The gut microbiome is a vast ecosystem of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoans that live in our digestive pipes, which collectively weigh up to 2kg (heavier than the average brain).
It is increasingly treated by scientists as an organ in its own right. Each gut contains approximately 100 trillion microorganisms. The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species.
Unregulated gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:
- Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and anti inflammatory drugs
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods.
- Diets low in fermentable fibres.
- Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut.
- Chronic stress.
- Chronic infections.
10 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut:
1. Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhoea
2. Food allergies or sensitivities
5. Mood swings, irritability
6. Skin problems like eczema, rosacea
8. Autoimmune disease
9. Frequent Infections
10. Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD
Four Basic Steps to Help You Restore Your Gut Health
1. Remove bad bacteria
The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the gut, such as inflammatory foods, infections, and irritants like alcohol, caffeine, or drugs.
Inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and sugar, can lead to food sensitivities. Infections can be from parasites, yeast, or bacteria. A comprehensive stool analysis is key to determining the levels of good bacteria as well as any infections that may be present.
2. Replace good bacteria
Add back in the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption that may have been depleted by diet, drugs (such as antacid medications) diseases or ageing. This includes digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile acids that are required for proper digestion.
Restoring beneficial bacteria to re-establish a healthy balance of good bacteria is critical. This may be accomplished by taking a probiotic supplement that contains beneficial bacteria. Also taking a prebiotic (food for the good bacteria) supplement or consuming foods high in soluble fibre is important. Probiotics are good bacteria and yeasts that naturally live inside our body. These organisms are also found in some food sources such as yogurts, and other fermented food. Probiotics are also called beneficial flora, which help us absorb nutrients, improve our immune system, and even produce the important components that our body needs. These probiotics are found all over the body, some in the gut, while some also live in the vagina.
Probiotics recycle and metabolise hormones such as oestrogen’s, thyroid hormones, and phytoestrogens from supplements and food sources. Probiotics can also relieve menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness, vaginal infections,pain during sex, incontinence, vaginal atrophy, irritability, weight gain, and more.
Providing the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself is essential. A recommended supplement is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps rejuvenate the gut wall lining. Other key nutrients include zinc, omega oils (Udos Oil), vitamin A, C, and E, as well as herbs such as aloe vera. Women especially can be effected by gut health, the most overlooked elements of hormonal balance (includes menopause, thyroid issues, oestrogen excess). The microbiome is now considered an endocrine organ, some consider it even more powerful than the other endocrine glands – it controls the production and inhibits or supports hormonal balance.
When it comes to ensuring your health, the right amount of good microbiomes in your gut impacts everything, from your cognitive health and your immune system to your metabolism, energy levels, and muscular strength.