Updated October 2022 |
Gut feelings get all the press, but your gut may be more of a thinker than you know. Some scientists now consider it a second brain, which educates us on how important gut health is.
While it won’t necessarily help you study for an exam or get a promotion, your gut health can influence the chemistry of your mood, emotions, immune system, and long-term health.
Research even suggests the gut can “learn” new tricks through conditioning. These powerful connections are part of an emerging field of science called neuro-gastroenterology designed to study the gut-brain link.
We have gleaned the internet to find the best and most interesting facts associated with your gut health. Some of these even we didn’t know and it certainly makes for an interesting read.
500 years before Christ, Hippocrates spoke of the benefits of the gut and how it benefited our overall well-being.
The human gut is a complex, intricate system that’s responsible for more tasks than you may realize.
In fact, it has the ability to regulate appetite and metabolism in addition to playing an important role in immunity and intestinal health. It also releases hormones that control moods!
That’s why many people call their gut “the second brain.” Learning about how your gut health works can help you make healthier decisions about what goes into it so you feel better on the inside too.
Check out these 91 fascinating facts about our intestines. You might be surprised by some of them
Here are 91 facts you may not know about your gut.
1. What is gut health?
The gut starts with the mouth and teeth and finishes at the end of the large intestine. It includes the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine, the colon or large intestine, the pancreas, the liver, and the gall bladder.
2. The crowded gut
Your gut is home to tens of millions of microscopic organisms or microbes. There are more than 100 billion bacteria to every gram of intestinal content and 10 times as many microbes as there are cells in your body.
3. Size matters
Your gut is a big deal. It’s a 9m-long organ with between 800 and 900 folds and would cover an entire tennis court if laid out flat. It makes up roughly
4. Gut health statistics
Contains 70% of your immune system and contains between 1.5kg to 2kg of bacteria. It also weighs more than your brain.
5. Keep calm and digest
Stress produces an influx of adrenalin, which shuts down digestion and can cause bloating, so take deep breaths and relax while eating.
6. Unique microbiomes
Everyone’s gut health is unique. Even identical twins, who share 99.5% of their genes, only share about 20% of their microbiomes.
7. Overdone it?
If you’ve eaten too much and want to digest it as quickly as possible, lie on your left side.
Your stomach is asymmetrical and empties more easily on that side. The design also allows liquids to flow down one side while food goes down the other.
The gut also has its own cleaning system. An hour after eating, the clean-up starts with a powerful wave of peristalsis moving through the tubes. This distinctive pattern of movement is thought to move along any undigested food.
9. A sword swallower helped doctors look inside the stomach
In 1868, German doctor Adolph Kussmaul used an endoscope to look inside the stomach of a living person for the first time. Unlike today’s endoscopes, Kussmaul’s instrument was not flexible, making it difficult to guide the instrument deep into the body.
So Kussmaul employed the talents of a sword swallower, who could easily gulp down the 18.5-inch by 0.5-inch (47 cm by 1.3 cm) instrument that Kussmaul designed.
10. Strong stuff
Stomach acid is strong enough to burn your skin, but it does not harm the inside of your stomach because of the thick lining of mucus that protects it. The acid is churned with your food as part of the digestive process.
11. Strong and independent
Your gut health is a bit of a rebel. It doesn’t need the brain to tell it what to do. It acts independently and gets to work digesting any food or drink consumed. It acts as its own ‘brain’.
No other organ in the body can do that, not even your all-powerful heart.
12. How many?
The microbes in our gut outnumber our human cells ten to one.
13. Your gut has its own nervous system
The enteric nervous system—the controlling mechanism of digestion and elimination—is the overlord of your gut health, and functions all on its own.
Some scientists see it as part of the central nervous system, while others consider it its own entity.
It likely evolved to give the gut the go-ahead when the “got to go” impulse strikes, without requiring the brain’s sign-off, particularly when you consider the helplessness of an infant with its brand-new brain.
14. Your gut is its own poop monitor
Normal poops can occur anywhere from three times a week to three times a day. Each gut is different and over time it develops its schedule.
To add context to this, generally, it takes 24 to 72 hours for your food to move through your digestive tract.
Food doesn’t arrive in your large intestine (colon) until after six to eight hours, so needing to go to the toilet happens after that.
15. How does diet affect my gut health?
We all have those foods that appear to bind us or make us go all too easily. Having a balanced diet, plenty of hydration, and monitoring your health help to ensure you go regularly and avoids unnecessary conditions such as constipation.
