Trusting Your Gut: Importance of Gut Health with Dr. Mark Kogan & Dr. Neil Stollman 

Welcome to the captivating world of gut health, where a hidden universe of bacteria and microorganisms resides within us.  

But, what exactly is the gut? The gut is like the unsung hero that plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing. Our gastrointestinal system is home to a bustling community of not millions, but trillions, of microorganisms. These microscopic inhabitants hold tremendous influence over our physical and mental health – from digestion to immune function and even mood regulation.  

How does the gut interact with our mind and body? There are significant ways in which the microbes in our intestines impact us. Mounting evidence suggests a significant correlation between gut bacteria and conditions like anxiety and depression. The regions of the brain responsible for processing emotions are intricately linked to the same neutral circuitry that influences cardiovascular health, including factors like blood pressure.  

In short, trillions of these little microbes are just chillin’ in our bodies and working together in harmony to: control our blood pressure and calories we absorb, manage cholesterol and hormonal balance, produce vitamins, prevent us from getting infections, influence bone strength, and communicate with our nervous system and brain. Sounds like these guys are working overtime to keep us healthy.  

10 signs you might have an unhealthy gut: 

  1. Frequent discomfort, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and an overall upset stomach 
  1. Chronic fatigue 
  1. Insomnia or poor sleep 
  1. Food intolerance and digestive struggles 
  1. Extreme food cravings with sugar 
  1. Unintentional weight gain or loss 
  1. Skin irritations like eczema, psoriasis, acne 
  1. Migraines 
  1. Autoimmune problems like thyroid issues, arthritis, type 1 diabetes 
  1. Frequent mood changes or anxiety/depression 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is one of the most common functional gastrointestinal disorders. IBS patients may experience chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Research shows many potential causes of IBS: problems with brain-gut interaction, traumatic experiences, mental disorders, bacterial infections, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and food intolerances.  

The second leading cancer killer in this country, behind Lung Cancer, is Colon Cancer. The imbalance of the gut microbiome can stimulate inflammation and contribute to the development of colon cancer.  

It’s important to take our gut health seriously to prevent the development of some serious health disorders or cancer.  

If you’ve gutta problem, our very own Gastroenterologists Dr. Mark H. Kogan M.D., and Dr. Neil Stollman M.D. have information to help us gut educated on how to prevent colon cancer and IBS.  

According to Dr. Stollman, the Western diet is a risk factor in bad gut health and especially the development of colon cancer. The Western diet is typically high in red meat and fats while being low in fibers, fruits, and vegetables. To prevent any health complications, it’s best to (in addition to getting screened), eat a healthy non-Western diet that consists of high dietary fiber, low fats/low red meats, and lots of fruits and vegetables.  

In relation to IBS, Dr. Kogan says that dealing with stress is a crucial part of improving symptoms of IBS. “A lot of IBS has an emotional brain-gut connection,” said Kogan. While diet is important, we underestimate how much our mental health actually impacts our physical health.  

10 things you can do to balance your gut health:  

  1. Consume more probiotics. They promote healthy bacteria growth in your gut 
  1. Limit processed foods and high amounts of sugar 
  1. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, fully digest 
  1. Eliminate food intolerances 
  1. Stay hydrated!! Drink water 
  1. Exercise regularly 
  1. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night 
  1. Reduce stress 
  1. Avoid or quit smoking 
  1. Talk to your doctor through Hill Physicians! We have thousands of physicians ready to help you live a healthier lifestyle. Find a doctor here 

By embracing a holistic approach that encompasses a nutrient-rich diet, stress management, regular exercise, and targeted probiotic support, we hold the power to cultivate a thriving gut ecosystem that can unlock a path to vitality and optimal health.  

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