Surprising Gut Health Facts

All Disease Begins in the Gut Course

Digestive health is a big topic these days.

People are talking about digestive enzymes, probiotics, the GAPS, SCD, gluten-free and candida diet.

Truth is, our digestive systems are a big deal and people are starting to pay attention.

Isn't it hard to know which one you want to hear first--the bad news or the good news?

I typically would rather the bad first, so that I have something to look forward to.

But first,

Amazing Facts about our Digestive System

Did you know...

1.  If you were to lay your digestive system flat, it would cover the area of a tennis court?  That's so your intestines can do the job of absorbing nutrients into your bloodstream.

2.  You have about 3-4 pounds of bacteria in your intestines.  Their job is to produce vitamins, make your metabolism work, and protect you from infections.

3.  About 70% of your immune system is in your gut.  Wow.  So you can see how important it is to make sure it is functioning at peak performance.

4.  90% of the cells in your body are gut bacteria and other flora.

5.  Your gut is your "second brain". It has more than 100 million neurons in it and even if your brain were severed from your digestive system, your gut would still work. Unbelievable.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Getting a handle on gut health is CRUCIAL for overall health.

Yes, there are other things that I am thinking about too....emotional health and heavy metal toxicity, to name a few.

But digestive health is super important.

So now---for the Good News / Bad News part.

The Bad News about Digestive Health

1.  The nutrients in our food supplies are severely depleted.

What we get from our food today is NOTHING like what we used to get.  Check out these statistics:

  • calcium levels in vegetables have dropped 12% from 1995-1997
  • iron levels have dropped 37%
  • vitamin A levels have dropped 21%
  • vitamin C levels have dropped 30%  (Source)

2.  Auto-Immune Diseases and other diseases are on the rise:

  • Between 2001 and 2009, Type 1 diabetes has increased by 23% (Source)
  • The increase in cases of celiac disease has increased four-fold since the 1950s (Source)
  • diagnoses of autism have increased 72 percent in 2011-12 from 2007 (Source)
  • Cancer rates are on the increase and a French study suggests they could increase by 75% between now and 2030.  (Source)

Now, I know there are other factors involved in all of these diseases, but I think it's pretty clear that our digestive systems are key in all of this.

I wrote about many issues that are compromising our health in my series on Candida and Gut Health.

You can eat all the grass-fed beef, whole grains (or no grains), organic fruits and greens you want, but if you can't get the nutrients out of your food, then your body doesn't get the fuel it needs to do its work.

So---that's pretty bad news, isn't it?

Things You Can Do for Better Gut Health

1. Avoid Processed Foods

2. Take Antibiotics Only When Necessary

3. Take Probiotics

4. Use Prebiotics

5. Eat a Varied Diet

6. Breastfeed

7. Avoid Stress

8. Get Good Sleep

Were any of those gut health facts a surprise for you?

Disclaimer - I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one.  The information in this post is for entertainment purposes only. Please consult a medical practitioner before making any changes to your diet, supplements, or exercise routine. There are affiliate links in this post. Please read my disclaimer.

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10 Comments

  1. Maybe you talk about this in another post I haven’t read, but important to note also that the probiotics ingested are basically “place holders” until our guts get healthy enough to support probiotic recolonization. Therefore it is also important to eat PREbiotic foods (or take a prebiotic supplement) in order to support health and longevity of probiotics in our guts.

  2. Want to know the best probiotic for constipation. What is the main ingredient to make your bowels move?? What's important in a probiotic? The strains or the number on the bottle.. Like 50 billion..

  3. I wish you would have given us more information instead of sounding like an infomercial. I have appreciated other information you have posted, especially your research on essential oils. I have been ordering from NAN and am impressed with their oils. I found out that I have to go through your site each time I order, in order for you to receive benefit, and I am doing that now to help pay you back for all your time. I was hoping for more information about gut health from you; I do appreciate your research and your time very much, so I was disappointed with this article. It just lets me know that I better do something, but I missed the seminar and was hoping for more info.

    1. Hi Kari,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I have been really busy and am not trying to go back to older comments. I'm sorry you felt that way about the post. I went back and changed a few things - it was hard b/c the course registration got extended so I wanted readers to see that information but didn't know how else to do it. I have done other posts about gut health - hope to have more soon. It's a big topic. Looks like you can still take the course if you'd like :).

  4. Did you know that you can have your stool analyzed by PCR DNA? PCR DNA is the latest cutting edge laboratory analysis. They analyze for all bacteria, parasites, virus and they can also let you know what are your specific ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE genes. (What antibiotic's will NOT work for YOU!). This test analysis over 400 antibiotics. This is a non-evasive stool test conducted in the privacy of your own home!