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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

CMO Message: Digestive Health

“Listen to your gut” is an age-old saying that has more scientific merit now than ever before. Even prior to the discovery of the gut microbiome, the digestive system was already thought of as the seat of intuition for thousands of years.

For many of us who have experienced gut issues - whether that be inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, or just plain indigestion - the gut feels nothing like a wise friend but rather an uncontrollable enemy that can turn on us at any second.

The vast collection of microorganisms in our digestive tracts including bacteria, fungi, and viruses make up our gut microbiome. These microbes work hard to protect us against infection and overgrowth of harmful bacteria and contribute to nearly every other system of our body including metabolism, the immune system, and brain function. Any dysfunction in gut health can be an early harbinger of other health problems. In fact, imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to conditions that seem to have nothing to do with the gut such as obesity, diabetes, mental illness, and autoimmune conditions.

Our gut health provides valuable insight into the status of our emotions, physical health, and lifestyle choices. Instead of ignoring or fighting with our gut, we need to nurture our microbiome so that it continues to keep us healthy. What we eat, how much we sleep, the amount of physical activity we get, the stress we experience, substances such as alcohol and tobacco, and medications can all impact the balance of our gut microbiome.

In this month’s HealthChats, we’ll be bringing back Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Loulou Tovar. She’s a functional medicine expert who will give us a deeper understanding of how the gut functions and what we should do to optimize our gut health.


Author(s)

  • Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA