Disease Prevention and Gut Health
The World Health Organization defines prevention as ‘approaches and activities aimed at reducing the likelihood that a disease or disorder will affect an individual, interrupting or slowing the progress of the disorder or reducing disability’ (WHO 2004).
An important part of disease prevention is health promotion. This describes activities which help individuals and communities to increase control over the determinants of their health. Health education and social marketing can be used to promote health, as can policy and structural changes such as taxation, legislation and regulation.
At Core Naturopathics, we provide an holistic form of preventative health care and promotion. Essential to our treatments is the homeostasis of the gut.
The gastrointestinal (GIT) system is one of the most underappreciated systems in the body. It has a profound impact on our health, function, and wellbeing both physical and emotional.
The gut could even be considered the keystone of disease manifestation throughout all systems of the body. Therefore ensuring that its optimal structure and function is supported and maintained, is an integral component of disease prevention.
Following are some very interesting facts about our gut:
- Protection: barrier to outside world, defence against bacteria,
viruses, assorted pathogens and toxins.
- Provides fuel: breaks down food into gluc0se, amino acids and
- The absorptive surface of the GI tract is 200 times larger than the
surface area of the skin (400 msq the surface area of a regulation
sized singles tennis court).
- Eliminates waste
- Provides a home for 100 trillion bacteria, more bacteria than there
are known stars in the sky.
- 95% of the bodies “feel good brain chemical” serotonin
is manufactured in the gut
- The largest part of the immune system (80%) is found in the GALT
(gut associated lymphoid tissue).
- There are more neurons in the small intestine than in the entire spinal
- It is the only system in the body that has its own, independently
operating nervous system, called the enteric nervous system.
- All the neurotransmitters found in the brain are found in the gut.
- More than 400 bacterial species: half of the wet weight of colonic
material (around 4 kg) is due to bacterial cells, whose numbers are
around 20 fold the number of tissue cells forming the human body.
Again, this means we have far more non human cells and DNA in our
bodies than human. Are we then little more than walking
bacterial super colonies?
Suffice it to say, if the body allocates this many resources to
one particular system, it must be important!
In fact, we should start treating our gut with care if we are
interested in weight loss, muscle gain or overall health in