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Five surprising reasons your gut health matters

By Vivante, an Accolade Trusted Partner | September 06, 2023 | 3 min read

Digestive health might not always be top of mind, but the impacts of a poorly managed gut are far-reaching and can significantly affect your life. In a recent webinar, we explored the multifaceted aspects of digestive health and its profound influence on overall well-being. Let's delve into five key takeaways from this webinar. 

Poorly managed gut health can have ripple effects 

What is gut health? “It’s stomach aches, it's heartburn, it's Crohn's disease, it's high-cost biologics, it's colonoscopies, it's the gut microbiome and the things that you eat,” said Chris Nordman, Senior Vice President of Commercial at Vivante Health. 

Ignoring digestive health–even seemingly minor symptoms–can lead to debilitating outcomes. Issues like constipation and acid reflux may signal larger health matters and lead to complex behavioral health challenges. When you address a problem early, you have more options and better chances of successfully managing potential issues. 

The gut affects mental health 

People don’t often discuss the emotional and psychological dimensions of digestive health. Nordman noted that feelings of fear, isolation, and embarrassment often accompany digestive conditions, which can take a toll on mental well-being. "What if my colleagues see me running off to the bathroom too frequently? What if I'm late for an important meeting?" These are real anxieties that individuals face

Gut health impacts physical well-being 

In a thought-provoking segment of the webinar, Nordman explored how digestive health extends to seemingly unrelated areas of the body. He shared a personal anecdote highlighting the astonishing impact of an unhealthy gut on a family member's chronic eye inflammation. This emphasized the importance of finding root causes rather than merely addressing symptoms.  

There’s a link between gut health and immunity 

Gut health has an intricate connection with overall well-being. One staggering report found that over 90% of the body's serotonin originates in the gut, and significant portions of immune cells live there as well. [1] This revelation underscores the vital role that gut health plays in emotional and physical health. 

"The gut-brain connection couldn't be more relevant here," Nordman stated, reinforcing the idea that gut health and emotional well-being are inherently intertwined. 

Digestive health has hidden costs 

Nordman categorized the hidden costs of digestive health and illustrated the complexity of understanding their true impact. These costs include people who silently suffer or self-medicate, which can potentially lead to escalated medical interventions down the line, as well as structural challenges around how claims are categorized. For example, there are more than 850 ICD codes related to digestive disease, although they're often miscategorized, underrepresenting the true cost of digestive health. Vivante Health can help organizations gain a better grasp of the true costs of these expenditures, where they lie hidden in claims codes or are underrepresented due to disease stigma and associated chronic conditions. 

It’s time to prioritize digestive health 

Gastrointestinal conditions rank as the second leading cause of missed workdays, just behind the flu. Beyond the financial implications, these conditions can place an immense physical, emotional, and financial burden on employees. However, there is an answer. Many people have found relief through comprehensive care solutions using GIThrive®, Vivante’s all-in-one digital gut health program.  

Interested in learning more? Watch the full webinar on demand.  You can also get tips on managing gut health, request a Vivante Health demo, or contact Accolade.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526216/

Disclaimer: This blog post is a condensed and paraphrased version of Chris Nordman's webinar on digestive health. For complete and accurate information, please refer to the original webinar recording

Vivante Health is an innovative digital health company reinventing the way chronic conditions are managed, gut first. Our all-in-one digital gut health program, GIThrive, empowers people—through clever technology, advanced science, and on-demand human support—to spend less time feeling sick and more time living life. Vivante is part of Accolade's Trusted Partner Ecosystem which exists to simplify benefits selection for our customers and drive a more integrated experience for our members. 

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