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.
10 Signs That You May Have an Imbalance
- Digestive issues – irritable bowel, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion, bad breath, constipation or diarrhea.
- Recurrent yeast infections
- Sugar cravings
- Weight gain
- Acne, eczema, hives or psoriasis
- Joint pain
- Learning or behavioral difficulties
- Mental fog
InflammationToo 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.
Weight GainA 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!
Emotional HealthIf 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
1. ProbioticsThese 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.
2. PrebioticsThese 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.
3. Anti-Microbial SupplementsIn 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).
4. Minimizing Sugar and All Foods Made With FlourMany 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!