The Gut Solution
You can make changes
in your life to ease this toxic burden and help your gut help you.
Natural Weight Loss
Program recommended by The Share Guide
|The biggest factor in
determining your overall health involves and organ system that most of
us ignore and even disrespect on a daily basis. This system is involved
in a breathtaking number of important bodily functions that would
probably amaze you. It’s a surrogate brain, it helps regulate your
metabolism and weight, it oversees most of your immune-system defenses,
and it’s the future site for new therapies and technologies that will
enhance wellness and treat diseases that plague so many of us. Harm it,
and you risk harming the health of your entire body. Pay attention to
it, though, and I guarantee you better health.
What is this astonishing system that does so much but commands so little respect? It’s your gut. That’s right. it’s simply impossible to be well if your gut isn’t working right. Yet few us—even the most health savvy among us—really appreciate or understand what the gut does (which is far more than mere digestion). Nor do most of us care for our guts, as we should. In fact, many of us may be doing this amazing organ system great harm without even realizing it.
Your gut is so critical to your body’s defense network because everything entering your mouth makes its way there first—all the beneficial substances and all the detrimental ones, too. If you didn’t have to contend with a crazy work sdchedule, chemical fertilizer residues on your vegetables, and hazardous chemicals in your deodorant on a daily basis, your gut’s defense system would probably be able to handle everything just fine.
It’s actually and amazing setup—kind of like a magnificently trained army, air force, and navy all in one, with your liver at the top of the command chain. When everything is in fighting shape, it’s a seamless operation that works beautifully to keep you safe from the world’s dangers. Your gut digests and helps distribute the good things your body needs to flourish, and detoxifies and eliminates the bad things that aren’t needed or shouldn’t be there. These include toxins we already discussed, as well as those manufactured during normal bodily functions (such as damaged cells and old hormones like estrogen and testosterone).
Defense starts as soon as food enters the acidic environment for your stomach. Any pathogens that survive, plus other toxic substances that the stomach can’t neutralize, next pass into your small intestine where they bump up against the intestinal lining—one of your body’s most intricate lines of defense. The walls of your small intestine are covered with immune cells that block and neutralize many health-harming substances and microorganicms, so they aren’t absorbed into your bloodstream when digested nutrients are ready for distribution throughout your body. Instead, they can be discarded as waste.
Next stop: the liver—detoxifier extrordinaire. In addition to its many other critical duties, including maintaining hormone balane, creating proteins, and strong energy, vitamins, and minerals, your multitasking living is also responsible for cleaning your blood of all toxins. Once nutrients cross into the bloodstream through the small intestinal walls, the enriched blood takes a swing through your liver where any remaining problem substances are cleaned out before the nutrient-laden blood departs to feed your cells.
The liver converts these toxins—most of which are fat soluble (meaning the dissolve in fat)—to harmless water-soluble chemicals, which are more easily eliminated from your body. Depending on what they are, they’re sent either to the kidneys so they can be excreted in your urine or mixed with bile and sent to the colon where they’re passed out in your feces. I simply can’t say enough about the liver’s importance in helping rid your body of bad substances.
Unforunately, your gut’s detoxification machinery only functions well as long as the toxic load and poor lifestyle habits it’s expected to handle don’t get out of control. When there are too many dangers or your gut integrity is compromised for any reason, this finely tuned process may become too overwhelmed to properly detoxify and eliminate poisons or overcome poisonous habits.
For instance, too many toxins, pesticides, and medications may contribute to leaky gut syndrome by inflaming your intestinal lining and causing spaces to form between the cells. When these substances escape through the permeable walls, the deluge overwhelms your liver’s ability to cleanse everything. And if you liver is already damaged itself from fatty liver disease or another problem, it’s even less able to process the overload. The results can be catastrophic to your health.
For example, all those toxins that are supposed to be converted to water-soluble substances for excretion may instead make their way back to batter the small intestinal lining again, leaving it even more porous. They can also keep recirculating through your body and end up being stored in fat tissue, where they may damage cells and lead to a host of diseases, including cancer. Or they may make their way to your colon, where they might sit because of constipation caused by dehydration, a poor diet lacking in necessary fiber, inactivity, irritable bowel syndrome, or diverticulitis (small pouches that form in weakened areas of the colon walls and obstruct passage of waste). Bottom line: when waste doesn’t make its way out of your colon in a timely fashion, it can languish for days, damaging the lining and even allowing toxins to be absorbed into you body again.
The good news is, you can make changes in your life to ease this toxic burden and help your gut help you. It means ridding your life of as much stress as possible, along with chemicals and pollutants that can be avoided with a little effort. It also means exercising more, sleeping better, and feeding your liver healthy nutrients and supplements that protect it from harm and enhance its detoxification abilities. Restoring your gut’s ability to do it’s job by supplementing with enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics.
Excerpted with permission from No Guts, No Glory ©2012 by Steven Lamm, M.D., and Sidney Stevens. published by Basic Health Publications
Available in stores or by visiting www.basichealthpub.com
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