Scientists and doctors sometimes refer to your intestinal track as “your gut” and it generally refers to all of the bacteria and micro-organisms residing in your colon, your lower intestines, and youstomach. These are really the bacteria that digest your food into molecules small enough to become nutrients for your blood and hormones for your body.
Recent discoveries have shed more light on the Gut or more scientifically the Micro-Biome. It appears that perhaps 70% of your immune system resides in your Gut. And the hormones that activate your pancreas, liver, and more are produced in your Gut. And therefore it would appear that what you eat has everything to do with the signals (hormones) you send to your other organs – you heart, pancreas, brain, liver, and more.
One such signal or “pathway” is when you feed your gut a whole lot of sugar (fruit, bread – yes, baked goods turn to sugar in your blood faster than sugar, soda pop, etc.) – more than it needs or can use. Once it begins work on digesting that, it can’t handle it all and it moves it into your blood stream causing your pancreas to send out insulin in order to dispose of it. The body definitely needs to get sugar or glucose out of your bloodstream because the longer it remains there the more damage it does to the walls of your blood vessels and that in turns puts out the call for more cholesterol – the body’s repair mechanism for damaged blood vessels. If you’re running a marathon insulin brings glucose to the muscles where it is burned for energy. If you are sitting in front of the TV or your desk, the muscles don’t need it so it begins to deposit it into your fat cells.
Of course the real “science” behind these discoveries is saying that the next level down is that what you eat activates your genes and depending on what you eat will determine how your body reacts to the genes that activated – we generally think that diseases like obesity or diabetes are passed on through the genes but the scientists would argue that we all have the same genes to start with and which one expresses their characteristics is a matter of our habitual diets and of course our environment.
As an example, eat more good fats in your diet and your genes will express the right hormones to encourage neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells to replace the old ones. Eat the wrong foods, high in carbohydrates like sugar, grains, pasta, etc. and you discourage neurogenesis. And hello Dementia and Alzheimers.
The most important takeaway for this article is that “food is medicine” and we need to start thinking about what we eat as the key to healing ourselves and preventing many of the diseases we could suffer in the future.
Here is the book I love for the more thorough explanation of how this works.