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Is Your Gut Bacteria Making You Sick?

bacteriaThe bacteria that live in your digestive tract can be the key to good health or the key to developing
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • auto immune disorders
  • arthritis
and that's just for starters!

Symptoms of unhealthy gut bacteria

  • Digestive issues - indigestion, gas and wind
  • Depression
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
  • Skin disorders
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety

What is gut bacteria and why is it so important?

Gut bacteria are a complex mix of over 500 different species of bacteria and over 100 trillion microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. The basic functions of ‘good’ bacteria are:
  • food digestion
  • creation of vitamins
  • immune system protection
  • prohibiting the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria. An over growth of ‘bad’ bacteria can cause the symptoms listed above
Many studies have shown a strong connection between good health and balanced gut bacteria. The goal of a healthy gut is not to destroy all the ‘bad’ bacteria and grow the ‘good’ bacteria but to find a balance between the two, as they are both needed for optimal health.

How do you know if your gut health is compromised?

Digestive disorders

Good gut bacteria help digest food and protect the entire digestive tract from inflammation and disease. If you experience any of these digestive problems you may have an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria.
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Bloating and Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Crohn’s or Irritable bowel disease

Autoimmune Diseases

‘Bad’ gut bacteria can leave you vulnerable to viruses, inflammation and disease by sabotaging your immune system possibly resulting in
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Thyroid disease

Poor mental function

‘Good’ gut bacteria create neurotransmitters that are responsible for proper brain function. Without them symptoms may include:
  • Brain Fog
  • Depression
  • Stress and anxiety
  • OCD and autism

Skin Problems

A healthy digestive tract eliminates toxins that build up in your body. If your gut is compromised then your body tries to eliminate toxins through your skin which can result in the following skin conditions:
  • Acne and Rosacea
  • Eczema and Psoriasis

Lack of Vital Nutrients

The beneficial bacteria in your gut are also responsible for creating and synthesising vital Vitamins and Mineral absorption. If your bacteria are not well balanced you could be missing out on a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals and this can lead to many symptoms of ill health.

Antibiotics

By now most people are aware that taking antibiotics whipes out the gut bacteria, both good and bad. Antibiotics can be life saving but when used indiscriminately can harm your gut. So if you do need to take them make sure you follow with a course of good Probiotic supplements.

Stress

Stress and the resulting over production of Cortisol (the stress hormone) by your body can upset your gut bacteria. When the stress is long term then this can lead to a chronically upset gut and gut bacteria.

How do you keep gut bacteria healthy?

Many things can compromise the health of your digestive tract but the main culprits are: poor diet, stress, medication, heavy metals and pesticides. Keep your gut on tract by adding helpful foods and avoiding others.
  • Avoid:Processed food and drinks, wheat, corn, sugar and antibiotics
  • Add to your diet: fermented foods, yoghurt, kefir, Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium probiotic supplements
  • Lifestyle changes: avoid stress, get at least 8 hours sleep each night and drink enough water daily.
Keeping your gut bacteria in good balance isn’t a hard task but it takes a little time to see the full benefit of dietary changes. 'Ask a naturopath' about more ways to improve your digestive tract health.

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