Gut health: How does it influence well-being, anxiety and reflux?

Gut health

An increasing number of doctors, therapists and singing teachers are talking about the importance of gut health in promoting overall well-being and tackling reflux and anxiety.

Life as a pro singer can be demanding, with vocalists under pressure to always be at the top of their game. This can be a tall order, particularly if you’re on the road as late nights and a poor diet (not to mention the temptations of booze, fags and drugs) can play havoc with our immune systems.

Now a growing chorus of experts who work with professional singers are promoting the importance of gut health in helping to maintain overall well-being and immune function, and ward off nasties that can impair performance or even force artists to cancel gigs.

While the science on this is still relatively new, evidence suggests that the bacteria in our gut (the microbiome) is hugely influential over mood, anxiety levels, concentration and inflammation – a major trigger in relation to acid reflux, a concern for many singers.

Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes and Parkinson’s may also be linked to poor gut health.

Here’s what some experts have to say on gut bacteria

In an interview with iSingmag, renowned ENT Dr Benjamin Asher was emphatic about the influence of the micro-biome.

“I consider it a fundamental truth – a big factor in terms of the immune system is the micro-biome and what is growing in the gut.”

The New York doctor treats patients who regularly get sick for yeast (an over-growth of yeast in the gut is bad for our microbiome). He also treats patients with sinusitis for yeast as a matter of course.

Kinesiologist Gary Albert Hughes specialises in treating singers and says gut bacteria plays a huge part in reflux – the number one complaint among his patients.

“I would say 99% of the time the problem is due to an imbalance in your gastric function, healthy gut bacteria, stomach enzymes or hydrochloric acid.”

So if we know our gut health is important, what can we do to support it?

Stephanie Moore, a clinical nutritionist, says: “This is simply done, but needs to be done daily and for the long term.”

There are no quick fixes, or short cuts, but most of it is common sense. First let’s look at what has a negative effect on our gut flora: alcohol, sugar, antibiotics, steroids, gluten, anti-inflammatory medications and stress.

What has a positive impact? Lots of veg, wholefoods, plenty of sleep, and fermented foods such as live yoghurt, water kefir or dairy kefir and kombucha. If you want to read more about the micro-biome and how you can nurture a healthy gut, CLICK HERE.

As with any nutritional or lifestyle advice, a considered approach is needed. If you’re on medication that you think may be impacting your gut health, discuss this with your doctor first, don’t take matters into your own hands.

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