23.06.2024

The THREE little-known signs that your gut isn’t healthy

Your gut can reveal a lot about your health — especially signs that something’s not quite right internally. But it’s not just diarrhoea and stomach cramps that you need to aware of.

Problems with bacteria in the gut can stem from food intolerances and cause poor digestion, bloating, gas and stomach pain

Here, MailOnline reveals some of the other, lesser-known signs of poor gut health. Problems with bacteria in the gut can stem from food intolerances and cause poor digestion, bloating, gas and stomach pain

Wind

The average person breaks wind up to 40 times each day, according to the charity Guts UK.

But if you get gas after eating certain foods, it may be a sign your gut isn’t breaking down the food the way it should.

‘Some gas and bloating is actually normal and a good sign that one’s microbiota is working hard at digesting dietary fibre which we don’t have the enzymes to break down, so the microbiota does it for us,’ said Anna Pettit, gut specialist and dietitian at the gut health clinic.

‘However, ongoing severe abdominal bloating and excessive wind, which is often coupled with other troublesome gut symptoms such as loose stool and/or urgency to go, can be a sign of malabsorption.’

The can be caused by food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, according to Ms Pettit.

It occurs when people lack sufficient amounts of an enzyme called lactase, which helps digest lactose — a sugar found in dairy products.

Ms Pettit said: ‘Sometimes these malabsorptive symptoms are caused due to the pancreas not producing enough enzymes to digest the food properly.

‘The stools can also be orange or pale in colour with bits of undigested foods along with bloating and excessive wind.’

If you experience persistent bloating or if it is accompanied by sudden weight loss, abdominal pain or diarrhoea, you should see a GP as it can be a symptom of a more serious bowel condition, according to Guts UK.

Mood changes

A healthy gut can also mean a healthy mind, according to experts.

‘Our digestion and mental health are connected via the gut-brain axis — directional communication between the brain and the gut,’ says Ms Pettit.

‘Any disruption along the gut-brain axis can result in stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.’

Disruption is caused by an imbalance between microorganisms in the gut, which are responsible for maintaining healthy digestion.

When too many ‘bad’ bacteria grow in the intestine, it can lead to mental problems, as well as physical problems, studies suggest.

Experts say this may be because the gut provides around 95 per cent of the body’s serotonin — the hormone that affects mood and emotion.

Skin problems

Some foods can cause you to break out in spots.

Refined sugar and saturated fat can often be the culprits of bad skin as they can cause an imbalance of gut bacteria — known as dysbiosis.

This can contribute to skin problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and even dandruff.

In the same way as the gut-brain axis, there is also a gut-skin axis.

Gut microbes are not supplied with the right microbes among those who follow an unhealthy diet.

This can lead to dysbiosis, which offsets the immune system to trigger the inflammatory response.

Ms Pettit said: ‘Many skin conditions are caused by the dysbiosis of the gut microbiota. Gut dysbiosis can lead to skin breakouts, eczema, rosacea, dermatitis and others as they are all caused by inflammation.’

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