Eat Sleep And Be Healthy
The human gut is more complex than previously thought and has a huge impact on whole-body health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion, and it may help prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to positively affect your gut health and your overall health as a result.
Move Your Body Regularly
Getting regular exercise is also an important step in getting your gut into a balanced state. According to one research review on the effects of exercise on the gut microbiome, aerobic exercise can increase the amount of bacteria in your digestive tract and contribute to overall bacterial diversity.
While any movement can help, it appears that the more physically fit you are, the more diverse your microbiome is. If youre sedentary, start small by exercising a couple days a week, then work your way up to including exercise as part of your regular, everyday routine.
How To Restore Your Gut Microbiome
Deborah Freudenmann BHSc
The human microbiome is a collection of trillions of microorganisms which populate your intestines. Your microbiome is essentially its very own complex ecosystem. Although the microbiome consists of a diverse range of microorganisms , it is primarily populated with bacteria which are located in your gut.
Your microbiome is a complex ecological community, which communicates, cross feeds, combines, evolves with you and your environment. The symbiotic relationship between your body and your gut is important to understand. You depend on your gut microbiome and your gut microbiome depends on you. One cannot thrive without the other. The micro-organisms living in our gut perform a wide range of useful and health promoting activities, however they can also be responsible for the development of different diseases.
In the modern world, your human microbiome is often exposed to harmful factors. Poor dietary and lifestyle habits as well as increased stress levels decrease the diversity and effectiveness of your microbiomes functions. All of these factors lead to an increased chance of developing various chronic conditions.
For maintaining your long-term health, prioritisation of your microbiomes health is necessary.
Try To Cut Back On The Red Meat
Aside from the fact that these days, many meat brands are known for raising their livestock with antibiotics, which is detrimental to your gut, there have been several studies that show healthier microbiomes in vegetarians. A vegetarians gut for example, will have a significantly smaller number of disease-causing bacteria that an omnivores gut. However, it is still unclear if this is due to the lack of meat being consumed, or the fact that vegetarians and plant-based individuals tend to consume a great deal more fibre than the average person.
Holistic Family Doctor Guide For Improving Gut Health
Holistic family doctors call the gut the second brain due to its immense impact on all over health. In addition to its effects on biological functions such as nutrient absorption, the gut also plays a role in immune system response, emotions, and neurological functioning.
This makes maintaining gut health a key part of achieving optimal functional, integrative health.
Try An Elimination Diet
As youve learned, food sensitivities are one of the major causes of gut dysbiosis. Trying an elimination diet is a simple yet effective strategy for identifying underlying food sensitivities. I recommend that you start your elimination diet by removing the following food groups from your diet: gluten, dairy, refined sugar, corn, soy, eggs, all grains, vegetable oils, shellfish, tree nuts, legumes, and nightshade vegetables.
You may remove any other foods that you suspect to be a trigger. Remember, even a tiny bit of food that you are sensitive to can be triggering, so it is important that you completely remove these foods. This means no cheating.
After a two-week elimination phase, introduce foods to your diet one by one. Make rue to eat a new food for two to three days and watch your symptoms. Using a food diary can be helpful at this stage. If you have symptoms from a new food, remove this food. Add a new food, notice your symptoms, and continue.
Some of these foods are highly problematic even if you dont have a specific food sensitivity for them. Generally, I recommend that you remove highly inflammatory foods, such as gluten, refined sugar, vegetable oils, and conventional dairy from your diet for good. To learn more about how to do an elimination diet, I recommend this article.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Its well established in the scientific literature that the bacteria in our gut affect our brain function, stress levels, and behaviour. What some people dont know is that the highway between the gut and the brain also have many open lanes in the other direction from the brain to the gut.
Animal studies have shown that chronic psychological stress can disrupt the balance of the microbiota, triggering unfavorable shifts in bacterial composition and diversity . Its little doubt in my mind that these effects extend to humans as well; a belief that is supported by human studies showing that psychological stress can affect gut motility, epithelial barrier function, and inflammatory states .
Completely avoiding chronic stress is very difficult, if not impossible. That said, there are a lot of things we can do to reduce our stress levels, such as managing our time better, reducing our use of the internet, and spending more time in nature.
Signs Your Gut Needs Support
Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria along with yeast and viruses that live among this bacteria. Collectively, these microorganisms are called your gut microbiota. Their collective genes make up the gut microbiome.
Although everyones gut microbiome shares some similar characteristics, there are also vast differences. As Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., a gastroenterologist and internationally recognized gut health expert, puts it you are one-of-a-kind with a gut microbiome as unique as a fingerprint.
