Our intestinal tract is a true high-performance system and is regarded as the center of our health. Besides being responsible for digestive processes, the digestive tract is also deeply involved in building a strong immune defense system, regulating hormonal balance, maintaining a healthy microflora and supporting mental well-being.

Get to know your digestive tract

Everyone is familiar with the saying of “having butterflies in the belly” when we are excited or familiar with the feeling of experiencing a rise of acid reflux when we are anxious. Our intestinal tract is deeply embedded in our body’s largest nervous system also known as the enteric nervous system, thus reacting very sensitively towards external as well as internal stressors. It tells us a lot about our physical and emotional state, what is going on in our body physically and emotionally.

Our bowel is like a second brain

If the gut is healthy, the brain is happy. Our bowel is in an ongoing dialogue with the brain, which influences our physical actions and emotional state. The gut owns the body`s biggest repertoire of regulatory neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These carry information from the bowel to the brain and vice versa. If your gut signals that everything is okay within the digestive tract, the brain will also respond with mood- lifting messengers. Yet if the gut switches over to alert stage, sending warnings to the brain, bowel function altering signals are produced in the brain, leading to an upset stomach.

 Our gut as a defense barrier

Just like the security check at the airport, our gut is equipped with precautionary measures that prevent harmful intruders from passing the border of the intestinal barrier and invading our body`s system. The intestinal barrier is similar to a defense wall that allows only selected groups of substances to reach our bloodstream. Damages in the gut can increase the permeability of the intestinal lining (Leaky gut syndrome) making it easier for various pathogens, microorganisms and toxic substances to penetrate the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.

"Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion."

- Lin Yutang -

Our gut as immune defense regulator

Our body’s immune systems comprise of various cells and proteins that collectively set a sequence of actions into motion to protect us from a vast spectrum of toxins, bacteria, pathogens, infections and diseases. As the largest immune organ, the gut plays a major role in shaping this defense system. The gut is where 70 to 80% of our entire immune cell army is deployed. From there immune cells move to different parts of our body where they unfold their immune response.

Our gut as digestive system

The most obvious function of our gut is of course to digest and absorb the foods and nutrients we ingest. Digestive processes start in the mouth and stomach trough enzymatic actions even before being released into the small intestine. The food that reaches the small intestine is further broken down through pancreatic enzymes. Gut bacteria work together to decompose remaining undigested foods, making it easy for the intestine to absorb all the essential nutrients.

Our gut as bacterial biosphere

Our bowel hosts a huge cluster of health-beneficial microorganisms that form our microflora, which considerably contributes to a balanced digestive system and overall health. The way we shape our daily lives, our eating habits, genetic predisposition and mental state influence the diversity and composition of our own microflora. 

 

"Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease."

- Hippocrates -