Follow you Gut Instincts

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					BODY & MIND                                                                      35

                       Fairway Fitness                                                                                          with Dr. Linda Scott

                                      Follow you Gut Instincts
      he gastrointestinal tract - or gut - is the most   break down unutilised carbohydrates, providing          source of beneficial gut bacteria - can
      important interface between the inside of our      energy and nutrients for cells of the gut wall.         help to promote a healthy gut flora, it is sometimes
      bodies and the outside world.                      It keeps the growth of harmful micro-organisms such     useful to take additional probiotics.
Maintaining its health should therefore be a top         as E coli in check and it helps to train the immune     This are especially important if we have to take a
priority.                                                system to respond appropriately. It also produces       course of antibiotics, as these drugs can destroy the
Once food passes through the mouth, it travels           some vitamins such as biotin and vitamin K and          good as well as the bad bacteria and leave our gut
through approximately 10 metres of gut (including        protects against some diseases.                         flora totally out of balance. Probiotics are dietary
the stomach, intestine and colon) before exiting as      While addressing stress levels and improving our        supplements containing some of these live beneficial
waste.                                                   diet - which should include live yoghurt as a natural   micro-organisms.
A healthy gut wall selectively allows beneficial                                                                 Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are the most
nutrients in but keeps toxins and harmful micro-                                                                 common strains used as probiotics. However, there
organisms out.                                                                                                   are other types of bacteria and yeasts that are also
The gut wall can, however, become ‘leaky’ and start                                                              considered to be exceptionally beneficial and are
letting in the harmful stuff if the micro-organisms                                                                included in certain newer supplements, such as
living in the gut get out of balance.                                                                                McNab’s Energy Brew.
This can be due to a variety of conditions                                                                             Studies are beginning to link different probiotic
including certain illnesses, antibiotic                                                                                   strains, which are believed to inhabit
treatment, high stress levels, a junk food                                                                                   different areas of the gut, to specific
diet and nutrient deficiencies.                                                                                                 health benefits.
The human gut is home to around 500                                                                                                These include an improvement in
different types of micro-organisms or                                                                                               immune function, bowel health
flora.                                                                                                                                and mineral absorption, as
Bacteria make up most of the flora in                                                                                                  well as relief for the following
the colon and constitute more than                                                                                                      conditions: lactose intolerance,
half of the dry mass of faeces. In fact                                                                                                  high cholesterol and blood
the micro-organisms living in our gut                                                                                                     pressure, inflammation,
actually outnumber the cells in our                                                                                                        irritable bowel syndrome,
bodies by a factor of 10.                                                                                                                    colitis, peptic ulcer, cystitis,
Several of these micro-organisms                                                                                                              atopic disease, allergies
are highly beneficial; the bulk of                                                                                                              and pathogen-induced
the remainder cause no harm                                                                                                                       diarrhoea.This army of
but a few are potentially                                                                                                                           beneficial gut bacteria
pathogenic and cause                                                                                                                                   acts as the first line
disease, if they are allowed                                                                                                                            of defence and
to grow unchecked. It is                                                                                                                                therefore needs
therefore quite critical                                                                                                                                to be carefully
that the gut flora is kept in                                                                                                                           nurtured.
balance.                                                                                                                                                Trouble with the
The metabolic activities                                                                                                                                gut flora quickly
of the beneficial bacteria                                                                                                                              leads to trouble
actually resemble those of                                                                                                                              in the body.
an organ and it is sometimes                                                                                                                            So remember,
even referred as the                                                                                                                                     whatever promotes
‘forgotten’ organ.                                                                                                                                       a good balance of
These bacteria perform                                                                                                                                   gut flora, will also
many useful functions: they                                                                                                                              promote health.

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