16. Why do you need to avoid too many processed foods?
Processed foods can cause inflammation in the lining of our GI tract, the exact place where food is absorbed. Your gut may not recognize what you’ve eaten as digestible food and instead interprets the presence of foods like high-fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients as an “attacker.”
This sets off an inflammatory response in which our bodies are literally fighting these foods as if they were an infection. Sticking to more whole foods, such as whole fruits, veggies, and unprocessed meats, can lower the stress this creates on your body.
17. Your gut is your best friend during cold and flu season
Not only does your gut hold brain cells, but it also houses the bulk of your immune cells—70 percent—in the form of gut-associated lymphoid tissue, or GALT, which plays a huge part in killing and expelling pathogens.
GALT and your gut microbiome—the trillions of bacteria that live, like an immense microbial universe, in your gut—work hard to help you get over what ails you.
That’s all the more reason to be careful with the use of antibiotics, which wipe out the good bacteria along with the bad.
18. How is my gut connected to my moods?
Some 95 percent of your body’s serotonin, that marvelous mood molecule that antidepressant drugs like Prozac keep in your body, can be found in the gut.
So, it’s no wonder that diet, medications, and antibiotics can wreak havoc on one’s mood.
Low serotonin is attributed to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
It may not be the case for every person with these issues, but cleaning up your diet may relieve brain fog, sadness, and low energy.
19. How much DNA is within my microbiota?
You have 100 times more DNA located within your Microbiota, than in the cells of your body.
20. What is the gut-brain connection?
There is an information highway from your gut to your brain serviced mainly by one big visceral nerve embedded in your gut—the vagus nerve.
Research has revealed that up to 90 percent of its fibers carry information from the gut to the brain, rather than the other way around. In other words, the brain interprets gut signals as emotions. So you really should trust your gut.
21. Antibiotics aren’t always the gut’s friend
Antibiotics wipe out all bacteria, including the good ones known as probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Prebiotics, like onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, and legumes, play a different role from probiotics.
They’re dietary fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut, help reinoculate your microbiome, and offset the effects of your altered gut flora. (Birth control pills may also alter your gut environment as well.)
22. A healthy gut may protect your bones
In a study of the serotonin-gut relationship, scientists discovered an unexpected link between the gut and the bones. Inhibiting the gut’s release of serotonin counteracted the bone-density reduction of osteoporosis in mice.
This research is going into studies on new osteoporosis-fighting drugs.
23. Healthy foods can help immensely
Along with your best friend’s prebiotics, your gut needs a healthy dose of probiotics to keep your body systems strong.
Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh, and beverages like kefir and kombucha, have live cultures that help your gut break down foods and improve your immune system.
If you don’t already consume fermented foods, start off with 1/4 cup at a time and work your way up to larger amounts. Diving right in with a bigger serving may cause digestive upset.
24. How important is sleep for my gut?
Researchers are still looking into the gut-sleep relationship to verify if improving your gut health will affect sleep, but there’s definitely a connection between poor sleep and the bacterial environment of your gut.
Getting enough sleep helps lower cortisol levels and allows time for the gut to repair itself. So slide your sleep mask back down over your eyes and embrace your next late morning. Lovely.
25. Food really does affect your mood
Different foods, when introduced to the gut via feeding tubes, have been shown to change a person’s moods without the person’s awareness of what they were “eating.”
Fat, for instance, increased feelings of happiness and pleasure (no surprise there) because appeared to trigger the release of dopamine—the brain’s natural opiate.
Carbohydrate consumption stimulated the release of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter.
26. How does your gut out-perform your brain?
Your gut manufactures significantly more neurotransmitters, such as serotonin (the feel-good hormone), than does the brain.
27. Research shows links between autism and having fewer strains of gut bacteria
In as many as nine out of 10 cases, autistic people have common gut imbalances such as leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and fewer strains of “good” bacteria.
Research on mice is looking at possible treatments of some of the behavioral disorders of autism by balancing microbes in the guts, though many warn that such treatments can’t produce a “cure” for autism.
28. Your gut can become addicted to opiates
Inside your gut are opiate receptors, which are also found in the brain. The gut health is just as susceptible to addiction as the brain and may contribute to the intense difficulty some addicts have trying to kick the habit.
