by Dr. Will Cole
Your gut is the foundation of your entire health. Even Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, knew thousands of years ago that ‘’all disease begins in the gut.’’ Everything from the bacterial composition of your microbiome to the permeability of your gut lining can influence even seemingly unrelated aspects of your health such as weight gain, food intolerances, autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, and brain problems like anxiety and depression.
In my functional medicine clinic, underlying gut problems are one of the most common contributors I see to people’s health problems. But since gut symptoms don’t always accompany gut problems, many people go years without understanding the true cause of their symptoms. While there are many ways to look at gut dysfunction, I often run two tests to determine someone’s gut health.
Blood tests – This test can determine the levels of both zonulin and lipopolysaccharides in your blood. Zonulin is a protein that controls the permeability of your gut. When there are elevated levels, leaky gut is most likely a factor in your health case. Lipopolysaccharides are toxins that are excreted by your gut bacteria and can also indicate increased gut permeability.
Microbiome tests – Stool tests can determine the presence of parasites, yeast overgrowths, and your ratio of good and bad bacteria located in your gut.
There are many factors that can contribute to poor gut health including:
- Diet – a diet low in essential nutrients or high in sugar can contribute to overgrowths of yeast and bad bacteria.
- Medication – certain antibiotics and pain relievers like ibuprofin can increase gut permeability and kill-off the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
- Stress – chronically high cortisol levels is just one way the gut-brain connection can impact gut health.
Once you know the status of your gut health, you can take practical steps toward healing. One of my favorite go-to natural tools for healing your gut is bone broth. This food medicine is a rockstar for restoring optimal gut function for its powerful nutritional content. Abundant in important fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, this rich source of collagen gelatin is specifically soothing to an inflamed and damaged gut lining.
While you can easily make your own bone broth at home, it can be a time-consuming process since the bones need to simmer anywhere between 24 and 48 hours for the full nutrients to be absorbed out of the bones. However, many brands are making this superfood readily available through pre-made and prepackaged bone broth that you can grab from the store. Bare Bones Broth is one of my favorite brands as the quality and taste is unmatched.
Not only is the broth made from the bones of only organic and grass-fed animals, it is simmered for over 24 hours to ensure the highest bioavailability of the nutrients so you can feel confident your body is getting the nourishment and maximum healing possible out of your broth. It is also shelf-stable for up to 12 months so you can stock up and always have some on hand for your sipping and cooking needs.
Many people assume bone broth is only for soups, but I encourage everyone to experiment and include this vital superfood into their diet in other recipes. Bare Bones broth makes the perfect addition to stir-fry, gravy, and so much more. Check out my previous article for more inspiration and ways to harness the power of bone broth. So, grab your own pouch of broth and get started on healing your gut!
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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