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THE OPTIMAL GUT STACK - EXPLAINED

Did you know that an adult eats about a tonne of food a year? This consumption of this food provides essential nutrients needed for our survival. 

How does our body absorb the essential nutrients which we need? It is the gut which plays a big role in our acquisition of nutrients from food because we are not just what we eat, but what we digest and absorb. Not only does the gut enable the absorption of nutrients, it restricts the entry of pathogens and pathogenic molecules. It’s a key player in immunity. 

Plus, our gut is also closely connected to our brain and liver function making it central to overall health1

However, despite the importance of gut health, it is often neglected and even abused. Antibiotics, poor diets, alcohol, stress - all negatively impact our gut. It’s no wonder why so many of us feel far from our best selves. 

So can fixing the health of our gut help us achieve that SUPERHUM2N status? We think so. Read on to find out why.

The Gut = Central Operating System For Health

Nourishment

Your gut (small and large intestine) is the major site of nutrient absorption. In the small intestine, the products of food digestion are absorbed, including some vitamins and minerals. The large intestine houses our gut microbiota, which represents the largest concentration of microorganisms in the human body2. The trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi not only liberate, but also produce nutrients that we can absorb and utilise. To put it more simply, the gut is the route through which we access the nutrients needed for our bodies to function, making it central to most other systems in the body.

Protection

The gut lining represents a major entry point for microbes, so its integrity is crucial.  From the plethora of microbes, just a few microbes are able to get beyond this barrier in healthy individuals3. However, the barrier function may be impeded, allowing unwanted materials to enter the bloodstream. The so-called “leaky gut” is observed in a number of disease states. Furthermore, the gut is a “training site”  for your immune system, helping it to distinguish between harmful and unharmful substances, e.g. pathogens versus non harmful food proteins. Faults in this training may elicit inappropriate and potentially deadly immune responses such as food allergies4.

Brain Axis

There is a 2-way communication system that connects our enteric and nervous systems, referred to as the gut-brain axis. The two networks are connected anatomically (via the vagus nerve), and also through endocrine, metabolic, and immune communication routes5. To put it simply, our gut is in constant conversation with the brain via multiple channels of communication and plays a role in our functioning, from immunity to hunger-signalling.

Liver Axis

The liver plays a key role in detoxifying the body from toxins coming from the outside as well as from within the body6. Good liver function is the best detox. Moreover, it is the largest immune organ, with an incredible capacity to recruit and activate immune cells in response to gut-derived metabolic or pathogen-derived signals7. The liver receives blood from the gut, so the two systems are very closely interlinked. Interestingly, the gut-derived contents that reach the liver and the gut microbiota have the ability to affect its metabolism, detoxification and immune function among others.

Factors That Can Affect An Optimal Gut

Our diet and lifestyle choices have an overwhelmingly negative effect on both gut and overall health8. This is due to our consumption of high-sugar processed foods, alcohol and the lack of healthful fibre and whole foods in most diets. This combination has an impact on the balance of our intestinal flora. Processed foods have been shown to enhance gut and systemic inflammation, as well as harm the gastrointestinal tract through a variety of mechanisms, including increased gut permeability i.e. “leaky gut.”

HUM2N Gut Healing Approach

The gut is central to your health, which is why we’ve created The Optimal Gut Stack to improve digestion, intestinal functions, regularity and bowel function. It aids the assimilation of macro and micronutrients and the optimal clearing of waste products. It also provides key ingredients that help the body repair and restore gastrointestinal integrity and function as well as support the growth of healthy gut bacteria. This supplement stack includes 5 Gut Healing Supplements along with a personalised Nutritionist Consultation and  Food & Lifestyle Plan.

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Gut Support

Populator is our powerful probiotic, which contains 5 billion live and active microorganisms from eight different bacterial strains, for healthy microbiota restoration. To further support your gut, Populator contains glutamine. During stress, the demand for glutamine in the body increases and levels become inadequate. The gut specifically cannot make the nutrient and. relies on the supply from other tissues and diet. Interestingly, supplementation with glutamine has been shown to improve barrier function and mucosal integrity of the gut, reducing the ability for the bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream through the gaps in the intestinal walls9.

