Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 5 years you would have heard the term ‘gut health’ being discussed by everyone from medical professions and wellness advocates to celebrity chefs and social media influencers. It seems that our gut – or at least the bacteria in our gut – directly influence a myriad of pathways that ultimately effect our health. Everything from weight management, skin health, auto-immunity and even mental health issues are linked to the state of our gut.
I’ve had the good fortune of connecting with the world’s best experts in this space through our podcast The Health Sessions where I uncover the latest thinking and share my discoveries with you. Experts like Dr Michael Ruscio, Dr David Perlmutter and Dr. Allison Siebecker to name but a few have really helped me focus on improving my gut health. Before I get into the details, it’s important to note that my gut health was ok(ish) before I started to experiment, but I knew after connecting with the experts that it really was worth improving.
So what did I glean from the conversations and what 2 things made the biggest impact for MY gut health? …
1) Installing A Water Filter At Home
I had a fascinating conversation with Nicole Bijlsma, a building biologist on creating a healthy home environment. During our conversation I asked Nicole where we should start when wanting to ‘quickly’ improve our overall health and she said a single word… water. Drink clean, filtered, unchlorinated water, in her words – “You don’t want to be drinking, ingesting chlorinated water because chlorine is the strongest antibacterial”. After many hours of podcasting with gut experts I’d never even considered the obvious:
- We’re drinking litres of chlorinated water every day
- Chlorine is a highly effective antibacterial agent
- Our gut contains beneficial bacteria that we want to protect
Empowered with this information, I did some homework and decided to install an UltraCeram® Twin Undersink water filter that guaranteed to remove 99.9% of chlorine. When I say ‘I installed’, that’s not exactly true, I used a specialist and the unit with installation cost $500. I’ve since found out that you can pick up the same system at Bunnings for around $200. At home we only drink from the filtered tap and use it for all food prep and cooking etc, and the normal tap is used for washing dishes. I’ll fill up a 2L stainless steel drinking bottle at home and drink it throughout the day while at work.
2) Consuming Collagen Every Day
In mid 2019 we added Collagen Powder to our supplement range. This was due to the growing body of scientific research and overwhelming customer requests. The theory behind the benefits for collagen supplementation is that 1) we lose collagen as we age and 2) many of us favour lean muscle meats over the nose-to-tail options that typically contain more of the collagen rich connective tissue, so we’re just not eating it.
The connection to gut health is linked to our intestinal walls that are made up of microscopic folds which are actually built of collagen. The amino acids in collagen quite literally, ‘seal the leak’ or perforations by supporting cellular health and tissue growth. This sounded like a very beneficial addition to my daily routine as I don’t consume a great deal of organ meats (not in smoothies anyway).
Since collagen powder is unflavoured and easily mixed I decided to add it to my morning smoothie to see how I felt. On that note, I do think the daily smoothies have played a big part in nurturing my gut health as they offer two BIG benefits:
- They’re easy for the gut to digest due to being blended
- It’s an easy way to consume LOTS of nutrients very quickly
So How Did These 2 Things Impact MY Gut Health?
It’s important to note that over the last 12 months I haven’t changed my diet (which is largely whole food based) or my exercise routine in any way. In the past I’ve spent a small fortune on gut-specific supplements including pre/probiotics and undertaken a host of microbiome, gut permeability and food sensitivity testing with no obvious positive effects.
It’s been around 12 months since I introduced both of the strategies outlined above and the changes have been profound and include:
- Zero bloating, gas and wind
- Normalised bowl movements
- Good tolerance to previously problematic foods
- Clearer skin & reduced brain fog
- Better quality sleep (more trackable REM & Deep phases)
So there you have it, before you spend hours of your time and countless dollars striving to improve your gut health, consider my strategies above.
Learn More About Gut Health Below:
- Michael Ruscio – Healthy Gut Healthy You
- Do You Have Healthy Gut Bacteria? Find Out With This Simple Checklist – Dr David Perlmutter
- 6 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health