17

votes

How do we measure gut health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Gut health is something we discuss a lot in the paleosphere, and is critically important to our overall health. My question is, what does gut health actually look like? How do we know if we have a problem or not, or how to tell if we are getting better?

How much gas should there be and what should it smell like? I have read reports of there being less odor and less of it total. That said, prebiotic foods get digested by gut bacteria and produce gas as a result, and it seems to be paleo conventional wisdom that feeding the right gut bacteria is a good thing. What are the warning signs here? Primarily smell?

What does a healthy BM look like? Diarrhea seems like an obvious warning sign, but "constipation" is less clear to me. I prefer harder movements that don't require any wiping, but is this actually healthy? Plant intake seems to alter the composition more than anything else - how digested should/can most plant matter be?

Indigestion is another warning sign, though I don't experience that myself. Cramps would be another one.

What are your thoughts and experiences? Is there any solid research about this? Thanks in advance everyone!

97ffbac59e88bdff6495d0a9b6f70ff7

(555)

on March 08, 2012
at 12:00 AM

are undigested bits a clear indicator of bad digestive health? My stools regularly have undigested food in them (carrots, dark greens, nuts, even coconut flesh).

0bf4aaa16b8532ca8fb773d86900d153

(203)

on January 19, 2012
at 08:46 PM

Thank you Nacy. What i want to say. Is If you are in the wilderness in surival. Diarrhea can be dangerous cause you loose water and minerals. In a area of abundanceit can be ok. cause it flushes things out and after in my life my digestion went realy good after i had flushy poop. Sorry sometimes my art of expression is like a gramatical and spelling blackhole.

D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:23 AM

How do you get it so fizzy? I love my water kefir, but by the time it gets to the glass it's day-old-club-soda disappointing fizzy, not tingly-

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 18, 2012
at 11:46 PM

@JitzGrrl, I think your list is pretty close. My only difference is on #3, my daily fizzy water kefir tends to produce burps but nothing bad happens. I think it's just that fizzy!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 18, 2012
at 11:43 PM

I don't agree with the down votes here. I've had cases where I've tried a new probiotic, had a one-time experience as described above, then been fine. So diarrhea is frequently a warning sign of trouble but not always.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:47 PM

Oh Renee, how many things can go wrong with the gut!

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:39 PM

Here are the ROME criteria used by docs to diagnose IBS, GERD etc. http://www.romecriteria.org/assets/pdf/19_RomeIII_apA_885-898.pdf My own $0.02 is that if the function of your gut distracts/impedes/bothers/tortures you on a regular basis, it's a problem. If it doesn't, consider yourself lucky.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:26 PM

A healthy gut is one that is never on your radar. You only notice it if you have food poisoning or do some extreme eating. Its like when you were a kid and digestion was not even a potential for thought.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:22 PM

Interesting question. It is often quite hard to define what is normal.

  • F8fa4b0809d3b74fcf0361c0d53b60c1

    asked by

    (911)
  • Views
    2.6K
  • Last Activity
    1426D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

2 Answers

11
D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on January 18, 2012
at 10:39 PM

Having come from unhealthy gut, I can tell you what I notice and count as improvements

1) no digestive pain. That is, no pressure in the stomach or upper GI, no shooting pains in the lower GI, no painfully constipated BMs.

2) reasonable consistency. On the Bristol stool chart, Type 3 or 4 are best. No undigested bits. No-wipe types, as long as they're easy to pass and not an indication of diminished bowel peristalsis, are fine; so are those that require a quick wipe.

3) minimal, non-odorous gas. I find burping means I'm short on digestive enzymes for the volume of food I just consumed. Probiotics, after the very first initial adjustment, don't result in extra gas for me in any way. Odors correlate with dysbiosis for me.

4) clear fulfillable urges. I don't necessarily think one needs a BM every single day, although i do think daily is typical. Your body should say 'go', you excuse yourself, and you're done in five minutes. I still find myself revisiting multiple times a morning, so I've got some work to do, but that seems to be the most logical evolutionarily.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 18, 2012
at 11:46 PM

@JitzGrrl, I think your list is pretty close. My only difference is on #3, my daily fizzy water kefir tends to produce burps but nothing bad happens. I think it's just that fizzy!

D5a4ff096a452a84a772efa0e6bc626e

(2486)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:23 AM

How do you get it so fizzy? I love my water kefir, but by the time it gets to the glass it's day-old-club-soda disappointing fizzy, not tingly-

97ffbac59e88bdff6495d0a9b6f70ff7

(555)

on March 08, 2012
at 12:00 AM

are undigested bits a clear indicator of bad digestive health? My stools regularly have undigested food in them (carrots, dark greens, nuts, even coconut flesh).

2
0bf4aaa16b8532ca8fb773d86900d153

on January 18, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Diarrhea seems like an obvious warning sign" It dont has to be a warning sign. it can be a detox and ofter the flushy poop everything is fine again.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 18, 2012
at 11:43 PM

I don't agree with the down votes here. I've had cases where I've tried a new probiotic, had a one-time experience as described above, then been fine. So diarrhea is frequently a warning sign of trouble but not always.

0bf4aaa16b8532ca8fb773d86900d153

(203)

on January 19, 2012
at 08:46 PM

Thank you Nacy. What i want to say. Is If you are in the wilderness in surival. Diarrhea can be dangerous cause you loose water and minerals. In a area of abundanceit can be ok. cause it flushes things out and after in my life my digestion went realy good after i had flushy poop. Sorry sometimes my art of expression is like a gramatical and spelling blackhole.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!