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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

CMO Message - Gut Health

Although this holiday season is very different compared to previous years, the one thing that might be unchanged is our propensity to overindulge in unhealthy foods and alcohol. While celebrating with food and drinks might seem like a good idea in the moment, many people experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as indigestion, abdominal pain, bloating, and acid reflux afterwards.

The digestive track is not just essential for good health because of its role in absorption of nutrients and elimination. It also houses an abundance of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. These microorganisms typically live in harmony with our bodies and contribute to good health. A healthy microbiome protects against infection or overgrowth of harmful bacteria and impacts many bodily systems including metabolism, the immune system, and even brain function.

However, imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions. What we eat, how much we sleep, the amount of physical activity we get, the stress we experience, and medications can all impact the balance of our gut microbiome. Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding excessive alcohol, even during the holiday season, is key to maintaining this balance. Tune into HealthChats this month to learn more about the gut microbiome, how it contributes to health, and what you can do to optimize your gut health.


Author(s)

  • Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA