World Digestive Health Day 2023: Understanding The Role Of A Healthy Gut Beyond Digestion

World Digestive Health Day tries to create awareness around good digestive health. The theme for the World Digestive Health Day 2023 is "Your Digestive Health: A Healthy Gut From the Start."

World Digestive Health Day 2023: Understanding The Role Of A Healthy Gut Beyond Digestion

Your gut affects your immune system, mental health and much more

We often assume that the digestive system is just a place where food goes, but it turns out that the gut has a far greater effect on our digestive and overall health. The gut, sometimes known as the "second brain," is not only responsible for digestion but also has a significant impact on our immune system, mental health and even disease prevention.

The gut: More than just digestion

The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, that make up the microbiome. This microbiome is like a thriving community that interacts with our body in a variety of ways. Strong immunity, proper digestion, nutrient absorption and protection from harmful infections all depend on a healthy microbiome.

The gut health and its role

Our immune system is one area where gut health is critical. The gut contains a major portion of our immune cells. Our immune system works properly when our microbiota is balanced and diversified. When there is an imbalance, it can cause allergies, autoimmune illnesses, and even some malignancies.

Did you know that our gut can influence our mood and mental health? The gut and the brain have a particular relationship. They communicate with one another via nerves, hormones, and chemicals. An unbalanced gut microbiome can affect how the brain functions, causing problems like depression and anxiety as well as illnesses like Alzheimer's.


Diagnosis of gut health involves comprehensive screening of both the upper gastrointestinal (GI) and lower GI tracts. This screening aims to assess the overall condition and functioning of the digestive system, aiding in the early detection and diagnosis of various gut-related disorders. Thorough screenings of the upper and lower GI tracts enable assessment of gut health, facilitating early intervention, appropriate treatment, and prevention of complications in various digestive disorders. Regular screenings, especially for high-risk individuals, contribute to improved management of overall gut health.

Nurturing Your Gut

A healthy gut microbiome can reduce inflammation, improve liver function, and prevent the progression of liver disorders. So, how can we maintain gut health? It's easy! Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt. These foods provide our gut with the nutrition and advantageous microbes it needs.

For gut health, stress reduction, regular exercise, and enough sleep are all essential. Stress can disrupt our gut microbiota and digestion, so finding methods to unwind is essential. Being physically active and getting enough sleep both contribute to a healthier gut.

(Dr. Pradeepta Kumar Shethy, MD, DM, Director - Department of Gastroenterology, Medical Superspeciality Hospital, Kolkata)

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