When it comes to health and wellness, the gut is talked about far too little. Everyone understands the importance of our heart and lungs, but the gut is put on the back burner. Perhaps we do think about it, but primarily in regard to digestion or weight loss.
Did you know that the microbiome, an intelligent bacterial ecosystem in your gut, actually makes up the majority of your immune system?
Your body contains 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells!
The microbiome plays a far more crucial role in our overall health than most people realize but you have to heal the damage and clean up the infections that are commonly found before you can fix the microbiome. Our Trust Your Gut Program takes a three prong approach to fixing what ails you. We start with sealing the damaged areas (often referred to as Leaky Gut Syndrome), move onto clearing the debris (infections such as bacteria, viral, parasite, yeast), and finally end with rebuilding the good gut bacteria (microbiome) levels. All this to improve or avoid the conditions listed below and many more.
Health Problems Caused by Your Unhealthy Gut
Autoimmune Diseases (Hashimoto’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, MS)
Did you know that autoimmune conditions have skyrocketed in the last century? Not only are there a ton of people who have them, there are also a broad range of different kinds. Currently, there are approximately 100 official autoimmune conditions and around 40 illnesses that have an autoimmune component.
Autoimmune disorders develop when the body’s immune system goes awry and attacks its own healthy tissue. Inflammation and autoimmune reactions largely stem from an overactive immune system and poor gut health. Leaky gut syndrome can develop, which results in small openings in the gut lining opening up, releasing particles into the bloodstream and kicking off an autoimmune cascade. This is a huge issue because a full 80% of your immune system resides in your gut. If that large percentage is damaged, it will inevitably compromise your entire immune system.Our Trust Your Gut Program has been very effective with reducing symptoms of many autoimmune conditions.
Obesity and Weight Gain
If you were to play a word association game with “obesity” or “weight gain,” you’d probably think “overeating” or “fast food” or “sugar.” But maybe you should be thinking “bacteria”!
When a person’s microbiome has an imbalance of bacteria, they become far more prone to weight loss resistance and obesity. Granted, things like overeating or
eating fast food and sugar on a regular basis certainly aren’t good for the balance of our gut bacteria. But if you think your weight doesn’t reflect the overall effort you put into maintaining it, you should ask your doctor to check in on your gut health.
Sometimes some extra attention to your microbiome can help you lose weight you’ve been holding onto for years. Studies have shown that Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria is especially helpful for weight loss in women.
Mental Health Disorders
Medical literature refers to the gut as your “second brain.” This is because the two are connected through communication lines known as the gut-brain axis. If your microbiome is unhealthy, it could result in conditions such as anxiety and depression. Well here’s how it works: Your diet affects your microbiome and neurotransmitter activity, and therefore how you feel, your ability to handle stress and your energy levels. Dietary changes over the last century — including industrial farming, the use of pesticides and herbicides, and the degradation of nutrients in foods — are the primary forces behind growing mental health issues like depression. Low nutrient availability, inflammation and oxidative stress affect the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which control your moods, ease tension and raise alertness. It’s also a two-way street when it comes to your gut and mood: Poor gut health contributes to mood problems, and high amounts of stress also damage your gut and hormonal balance.A 2017 study illustrated the correlation between gut health and depression. Researchers studied 44 adults with irritable bowel syndrome and mild to moderate anxiety or depression. Half of the group took the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001, and the other was given a placebo. Six weeks after taking probiotics daily,
64 percent of the patients taking the probiotic reported decreased depression. Of the patients taking a placebo, only 32 percent reported decreased depression.
Brain disorders/cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s, dementia)
Inflammation is highly correlated with cognitive decline, while an anti-inflammatory lifestyle has been shown to lead to better memory retention, longevity and brain health. We now know there are multiple neuro-chemical and neuro-metabolic pathways between the central nervous system/brain and microbiome/digestive tract that send signals to one another, affecting our memory, thought patterns and reasoning. Differences in our microbial communities might be one of the most important factors in determining if we deal with cognitive disorders in older age.A 2017 study by the University of Pennsylvania also found a relationship between the gut microbiome and
the formation of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), which can cause stroke and seizures. Researchers observed that in mice, the activation of TLR4, a receptor for lipopolysaccharide (LPS) — a bacterial molecule — on brain endothelial cells by LPS greatly accelerated CCM formation. When mice were then observed in a germ-free environment, CCM formation greatly decreased, illustrating the effects of bad bacteria and the microbiome on cerebral cavernous malformations.
As mentioned earlier, people learn the importance of our hearts from a very young age. But most don’t realize that heart disease could actually begin in the gut!
Recently, scientists found a possible correlation between the microbiome and cardiovascular disease. Some bacteria produce higher levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which is linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.
Unfortunately researchers are still unclear as to which microorganism produces these increased levels of TMAO, but they are hoping that in the future they can manipulate microbiome species. This could be very promising in both the prevention and treatment of heart disease.
