Your gut is extremely important for maintaining your health and well being. To fully understand the relationship, we first need to understand the complexities of the gut. I promise other posts won’t be so complicated however it’s important to get this foundation before we dive in further.
I’m going to try and keep this as simple as possible, the gut (aka gastrointestinal tract) is a long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. When we eat, food passes through the esophagus into the stomach. The stomach empties into the small intestine where food is digested and absorbed into the blood stream.
Following the small intestine is the large intestine where water is absorbed and food is contained that has not been digested which ultimately makes its way through the sigmoid colon and rectum before being passed out as stool. Are you following me yet?
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff! The gut has such an important job of being the gatekeeper of what gets in and what stays out. The lining of the intestines has finger-like projections called villi that increase the absorption of nutrients from food passing through. To make things more complicated for you, each villus itself has dozens of microvilli to increase the surface area.
Now here’s something cool – if you haven’t noticed I’m a bit of a GEEK when it comes to this stuff – if you spread out the intestines, the surface area would cover 2 tennis courts!! Sit and think about that for a second…that is amazing!
Let’s simplify things even more and think of your gut like a screen door. A screen door has tiny holes that let air through but keeps bugs, critters and other things out – the same way that your gut allows certain nutrients and molecules in – however has tight knit junctions to keep other particles out. Now what happens if I punch holes through my screen door? Bugs and other things are going to get into my house that aren’t welcome. Compare this to your gut, particles are going to get into your bloodstream that aren’t supposed to – we call this ‘Leaky Gut.’ To reiterate this, leaky gut occurs when your small intestine gets damaged and particles begin to leak into the bloodstream. This is very important to understand because I’m going to refer back and forth to this!
Stay tuned for my future posts where I will dive into more and more about the gut and it’s impacts on your health!
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