When the bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live in your gut are in balance, the rest of your body is often in harmony too. However, when things go awry, and the bacterial imbalance occurs , it can lead to suboptimal gut health, and if not supported or corrected, this can affect the rest of your body. Here are some common areas a healthy gut can support:
Fill Up With Polyphenols
You’ve probably heard that free-radical-fighting antioxidants known as polyphenols are essential in reducing inflammatory, disease-causing oxidative stress, but a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition found an additional benefit might be due to their contribution to gut health. In rats fed a high-fat diet, only rats who also consumed an anthocyanin polyphenol extract were able to decrease the damaging effect on the rats’ gut microbiota. Looking at the results together, the researchers speculated polyphenols may play a significant role in the prevention of degenerative diseases because they improve your microbiome environment. What are you waiting for, grab these polyphenols, stat!
Correlation Between Gut Health And Mental Health:
I wouldnt consider myself to be a Type A individual or to be particularly particular, but when my gut symptoms were at their worst, I felt anxiety daily, had a bleak outlook on life, and also had obsessive compulsive behavior. It took healing my gut to calm my nervous system and to cease the obsessive behaviors to which I had grown accustomed.
The 8 Most Common Food Intolerances
Unlike some allergies, food intolerances arent life-threatening. However, they can be very problematic for those affected.
Food intolerances and sensitivities are extremely common and seem to be on the rise .
In fact, its estimated that up to 20% of the worlds population may have a food intolerance .
Food intolerances and sensitivities can be hard to diagnose due to their wide range of symptoms.
This article reviews the most common types of food sensitivities and intolerances, their related symptoms and foods to avoid.
Taking Food Allergies And Sensitivities Into Account
One of the most powerful things you can do to reverse your inflammation and go the opposite direction on the inflammation-autoimmune spectrum is to start healing the inflammation in your gut by addressing the foods you put into it. Researchers are now finding what weve been saying for decades in functional medicine: food reactivities like gluten sensitivity are just the beginning stage of one end of the larger inflammation spectrum, with autoimmune conditions like celiac disease on the opposite end.
And as I mentioned before, there needs to be significant destruction of the intestinal microvilli to be diagnosed with CD. Only around 10 percent of people with CD have obvious digestive symptoms. Instead, they end up struggling with other seemingly unrelated symptoms like skin problems, anxiety, or depression. Therefore only about 5 percent of celiacs ever get diagnosed and leaves close to 3 million Americans with celiac disease who have no idea that they have it and another 15-20 percent with gluten sensitivity.
For people with this kind of inflammation spectrum dysfunction it can take up to six months just to begin reducing inflammation and antibody levels that can result from eating a reactive food like gluten. But that doesnt mean you wont notice improvements. I find clinically that my patients notice symptom reduction with each passing month, but for those who are already progressed along spectrum, it can take up to two years before changes are dramatic and sustained.
How About Topical Probiotics
You will have most likely noticed a growing number of probiotic-rich skincare products, but can applying good bacteria topically really do anything? According to Oates, there is growing evidence to suggest that your skin’s microbiomethat is, the ecosystem on the surface of your skinplays an important role in both your inner and outer health. “Its actually estimated that every square centimetre of your skin is home to at least a million bacteria along with an array of fungi, viruses and even mites,” she says. “So, applying probiotics topically as part of your skincare routine will actually help to replenish, feed and fortify your skins ecosystem, which is your immune systems first line of defense. The Beauty Chefs Probiotic Skin Refiner is made from the bioactive liquid that is a by-product of its bio-fermentation process. For more probiotic skincare products, try Aurelia Probiotic, Tula, or Kinship.
Can Diet Affect Ones Microbiota
In addition to family genes, environment, and medication use, diet plays a large role in determining what kinds of microbiota live in the colon. All of these factors create a unique microbiome from person to person. A high-fiber diet in particular affects the type and amount of microbiota in the intestines. Dietary fiber can only be broken down and fermented by enzymes from microbiota living in the colon. Short chain fatty acids are released as a result of fermentation. This lowers the pH of the colon, which in turn determines the type of microbiota present that would survive in this acidic environment. The lower pH limits the growth of some harmful bacteria like Clostridium difficile. Growing research on SCFA explores their wide-ranging effects on health, including stimulating immune cell activity and maintaining normal blood levels of glucose and cholesterol.
Be aware that a high intake of prebiotic foods, especially if introduced suddenly, can increase gas production and bloating. Individuals with gastrointestinal sensitivities such as irritable bowel syndrome should introduce these foods in small amounts to first assess tolerance. With continued use, tolerance may improve with fewer side effects.
If one does not have food sensitivities, it is important to gradually implement a high-fiber diet because a low-fiber diet may not only reduce the amount of beneficial microbiota, but increase the growth of pathogenic bacteria that thrive in a lower acidic environment.