Glutamine is also a key ingredient in our GI Reviver and Revitaliser supplements, which are powerful formulae offering wide-ranging support for optimal gut health and function. They provide therapeutic levels of nutrients that support gut lining repair and help fight inflammation along with ingredients to promote healthy bowel function. These supplements contain N-acetyl-glucosamine which is an important component of polysaccharides, which together with protein components make up the layer that protects the gut wall, especially in the large intestine10.

Digestive Support

The foods we eat are of little value to us if they cannot be absorbed. Whilst we know foods as their macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs), these are too big to be absorbed and they need to be broken down into their constituent parts for absorption. Our Digester supplement contains digestive enzymes to support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, which may ease bloating. 

Liver Support

Earlier in the article, we discussed the close connection between the liver and the gut. Your liver is the best detox, but sometimes it may need a little support. Liver Livener is a comprehensive formula designed to aid in the elimination of toxins and fatty substances from the liver and with the digestion and assimilation of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. It contains Milk Thistle, which is a source of the powerful antioxidant silymarin, which has been shown to have beneficial effects on liver conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver, chronic hepatitis C and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis [11].

Nutritional Support

Gut problems negatively affect the quality of life of millions of people worldwide, hindering education, work and even personal relationships. Whilst one-size-fits-all advice on managing issues such as IBS exists, the journey can be extremely frustrating and disheartening. 

More recent evidence suggests that individuals may benefit from a hyper-personalised nutrition management approach, targeting the restoration of the gut microbiota to a healthier state. The key to successful gut optimisation is a solid physician-patient interaction from diagnosis to management12

At HUM2N, we believe that the key to good health is embracing your individuality. That’s why we go beyond supplements and offer a personalised nutritionist consultation and a food & lifestyle plan -  the key to making your journey to health a SUPERHUM2N one.

REFERENCES 

[1] Vancamelbeke, M., & Vermeire, S. 2017. The intestinal barrier: a fundamental role in health and disease. Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology, 11(9), 821–834. https://doi.org/10.1080/17474124.2017.1343143

[2] Zapata, H.J. and Quagliarello, V.J. 2015. The microbiota and microbiome in aging: potential implications in health and age-related diseases. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 63(4), pp.776-781.

[3] Dommett, R., Zilbauer, M., George, J.T. and Bajaj-Elliott, M. 2005. Innate immune defence in the human gastrointestinal tract. Molecular Immunology. 42(8), pp.903-912.

[4] Nowak-Wegrzyn, A., Szajewska, H. and Lack, G. 2017. Food allergy and the gut. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 14(4), pp.241-257]

[5] Appleton J. 2018. The Gut-Brain Axis: Influence of Microbiota on Mood and Mental Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 17(4), 28–32.

[6] Cline J. C. 2015. Nutritional aspects of detoxification in clinical practice. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 21(3), 54–62.

[7] Szabo, G. 2015. Gut–Liver Axis in Alcoholic Liver Disease. Gastroenterology. 148(1), pp.30-36.

[8] Deters, B.J. and Saleem, M. 2021. The role of glutamine in supporting gut health and neuropsychiatric factors. Food Science and Human Wellness. 10(2), pp.149-154.

[9] DuBourdieu, D. 2021. Chapter 61 - Glutamine supplementation: hope, hype, or stay tuned? In: Gupta, R.C., et al. eds. Nutraceuticals (Second Edition).   Academic Press, pp.1027-1036.

[10] Flint, H. J. 2020. Why Gut Microbes Matter. Fascinating Life Sciences. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-43246-1

[11] Ravari, S.S., Talaei, B. and Gharib, Z. 2021. The effects of silymarin on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Medicine. 26, p100368.

[12] Thomas, A., Thomas, A., & Butler-Sanchez, M. 2021. Dietary Modification for the Restoration of Gut Microbiome and Management of Symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1177/15598276211012968

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