There are three main types of opiates: Natural opiates including morphine, codeine, and thebaine. Semi-synthetic/manmade opioids are created in labs from natural opiates.
Semi-synthetic opioids include hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone (the prescription drug OxyContin), as well as heroin, which is made from morphine. Avoid these where possible.
29. Relaxation is not just good for the mind, body, and soul
The more relaxed you are, the better you’ll be able to nourish your body — and we’re not just talking about digestion.
Stress can change your gut, turning it into a butterfly cage of discomfort. Research shows that taking the time to meditate can help ease symptoms of gut disorders.
30. Learn the language of your gut health
Out of sight, our gut is responsible for putting our body into working order.
As it breaks down the foods we eat, our gut absorbs nutrients that support our body’s functions — from energy production to hormone balance, skin health to mental health, and even toxin and waste elimination.
Your gut may not have a literal voice, but its functions communicate in a form of code.
From complete silence to hunger grumbles and bathroom habits, gaining insight into what’s going on inside is vital to establishing a healthy lifestyle.
31. Stomach acid is strong enough to burn your skin
So why doesn’t it burn your stomach? Because a thick layer of mucus protects the stomach lining and keeps the acid on the inside, where it’s churned with your food.
When gastric acid sometimes leaks up into the esophagus, which lacks this mucus layer, you know that burning feeling as heartburn.
Proton pump inhibitors are drugs you can take to temporarily reduce acid production and allow the esophagus to heal.
32. Certain bacteria and drugs can cause ulcers
We used to think that stress caused sores in your stomach that doesn’t heal.
We now know that prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), or naproxen (Aleve®), can interfere with stomach mucus.
Ulcers result when stomach acid reaches the lining, and when they bleed they can cause pain and even be life-threatening.
A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, also can cause ulcers. An Australian doctor proved this by drinking the bacteria himself, and he and his colleague won a Nobel prize for the discovery.
33. Cholesterol and fats are completely different
Your liver uses cholesterol to make bile acids, and bile is the only way your body can get rid of excess cholesterol.
Your body also uses cholesterol to make the sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone. If you have liver disease, you’ll have trouble absorbing fats as well as hormonal problems.
But fats are chemically different from cholesterol; the body burns fats for energy. That’s why food labels list fat and cholesterol separately.
34. The purpose of food
Food talks to your microbiota and to your genes. This provides a synergy for your overall gut health.
35. Good bacteria such as Acidophilus are passed from generation to generation
A baby literally takes a gulp of bacteria as it passes through the birth canal, hence establishing a foundation for its natural probiotic levels.
This is why it is so important for mothers to optimize their health and friendly bacteria levels before giving birth. A baby that is borne under c-section does not get this dose of beneficial bacteria as it leaves its mother’s body.
36. Digestive issues lead to a wide range of health issues
Digestive issues such as gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of good to bad bacteria in the gut) or leaky gut contribute to a wide range of health issues. Including migraine headaches, depression, neurological disorders, obesity, arthritis, foggy thinking, autoimmune illnesses, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, skin complaints, low fertility rates, low immunity, GI infections, low sex drive, leaky gut, thyroid issues, nutrient deficiency, and more.
37. Your gut health is not always a fan of gluten
Gluten can increase intestinal permeability (also referred to as “leaky gut”), even if you don’t have celiac disease.
This means that particles like undigested food and waste, and pathogens like bacteria, can pass through the compromised lining of your intestines, get into the bloodstream, and cause overall inflammation and illness.
The best way to see if gluten is a no-go is to eliminate gluten completely for at least 4 weeks and see what your gut health says when you try it again.
38. Should we be more cautious to use Antibiotics?
Antibiotics taken for any bacterial illness can kill both the good and bad bacteria present in your gut, thereby, disturbing the ratio and favoring the growth of bad bacteria.
39. Slow eating proves to be the best
If you’re a slow eater, pat yourself on the back! Taking time to chew your food actually helps jump-start the digestive process.
As you break down your food into smaller pieces with your teeth and stimulate saliva production, you also signal to the rest of your body that it’s time for the digestive system to get to work.
40. You have detergents in your intestines
Bile acids are the detergents in bile, the digestive liquid made by the liver. Without these detergents, you couldn’t digest or absorb fats.
And, just like dish detergent, they make fat mix well with water, and only then can digestive enzymes break down the fat for absorption into the bloodstream.
