Campaign on gut, liver health launched in Accra
Leaky gut and diseased liver have been identified as the two emerging medical conditions that contribute to a high burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.
The NCDs include autoimmune, diabetes, stroke, heart, chronic kidney, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, prostate and digestive disorders.
This was disclosed at the launch of the first national campaign on gut and liver health in Accra yesterday following a rise in NCDs.
It was on the theme: "Heal the gut--save the liver.”
It was under the auspices of Save Your Liver Foundation, an NGO, in partnership with actors in health advocacy.
A medical consultant, Dr Nathan Quarcoo, said leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes more permeable than it should be, allowing harmful substances such toxins, undigested food particles and bacteria to pass through the intestinal barrier and enter the bloodstream.
He mentioned the risk factors to include a diet high in processed foods, added sugars, low fibre foods, chronic stress, medication abuse, medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and certain antibiotics.
Other risk factors include excessive alcohol consumption and some environmental factors such as exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants.
“To maintain overall health, it's important to support both gut and liver health through a balanced diet, regular exercise and lifestyle choices that promote a healthy gut and liver function.
“The gut and liver are closely interconnected in several ways, and their health can significantly impact each other.
“The gut is home to a diverse community of microorganisms known as the gut microbiota.
These microbes play a crucial role in digestion and the breakdown of food.
Imbalances in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can lead to the production of harmful substances that may affect the liver,” Dr Quarcoo added.
The President of Save Your Liver Foundation, Nyaaba Aweeba Azongo, said the campaign was to intensify advocacy on gut health as a first recourse to a preventive health culture such as imbibing healthy lifestyles which include eating healthy foods and being physically active.
He said that all diseases began in the gut and, therefore, deliberate efforts must be made to ensure a healthy lifestyle to keep the gut and liver healthy.
Mr Azongo added that considering the vital role of the liver to overall health, it was important to maintain its health at all cost.
"The liver, the largest organ in the body, performs over 500 vital functions daily to keep us alive by removing harmful toxins from nearly 100 gallons of blood per day as part of its functions.
“An unhealthy gut lining may have cracks or holes, allowing partially digested food and toxins to penetrate.
This may trigger inflammation and changes in the function of the gut which could lead to challenges within the digestive tract and beyond.
“When the gut-liver becomes impaired, it affects its ability to filter blood and immediately begin to allow toxins into the bloodstream, a condition referred to as leaky guts that could lead to numerous NCDs,” he added.
Mr Azongo, therefore, advised people to make deliberate efforts to reduce their vulnerabilities to NCDs by doing things that keep their liver and gut healthy at all times.