The Ultimate Guide to Gut Repair
by Jelena Vulevic on May 03, 2023
Do you suffer from digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea? Or do you find yourself struggling with allergies, fatigue, poor skin, or even mental health issues? These symptoms may seem unrelated, but they could all be signs of a larger issue: poor gut health.
The gut affects everything in our body, from our immune system to our mood, our skin ,energy levels and much more. If you're experiencing issues in any of these areas, or you’re worried that your lifestyle might be affecting your health, it's time to take a closer look at your gut health and start to repair it. In this ultimate guide to gut repair, we'll show you how to identify the problem and take steps to restore balance for a healthier, happier you.
Common symptoms of an unhealthy gut
You may be surprised to know that digestive symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating, or constipation affect more than 40% of people worldwide. These are obvious signs of an unhealthy gut, and if you fall into this category then have your symptoms checked with a healthcare professional and try some of the well-known gut repair foods.
However, you may not be aware that certain skin issues ranging from itchiness and redness, to acne or psoriasis may also be related to poor gut health. Even lack of energy, mood swings, difficulties with sleep, migraines, frequent infections, or hair loss can be associated or caused by poor gut health. In fact, it’s no secret that when you improve your gut health, you will be on the right track to restoring your overall health.
Why your gut may need repair
Maintaining a healthy gut is crucial for overall health, but there are specific situations when gut repair becomes particularly important.
- Antibiotic use is one of the most common reasons for gut disruption, as it can alter the delicate balance of the gut microbiome, leading to digestive issues and other problems. Gut repair after antibiotics is essential and it's best to start the repair process while taking antibiotics, if possible.
- Skin issues: Another reason to focus on gut health is due to the bidirectional communication pathway known as the gut-skin axis. An unhealthy gut contributes to chronic inflammation, which is linked to skin issues such as acne, rosacea, and eczema. It’s also linked to autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and cancer. Repairing the gut is a crucial step in reducing inflammation, promoting overall health, and improving skin health.
- Hormonal imbalances can also indicate a need to address gut health, as the two are interconnected. For those suffering from hormonal imbalances, addressing gut health may be a crucial step in achieving balance and reducing symptoms.
- The gut-brain axis is another important reason to focus on gut health. The gut and the brain are closely linked, and an unhealthy gut can lead to brain fog, mood swings, and even depression and anxiety.
- If you are diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it's essential to take your gut health seriously as any improvement can help manage symptoms and potentially reduce the risk of flare-ups.
- Other reasons include chronic stress, a poor diet, and exposure to environmental toxins. All these factors can disrupt the gut microbiome, leading to a range of health issues. By repairing the gut, you can restore balance and promote overall health and well-being.
How to repair your gut
While there are plenty of fads and quick-fixes out there promising miracles, the truth is that gut repair requires science-backed strategies and a commitment to long-term lifestyle changes. Here, we'll explore the most effective ways to repair your gut and improve your overall health.
Gut repair foods
Certain foods can support the healing process while others can hinder it. For example, probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kefir, and sauerkraut can introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut, while prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, and asparagus can feed those beneficial bacteria. Omega-3-rich foods, such as leafy greens, oily fish, nuts and seeds are other great examples of gut health foods that can help combat inflammation. On the other hand, highly processed foods (e.g. sweets, sugary drinks, processed meats, ready-made sauces/soups), refined carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, pasta), dairy products, and artificial sweeteners all contribute to gut dysbiosis and inflammation, hindering the gut repair process.
Probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics for gut repair
Types of functional foods that should most definitely be on your gut repair diet list, are biotics that generally refer to living microbes (such as bacteria and yeasts) and/or the substances they produce. These include:
- Probiotics - live microbes that provide health benefits when consumed,
- Prebiotics - non-digestible fibres that feed beneficial microbes,
- Postbiotics - metabolic by-products of the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Biotics can be found naturally in certain foods, as mentioned above, but it’s difficult to maintain the appropriate level daily through diet alone. Especially if you don't already have a balanced and diverse microbiome, as you may end up feeding the wrong microbes and experiencing worsening gut symptoms. That's why well-chosen gut repair supplements can be beneficial in providing the necessary biotics to support gut health and repair.
Juicing for gut repair
Juicing has become a popular trend, however, the effectiveness of juicing for gut repair has no scientific evidence to support it. Juicing can provide a concentrated dose of nutrients, but it can also strip away important fibre and other beneficial compounds that are crucial for gut health, causing side effects, such as diarrhoea, nausea, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. These symptoms result from the sudden influx of nutrients and the lack of fibre in the juice, causing the digestive system to work harder to break down the nutrients.
