It’s not entirely obvious when there’s a problem. The signs are a little more subtle and you might not even realize they’re related to your gut.
Common symptoms associated with imbalanced flora–see how many apply to you:
– Frequent tiredness and/or fatigue
– Frequent constipation and/or diarrhea
– Repeated infections, including UTIs, vaginal yeast infections, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, etc.
– Gas and bloating
– Memory problems, anxiety or depression
– Catch more than one cold per year
– High cholesterol
– Skin breakouts, cold sores
– Vague aches and pains that can’t otherwise be explained
All of these are indicative of having dysbiosis in your gut — in other words, harmful bacteria have taken over and outnumbered the good guys. And if you have been formally diagnosed with any of these conditions, imbalanced flora is practically a given:
– IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
– IBD (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)
– Allergies and asthma
– Chronic fatigue syndrome
– Eczema and psoriasis
– Acne and skin rashes
– Autoimmune conditions
The “cement” of your body’s “foundation” lies in your friendly intestinal bacteria. You have trillions of these little guys milling around down there–more than the number of cells you have in your entire body!
They make up about 70% of your immune system…so whether or not you get the latest bug, cold, virus, flu or infection primarily depends on your flora count.
They surround and engulf dangerous pathogens you ingest from your food or the environment and “escort them out” when you have a bowel movement. These guys help encourage a healthy cholesterol level by eliminating and even “eating” excess cholesterol.
Plus they help control the pH level of your intestines, which can help keep your digestion efficient and prevent gas, bloating and constipation. You should always have a slightly alkaline pH level to remain healthy. They also help keep your gut wall strong, which can prevent toxins from seeping into your bloodstream and causing pain and inflammation throughout your body.
Restore your gut health with the “4 R’s”
The good news is you can help restore the health of your body’s
foundation–your gut–by using the “4 R” approach:
This involves removal and avoidance of things that can greatly harm your friendly flora.
These can include, but are not limited to:
– Foods that you are sensitive or allergic to
– Cigarette smoke
– Excessive alcohol (especially beer)
– Refined carbs — including sugar, flour, donuts, bagels, hamburgers, white rice, cookies, pastries, cakes, snack chips, pretzels, candy, etc.
– Acid reducing medications (both OTC and prescription)
– Regularly lacking adequate sleep
-Caprylic acid is a good aid in removal of overgrowths
Step 2 is to help reverse dysbiosis by replacing and rebuilding your supply of beneficial bacteria, and this is done with a probiotic supplement. Research studies have shown that it is important to use more than one strain of probiotic bacteria when tackling dysbiosis. Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been shown to be extremely effective in fighting dangerous gut microbes and strengthen your intestinal wall. Some believe fermented foods like Kombucha which contain pre and probiotics can greatly assist in replacing beneficial bacteria.
Reinforcing a healthy flora balance means nourishing your friendly bacteria (while starving the bad guys!) and having smooth digestion to help keep your intestinal tract squeaky clean and avoid waste and harmful bacteria build-up. This involves eating foods that naturally nourish your friendly flora like fresh organic vegetables and whole grains.
The final step of the 4 R approach to a healthy gut is to help repair any intestinal damage that you may have from harmful bacteria and medications. Good supplements like glyconutrients assist your body to heal itself.
Remember, your gut is your body’s foundation. If you don’t have gut health, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of your health starts to crumble with new pains and other symptoms cropping up every month or two.
Specialised Kinesiology, a complementary health modality utilising muscle testing can greatly assist with gut imbalance. Listen to your gut to keep in good health!
Gillian O’Shea is a Specialised Kinesiologist and Permaculturist.