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Health check: Taking care of your gut

A new study shows most Americans don't know how to look after their gut health.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The topic of gut health has been getting a lot of attention. Research shows it can affect our bodies from the brain to the heart, and even the skin.

A new study from healthcare company MDVIP and research firm Ipsos showed two-thirds of American adults experience digestive symptoms like gas and abdominal pain but don't talk to their doctor about it.

Dr. Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer of MDVIP, said, "Millions of Americans suffer from gastrointestinal issues that not only affect their quality of life but are also linked to serious health conditions ranging from diabetes and heart disease to Alzheimer's and autoimmune disorders."

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Dr. Klemes explained the gut, which starts at the mouth, holds 70 to 80% of our immune system.

"Many people are looking for a magic pill, but the best way to a healthier gut is through the food you eat," added Dr. Klemes. "Start with the dynamic duo of probiotics and prebiotics, which work together in promoting the good bacteria in your gut. Examples are yogurt, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid highly processed foods, which compromise the gut microbiome. With simple dietary changes, a little can go a long way."

The survey also revealed 85% taking a Gut IQ quiz failed it.

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Dr. Klemes said, "We want to help people understand that they don't have to suffer in silence and that their issues are real and likely treatable. They need to talk to a primary care doctor who makes them feel comfortable and will take the time to listen and get to the root of their symptoms."

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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