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The ScoopIs your gut making you tired?

Part six of a seven-part series

Everyone feels a little tired or sluggish every once in a while, but now more than ever, people complain of feeling constantly worn out and always running on an empty tank of energy. In fact, a recent survey conducted by OnePoll, found that three in five Americans feel more tired now than they’ve ever been in their lives.

Of course, there are numerous health and lifestyle factors at the root of ongoing fatigue, but one major factor that many people overlook is gut health.

This article will cover the correlation between your gut and how energetic you feel during the day, plus offer some suggestions for boosting energy levels by improving gut health.

Your gut is your main channel for receiving nutrition

Food is your body’s fuel—it provides you with the energy you need to function. Your body is constantly creating energy within your cells, and that energy production is dependent on nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and zinc. 

Your gut is the main channel for receiving nutrients from food, so it directly impacts your energy levels. When your gut health is compromised or out of balance, it means you won’t be able to break down food and absorb all the nutrients needed to produce energy.

A very common symptom of poor gut health is feeling tired and sluggish.

There’s also a link between a dip in energy levels after eating a very large meal—often referred to as a “food coma”.  This occurs because your body will increase blood flow to your gut since it’s the system working the hardest at the time. The result is a slightly decreased blood supply to other organ systems, which causes fatigue. 

Your gut helps you maintain stable blood sugar levels

You've probably experienced the effects of climbing and crashing blood sugar. When you eat a sugary treat it creates an instant boost of energy as your blood sugar rises, but as your body responds, your blood sugar crashes and brings your energy level down with it. 

Recent research indicates that a healthy gut supported by probiotics can help your body maintain healthy blood sugar levels and provide you with a more consistent flow of energy throughout the day. 

For example, The American Diabetes Association ran a study which found taking probiotics can help your body’s natural ability to achieve optimal insulin and glucose levels. 

A healthy gut contributes to healthy sleep

We learned in part four of this series that nearly 90% of your body’s serotonin (the feel-good hormone) comes from your gut. Serotonin is associated with mood and it’s also associated with sleep.

When your serotonin levels are normal, you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed. Your body also uses serotonin to make melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

If the bad bacteria in your gut starts to overtake the good bacteria, the disruption could alter the amount of serotonin produced, affecting mood and sleep in a negative way.

Research shows a strong connection between good gut bacteria and good sleep.

Scientists in Japan recently studied the impact of probiotics on a group of students who were preparing to take an exam. Students were divided into two groups—one group drank a placebo beverage every day, while the other group drank a probiotic beverage. By the end of the study, the students in the probiotic group were enjoying more, higher-quality sleep than those in the placebo group—suggesting that a healthy gut, supported by probiotics, contributes to healthy sleep during times of stress.

We know that a healthy gut is essential to maintaining overall health, and the best way to support your gut is to consume probiotics, high-fiber, prebiotic foods, and digestive enzymes.

Follow the good-gut-health tips in part one of this series to work on improving your gut microbiome. It can help your whole body feel physically healthier, plus boost energy levels and improve your quality of sleep!

Gut health series:

Your gut is the gateway to good health (part 1) 

How does gut health affect your skin? (part 2)  

For a balanced immune system, look to your gut (part 3)  

Improve your mood by improving your gut health (part 4)

How a healthy gut can be the key to a healthy heart (part 5)