Have you ever wondered if your gut is operating as it should?
If you suffer from digestive issues, you are most certainly not alone. In fact, 86% of people in the UK will be affected by a digestive or gut health issue at some point in their lives. And no wonder. We are constantly bombarded by substances that affect our digestion and eventually our microbiome.
Luckily, your body is always giving you signals to point you in the right direction.
Here we take look at some of the common symptoms of poor gut health. If you have one or more of these, please consult with your GP. Alternatively, you may want to consider a gut health supplement, which not only gets to the root of the problem but also enables your body to counteract some of these symptoms.
ION* Gut + Microbiome is the perfect addition to your health regimen because it supports everything from gut health to immune function to mood. By helping to support your gut’s tight junction integrity (seals between the cells of your gut lining), ION* works to defend against toxins (often found in processed and GMO foods) that are linked to digestive issues while also promoting nutrient absorption.
Here are 10 common symptoms of an unhealthy gut and what you can do about it.
1. You have persistent digestive issues.
If you are constantly dealing with digestive issues like constipation, diarrhoea, gas, or bloating, it could be a sign that your gut is unhealthy. These problems can be caused by everything from food sensitivities to an imbalance in your gut bacteria. Take notes, with maybe a food diary, to work out which foods are causing you problems.
Consider trying the elimination method, where you exclude one food at a time. This can be an effective tool to work out which foods are causing you discomfort and give you a free and relatively quick way to uncover the issue.
Some of the more common intolerances - dairy, refined wheat-based or gluten products - can often be overlooked, especially if they are part of your daily routine. Here are some more common ingredients that we tend to forget, which are often the cause of digestive issues:
- monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- artificial sweeteners
- histamine (found in Quorn, mushrooms, pickled and cured foods, and alcoholic drinks)
- artificial food colours, preservatives or flavour enhancers
2. You're always tired.
Chronic fatigue is another common symptom of an unhealthy gut. This is because when your gut is not functioning properly, it can be difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to function effectively. This leads to fatigue and low energy levels.
It could also be a specific vitamin deficiency that you are not aware of. Vitamin C, D, B and Zinc are often the common culprits. You can find blood testing companies who can isolate this with a simple finger prick test. Alternatively, GPs are more forward-thinking these days and will give you a vitamin deficiency test to point you in the right direction.
3. You have skin problems.
Skin problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis can be linked to poor gut health. The gut is responsible for keeping the body's immune system healthy. When the gut is unhealthy, it can lead to inflammation and skin problems.
Treating the skin topically (creams and ointments), can treat the symptoms but won't address the cause. Monitor how your skin feels before and after meals and make sure you stay hydrated to help.
4. You get sick often.
If you find yourself getting sick frequently, it could be a sign that your gut is not as healthy as it should be. An unhealthy gut is intrinsically linked to your immune system and can make it difficult for your body to fight off infection and illness.
Taking regular amounts of Vitamin C can help improve overall immunity, but if your gut is persistently causing you problems, it could be something deeper. Seek guidance from your GP if you are worried about the frequency of your illnesses.
5. You have mood swings or anxiety.
Mood swings, anxiety, and depression have all been linked to gut health. This is because the gut produces serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation. When the gut is under stress, it can lead to imbalance.
A study from Pubmed has pointed to foods that help increase serotonin levels.
- Nuts and Seeds
It can be difficult to pinpoint the root cause of mood swings and anxiety. However, if you find yourself feeling unusually anxious or down, it might be worth considering your gut health and of course, seeking advice from a GP, nutritional therapist or mental health practitioner.
6. You have food sensitivities or allergies.
It might be a symptom of an unhealthy gut if you're sensitive or allergic to certain foods. Food particles and chemicals can enter the circulation when the gut isn't operating properly, resulting in adverse responses.
7. You have nutrient deficiencies.
If you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, it could be a sign that your gut is not absorbing nutrients properly. This can be a result of an imbalance in gut bacteria or other digestive issues.
8. You have bad breath.
Bad breath can often be a sign of poor gut health (which could be true for dog gut health as well). This is because the gut is responsible for breaking down food and getting rid of waste products. When the gut is not working properly, these waste products can build up and cause bad breath.
Water can help eliminate stomach acid from your breath by increasing the amount of saliva produced in your mouth.
You should also eat foods naturally high in prebiotics and probiotics on a daily basis to improve your digestive health and cure stomach aches and bad breath.
9. You have trouble sleeping.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, it could be a sign of an unhealthy gut. This is because the gut produces melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate sleep. The disruption in sleep patterns often has knock-on effects and has little to do with the actual act of sleeping, but rather how we feel about it.
Take your time and give yourself small achievable goals. Try to eat earlier, at least a few hours before going to bed. Avoid rich foods or heavy meals and see if this has any effect.
10. You crave foods, more than normal.
The most common way to do this is to rely on our old friends: pre and probiotic-rich foods, like fermented foods. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fibre will help, too.
However, eating the same foods to do this may cause a monoculture of the same bacteria in your microbiome, so it’s best to vary the types of fermented foods you are eating.
So, you have heard at least some of the major symptoms of poor gut health. We have traced these largely to diet, poor nutrition and toxins in our food chain. In addition to taking ION* Gut + Microbiome, here are some other ways you can combat common gut health problems:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fibre, fermented foods, and probiotics (yoghurts and cheese).
- Avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and refined sugars.
- Reduce stress levels through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation.
- Exercise regularly to improve gut motility and reduce inflammation.
- Get enough sleep to allow your body to heal and repair itself.
If you are experiencing any of these gut health problems, it is important to see a doctor or healthcare provider to rule out any other underlying causes.
These gut health tips can help you get on the path to better gut health and overall wellness! Shop ION* now.
- Alcock et al. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270213/
- Mohajeri MH;Wittwer J;Vargas K;Hogan E;Holmes A;Rogers PJ;Goralczyk R;Gibson EL. Chronic treatment with a tryptophan-rich protein hydrolysate improves emotional processing, mental energy levels and reaction time in middle-aged women. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25572038/