Our gut and our immune system are very closely connected. In fact, 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut. Therefore, it is of a great importance for us to have a healthy gut.
Our gut is healthy when we have a proper balance of good and bad bacteria. Having an unhealthy gut can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, weight gain, diabetes, eczema, depression, anxiety, even cancer.
You may think there is nothing wrong with your gut if you have regular bathroom habits. However, the truth doesn’t say the same: you don’t need to have gut symptoms to have problems with your gut. Many gut problems are asymptomatic. It is stated that 22% of people may not have gut symptoms at all, when in fact, their small intestines can be damaged.
Knowing this, you’re already taking probiotics, medicines, eating fermented food, drinking kombucha to keep your gut healthy or heal it. However, there is no improvement at all or the improvement seems to be a very slow process.
So, how long does it take to heal your gut?
When you heal your gut, you heal all your body.
The surface area of the human gastrointestinal tract is around 300 square meters, which is the size of a tennis court. The intestine is the most highly regenerative organ in our body. In the small intestine, there are absorptive cells called enterocytes that constantly regenerate, so every two to three weeks, you have an entirely new gut lining.
According to a study, if you are healthy and don’t have inflammatory issues, food sensitives, autoimmunity, the gut healing time is between 2 and 12 weeks.
A study from Harvard focused on the power of the food we eat. They found significant changes in the gut bacteria occurring 3 days after a dietary change. However, many people who try to heal their gut have other health problems like candida overgrowth, blood sugar issues, SIBO, Lyme disease, leaky gut syndrome; therefore, the process of healing their gut goes slowly. This means they’re on the autoimmune-inflammation spectrum.
Well, let us first understand the autoimmune-inflammation spectrum.
When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body. It starts with the slow burn of inflammation which can spread for years before you get the proper diagnosis.
In other words, your immune system needs to destroy a great amount of let’s say your gut, brain, thyroid first, so you to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. For example, multiple sclerosis is diagnosed after a great destruction of the neurological and digestive systems. This doesn’t happen suddenly, however. It’s the final stage.
The autoimmune spectrum disorder has 3 main stages:
1. Silent autoimmunity: there are positive antibody labs but no symptoms to be noticed.
2. Autoimmune reactivity: you have positive symptoms and antibody labs.
3. Autoimmune disease: there’s enough body destruction to be diagnosed with a specific condition.
A great percentage of people are in stage 2; they are still damaged but aren’t that sick to be diagnosed with autoimmune disease.
Taking food allergies and sensitivities into account.
So, how can you start healing the inflammation in your gut? The best advice is to take care of what food you eat.
According to researchers, food reactivities like gluten sensitivity are just the initial stage of one end of the larger inflammation spectrum, with autoimmune diseases like celiac disease (CD) on the opposite end. As we stated, in order for you to be diagnosed with CD, there needs to be significant damage to the intestinal microvilli. Many people who have this disease, instead of having symptoms related to the disease, they experience other symptoms like depression or problems with the skin.
Consequently, only 5 % of celiacs are ever being diagnosed. Around 3 million Americans have no idea that they have this disease. Also, 15-20 % of us don’t know we’re sensitive to gluten. So, if these people eat food that contains gluten just one time, the reduction of the inflammation and antibody levels can take up to 6 months.
In the end, if you have serious problems with your gut, and you want to know where you stand with it, don’t wait. Get appropriate labs and proper functional medicine work-up. Even though it may be a slow process, stay disciplined in the practice of your health habits and never hesitate to ask for a professional help.