Juicing can also lead to an imbalance in blood sugar levels due to the high concentration of natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, which can cause fatigue, irritability, and even mood swings. While some people may experience weight loss during a juicing cleanse, this is mostly related to water loss rather than the actual fat loss and it is temporary. To avoid potential risks, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional before embarking on a juicing diet for gut repair or making any significant changes to your diet.
Herbal tea for gut repair
Tea has been consumed for centuries and linked to various health benefits, but the claims that some tea brands specifically promote gut repair should be approached with scepticism. Some ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric, and liquorice root, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may benefit gut health, but scientific evidence in support of tea alone for gut repair is lacking.
When considering gut-targeted teas, check the ingredients list and ensure that they don't contain any allergens or substances that you may be sensitive to. Some teas contain high levels of caffeine, which can exacerbate gut symptoms. Teas with added sugars or artificial sweeteners should be avoided as they can disrupt gut bacteria and cause inflammation. Finally, it's important to note that while tea can be a beneficial addition to a healthy diet, it should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment for gut-related issues.
Gut repair supplements
Gut repair supplements are not all created equal, so it's crucial to find the right one that works for you. If you are not sure how to find the best gut health supplements, then the first step is to consult with your healthcare professional to identify any potential gut issues and determine if supplements are necessary. From there, do your research and choose a supplement that contains high-quality, clinically proven ingredients.
Common ingredients include probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics, and digestive enzymes. The effectiveness of these ingredients can vary based on the individual and the specific supplement. So, to ensure the effectiveness, it's important that you read the label and research the specific strains of probiotics or types of enzymes used in the supplement. It's also crucial to select a supplement that is free from unnecessary additives and fillers, which can potentially harm gut health.
Our own Y GUT sensitive is one example of a high-quality, science-backed gut repair supplement that restores gut balance and minimises inflammation under stress.
Lifestyle habits for gut repair
Gut repair often involves addressing not just one specific area, but rather multiple aspects of your overall health. While certain supplements or dietary changes can be helpful, it's sometimes not enough to rely solely on one approach. Instead, taking a comprehensive approach that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management techniques, and high-quality supplements can not only improve gut health but also ensure its optimal performance.
For example, a diet rich in fibre, fruits, and vegetables can provide prebiotics to feed beneficial gut bacteria, while exercise can improve gut motility and promote overall digestive function. Stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga can help to reduce inflammation and support healthy gut function. By taking a holistic approach, you can address the root causes of gut issues and support long-term gut health.
Stress & gut health
Stress impacts the gut microbiota, resulting in its altered composition, activity, and increased inflammation. It also impairs the function of the gut barrier, allowing harmful substances to enter the bloodstream and trigger an immune response. These effects caused by stress can result in digestive issues, immune dysfunction, and a whole range of health issues. Therefore, addressing stress is essential for maintaining a healthy gut and microbiota.
If you lead a stressful lifestyle, try to address the root cause of your stress to avoid undoing all your hard work on gut repair. There are many ways to tackle stress, including meditation, mindfulness, exercise, talk therapy, and other relaxation techniques. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for you and try to incorporate stress-reducing practices into your daily routine. Additionally, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep are also important factors to reduce the impact of stress on your gut microbiota and overall gut health.
How long does it take to repair your gut?
The time it takes to repair your gut can vary depending on the extent of damage and your unique circumstances. In general, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Making sustainable changes to your diet, lifestyle, and supplement regimen can speed up the process. It's important to be patient and consistent in your efforts to repair your gut, as healing takes time.
In some cases, it may be necessary to work with a healthcare professional to develop a personalised gut repair plan and address any underlying health issues. By taking a comprehensive approach to gut repair, it's possible to improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Remember that even small steps toward a healthier lifestyle can make a big impact on your gut health and overall well-being.
Prioritising your gut health is crucial for your overall well-being, and repairing it takes a holistic approach, patience, and persistence. While progress may be slow and gradual, it's essential to focus on progress rather than perfection and celebrate every small success. A healthy gut can reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and improve mental and emotional health. Although changing habits can be difficult, the benefits are long-lasting, and a healthier gut can lead to improved digestion, clearer skin, and reduced risk of chronic diseases. Incorporating dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and science-backed supplements can help achieve optimal gut health and a happier, more vibrant life.
Gut repair doesn’t have to be stressful. Find out how Y GUT sensitive can help.