The Gut Feeling

The gut feel, is often times used to describe the intuition or the instinctive feeling. Often times regarded higher than the logical thinking that the brain does. Why might it be so? Did someone just come up with that word or might there be some wisdom to associating this feeling with the gut & not something else like the heart or the liver?
Interestingly, some of the cutting edge research now seems to suggest that the gut does much more than just growling when we are hungry and digesting food when we eat it.

Within the walls of our intestine lies a huge colony of bacteria. Their numbers actually outnumber our own cells almost 10 times. In other words, if the human body comprises of x number of cells, there are over 10x bacteria in the gut. As is anybody’s guess, these bacteria are helping us digest food. But then that’s definitely not the only thing that they are doing.

The Frontiers of Hormone Research published an article in April 2014 titled “How Gut and Brain control metabolism“. One of the chapters within that titled “Metabolic Interplay between Gut Bacteria and their Hosts” discusses how the composition of gut bacteria can be directly linked to metabolic disorders such as obesity and liver diseases.

Another very recent study conducted published in Iran in Feb 2014 discusses how the gut is intimately involved in thyroid hormone metabolism.  Thyroid hormone as many of you might be aware is one of the key hormones that is responsible for regulating the metabolism of the body. The BMI / BMR numbers that the gym instructor talks about, are actually being driven by this hormone within the body. Infact, the bacteria in the intestine also play a key role in making this hormone available to the individual cells within the body.

Oh wait  … there is more. Did you know that the gut is directly linked to the brain with the vagus nerve? Infact, it is one of the few important organs that have a direct relationship with the brain. A June 2013 study by UCLA, California suggests that consuming fermented milk products have an impact on the emotional behavior in the brain in just 4 weeks.

In summary, the gut does much more than just digesting the food. A healthy gut is a fundamental requirement for a good hormonal balance and a healthy body. Everything that we consume for dinner, lunch or snacks has a significant impact on not just the gut but also the way the colonies of bacteria shape up within that. Which is why I think food is of paramount importance when it comes to maintaining not just good but great health.

Enough said, anybody for a Big Mac and soda now?


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