41. Stress can mess up your gut health
Moments of acute stress and/or ongoing chronic stress can trigger and exacerbate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation.
Being in a state of stress while eating is also known to slow digestion as the body diverts energy away from the digestive system to deal with what it thought, is an anticipated life-and-death situation(fight or flight).
As a result, food stays in the stomach longer and creates, gas, indigestion, and bloating.
Studies have shown that stress may disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, increasing intestinal permeability and even promoting low-grade inflammation.
42. Gut bacteria could play a role in Schizophrenia
A study published in Science Advances found two interesting things about the relationship between schizophrenia and the gut microbiome.
The first was that people with schizophrenia may have very specific gut bacteria levels that differed from healthy controls, like higher levels of Veillonellaceae.
The second was that, when gut bacteria from people with schizophrenia were transplanted into healthy mice, the mice began displaying “schizophrenia-like symptoms,” such as hyperactivity.
This suggests that the gut microbes of people with schizophrenia may have an impact on their symptoms.
It’s only a small study and needs to be replicated, but it shows that the link between the gut and the brain may be stronger than we ever thought.
To increase the health of your gut microbiome, we recommend eating diverse kinds of foods, particularly vegetables, whole grains, and fermented ingredients.
As we discover more of the complicated world of gut microbiota, we’re finding that it’s more crucial for our health and stability than we ever thought.
43. Gut health has been around for centuries
More than 4,000 years ago, traditional Chinese medicine physicians were of the view that the key to vibrant health and longevity was a healthy digestive system.
Without a properly functioning digestive system, death was usually not far behind.
Although under today’s living and health care conditions, you are less likely to die of a gastrointestinal-related disease than those who lived in the past, it remains a fact that a healthy gut is essential to a sound mind and body.
44. Beware of upsetting your good and bad bacteria gut balance
The critical ratio of good to bad bacteria can be disturbed not only by eating highly processed foods but also by sterilized and pasteurized foods.
The more common pasteurized foods available include all commercial brands of bottled/ packaged juice and smoothies unless stated as raw and cold-pressed, pasteurized milk, long-life UHT milk, some commercially available almonds (check your sources), vinegar (unless raw and unfiltered), pasteurized egg whites, most butter, and yogurt.
45. Who needs bad bacteria, anyway?
The growth of bad bacteria is controlled by the good bacteria as they compete for nutrition and attachment sites in the intestine. Good bacteria also secrete a substance in the intestine that kills bad bacteria.
46. The number of bacteria in your microbiota
Your microbiota is made up of 1.5kg to 2.5 kg of bacteria that help to make vitamins, protect you against infection and run your metabolism for gut health is improved.
47. Drop in stomach cancer
Stomach cancer was No. 1 in the 1940s, whereas now it is not No. 8
We’re seeing a lower incidence of gastric cancer these days, partly because our diet contains fewer foods that cause cancer (as refrigeration became widespread, we ate fewer smoked and cured meats).
We now also know that H. pylori can cause stomach cancer, but H. pylori are relatively easy to diagnose and treat.
48. No need to have a clear-out
Detox diets and colonic irrigation have become popular in recent years as they claim to clean out your digestive system and get rid of bad toxins. But they’re not actually needed.
Waste and toxins pass out of our bodies naturally and don’t need any help in doing so.
49. There are more than 100 million brain cells in your gut
Your gut’s power to think for itself is no surprise; there are millions of neurons in its lengthy coils (9 meters of intestines, from the esophagus to anus). That’s more neurons than are found in the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system.
50. Your Microbiota can determine how much you eat
Our appetite was once thought to be predominantly controlled by the brain but now, it is increasingly clear that hormones produced in the gut influence our eating behavior as well.
It is not just the hormones produced in our gut that can affect our eating but also the intestinal bacteria. Studies have shown that certain strains of bacteria that cause inflammation can also increase appetite and play a role in weight gain.
51. You have a second brain
Scientists have nicknamed the gut’s nervous system our ‘second brain’ as the nervous system of the gut is able to regulate itself without brain interaction.
The lining of our gut contains its own nervous system called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS).
The ENS signals communication with the brain via neurotransmitters, hormones, and electrical impulses via millions of nerves that line the gut.
Our gut microbiome plays an integral role in this system and can affect our physical and mental well-being.
52. Newly discovered bacteria in our guts
Research published in Nature Biotechnology in 2019 revealed that scientists have just discovered over 100 new types of bacteria in the human gut that have never been seen before.
