What is the gut microbiome & why is it so important?
Our gut is home to a large population of bacteria which play very important roles in our immune system, in keeping our gut lining healthy, aiding digestive processes, supporting nutrient absorption, aiding metabolism and detoxification(essential biochemical processes in the body), as well as producing vitamin K and some vital B vitamins.
There are trillions of bacteria in our gut with hundreds of different species and strains. A healthy gut contains an abundance of beneficial(friendly) bacteria which prevent the overgrowth of potential harmful bacteria.
If the amount of healthy bacteria decreases significantly, the harmful bacteria start to dominate and this causes an imbalance in our gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis. This can lead to issues with our digestive system, problems with absorbing nutrients and vitamins, affects our metabolism and our immune system function.
What are the symptoms of dysbiosis?
Common symptoms can include fatigue, constipation and/or diarrhoea, bloating and/or abdominal pain, excessive flatulence, nausea, heartburn/indigestion, difficulty concentrating, mood disorders, itching, bad breath (halitosis) and joint aches and pains.
What conditions can be associated with dysbiosis?
Ulcers, obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation gastrointestinal and rheumatological conditions, non-alcohol fatty liver disease, depression and neurological disorders, immune system dysfunction and auto-immune disease are often linked with dysbiosis.
What can cause dysbiosis and how can you help prevent it?
Antibiotics are notorious for reducing the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut and disrupting the microbial balance to cause dysbiosis.
Other causes can include being born by caesarean section, food poisoning or gastrointestinal infection, stress and diet (particularly a Western diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugars and fats with low nutrient intake).
Harmful bacteria feed off simple sugars and beneficial bacteria love probiotic foods and plant-based fibre. To reduce your risk of dysbiosis, reduce and avoid inflammatory foods such as saturated fats, processed foods, starchy carbohydrates, refined sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine and alcohol.
Consume probiotic foods or take probiotic supplements, introduce prebiotic foods gradually, increase soluble fibre and nutrients and consume plenty of micronutrients.
Make sure you chew your food thoroughly to aid digestion, sleep well, take gentle exercise and manage stress levels.
What should you do if you suspect you have dysbiosis?
Don't suffer in silence....being uncomfortably bloated, having constipation/diarrhoea or any of the other debilitating symptoms isn't normal and you shouldn't have to 'learn to live with it'!
As a Nutritional Therapist and SIBO-Doctor-Approved Practitioner with a special interest in digestive and gut health, I can work with you to try and find the root cause of your issues and assess your microbiome. A functional stool test analysis done in the comfort of your home can show whether or not you have dysbiosis along with many other digestive markers.
We will come up with a plan together to repair the gut, support a healthy bacterial balance and aim to alleviate the associated symptoms and conditions.
I offer a free, no-obligation 15-20 minute phone call to discuss your specific concerns and needs...contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the contact form at the bottom of this page.