acne.
We hope that you found these facts as fascinating as we did!! Knowledge really is power and it truly does all start in the gut, so we are extremely thankful to have Dr. Cole’s wisdom in our lives! We also asked Dr. Cole to share links to articles about gut-friendly eating plans, so be sure to read about an elimination diet, a 60 day reset plan, and an article on apple cider vinegar and lemon water. Also, his blog is an amazing resource, so definitely take the time to explore it! Thank you, Dr. Cole!