The discovery was made because researchers from the Wellcome Institute were attempting to make a public database of intestinal bacteria, and sequenced the guts of 20 people from the UK and Canada.
With such a small study size, one can only imagine the variety of gut bacteria that remain unknown in guts around the world. It’s pretty mind-boggling.
53. Your gut feeling
Guts have been called a ‘second brain’ because if the nerve between the brain and gut (the vagus nerve) were cut, the gut would function independently.
The gut produces more neurotransmitters – which affect mood and behavior – than the brain does.
54. Those with a chronic illness each year
Every year over 1 million people in England are diagnosed with a digestive illness or disease.
55. The gut can help protect us from poisons
The gut is stronger than you might think. A study published in Nature Communications revealed that when it comes to arsenic poisoning, our guts play a pretty serious role in protecting us from the worst effects.
The experiment used mice and found that mice with disrupted gut microbiomes from antibiotic use tended to experience worse arsenic poisoning because the gut couldn’t process the arsenic properly.
You might not think this is relevant to you, but the researchers explain that 200 million people worldwide are affected by arsenic toxicity in drinking water, and a 2017 study found that 2.1 million people in the United States were using wells with high arsenic quantities in the water.
56. Your stomach doesn’t play the biggest role in indigestion
The stomach begins the digestion process by churning food and breaking it down using digestive acids. This is referred to as mechanical digestion.
Then, the small intestine does most of the work of digestion using enzymes and absorbing nutrients for the body to use.
57. The gut microbiome could impact food allergies
Quite a lot of kids are allergic to cows’ milk; the National Health Service estimates that between 2 and 7.5 percent of kids under one are allergic to it, though the vast majority will stop being allergic once they hit the age of five.
Food intolerances and allergies are strongly related to the gut microbiome, and a new experiment shows just how much they’re intertwined.
A study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases took fecal samples from eight babies — who weren’t allergic to cow’s milk — and injected them into mice who did have the allergy.
The result? All the mice who received the samples, which were full of gut microbes, stopped being allergic.
This, the scientists behind the experiment believe, reaffirms the idea that some of us are born with gut bacteria that protect us against allergies.
Though this study was small, with more research this link could be a lifeline for children who have life-threatening food allergies.
58. You can eat upside down
Food doesn’t need gravity to reach your stomach.
When you eat something, the muscles in your esophagus constrict and relax in a wavelike manner, which is called peristalsis and pushes food along the esophagus and into the stomach.
It’s difficult to eat upside down, but it’s possible. Whether this is beneficial for your gut health is questionable.
59. Most people with ‘gluten intolerance’ don’t have celiac disease
Celiac disease occurs when gluten (a protein in wheat, barley, and rye) causes your immune system to damage your small intestine. Symptoms include abdominal pain and bloating, chronic diarrhea, and fatigue.
Two types of genetic changes that occur in about 2 percent of the population cause true celiac disease, and your doctor can order tests that identify it.
Many people who claim they are gluten-intolerant don’t have this diagnosis, but they still may feel better on a low-gluten or gluten-free diet.
The reason you may feel better or lose unwanted weight is that this restrictive diet is low in carbohydrates. In fact, eating a low-carb diet is the best and safest way to lose unwanted weight.
60. Stomach growling can happen when you’re not hungry
Stomach rumbling is the sound of your stomach and small intestines engaging in the digestive process. When your stomach is full, you can’t hear the sound because it’s muffled.
Your stomach contracts to ensure there is no leftover food in the stomach. When that happens, you may feel and even hear that growling sound.
That sound tells you that your stomach is empty, but it may not necessarily mean you are hungry.
61. Dementia might begin in the gut Microbiome
A study published in Nature Scientific Reports in early 2019 found that people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, showed pretty clear differences in their microbiome from people of similar ages without dementia symptoms.
After studying the gut microbes of 181 people, the researchers found that people with dementia had lower levels of a type of bacteria called Bacteroides (enterotype I), and a higher level of bacteria called enterotype III, than other people with healthier brains.
We’ve known for a while that the gut microbiome seems to play a role in dementia, particularly in how the brain develops the ‘plaque’ that characterizes disorders like Alzheimer’s.
This is the first study to pinpoint what happens in the guts of people who develop dementia symptoms. This is a big deal because it might eventually explain how to prevent dementia from emerging.