Learning disabilities (ADHD, autism)
Our bodies are interconnected systems, and everything we put in them, expose them to or do to them affects the whole person, including their growth, development and mental capabilities. ADHD and other learning disabilities have been tied to poor gut health, especially in infants and children. We are continuing to learn how our neurodevelopment, cognition, personality, mood, sleep and eating behaviors are all affected by the bacteria that reside within our guts. There seems to be an association between diet and psychiatric disorders due to metabolites of dietary components and enzymes encoded in our human genome that inhabit our guts. One of the most important factors seems to be establishing a healthy microbiome from birth, including a vaginal delivery ideally and being breastfed, which populates the newborn’s gut with the mother’s healthy bacteria.
Infertility and pregnancy complications
We first start establishing our microbiomes at exactly the points we are born, and our environment continues to manipulate the bacteria within us for the remainder of our lives. As we age and change, so do our microbiota. This is both good and bad news. Itmeans some of us might already be at a disadvantage if we were exposed to high amounts of bad bacteria or antibiotics at a young age, especially if we were also being withheld from good bacteria that we receive through being breastfed. At the same time, a healthy pregnancy, delivery and period of being breastfed can set the stage for a strong immune system.
Poor Immune System
If you find yourself getting sick more often than is normal, you should probably check in on how your gut is doing.
■ A low immune system is often linked to:
■ Poor microbiome health
■ An overgrowth of opportunistic:
■ A parasite
Maybe you didn’t catch that cold from your sniffly coworker! Or perhaps you did, but only because your immune system was already compromised by your gut health.
Diarrhea and Constipation
These might be two of the few conditions on the list that are actually obvious. Of course your gut impacts your intestines and overall digestive system!
Digestive issues are common, but one clinical research study found that constipated patients had significantly lower levels of a bacteria called Prevotella and higher levels of Firmicutes. This was especially interesting because the patients’ levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria (the probiotics that people usually take as supplements) were not any different from people who weren’t suffering from constipation.
Both acid reflux and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have been correlated with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or with having a microbiome dysfunction.
They say beauty is skin deep, but in reality it can be belly deep too!
All of the following skin conditions have a microbiome and inflammatory-autoimmune component to them:
Healing your microbiome could also help heal your face or other impacted parts of your body.
Chronic Sinus Infections, Asthma and Sensitivities
Having an overgrowth of Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum and dysbiosis of microbiome bacteria was shown to frequently be the reason behind a patient’s chronic
rhinosinusitis (CRS) or asthma. Certain beneficial bacteria lower inflammation, which lessens the severity of allergic reactions, food allergies, asthma or infections of the respiratory tract. This means stronger defense against seasonal allergies or food allergies and more relief from coughing, colds, the flu or a sore throat. An nti-inflammatory diet helps prevent susceptibility to leaky gut syndrome and helps eliminate phlegm or mucus in the lungs or nasal passages, which makes it easier to breathe.
Many studies have shown a link between gut health and better protection from free radical damage, which causes brain, breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate and stomach cancers. Microbes influence our genes, which means they can either promote inflammation and tumor growth or raise immune function and act as a natural cancer treatment. One noteworthy study showed that having inflammation and damage of the gut severely decreased the range of of bacterial species in the microbiome. The lessened microbiome variety allowed pathogenic bacterial overgrowth of E. coli, and eighty percent of the mice with E. coli subsequently developed colorectal cancer. An anti-inflammatory lifestyle can also help lower serious side effects of cancer treatments (like chemotherapy).
Type II Diabetes
This is another one that may not totally shock you. Type II diabetes is of course linked to obesity and poor diet, but this chronic degenerative disease is more complicated than that. It was also recently linked to microbiome disturbances, and one study found that transplanting the microbiome of diabetic mice into healthy mice made the healthy mice diabetic!
Fatigue and joint pain
Certain bacteria within our digestive tracts contribute to deterioration of joints and tissue. Research shows that a healthier gut environment helps lower the risk for joint pain, swelling, and trouble moving in people with osteoarthritis and inflamed joints.
Some studies have found that patients with psoriatic arthritis (a type of autoimmune joint disease) have significantly lower levels of certain types of intestinal bacteria and that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to have other strains present.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease still remains somewhat in the dark. However, recently researchers have found new evidence that it may actually start in the gut.
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology, known as Caltech, have concluded that changes in bacteria, or the bacteria themselves, contribute to motor skill decline. In fact, they may even cause it!
This also helps to explain why approximately 75% of Parkinson’s patients experience gastrointestinal abnormalities before other symptoms start appearing.
“Constipation is one of the nonmotor signs of PD which can start years before the motor signs. We do use probiotics for treatment of constipation in PD. It [constipation] can be distressing to patients and is one of the nonmotor symptoms that gets discussed commonly during visits,” said Dr. Marie Saint-Hilaire, a neurology professor at Boston University Medical Campus.
Dr. Saint-Hilaire added that many studies point toward a strong connection between
Parkinson’s disease and the gut.
Researchers seem to learn more every day about just how much the gut regulates almost every system of your body. It is important to keep in mind how vital your gut is to your overall health, and how many seemingly unrelated things it can actually impact. In fact, you may have an unhealthy microbiome without having any gastrointestinal indications of it at all.
Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Modern Medicine,” once famously claimed that “All disease begins in the gut.” What was once thought to be an archaic claim has far more truth to it than most people outside of the medical field realize. Are you being proactive about protecting your gut? Our Trust Your Gut Program has been very effective in repairing the damage and reducing symptoms associated with many of these issues.