Your Gut: the Gateway to Vibrant Health

Do you suffer from digestive complaints such as excessive wind and bloating? Maybe you are prone to constipation or diarrhoea? Have you have been diagnosed with ‘IBS’ (irritable bowel syndrome)? Or perhaps no one has been able to provide you with a formal diagnosis, despite your frequent abdominal upsets?

You may suspect that some foods could be contributing to your digestive concerns but have been unable to pinpoint the offending items. Or perhaps you’ve tried every fad diet offering hope of relief, to no avail? You may have made some dietary changes that have helped to improve your health, but you still have some niggling symptoms remaining. Maybe you’ve reached the point where it seems that everything you eat makes you feel unwell?

Your Gut Microbiome – Getting the Balance Right

Did you know that gut health can affect your mood, energy levels, skin health, your ability to think clearly, and even your immune heath? We now know that the microbes that live in the gut have a close relationship with the immune system, the brain, the lungs and even the body’s bones. The intestinal microbiome, the rich family of microbes that live in the gut, should comprise of a healthy, broad range of microbes that contribute to our good health. However, an imbalance in microbial diversity (known as ‘dysbiosis’) can have a negative effect on our well-being. Unsurprisingly, this also impacts on the various relationships that these microbes have with other areas of our bodies.

“All disease begins in the gut.”

Hippocrates, Father of Medicine

You can think of the gut microbiome as the body’s garden. If you nourish it and feed it with the right foods, your garden will blossom and thrive. However, fed the wrong kinds of foods, your garden will decline. Not only will you lose the healthy balance in your microbial species, but the quality of your ‘soil’ will also be affected. You can imagine that the soil represents the lining of your gastrointestinal tract – the tube which carries the food through your body. A reduction in the quality and quantity of this ‘soil’ will mean that the gastrointestinal lining may become irritated and inflamed. It may also become less resilient and develop a condition called intestinal hyperpermeability. In this condition microbes and other ‘matter’ that should remain in the gut ‘tube’ could pass through into the body’s bloodstream, causing problems in other areas of the body.

With this knowledge you can see how even mild adverse gut symptoms can be connected to many seemingly unrelated illnesses. You may be surprised to learn that scientific research has now shown links between gastrointestinal problems and conditions like allergies, autoimmune conditions, mental health issues, and even cardiovascular disease. Although these connections may not be immediately obvious, we can use specific laboratory tests to help identify these concerns. It may be, for example, that you have a problem with the health of your gastrointestinal mucus barrier. In intestinal hyperpermeability the barrier is unable to keep toxins in the gut from ‘leaking’ into the blood stream and causing problems elsewhere in the body. Or, you may have an overgrowth of unhelpful microbes in the gut. You may even have a depletion of the ‘friendly’ microbes needed to keep the gut healthy. In these cases, laboratory testing such as stool and breath tests can be carried out to help identify what is going on and get right to the root cause of your gastrointestinal problems.

Gastrointestinal problems can include:

Acid Reflux/Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)





Dyspepsia (indigestion)


Gluten intolerance


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Samantha has been helping people with gastrointestinal complaints since first setting up her clinical practice in 2002. Her expertise in this area of healthcare spans over 2 decades of clinical work and research. Her passion for the field of gastroenterology and the microbiome led her to study it in depth for her MSc research thesis where she focused on the relationship between the gut and the immune system.

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