In human anatomy, the intestine (bowel, or gut) is the segment of the gastrointestinal tract extending from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the anus and, as in other mammals. The gut is a group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum.
“All disease begins in the gut.“ — Hippocrates
- It is very much true that excluding genetic disorders, many chronic metabolic diseases do, in fact, begin in the gut. This has a lot to do with the different gut bacteria residing in our digestive tracts, as well as the integrity of the gut lining.
- Microorganisms live in various sites of the human body, including the skin, nose, mouth and the gut. Around trillions of diverse and generally friendly resident microbes resides in the gut.
- The studies have shown that each person has a distinct and highly variable composition of gut microbes. Theses microbes get established in the fetus and then explore after the birth.
- With access to the bloodstream, daily food, and varied acidity and alkalinity along the digestive tract, the gut “really is the ideal place for a lot of organisms.”
- Endotoxin is one of the most important bacterial components contributing to the inflammatory process. These endotoxins can sometimes “leak” through and enter the bloodstream.
- In response to these foreign molecules, our immunity attacks on them through an inflammatory response. The inflammation is the response of the immune system to foreign invaders, toxins or cell injury.
- A healthy gut has defense systems built in to keep pathogens out of our body, as well as mechanisms to bring in the minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that we need.
Digestion as a process
Healthy people tend to have healthy digestion; conversely, if any part of your digestive system goes out of whack, the entire body can be affected.
Moving ahead, we must understand the digestive system first;
- Digestion is the breakdown of large insoluble food molecules into small water-soluble food molecules so that they can be absorbed into the watery blood plasma. In chemical digestion, enzymes break down food into the small molecules the body can use.
- There are 4 stages of digestion, namely, 1. Ingestion of food 2.Digestion of food in smaller pieces 3. Absorption / Assimilation of nutrients and 4. Elimination / Defecation of waste.
- Chemical digestion, on the other hand, is a complex process that reduces food into its chemical building blocks, which are then absorbed to nourish the cells of the body.
- Chemical digestion occurs in the stomach where HCl and pepsin form chyme, the mouth in which salivary amylase breaks down starch to form the bolus.
Signs of unhealthy Gut
The integrative naturopathic medical center has suggested few signs of you unhealthy gut.
If you do not feel well after eating;
- You experience reflux, belching, gas, bloating, digestive pain, loose stool/diarrhea, urgency (running to the bathroom)
- You experience constipation (fewer than one bowel movement per day and/or straining with bowel movements)
- You see undigested food, mucus, or blood in your stool.
- You experience acne, anxiety, depression, allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, fatigue, frequent illness, headaches, hormone imbalance, insomnia, eczema, weight gain, etc.
A fact check
It is now well established that a healthy gut flora is largely responsible for the overall health of the host. Our body needs a healthy gut in order to function well.
The normal gut microbiota imparts specific function in host nutrients metabolism, xenobiotic and drug metabolism, maintenance of structural integrity of the gut mucosal barrier, immunomodulation, and protection against pathogens. (1)
They aid digestion and perform other crucial tasks affecting their host human’s health.
Research is now connecting gut health – or lack of – to conditions as wide-ranging as;
- Obesity and Diabetes
- Parkinson’s Disease 
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Allergic disease
- Autoimmune diseases 
This is an area of research that is rapidly developing. No clear answers have been discovered yet. Exactly how, to what extent, and what areas of human health are influenced is still in the discovery phase.
Given these points, tune to read our next articles on Gut-health and factors affecting it.