Six signs your gut bacteria may be out of balance - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

We are hearing more in mainstream media about our gut bacteria; also known as the microbiome. Our bodies are home to trillions of fungi, viruses, bacteria, parasites and microbes that can be found in just about every part of our body, inside and out.

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This reads like a science fiction movie but they all make up what is know as the ‘microbiota’.

Medicine has only just begun to understand how our diet can have an impact on our gut bacteria, which in turn has a profound effect on our physiology and well-being. Research from Division of Digestive Disease and Nutrition at Rush University Medical Centre is now showing that the types of foods we eat can change our microbiome in as little as 24 hours!

Thinking about this: the human gastrointestinal system is one of the most densely populated microbial communities on earth! It plays a crucial role in the functioning of the immune system, as well as the entire human body. There is normally a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. Sometimes the ‘bad’ bacteria can take over, leaving us feeling unwell or with physical signs of illness like skin conditions, digestive issues or worse, autoimmune conditions.
Signs that they might be out of balance and your gut needs attention:

1. Digestive Issues
Digestive issues are the most obvious sign that your gut microbiota is out of whack. Stomach upsets like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and heartburn can be signs that your gut bacteria needs some help. Taking note of your daily bowel movements and reactions to foods can reveal clues about your gut health.

2. Food cravings
Gut microbes have now been shown to influence diet and our choice of foods! Different bacteria in the stomach depend on different nutrients to survive. These bacteria might demand carbohydrates, fibre, fats and sugars. Craving foods, especially sweets and sugar, can be a sign of an unhealthy gut. For example, an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive system can make us crave even more sugar and refined carbohydrates.

3. Skin problems
Researchers are still discovering links between common skin issues like acne, eczema, and rosacea and how they maybe be effected by the gut microbiome. Certain gut microbes and metabolites create anti-inflammatory responses or accumulate in the skin and disrupt it’s health.
Probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve skin conditions. The microbiota in the gut influences lipids (fats) and may influence sebum production as well as the fatty acid composition of the sebum.

4. Food allergies
Food allergies have increased dramatically in the last few decades. In both children and adults, food allergies have increased in both severity and the number of people effected.
The field of study into treating food allergies with probiotics, prebiotics, and/or synbiotics are showing promise by help by restoring the microbiome and making permanent improvements to allergies.

5. Mental Health
The brain and the gut system are intimately connected, with the vagus nerve communicating information from inner organs (lungs, liver, heart and gut) directly to the brain. The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the cranial nerves. It is the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, controlling many bodily functions, including mood!
80-90% of serotonin and about 50% of your dopamine is made in your gut and damage to the gut could potentially effect mental health. A compromised microbiome will affect your ability to use serotonin and dopamine - your happy hormones!

6. Immune function
It is estimated that about seventy percent of the immune system involves the gut, so if the microbiome is in an imbalanced state it will affect, and often compromise, the immune function. A well functioning immune system needs to have a strong enough response to foreign substances, yet also control responses. What is now being proven (and has been an intrinsic part of Natural Medicine) is that nutrition affects the gut and therefore could be an indirect connection to host’s immune responses. “Research has also indicated that abnormal levels and/or species of gut microbiota are also suspect in causing or contributing to some autoimmune diseases—studies have shown links to Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and lupus,”


Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota
Hannah D. Holscher††

The role of diet on intestinal microbiota metabolism: Downstream impacts on host immune function and health, and therapeutic implications

Human Gut-Derived Commensal Bacteria Suppress CNS Inflammatory and Demyelinating Disease.

Bach J.F.
The effect of infections on susceptibility to autoimmune and allergic diseases.

Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders

The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in rosacea: clinical effectiveness of its eradication.
Parodi A1, Paolino S, Greco A, Drago F, Mansi C, Rebora A, Parodi A, Savarino V.

Building a resilient immune system: Interview with Prof. Philip Calder (Part 1)
2 NOV 2016

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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