In this 2nd part of a Gut Health series, we will look more closely at the role the Gut Microbiome in the development of some very common Metabolic conditions, namely Insulin Resistance, and Chronic pain conditions like Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the cells of the body do not respond well to insulin.
We know today that Insulin resistance is a common denominator in almost all of the modern chronic diseases. For many of us it is difficult to link the health of your gut bacteria to the signs and symptoms of Metabolic Disease.
How does poor Gut Health impact insulin resistance
Dysbiosis can increase the permeability of the intestinal barrier, allowing toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation. Inflammation can impair the function of insulin receptors and reduce glucose uptake by the cell.
An unhealthy gut reduces the levels of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) a hormone that normally enhances insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar level.
Dysbiosis can affect the balance of bile acids, which are molecules that help digest fats and regulate glucose metabolism. Bile acids can activate farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a nuclear receptor that modulates insulin sensitivity and glucose production. Dysbiosis impacts on this important process leading to dysregulated glucose metabolism.
Dysbiosis can influence the gut-brain axis, which is the bidirectional communication between the gut and the central nervous system. The gut-brain axis regulates appetite, satiety, mood, stress, and energy balance. The gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters, hormones, and neuropeptides that modulate the gut-brain axis.
Dysbiosis can induce epigenetic changes, which are modifications in gene expression, which directly impair glucose metabolism.
Chronic Pain Conditions
Once again this connection between the Microbiome and chronic pain does not seem to make sense and it is poorly understood by allopathic medicine.
Gut health and chronic pain are related in several ways. The gut microbiota, which are the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, can influence the immune system, inflammation, and the communication between the brain and the gut. Some chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome, have been linked to changes in the gut microbiota or gut inflammation.
The Gut-Brain axis
The digestive system has what is called the enteric nervous system (ENS). It is two very thin layers of at least 100 million nerve cells lining all the digestive system’s components. The ENS communicates with the brain. A fairly recent discovery is that the communication along the gut-brain axis is bi-directional, meaning it goes in two directions. The brain communicates with the gut, and the gut sends signals to the brain. In fact the gut send 7 signals to the brain for every 1 signal from the brain.
The Gut-Pain Connection
When the microbiome is disrupted, the communication between the gut and brain is disrupted. The gut microbiota plays a role in several types of chronic pain. There are signaling molecules that come from gut microbiota, including neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, that regulate peripheral and central nervous system sensitization. When the signals are disrupted, chronic pain can result.
Functional Medicine has the answers
Targeted nutrition and lifestyle change produce the best outcomes for Dysbiosis. These could include.
Eat more fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Fiber can feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut and increase the production of SCFAs, which can improve glucose metabolism
Consume probiotics, which are live microorganisms that can restore or enhance the gut microbiota. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha, or in supplements. Probiotics can reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower blood sugar levels.
Avoid or limit foods that can harm the gut microbiota, such as processed foods, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, and antibiotics. These foods can reduce the diversity and abundance of the gut microbiota and increase the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause insulin resistance.
Exercise regularly, as physical activity can modulate the gut microbiota and improve metabolic health. Exercise can increase the diversity and richness of the gut microbiota and enhance the production of SCFAs. Exercise can also reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower blood sugar levels.
In severe cases your Functional Medicine Practitioner may recommend fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), which is a procedure that transfers fecal matter from a healthy donor to a recipient. FMT can alter the composition and function of the gut microbiota and improve insulin resistance. This should always be done under the supervision of a trained practitioner.
Join our 5 day Gut Health Challenge
If you or anyone you know is struggling with Metabolic Disease or just sick and tired of being sick & tired We need to heal your gut microbiome from the inside out. If this sounds great, then we have something that can help you!
The Spring Gut Health Challenge kicks off on 2 October. During this challenge, we will guide you through simple and effective ways to gain more energy, improve your mental health, and boost your overall well-being, all by improving your gut. By joining this 5-day challenge, you'll learn new strategies and techniques to manage yours and your family's gut health. You'll also connect with other participants who are committed to improving their gut and taking care of their health.
Best of all, the Gut Health Challenge is completely free and open to everyone. Just click on the button to join up