ood Health is Everything! Nothing can be as hard or painful in life as helplessly watching your loved one wane away with illness despite all the wealth, advanced technology and medicines.

Over the last 20 years I have watched patients queue up at the waiting area of my Integrated Medical Center in Bangalore desperate for even a ray of hope from the Doctor, that all is going to be well and life would eventually get back to normalcy.

Patients battling cancer, heart conditions, alzheimer’s, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, Parkinson’s, dementia and even depression, all had two key factors in common – 1. Poor Gut Health 2.Huge emotional baggage leading to extremely toxic physical and mental states.

The first step of all their treatment was Detox – Gut first and then the mind. Simple logic: unless the system is cleaned up, the body is incapable of absorbing and acting upon the best of treatment.

Your gut is home for bacteria that not only turn the food you gulp down into nutrients, they also play a vital role in the way your entire body works…including building a stronger immune system, balancing your hormones and even the way you think and experience the world.

You have trillions of bacteria in your body, in fact, you have more of them than you have cells. Each one of them is responsible for a very specific function in your body. The ‘good kind’ are responsible to fight and keep the ‘bad kind’ in check. Your gut environment is considered to be ‘in equilibrium’ when good bacteria can multiply so often that the unhealthy kind don’t have space to grow.

Studies have found that if you have too much of a certain kind of bad bacteria you’re more likely to have Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Constipation, GERD, Acidity.

In fact changes in the balance of good bacteria may play a role in conditions like autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and depression, as well as chronic pain.

Gut bacteria and unhealthy weight gain:
An unhealthy balance in your gut microbiome may upset the switch in your brain that toggles between feeling hungry or full. The gut bacteria can influence the pituitary gland, which makes hormones that help set your appetite. Thus begins the unhealthy relationship with food.

Here’s a study…not meant for the dinner table conversation of course:
A landmark study in 2006 showed that when scientists transplanted the stool of obese mice into germ-free mice, they became obese. However, when they transplanted the stool of lean mice into similarly germ-free mice, they did not. Later the studied was repeated with the stool from human twins — one obese and one lean — and showed that transplanting stool from the obese twin into germ-free mice led to increased fat mass in the mice, but this did not occur when transplanting stool from the lean twin.

Many people, who pride themselves on being vegetarian, think they are eating a healthy diet. To them and to the rest of us, I offer this thought-provoking quote:
‘Vegetarianism’ was coined in 1842 and has in fact nothing to do with vegetables. It comes from the Latin ‘vegetare’ meaning ‘to enliven’. – The Vegetarian Society

True vegetarians therefore are those that include ‘living’ and ‘raw’ foods in their diet. What are ‘living’ and ‘raw’ foods? These are foods that contain enzymes. In general, the act of heating food over 47 degrees C destroys enzymes. (Enzymes start to degrade in temperatures as low as 41 degrees C). All cooked food is devoid of enzymes.

Furthermore, cooking changes the molecular structure of food and renders it toxic. Living and raw foods also have much higher nutrient values than foods that have been cooked. In India, we cook foods to death.

Poor Gut health and Thyroid dysfunction:
Gut microbiota also influences the absorption of minerals that are important to the thyroid, including iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron. All of them are essential for thyroid function and there is a clear link between thyroid dysfunction and altered levels of these minerals.

Poor Gut health and PCOS:
Many studies have shown that gut microbiota played an important role in PCOS occurrence and development of high-fat diet induced PCOS. Compared with healthy people, the variety of bacteria strains required for different functions was decreased, the composition changed, and the intestinal barrier was damaged.

The risk of diabetes in PCOS patients is higher than that in normal women. PCOS patients have insulin resistance of different degrees, especially in obese patients. Insulin resistance and obesity can aggravate the disorder.

Poor gut health and Infertility:
When the gut microbiota is imbalanced, it can trigger chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body, including the reproductive organs, disrupting hormone production and signaling, potentially leading to irregular menstrual cycles, ovulation problems, and decreased sperm quality and deficiencies in key nutrients required for reproductive health, such as folate and iron.

Poor Gut health and Malnourishment:
Oh yes…wealthy people eating an extremely good diet can also be malnourished. Your gut is responsible for the absorption of nutrients from your diet. Some gut bacteria are even responsible for producing certain vitamins. A clogged up gut filled with fecal matter can neither absorb nutrients nor can it house the required good bacteria and you would end up with an impaired nutrient absorption, leading to deficiencies like vitamin D.

Poor gut health and systemic disorders – autoimmune & skin:
An unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This can lead to autoimmune diseases (including skin conditions like psoriasis), where the body attacks itself rather than harmful invaders.

How do we alter this condition?
Good news! It’s easy and almost effortless!

Detox first! – A thorough physical and mental Detox! Let go of the baggage you have been carrying both in your gut and in your mind. Colon Hydrotherapy, an age-old natural therapy, documented to be a safe and simple method to rid your body off piled up fecal matter and unwanted bad bacteria. Probiotics post detox is key.

Mental & Emotional Detox:
Your Gut is your second brain. Every thought you are thinking is creating a biochemical reaction in your body. (I have probably repeated this statement a million times and find it extremely important to reiterate it, yet again!). Unless you are going to unload your emotional and mental baggage, the gut environment isn’t going to be conducive for the good bacteria. With an unhealthy gut, your thought process isn’t going to be exactly – healthy or happy.
The gut – brain axis is a two way street. By maintaining a healthy gut-brain axis you significantly reduce your risk of developing emotionally debilitating issues like depression and dementia.

Time & Money:
We set aside budgets for life insurances and health insurances and we invest in mutual funds for our retirement, FD’s and RD’s for holidays and celebrations, and even create an education fund for childrens’ future. The most important aspect in all this, is for us to remain healthy and maintain sanity in the middle of all the chaos life is throwing at you. What is the budget you have allocated to stay healthy? Most of my clients struggle with time to allocate for focusing on their own health. Ever calculated the amount of time, effort and money you might have to spend for – illness? Consider the agony of your family members, when even one single member in the family falls sick.

Set a budget and build yourself a team of – naturopath, psychologist, personal trainer and nutritionist, and ask them to work around your busy schedule. There are several therapies, diets and exercises that require a small investment of time and money and render very encouraging results. Health is everything! Make this new year’s resolution a time to invest in yourself. “Our actions and decisions today will shape how we will be living in the future. Do something today – that your future self will thank you for.”

The author of this article Dr. Ashmita Boopathy Moturi, is a Doctor of Naturopathy, a PhD. in Psychology and has completed her Masters in Medical Engineering. She is the founder of NineO2 Detox and Wellness Centre and the Director of Wishing Well Centre for Integrative Medicine.