5 ways gut health can affect you
How your microbiome impacts everything from fatigue to dry skin.
Gut health is a hot topic right now. For decades it’s lagged behind other fields—always considered too weird or embarrassing to discuss in any depth—but now we’re beginning to understand just how important it is.
But gut health goes beyond your gut. It can affect all sorts of different aspects of your overall health, so it’s important that we take good care of it.
Here are some common indicators that could suggest it might be time to put a bit more thought into your everyday gut health.
An upset stomach
This one’s obvious—no one’s going to be surprised that an upset stomach, pain, bloating, or excess gas can be a sign that something could be better in your gut. One-off incidents are probably not much to worry about, but if you’re beginning to notice any ongoing issue with your digestion, you’ll want to get to the bottom of it (tummy aches are no fun). Talk to a doctor or dietitian if you’re experiencing any persistent trouble, just in case they’re indicative of any wider problems.
Dry, flaky skin
Aside from your gut, the other largest collection of beneficial bacteria in the body is found on your skin, and these are connected. This means dry or flaky skin, while having many potential causes, might be an indication that your gut microbiome isn’t talking to your skin microbiome effectively enough. And therefore, some people find that taking better care of their gut health has a hugely beneficial effect on their skin health. A handy tip to make sure you’re glowing inside and out.
Having trouble sleeping
Ever felt sleepy after a large meal? Or eaten something before bed and realised you then can’t sleep? Just a couple of ways that you can see how your gut and sleeping habits are related.
And now, research suggests that your gut health can affect your quality of sleep, so keeping that microbiome in shape is key to getting a good night’s rest, along with all the benefits that come with it. It appears that an unhealthy gut can have a negative impact on your natural circadian rhythm, which in turn disturbs your standard sleep patterns and makes it harder for your brain and body to restore themselves while you’re asleep.
Too much mental strain
The strains and stresses of modern life often get us feeling down. But our ability to look after our mental health is informed by the strength of our gut health. The gut microbiome and brain are linked through a series of networks known as the gut-brain axis, and the health of one affects the health of the other. So by looking after all the beneficial bacteria in your gut, and feeding them the right fibre, you can help support your mood and mental health at the same time.
A complete lack of energy
Sometimes you just feel like you can’t do anything right now. And it turns out that this lack of energy may well be connected to what’s going on in your gut. Of course, if you aren’t sleeping well, that’s going to have a negative effect on your energy levels (as well as many other aspects of your health), but on top of that, it’s possible that the exact make up of your gut microbiome can affect your metabolism and the take up of nutrients from your diet. It’s a recipe for feeling fatigued.
Your gut health impacts just about every other aspect of your overall health. So if you want to make sure you’re always full of energy, well rested, and in the best mental health possible, it’s important to be aware of the impact your microbiome can have. Of course, it’s just one of countless factors that affect your health, but it’s an important one.
Gut health seems complicated. Misinformation, flashy trends, influencer scams, and unregulated products promising the world and delivering nothing. But it doesn’t have to be confusing. We tore down seven of the most common myths about gut health. Learn more.