Super Fruits To Improve Gut Health
These super fruits are prebiotic foods for good bacteria in the gut. Add them to your healthy gut diet to restore your intestinal lining, strengthen your gut wall, and combat inflammation.
Find out the perfect foods for your gut bacteria with the Atlas Microbiome Test and get personalised weekly recommendations to improve digestive health.
Phase 2: Your Metabolic Boost Meal Plan
This phase is designed to last 28 days. By the time you reach it, its assumed that your gut and microbiome have gotten stronger, allowing you a bit more flexibility with your diet.
During this phase, you still need to avoid the supposedly gut-damaging foods from phase one but only 90% of the time.
Concretely, this means that up to four of your weekly meals can include food not recommended on the food list from phase one.
In addition, dairy, free-range eggs, gluten-free grains, and legumes can be added back into your diet.
Finally, you can also start eating most fruits and vegetables again, such as mangoes, melons, peaches, pears, sweet potatoes, and yams.
My Gut Healing Protocol:
This is the protocol Dena developed for me to help heal my gut. Im keeping it vague because I dont want anyone to repeat my protocol without working closely with a medical professional. Everyones microbiome and healing process is unique. I still take all of the same supplements I began taking during the killoff phase in order to give my gut the support it needs to heal.
- Antibiotics to kill blastocystis hominis and h. Pylori.
- to restore my gut flora.
- a combination of L-Glutamine, marshmallow root, and slippery elm to heal my leaky gut. This supplement has been truly transformative for healing my gut.
- Goat Milk Colostrum to boost my Secretory IgA levels.
- Low-inflammatory diet, moderate exercise, avoiding the foods Im sensitive to.
Notice the last part is last for a reason. Food and exercise are very important, yesbut if theres a parasitic or bacterial infection, it is incredibly difficult to get rid of with diet and exercise alone depending on the severity of the infection.
I will be posting more specifics about the supplements I take for my gut health in the future, but I still encourage you to work with an experienced practitioner before you begin any sort of killing or healing protocol.
Exactly How To Fix Poor Gut Health
The microbiomes vastness and importance fascinates me, which is why I write about it so often. This intelligent bacterial ecosystem in your gut makes up the majority of your immune system, produces a large amount of your happy neurotransmitter serotonin, and contains 10 times more bacterial cells than you have human cells! You are, in truth, more bacteria than human, a sort of vehicle or host for the microbiome.
In other words, the microbiomes influence on human health cannot be overstated. These trillions of microbes and their colonies are the manufacturers and managers of how you look, feel, and think. Researchers are quickly learning how much it regulates just about every system of your body. It might sound like science fiction, but it is real.
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Improve Your Gut Microbiome Today For The 4rs
There are a number of factors that contribute to the health of your gut microbiome, including your environment, the amount of exercise and sleep you get, and of course, stress. But the number one factor that determines what microbes live in your gut is your diet.
In Functional Medicine, there is a very successful protocol called the 4Rs, which stands for Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair. There are many resources for learning more about the 4 Rs. I like Raphael Kellman, M.D.s book, .
The beautiful thing about the 4Rs protocol is that it doesnt have to be followed in order. Once you remove the processed foods and toxins from your diet, you can start doing all of the remaining 3 steps together. Unless you suffer from a serious digestive disorder or other condition, you can follow the 4Rs on your own. Or, find a practitioner who can tailor the protocol to your specific needs.
Here are my suggestions for following the 4Rs and improving your gut microbiome starting today:
Where I Am Today:
I feel like a newborn baby. A completely different human. I look back on who I was when my GI was at its worst before gut healing protocol, I cant even believe that was me.
I would consider my GI to be mostly normal now. I can eat many of the higher FODMAP foods I had to steer clear of, like onions, garlic, asparagus, etc. The gas is completely gone, I have regular bowel movements, and my small bouts of constipation are short-lived. My anxiety has lifted, my energy is great, and my skin glows!
My thyroid function is in the normal range.
My hormones are still whacky, but Im fine with that being a work in progress. The process of balancing them is not an anxiety-ridden concept the way healing my gut was.
Im in a healthy, loving relationship with an individual who knows my health history and cares that I remain healthy. Hes the most honest and giving person I know and I cant believe I lucked out to have him in my life.
I take it one day at a time. I try not to get stuck in the feedback loop of needing to control, needing to micromanage my health.
It has been a little less than one year since I began my gut healing protocol with Dena, and I am constantly shocked by the difference between my health today versus my health a year ago. I hope one year from now, all of this will be just that thing that happened that one time. I truly believe it will.
Love, squeezes and kitty cat sneezes.
