What Is Your Gut Telling You? And Why You Should Listen!

WE’VE all heard the saying “I have a gut feeling” and for most it’s an understanding that some sort of intuitive thought process must originate deep within us.

So why does a “gut feeling” resonate as being more important than just an every day thought – is there something our gut knows that our brain and heart don’t?

Well, bizarrely it would seem so.

Bear with me – this train is going to stop at a station or two before getting to the final destination – or point as the case may be.

It’s a complicated organ, the gut. It would seem it’s one of the hardest working organs we have given that according to loveyourgut.com it “engages most intimately with the external environment”.

They describe it as “the portal to the body” which processes “an enormous variety of food” as well as absorbing many of the body’s nutrients.

But that also means it’s under constant attack from infectious agents and toxic substances. It’s role within the body’s immune system is just simply immense – to put it into perspective, our friends at loveyourgut.com say: “The gut contains the largest component of the body’s immune system, it has its own brain, which contains more nerve cells and connections than the brain in our head, and it includes trillions of bacteria (more than the number of cells in the rest of the body), that play a vital role in providing essential nutrients, tuning the immune system and even altering the function of the brain and other distant parts of the body.”

Women Holds Stomach

So, there you have it…the reason why the rest of this article might just be worth a read.

Dietician, Gillian Killiner from 121 Dietician in Belfast, says the gut more often than not plays a part in many unexplained illnesses.

“More and more people we find are attending 121 Dietitian’s clinics with symptoms they just can’t get answers, pills or potions for – and it’s having a detrimental effect on their mind and body” she said, adding: “For some people it may not have been an overnight change but symptoms have crept up over a few years. For others it may have been a bolt out of the blue.

“Everyone and their circumstances are different, however the symptoms are often similar. To make matters more complex sometimes symptoms can cross over with other illnesses making diagnosis vague and frustrating.

“Ultimately for each person sitting beside me the most detrimental outcome is that the problem is ongoing and impacting on their quality of life. Work suffers, family life is stressed and holidays become an idea of hell than heaven.

Gillian Killiner

Gillian Killiner

One woman, Jen, who attended Gillian’s clinic complained of a vast range of symptoms that included everything from aches and pains, loss of appetite, change in bowel habits and being unable to sleep well to feeling real fatigue, being colder than others, gaining weight, brain fog, forgetfulness and even hair thinning.

Gillian said: “She felt alone, worried and isolated. She had been for some tests and told she had fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and needed to exercise more. She didn’t get the answers she needed so attended our clinic. She had a great life before this and wanted it back.

“We requested a series of blood tests for her about her nutritional status, full thyroid function and antibodies, cholesterol profile and more and we took her body composition and waist circumference. The woman also completed our questionnaire and seven day food diary.

“Tests showed that Jen was in poor nutritional health, she had multiple low levels (not out of range but very low levels sub-optimal for health) of essential nutrients in her blood. She had an elevated glucose and triglyceride level.”

However, it wasn’t just a case of handing over some nutritional supplements to get Gillian’s client back to normal.

In order for the gut to begin absorbing essential vitamins that were at minimal levels it had to be given a kick start to work – then, it could begin to absorb the correct nutrients.

Gillian explained: “To fix Jen’s gut this we guided her through an elimination programme. Eight weeks later with full support she came back a changed woman. Her IBS symptoms had improved significantly which meant we were now in a position to address the diet for her mood.

“She has now lost her excess weight and is eating a nutrient rich diet. This in turn has helped her low mood, her family life, energy levels and more.”


So why is this happening?

Although there are many factors, Gillian explained that modernisation and the rat race are contributing to us neglecting our gut.

She said: “We are living faster lives with fast foods and less down time to relax. We have over recent centuries moved from a whole foods diet to one that is based on processed and refined foods.

“These processed foods are leading not only to greater ill health: obesity, heart disease and inflammatory diseases, they are also leading to greater emotional distress in the form of depression, anxiety and insomnia.

“Eating a diet filled with chips, fast food and fizzy drinks is leading to an epidemic of “mental illness.

“We also eat too quickly, chewing food has declined and food is beige, soft and gulped down, not allowing our mouth enzymes a look in.

“Good Nutrition is vital for your mind and body. This doesn’t have to be difficult, making some changes is key. If the first changes you make are by concentrating on cutting out industrial based processed foods and eating more from scratch, cooking meals in the kitchen, focusing on a whole foods diet filled with wholesome prepared meals then you are doing well.

“Sitting and savouring food with family and friends is a part of life and its importance should not be overlooked for total happiness and health.”

So there you have it…that gut feeling certainly is coming from a place of knowledge.

Surprisingly, in a time of supposed enlightenment with more and more people talking about “being healthy”, “getting fit” and “losing weight” it would seem that sometimes just stepping back and looking at something as simple as your gut can give you reason enough to change your lifestyle.

For more information log onto www.122dietician.com

About the Author

Tina Calder
Journalist, commentator, author and content creator specialising in showbiz, entertainment, business, trade, human interest and lifestyle.