What I’ve learnt recently about the importance of gut health

And why it is key to both physical and mental wellbeing

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Digestion is a fascinating topic, and there is a lot of science around this now. It’s probably the greatest area of exploration in terms of health.

Functional medicine practice is now targeting the gut as its first line of investigation, as well as the local site, wherever that might be. In other words, they’re addressing gut health, as well as looking at the cause of your skin condition, for example, or your foot infection, whatever it might be. 

One of the things that I’ve discovered around digestion is that health originates in the gut. You can treat the gut as a first line of defence, but also from a preventative aspect. I drink goat milk kefir and I just had an intense course of probiotics and lactobacillus, because I’d had a gut test that showed I was deficient. I’m exploring from a personal level how I can improve my health through the gut, but also on behalf of our clients. Health originating in the gut is a recent discovery for me.

We’re more microbial than human, is another interesting area. There’s around 100 trillion bacterial cells in the human body, coming from about 4000 species. About a trillion of those are in our colon, and if you were to weigh up all the bacterial cells in the body, it would be three to four pounds, roughly the weight of a human brain; that’s quite astonishing.

The other interesting thing is most of our immune cells sit in the gut, therefore to prevent and cure illness, attacking the gut as a first line of defence makes a lot of sense.

I also recently learnt the difference between pre- and probiotics. Prebiotics feed the bacteria that’s already there. Probiotics introduce new bacteria. It’s healthy for our guts to have a variety, a good diversity of bacteria.

Another important point is that targeting inflammation and bloating through the gut is paramount.  Inflammation is a situation we absolutely want to avoid in the body at all costs. It can link to mental health conditions, because it’s a very negative situation for our body to be in; certainly, on a prolonged and sustained basis.

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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