62. Benefit of human chemistry
Gut bacteria pass from mother to child in breast milk. Thus improving the child’s gut health immensely.
63. You are more bacteria than human
Our bodies contain over 100 trillion bacteria. We have 10 times more bacteria than human cells and they play a significant role in our health and longevity.
64. Antibiotics can increase your risk of obesity if overused in early childhood
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that the use of antibiotics in the first 6 months of life when our gut microbiomes are being developed can lead to increased body mass.
65. Your colon reabsorbs water from food
You get a lot of your water from food. Your colon is a vital part of your digestive health and ensures that you don’t lose too much water during the digestion process.
66. Feed your healthy gut bacteria
The healthy bacteria in your digestive system need nutrients just like you do. Soluble fiber nourishes healthy gut bacteria, which, in turn, contributes to colon health.
Many foods have soluble fiber: vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and nuts. Also, a fiber supplement can provide soluble fiber—which nourishes good gut bacteria.
67. The large intestine is responsible for more than eliminating waste
The large intestine turns liquid waste into a solid stool. The large intestine is also responsible for absorbing the remaining nutrients and water the body needs.
Waste products include undigested parts of food as well also older cells from the GI tract.
68. The stomach must protect itself from acid
Your stomach’s primary digestive juice—called hydrochloric acid—is highly corrosive. The stomach protects itself with a thick layer of mucus. Without that layer, the stomach acid would digest the stomach itself.
69. Obese individuals have different bacteria than lean individuals
Twins, both lean and obese, were tested to see if there was a difference in gut bacteria. Researchers found a difference in over 300 bacterial genes in the obese vs. lean twins.
Many of the genes were responsible for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
70. Size of your digestive system?
If spread flat your digestive system would cover a tennis court.
71. Everyone has a unique gut microbiome
Studies have been done to determine if certain diets, like the Mediterranean Diet, have an influence on the gut microbiome, and researchers discovered that each individual that they tested had a unique microbiome ‘fingerprint’.
No two people have the same bacterial profile.
72. Prebiotics are the gut’s best friend
Boosting the bacteria in your bowel can help prevent colon cancer. Eating a higher fiber diet or taking fibre supplements can increase your prebiotics in turn, the bacteria can convert to healthy chemicals for nourishment.
73. Stomachs vary in the animal kingdom
The stomach is an integral part of the digestive system, but it’s not the same in all animals. Some animals have stomachs with multiple compartments. (They’re often mistakenly said to have multiple stomachs.)
Cows and other “ruminants” — including giraffes, deer, and cattle — have four-chambered stomachs, which help them digest their plant-based food.
But some animals — including seahorses, lungfishes, and platypuses — have no stomach. Their food goes from the esophagus straight to the intestines.
74. Flatulence gets its smell from bacteria
Intestinal gas, or flatus, is a combination of swallowed air and the gasses produced by the fermentation of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
The digestive system cannot break down or absorb certain components of foods, and those substances simply get pushed along the track and make their way into the large intestine.
Hordes of intestinal bacteria get to work, releasing a variety of gases in the process, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide (which gives flatulence its rotten-egg stench).
75. The digestive system is cancer-prone
The digestive system is home to more cancers, and causes more cancer mortalities, than any other organ system in the body.
76. First discoveries into what our insides look like
An endoscope is an instrument used to examine organs and cavities inside the body.
The German physician Philipp Bozzini developed a primitive version of the endoscope, called the lichtleiter (meaning “light conductor”), in the early 1800s to inspect a number of bodily areas, including the ear, nasal cavity, and urethra.
Half a century later, French surgeon Antoine Jean Desormeaux developed another instrument, which he named the “endoscope,” to examine the urinary tract and bladder.
77. Smells the same
Despite what you might believe, men do not produce smellier wind than women.
The smell is caused by the fermentation of unabsorbed carbohydrates and protein, and depends on what you’ve eaten, how much of it isn’t absorbed and the effect of stress on the process.
78. A window into digestion
In 1822, a fur trapper accidentally shot a 19-year-old man named Alexis St. Martin. Army surgeon William Beaumont successfully patched up St. Martin, but the trapper was left with a hole in his stomach’s abdominal wall, which is called a fistula.
The fistula allowed Beaumont to investigate the workings of the stomach in entirely new ways.
Over the next decade, Beaumont conducted 238 experiments on St. Martin, some of which involved sticking food directly into his patient’s stomach.
