You’ve been wandering around online, reading about ways to help your kids and you’ve come across the term “gut health” – often in articles about brain function and mental ability. Maybe you’re wondering what the connection is between gut and brain? Recent advances have shown that the efficient functioning of the gut has a direct impact on the brain’s processing ability.
WHAT IS GUT HEALTH?
Although “gut health” is a term increasingly used in medical literature and food industry marketing, experts haven’t quite pinned down what the term “gut health” actually means. Put simply, it’s a healthy upper and lower gastro-intestinal tract (GI). It covers various aspects of the GI tract, such as effective digestion and absorption of food, the absence of GI illness, normal intestinal bacteria and microflora, effective immune status and a general feeling of well-being. From a scientific point of view, however, it is still unclear exactly what gut health is, how it can be defined and how it can be measured.
WHY IS GUT HEALTH IMPORTANT?
You probably didn’t know that your GI tract has over 100 million neurons which is more than either your spinal cord or your whole peripheral nervous system. If this vast system of neurons are out of balance you can understand that your whole body suffers. The effects of poor gut health may impact your child’s brain function, nervous system, immune system, organ function and development.
WHAT CAUSES POOR GUT HEALTH?
Of course, the condition of your gut is affected by diet and nutritional choices, however, the digestive process is a complex one and is influenced by many factors: a bacteria contracted during delivery, use of antibiotics, genetic predisposition, environmental factors such as lead poisoning, food intolerances, illness, and so on.
HOW DOES GUT HEALTH AFFECT MY CHILD?
Poor gut health has been linked to many common childhood conditions, and the list is growing. Recent studies have indicated that poor gut health is fundamentally linked to many disorders including autism, asthma, ADHD, brain toxicity and poor brain function, learning delays, allergies and intolerances. These studies are ongoing and many are not yet accepted by the medical professional in general, however, the evidence is mounting that gut health is vital for proper neurological, psychological and auto-immune functioning. It impacts on the general day to day wellbeing of both children and adults but it’s important to realise that there are many ways that gut health can be improved.
WHAT CAN I DO?
As part of our assessments, Australian Gifted Support Centre may include an appraisal of gut health, where appropriate. This is part of our holistic approach to your child’s wellbeing and, if necessary, recommendations or referrals are outlined in our report.
Contact Australian Gifted Support on 0417 208 562 for further information.