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Good gut health

When Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut”, over 2000 years ago, he wasn’t wrong.

When Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut”, over 2000 years ago, he wasn’t wrong. Our digestive tract is responsible for breaking down the foods we eat into their very simplest forms to provide every cell in our body with the nourishment it needs to regenerate and function. It is no surprise then that any imbalance in our digestive tract will eventually lead to illness somewhere in the body. Good gut health means we effectively break down foods into their nutritional building blocks, we absorb those nutrients well and we have a healthy balance of gut microbes along with regular elimination. If not, then you may experience bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, food intolerances and inflammation – poor digestive function can also eventually lead to disease elsewhere in the body.

To break down foods effectively, they must first be chewed well (your stomach does not have teeth), chewing also acts as a signal to the other components of the digestive tract to get ready to go to work. After this mechanical breakdown, our sophisticated digestive tract uses a cocktail of compounds to chemically break down larger molecules into smaller molecules that can then be absorbed. An array of enzymes and hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) are responsible for this process of chemical breakdown. If there is not sufficient stomach acid and enzymes, then foods will not be effectively broken down. Indigestion, heartburn, bloating, and food intolerances are all signs that there might be a lack of digestive enzymes or stomach acid.   

Using a supplement that contains digestive enzymes and stimulates the production of stomach acid can help ease these symptoms and promote better digestive function (Denhard, 2022). Terranova’s Digestive Enzyme Complex contains vegan digestive enzymes that have been proven to work in a range of pH levels. What I really like about this product is the addition of herbs that stimulate digestion, support liver function, and encourage the production of your body’s own digestive enzymes and stomach acid (McMullen, 2015). From a natural health perspective, we don’t want people to become dependent on external sources for digestive enzymes, we want the body to make its own digestive secretions in adequate amounts and that’s why the addition of bitter herbs in Terranova’s Digestive Enzyme Complex makes sense.

If undigested proteins pass through from the stomach into the small intestine it creates several problems, including the development of allergies/food intolerances and the formation of toxic by-products produced because of putrefaction (which is when bacteria break down protein). This then leads to a ramped-up immune response which results in inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the gut eventually leads to more food intolerances, leaky gut syndrome, allergies and even conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Chronic inflammation further impairs digestion and so, a cycle of poor digestion and inflammation is established. This inflammatory cycle must be broken before digestion can return to balance and for that I trust Coyne Healthcare Bio-Curcumin® with BCM95®, as it contains BCM-95®, which is researched to be nearly 7 times more bioavailable compared to regular curcumin extracts (Antony et al 2008).  Curcumin is well known to effectively balance the inflammatory response in the gut by regulating a multitude of inflammatory signals (Burge et al, 2019)

We have more microbes in our gut than we have cells in our entire body, this ecosystem of friendly microbes coexists in perfect balance for us to have good gut health and in turn good overall wellbeing. Poor digestive function, inflammation, stress, and some pharmaceutical medicines as well as a diet full of processed, convenience foods lead to imbalances in this delicate microbial world.  Dysbiosis is when there is an imbalance between the “good” and the “bad” bacteria and yeasts, leading to bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, eczema, and even mood disorders have all been linked to dysbiosis (DeGruttola et al, 2016). Probiotic supplements have been shown to be helpful in restoring the intestinal ecosystem, for this purpose it is important to take a supplement that provides a range of different strains of probiotic species as well as prebiotic fibre. Terranova’s Probiotic Complex with Prebiotics provides a very specific combination of probiotic species along with prebiotic fibre. Included in their formula are also digestive enzymes and herbs that help soothe the digestive tract – making it a product that covers multiple bases.

Good gut health really is the foundation to overall well-being. Following a healthy diet, rich in minimally processed whole foods and making sure that those beautiful foods are well digested really can keep you thriving. The old saying is, “you are what you eat”, but I think it should be “you are what you digest and absorb.”

Cobus Botha
BNatMed

Natural Health Expert

REFERENCES:  

Antony, B., Merina, B., Iyer, V. S., Judy, N., Lennertz, K., & Joyal, S. (2008). A Pilot Cross-Over Study to Evaluate Human Oral Bioavailability of BCM-95CG (Biocurcumax), A Novel Bioenhanced Preparation of Curcumin. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences70(4), 445–449. https://doi.org/10.4103/0250-474X.44591 

Burge, K., Gunasekaran, A., Eckert, J., & Chaaban, H. (2019). Curcumin and Intestinal Inflammatory Diseases: Molecular Mechanisms of Protection. International journal of molecular sciences20(8), 1912. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20081912 

DeGruttola, A. K., Low, D., Mizoguchi, A., & Mizoguchi, E. (2016). Current Understanding of Dysbiosis in Disease in Human and Animal Models. Inflammatory bowel diseases22(5), 1137–1150. https://doi.org/10.1097/MIB.0000000000000750 

Denhard, M., 2022. Digestive Enzymes and Digestive Enzyme Supplements. [online] Hopkinsmedicine.org. Available at: <https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/digestive-enzymes-and-digestive-enzyme-supplements> [Accessed 14 July 2022].

McMullen, M. K., Whitehouse, J. M., & Towell, A. (2015). Bitters: Time for a New Paradigm. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM2015, 670504. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/670504 

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