The Gut is the Gateway to Overall Health

The gut, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract, is truly a gateway to overall health. The gut microbiome is an ecosystem of organisms including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoa throughout the digestive tract. The GI tract influences far more than digestive health. Gut health contributes to optimizing the, immune system, endocrine system, nervous system, integumentary system, reproductive system and much more.

The diversity of the microbiome is crucial for our health. There is 10 times the amount of bacteria in our body than our own cells, and the majority of this bacteria is found within our digestive system. Depending how we feed this bacteria, they can either work with us (eubiosis) or against us (dysbiosis). The bacteria in our gut can signal and influence our immune cells, hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes.

The gastrointestinal system contains 90 percent of the body’s happy hormone, serotonin, and 50 percent of the motivation, dopamine. These neurotransmitters closely influence of the brain, yet are made in the gut. This is because the vagus nerve, or “gut-brain connection”, is like a major highway that is highly integrated between the gut and the brain. When the gut is healthy and the body isn’t under chronic stress, the vagus nerve can communicate with the brain much more efficiently. An unhealthy gut and stressed individual can create depression, anxiety, OCD, tremors and much more, due to the malfunction of this mechanism.

Approximately 70 percent of our immune system is housed in the gut, which affects nearly every system in the body.

Ross Marchegiani, DC, MSCN, specializes in hormone dysregulation and weight loss with an emphasis on a sound nutritional foundation at Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center, located at 310 Lambs Gap Rd., in Mechanicsburg. For more information, call 717-795-9566 or visit

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