Living inside of you and on you are trillions of microorganisms (a few pounds worth!), including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. This community of microorganisms and their DNA, which out numbers ours, is called a microbiome. You have a microbiome on your skin, in your mouth, on your organs, essentially everywhere in and on your body. However, the microbiome that has been getting the most attention recently is the gut microbiome and its impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Why? It has a symbiotic relationship with the host - you! Meaning that both the microbes and your body benefit from their interactions. The health of your gut determines what nutrients you absorb and what toxins, allergens and microbes are kept out.
Gut health is directly linked to the health of your entire body!
Within your digestive system there are many strains of bacteria, most of them are beneficial (good bacteria) while some are harmful (bad bacteria). As long as the amount of beneficial bacteria is kept high in the body and the immune system is kept strong, then populations of potentially harmful bacteria are typically kept under control. However, the typical American modern diet and lifestyle can imbalance beneficial bacteria to the point that harmful bacteria flourish and wreak all sorts of havoc on the body, from constipation to behavioral problems to IBS to a compromised immune system to cancer.
In fact, many people struggle with dysbiosis, an imbalance of microbes in the digestive tract that can lead to a whole host of health ailments and disease. These low-virulence microbes are insidious. They cause ongoing inflammatory symptoms that almost always go undiagnosed and, if untreated, they become deep-seated and cause chronic health problems such as:
Constipation or Diarrhea (or alternating of both)
The most common forms of dysbiosis include:
Candida overgrowth: fungal overgrowth
SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
IMO: Intestinal Methanogen Overgrowth
H. Pylori: bacterial overgrowth in the stomach
There are multiple methods for combating dysbiosis. The approach that’s taken is determined by the type of overgrowth and the client’s unique disposition and lifestyle. One of the most important things you can do to combat bacterial overgrowth is to stop feeding the invader. Making time to eat in a calm environment, properly chewing food, and drinking only sips and not gulps of water during meals helps ensure robust digestive secretions are available to break down foods.
Choice of food can also matter greatly. Each person’s body needs a diet that’s unique to them, but in general a diet low in sugar and refined carbs (watch the ingredient list in processed foods! Most have sugar included) and high in fiber, improves stool transit time, and is incredibly beneficial in growing diverse beneficial gut flora. This can look like ample vegetables, proteins, healthy oils and fats, nuts and seeds, and whole fruits.
While diet plays an enormous role in healing the gut microbiome, natural herbs and plant extracts can help to rebalance overgrowths and heal your gut. Whether you’re experiencing fungal overgrowth, SIBO/IMO or H. Pylori, each infection requires its own use of specific herbs to combat it. Working with a skilled healthcare practitioner is important when addressing the gut microbiome with herbs and other supplements.
If you suspect you have a microbial overgrowth and would like support bringing your gut back into balance, schedule your application call with our team!
This blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone.
Always be sure to work with your healthcare practitioner before implementing new recommendations and/or supplements.