Hippocrates the father of modern medicine famously stated 2,400 years ago that ‘all disease begins in the gut’. The gut is the 25 feet of tubing that runs from the mouth to the anus and contains on average 100 trillion bacteria (the microflora/microbiome) weighing approximately 2 kg and over 3 million genes. The explosion in scientific research over the past 10 to 15 years into the fundamental role that optimal gut health plays in respect of our overall health and well being, is starting to enable us to understand just how true these wise words are, yet to date modern medicine has yet to embrace this paradigm.
Clinically, no matter what chronic disease the client is presenting with, we always start with supporting gut health. Optimal gut health is the foundation upon which your house of health is built. Optimal health requires optimal gut health.
Any form of diarrhoea/constipation, excess mucous, light/excessively dark coloured and/or foul smelling output are all clear signs of gut imbalances being present. You do not however have to be presenting with any overt signs of dysfunction to still have gut imbalances. This is an oversimplification, but gut health is dependent on three key areas of the system working as well as possible: digestive capacity (includes stomach acid strength, bile flow and digestive enzyme status), the balance of the individual bacterial/yeast/fungi/parasite and viral inhabitants and the ‘leakiness’ of the gut lining (the gut lining regulates what is let in and kept out). All of these areas are intricately interconnected. If there are imbalances/issues with any of these key areas, then it is almost inevitable that your health will be negatively impacted in some way. The evidence base continues to uncover real connections between overall gut health and an ever increasing number of chronic conditions that are becoming a significant issue for society, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s/MS/ALS/neurodegenerative conditions, dementia, cancer, cardio vascular disease, diabetes and metabolic dysfunction.
Thanks to modern testing, we can now comprehensively measure how well each of these key areas of gut health are performing and then subsequently create personalised interventions to help support/correct any identified imbalances, often with impressive results. Why then, after 2,400 years, is this approach not yet a cornerstone of modern medicine and chronic disease management?