By Doctor Shawna Darou, ND
The gut microbiome or balance of microorganisms in the intestinal tract has been in health news very frequently lately, with links to not only digestive health, but also mood disorders, weight, skin issues, and autoimmune conditions.
Unfortunately, the combination of a North American diet, overuse of antibiotics, use of anti-bacterial products, and lack of regular fermented foods in our diets has created a perfect storm for the imbalance in the gut microbiome.
10 Signs That You May Have an Imbalance
Digestive issues – irritable bowel, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion, bad breath, constipation or diarrhea.
Recurrent yeast infections
Acne, eczema, hives or psoriasis
Learning or behavioral difficulties
Important Implications of An Imbalanced Gut Microbiome
Too many unfriendly bacteria or other organisms can create significant inflammation in the body, leading to joint pains and body aches, skin disorders and even autoimmune disease.
A healthy microbiome is the key to weight loss. Many recent studies have shown that by rebalancing the microbiome, you can shift your metabolism. I have certainly seen this many times in my practice!
If your microbiome is out of balance, you will be more prone to experiencing anxiety and depression, and also fatigue and brain fog. It’s quite amazing how far reaching the effects can be! And on a similar note, stress can affect your microbiome in a negative way too, with lasting impacts on your mood, digestion, and overall health.
How You Can Correct a Gut Microbiome Imbalance
These are the healthy bacteria that help to balance the microbiome. Probiotics can come in supplement form (capsules or powder) or from naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, pickled vegetables or kimchi.
Try these recipes to get some probiotics in your diet – 2-Ingredient Sauerkraut and Coconut Kefir!
These are the foods that feed the healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract that contain fiber, inulin, and arabinogalactans. Prebiotic foods include artichokes, garlic, beans, onions, asparagus, carrots, leeks, and okra.
In most cases, simply increasing the probiotics and prebiotics is still not enough. The use of antimicrobial herbs and supplements is also needed to kill off the pathogenic organisms (yeast, bacteria or parasites).
This may include:
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Caprylic acid
- Olive leaf extract
- Uva ursi
Minimizing Sugar and All Foods Made With Flour
Many pathogenic organisms or ‘bad bugs’ thrive with a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Minimizing these foods is an essential step to rebalancing your microbiome, and no amount of probiotics will compensate.
In conclusion, if you suspect there may be an imbalance in your gut microbiome, there are many steps you can take to restore balance. You may be surprised at how far-reaching the impacts of a healthy gut can be!