Gut health has been a hot topic in recent years – and for good reason. The gut doesn’t just affect your digestion, but every other part of your body and overall health as well. If you are experiencing something off in your gut, trust it. It could be telling you something you shouldn’t overlook. 

Read on to discover how your gut health affects different facets of your overall health. 

What is the gut microbiome? 

The gut microbiome is all of the microbes, or viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other small microorganisms living in your intestines. Most of these are found in the cecum, located in the large intestine. There are around 1,000 species of different bacteria living in your gut microbiome, each with a different role. To illustrate, the microbes weigh almost the same as your brain – functioning basically as another organ. As you age, your body needs more diverse gut bacteria. The more diverse it is, the more favorable the impact on your overall health. 

Dysbiosis is what happens when there is an imbalance of gut microbes, and it’s linked to a host of other issues and chronic conditions. Some of these include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity, asthma, eczema, type 1 and 2 diabetes, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease. 

What about leaky gut? 


Issues or damage in the gut barrier may lead to increased intestinal permeability, commonly known as leaky gut. When this happens, it can no longer function properly as a protective barrier. The holes in your gut lining can actually grow bigger, allowing undigested food, bacteria, toxins, and other harmful substances into your system. Consequently, this results in inflammation, and increases your risk of developing other diseases. Aside from dysbiosis, leaky gut can also be caused by an unbalanced diet, excessive stress, and other toxins.

The gut-brain axis

One of the most talked about gut-related connections is the gut-brain axis. The gut-brain axis is the communication between your gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system (CNS). Within your digestive system, there are hidden walls which many professionals liken to a brain in the gut – scientifically known as the enteric nervous system (ENS). In your ENS, there are over 100 million nerve cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, running from the esophagus to the rectum. 

While mainly controlling digestion, it is connected to and communicates bi-directionally with the CNS through the largest nerve in the body: the vagus nerve. Communication also happens via neurotransmitters, hormones, the endocrine system, and other chemical messengers. 

When your gastrointestinal system experiences irritation, it sends signals to the CNS that can cause changes in mood. This can explain the link between depression and anxiety with conditions like IBS and other gut-related or functional bowel problems.

The gut and heart

Because microbes aid in digestion and help manufacture some nutrients while releasing substances that are good for the body, diet is extremely important in improving the make-up of your gut’s microbiota. 

The foods that you consume could have either a positive or negative effect on your cardiovascular health. Your heart health is also connected to most other systems in the body: the immune system, nervous system, vascular system, endocrine system, and the like, which can explain why diet has such a significant role. Some changes in gut bacteria are said to be associated with heart disease, low levels of good cholesterol (HDL), high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes.



Fiber-rich diets, for example, can help support both gut and heart health by lowering risks for stroke and heart disease by 30%. In the small intestine, fiber can bind together cholesterol and fat which decreases absorption and consequently lowers blood cholesterol. Bacteria found in the colon likewise helps break down fiber to create short-chain fatty acids. Through interaction with certain cell receptors, these help control blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammation, and overall heart health. Kindred's Nutritional Plan Packages can also ensure that you are consuming a well-balanced diet that addresses your gut concerns.

The gut and sleep 


We all know how important sleep is in boosting our overall health. Again through the gut-brain axis, this also influences our sleeping patterns. Those who have poor sleep patterns and quality may experience issues with their gut microbiome. Poor sleep may adversely affect the diversity of bacteria in the gut microbiome, decreasing it in such a way that bad bacteria outnumbers good bacteria – resulting in gut inflammation. Good gut bacteria, necessary for producing short-chain fatty acids for reducing inflammation, also becomes compromised with poor sleep. 

The composition of your gut’s microbiome also fluctuates depending on the time of day. Fluctuations in the microbiome’s composition contribute to the programming of some sleep genes. A number of these genes help regulate the circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal clock. 

The truth of the matter is, your gut is like your second brain – and it does wonders in the overall function of your body. Aside from absorbing nutrients and aiding in digestion, it helps with your sleep quality, brain function, toxin removal, mood, immune system, and so much more. 

Trust that your gut knows what’s happening with the rest of your body and never take your gut functions for granted. Book a consultation with our gastroenterologists today so you can start taking control of your gut health tomorrow!