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Table 1 Gut health and gastrointestinal healtha

From: 'Gut health': a new objective in medicine?

Five major criteria for a healthy GI system Specific signs of GI health
Effective digestion and absorption of food Normal nutritional status and effective absorption of food, water and minerals
Regular bowel movement, normal transit time and no abdominal pain
Normal stool consistency and rare nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and bloating
Absence of GI illness No acid peptic disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease or other gastric inflammatory disease
No enzyme deficiencies or carbohydrate intolerances
No IBD, coeliac disease or other inflammatory state
No colorectal or other GI cancer
Normal and stable intestinal microbiota No bacterial overgrowth
Normal composition and vitality of the gut microbiome
No GI infections or antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
Effective immune status Effective GI barrier function, normal mucus production and no enhanced bacterial translocation
Normal levels of IgA, normal numbers and normal activity of immune cells
Immune tolerance and no allergy or mucosal hypersensitivity
Status of well-being Normal quality of life
'Qi (ch'i)', or positive gut feeling
Balanced serotonin production and normal function of the enteric nervous system
  1. aGI, gastrointestinal; IBD, inflammatory bowel disease; IgA, immunoglobulin A.