He drew a number of important inferences from his work, including that fever can affect digestion, and that digestion was more than just a grinding motion of the stomach but also required hydrochloric acid.
79. Self-protection is essential
Cells along the inner wall of the stomach secrete roughly 2 liters (0.5 gallons) of hydrochloric acid each day, which helps kill bacteria and aids in digestion.
If hydrochloric acid sounds familiar to you, it may be because the powerful chemical is commonly used to remove rust and scale from steel sheets and coils, and is also found in some cleaning supplies, including toilet-bowl cleaners.
To protect itself from the corrosive acid, the stomach lining has a thick coating of mucus. But this mucus can’t buffer the digestive juices indefinitely, so the stomach produces a new coat of mucus every two weeks.
80. The number of diseases related to your gut
There are 80 diseases related to your gut health.
Some of these include food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis and Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers or gastritis, celiac disease- a reaction to gluten that causes chronic inflammation in the small intestine that can lead to weight loss and malnutrition – as well as inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD).
81. Knock-on effect on your energy levels
A healthy gut can naturally boost energy levels.
As a result of their strong immune system, your gut can naturally fight off the toxic bacteria that not only make us feel less energetic but also cause symptoms such as bloating and flatulence.
As our guts are home to trillions of microorganisms (bacteria) with many different functions in our body–such as immunity and digestion–they’re vital for maintaining healthy levels of energy.
82. How does it affect your weight?
Gut health can help support and maintain a healthy weight.
A healthy gut is key to maintaining a healthy weight. With good, bacteria-filled guts comes an ability to maintain and control your metabolism; this can help you feel happier about shedding pounds!
A happy side effect of having a healthier digestive system is that it will make losing those unwanted pounds easier for you in the long run because all your fat cells are more easily metabolized by enzymes from the lining of your intestines than they would be if there were no such linings at all.
83. How your gut can influence your appearance
Good gut health can lead to a long-lasting, glowing complexion.
Good gut health can make you a glowing goddess, and it starts with reducing your sugar intake.
Your skin is one of the first places to see how well everything in your body is doing – so keep an eye out for changes such as dryness or dark spots!
84. How does our gut affect mood and mental health?
Good mood, brain, and mental health are all linked to a healthy gut.
The connection between a healthy mind and body is not new. New research has shown that there’s also a close link with our digestive tracts – specifically to what we consume as food.
Good moods are linked to good digestion because of how many neurotransmitters seem connected in the brain-gut axis pathway.
Foods like yogurt or probiotics have been proven through testing on mice subjects by David Artis at Drexel University College of Medicine to help alleviate symptoms associated with stressors such as depression and anxiety; this effect was so pronounced sleep disturbances were improved too!
85. Know the relation between bloating and gut health
Bloating, gas, and poor digestion are signs of poor gut health.
Bloated stomachs can be caused by indigestible carbohydrates or other types of food particles in your colon taking too long to break down during their passage through the intestines.
This increase in volume causes abdominal pressure which leads to faster breathing due to increased effort needed for aeration as well as bloating itself because it takes more energy on behalf of muscles and respiratory systems just so you don’t burst from all this pent-up air.
86. Your gut can work on auto-pilot
The gut is the only organ system that can perform its functions without the oversight of the brain. it has its own memory and can operate independently from your brain.
87. The microbiome is super-concentrated
99% of the body’s microbiome is found in the digestive tract which contributes to your overall gut health.
88. The gut is an information superhighway
90% of the gut’s visceral nerve carries information from the gut to the brain where it is interpreted as emotions.
89. Gut health affects everyone
Over 80% of adults have reported digestive issues and have gone as far as purchasing a product to help.
90. Some good news
The good news is that our gut microbiome responds quickly to positive healthy habits like diet, exercise, supplementation, and body-mind practices. Any small changes you make will have a positive effect.
91. No news is good news
If you haven’t heard anything from your gut in a while, you’re eliminating regularly, and haven’t been dealing with any bloating or abdominal pain, you’re doing just fine.
If it could talk, it would say thank you for keeping it nourished and healthy, and for creating a stress-free environment for your body to thrive! Well-done.
The digestive system is a fascinating, complex organ that influences every other part of the body.
It can also be seen as one big processing plant which breaks down food into nutrients our bodies need to function properly.
There are many ways we can take care of this vital organ in order to live better lives.
We hope these interesting facts help shed some light on how important it is to protect your gut health.
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