So How Can Things Go Wrong
While this discussion could also be exhaustive on its own, I will use the foundation from our initial anatomy and physiology lesson to describe the main ways our guts can be compromised and manifest with symptoms and disease.
1. Damage to Specific Gut Cells
2. Damage to the Mucus Barrier
As a continuation of our previous discussion of pathologic intestinal permeability, we see that one of the primary reasons for its development usually involves damage and dysfunction of the mucus barrier. Damage to the mucus barrier can also lead to increased immune reactivity both within the gut and the body as a whole. Common reasons for damage to the mucus barrier include the ingestion of what I call anti-food or man-made ingredients, environmental toxins, disturbances to the gut microbiome or other GI infectious events and some medications.
4. Disturbed GI Motility
5. Disturbed Gut Microbiome
You’ll Control Your Appetite
One way in which your microbiome affects your weight and metabolism may be connected to your gut bugs’ ability to regulate appetite. According to researchers at New York University, a stomach bacterium called Helicobacter pylori can actually change the levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, in your body. With the rise of antibiotics and a diet based on refined foods, the levels of H. pylori have decreased in our belly biomes. And that means less of its inhibiting effect on our appetitesperhaps reason for why many of us are always hungry.
Step #4: Utilize Natures Antibiotics
Due to the overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial sanitizers, our microbiome is in jeopardy. Antibiotics are not able to decipher between good and bad bacteria when they are introduced into the human body. Because of this, pathogenic organisms are given the opportunity to colonize in the absence of commensal bacteria. Even though the antibiotic may get rid of an infection caused by one pathogen, it is actually opening the door for another pathogen to rise up and start another infection. As a result of the killing-off of many beneficial bacteria in the gut, antibiotics wreak havoc on the digestive system and bacteria found on the skin causing many adverse side effects such as :
- Dry, Itchy Skin
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Lavender Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Melaleuca Oil
- Oregano Oil
- Colloid Silver
- Manuka Honey
- Pau D Arco
When It Comes To Maintaining Your Microbiome At Its Healthiest Level Nothing Is More Important Than What You Eat And Drink Add These Foods To Your Gut
April 26, 2021Sign In
Fermented foods like kimchi are rich in probiotic bacteria to help improve digestion and increase immunity. Photo: 4kodiak / GettyImages
Over the last few years, youve probably heard the messaging that, your gut is your second brain. But what exactly does that mean?
We have more bacteria in our gut than we have human cells in our entire body, explains Briana Owen, a holistic health and nutrition specialist based in Scottsdale, AZ. When our gut bacteria communicate with our brain, they help us digest and pull nutrients and vitamins from food and they also keep our immune system strong. Our gut is also responsible for detoxification, which is what keeps our body and organs healthy and strong. Your gut is where health or illness is born.
And our guts are working harder than ever because of all the toxins they are exposed to on a daily basis. The bodys healthy bacteria is meant to process outside elements but when it is overwhelmed, it slows down, toxins build-up, and this results in compromised functioning of the body, says Christina Towle, certified clinical nutritionist and founder of Hudson Valley Nutrition in New York. This, in turn, leads to weight gain, disease, and weakened immune systems. An imbalanced gut can also lead to uncomfortable digestion symptoms, such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea.
How Do I Know What Is Wrong With My Gut
To put it simply, most people with gut dysfunction will not require testing of any kind to see clinical improvements in their symptoms. A thorough clinical assessment of ones symptoms is the best method in most cases for identifying the nature of dysfunction within the GI tract. While this may sound heretical to some, most gut based treatments that are utilized in a sequential pattern will not require any specific testing to determine their potential utility. For example, it is a myth that you require stool testing to best identify which probiotics to utilize for treatment. There is no clinical data supporting this practice. It is also a myth that stool testing is 100% perfect or always necessary to identify potential pathogenic organisms. It is also a myth that if a parasite is identified with stool testing, that one needs to immediately use antimicrobial herbs or medications to treat it. Another common myth is that one requires breath testing in order to identify clinically relevant small intestinal dysbiosis or overgrowth .
While I see a lot of misinformation about the clinical utility of gut based testing, we CAN appropriately utilize some forms of testing to better guide treatment for what I call stuck in the mud patients who have tried appropriate therapies for appropriate lengths of time and not seen expected benefits.
*Note: These lists are not exhaustive and are not personal medical advice.
Fermented Foods Are Gut
Fermented foods are another great source of probiotics. The crowd favourite is yogurt, however, if youre going to be eating a lot of yogurt, make sure that it is sugar-free! There are several other options that are a great source of good bacteria. Kombucha is becoming a very popular source of probiotics. You can also eat things like pickles, kimchee, and kefir to ensure that youre getting enough live cultures to keep your gut healthy and happy.