Do you suffer from digestive problems such as heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and cramps?
Maybe you also suffer from other non-digestive problems like acne, chronic fatigue, and anxiety.
If so, gut dysbiosis could be to blame.
As a Functional Medicine physician who treats many people with a combination of digestive and non-digestive problems, I understand you may be wondering how a non-digestive issue, such as anxiety, could possibly be related to your gut. The answer lies in a condition called gut dysbiosis.
What Is Gut Dysbiosis?
Simply put, gut dysbiosis is an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in your gut. Essentially, the bad bacteria outweigh the good. When gut dysbiosis occurs, a few changes may take place in your gut:
You lose beneficial bacteria;
Harmful bacteria could potentially take over; and
You have less diverse bacteria.
Collectively, our gut contains more than one-thousand different species of bacteria. This collection of bacteria is better known as the gut microbiome and it serves many important roles in our overall health. For example, they aid in food digestion, maintain a healthy metabolism, make Vitamin K and other essential nutrients, and produce 90 percent of one's serotonin. Additionally, they maintain the well-being of the lining of one's gut so that infections do not cross into your blood as well as produce short-chain fatty acids which may play a role in preventing and treating obesity, bowel disease and various cancers.
In fact, the gut microbiome is so important that it even communicates with other organs like the brain through something called the gut-brain axis.
Normally, the majority of the bacteria in your gut are “good bacteria”- meaning that they will not cause you any harm. The remaining bacteria in the microbiome are called “opportunistic bacteria” -meaning they will not cause you any harm as long as they are kept in check by the good bacteria. However, if these opportunistic bacteria take over the good bacteria, they can wreak havoc on your body and, thus, cause gut dysbiosis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Gut Dysbiosis
Gut dysbiosis causes a number of symptoms in our body. For example, gut dysbiosis can cause the lining of our gut to become “leaky.” When the gut becomes "leaky," bacteria and toxins can enter your bloodstream which potentially can trigger a wide array issues such as malabsorption of vitamins and minerals. Some other signs and symptoms of gut dysbiosis include:
Immune system regulation
Conditions That Have Been Tied To Gut Dysbiosis
There are a variety of conditions that have been linked to gut dysbiosis. These include:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Type 2 diabetes
Potential Causes Of Gut Dysbiosis
Gut dysbiosis can occur from several different sources such as:
Taking antibiotics and antibacterial medications;
Taking prescription medications such as birth control;
Increasing your intake of sugars, refined starch, processed foods, and food additives;
Consuming harmful chemicals and toxins from food (can occur when eating unwashed fruits, vegetables, and cereals);
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol;
Poor oral hygiene which causes an imbalance of bacteria in your mouth; and
Elevated levels of stress, anxiety, or depression which impact your immune system.
Testing For Gut Dysbiosis
Not sure whether you have gut dysbiosis? At Total Body Health Functional Medicine, we offer a variety of tests to help you identify the health of your gut microbiome.
Getting tested for dysbiosis will give you a comprehensive picture of the number of good and “bad” bacteria in your gut. These tests can help you find out if you have gut dysbiosis as well as other digestive issues:
Stool test: measures the amount of good and bad bacteria in your stool. Not only does this test check for dysbiosis, it also checks for any parasites, pathogens, yeast and fungus that can be in the digestive system. This test also looks at the health of your liver, gallbladder, and pancreas as well as the level of inflammation in your gut.
Organic acids test: measures the amount of organic acids in your urine. Your gut bacteria produce organic acids as by-products of their metabolism. When you
have too much organic acid in your urine, it may mean that certain bacteria are overtaking your gut.
Hydrogen breath test: measures the amount of hydrogen you exhale after drinking a sugar solution and breathing into a test tube. This test is used to check for SIBO, intolerance to fructose, and other problems with your gut.
At Total Body Health Functional Medicine, we seek to heal patients--not merely manage your symptoms. We've helped hundreds of patients overcome their gut issues and have seen the tremendously positive impact it had on their overall health. If you suffer from any of the aforementioned health issues, or suspect your gut may be the root cause of your health issues, visit out website and set up your FREE discovery call today.