One of the first things you should know about gut health is this thing called dysbiosis. Symbiosis translates to ‘living in harmony.’ Dysbiosis is the opposite, it’s when the bad guys take over. It was first identified by Dr. Eli Metchnikoff in the early 20th century, who won a Nobel Prize for his work. It essentially means there is an imbalance of microbial colonies (bacteria) in the gut.
The good guys are imperative (probiotics—good bacteria) to optimal health. They help us with digestion, absorption, produce vitamins, control the growth of harmful microogranisms, and keep the intestinal cells well fed.
Elizabeth Lipski, PhD cites dysboisis as a cause of arthritis, autoimmune illness, vitamin B deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic acne, eczema, food allergies and sensitivities, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and more.
Symptoms of dysbiosis:
- Digestive issues common in IBS, bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, bad breath, abdominal pain, indigestion
- Chronic fatigue
- Joint pain
- Fatigue & mental fog
- Sugar cravings (including alcohol)
- Weight gain and much more!
So who are the bad guys? There are four major players: fungus/yeast, parasites, viruses and pathogenic bacteria. One of the most common causes of dysbiosis is from taking antibiotics There are certainly times when antibiotics are absolutely necessary for your health, but the Center for Disease Control reports that antibiotics are grossly over-prescribed. The antibiotics kill off the bad guys, but they kill off all of the good guys too. Increased use of NSAIDS is another problem. Abusing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, advil, indomethacin, etc) inhibits growth of healthy bacteria and can cause leaky gut, which can cause a bacterial imbalance.
So, best thing we can do for our gut health is to restore it with serious round of probiotic supplementation. This will realign your gut with healthy bacteria to fight off the bad bacteria that enter our system. AND, exercise and consume foods like organic yogurt, kefir and fermented foods.
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