Gut Health and Circadian Rhythms: The link to staying healthy
We’ve all heard those key tips to be healthy and feel energized, and we know our body responds well to them.
But, did you ever wonder how exactly does your body work to keep you healthy?
It’s been proven that there’s a surprising connection between your gut health and circadian rhythms that determine whether you stay healthy or feel unwell.
So, first things first, what are Gut Health and Circadian Rhythms?
Our gut is the main location of our microbiota, which is microorganisms that include bacteria.
Having a healthy gut microbiome means having good bacteria in your gut which is essential to having a healthy body. And that’s because gut health impacts more than just our gut.
In fact, gut health affects our entire body, from our digestive tract to our immune system and mental health.
Our gut breaks down the food we eat to deliver the nutrients to the rest of our organs through our bloodstream. A healthy gut fights off infections, produces energy, eliminates waste, and communicates with our mind through nerves and hormones among other functions to maintain our well-being.
Circadian Rhythms are basically our body’s internal clocks. They are 24-hour cycles that help our body optimize different processes at different points of time in the cycle.
One of the most well-known circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle or day and night, which is influenced by light.
The circadian rhythms in our body are connected to an internal clock, known as the circadian pacemaker, located in our brain.
This circadian pacemaker sends signals through our body to regulate its activities.
Simply put, our internal clocks play vital roles in making sure the systems of our bodies are functioning correctly, whether it is our sleep schedule, metabolism, blood sugar, and even mental health.
How are the two connected?
Well, experts have shown that the trillions of intestinal bacteria found in our gut have their own circadian rhythms.
Thus, those rhythms impact our gut and overall health and well-being.
However, contrary to the sleep-wake cycle, our gut bacteria is not exposed to light to regulate its activity, so it relies on what we eat, when we eat, and on our body’s sleep-wake circadian rhythm.
Our circadian rhythm and gut microbiome are therefore linked. When one is thrown out of balance, it affects the other, and vice versa.
Our sleeping and food intake patterns will ultimately determine our gut health and circadian rhythms, hence our health. They are essential for preventing circadian rhythm and gut health imbalances that lead to diseases such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
Going back to the tips at the beginning of the blog, they couldn’t be more true.
At the end of the day, our body has a set of systems and processes that it needs to go through in order to function properly. When we don’t give our body the rest it deserves by sleeping enough hours or when we having erratic eating patterns like skipping meals or eating a lot late at night, this creates imbalances in our circadian rhythms and increase the risk of developing gut disorders.
Bottom line, consistency in maintaining healthy sleep, meal timings, regular exercise and limiting unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol, and high stress levels keeps our gut health and circadian rhythms in balance and this restores our overall wellbeing!