Not long ago, balance of microorganisms in the intestinal tract, also known as gut microbiome, has been very frequently in health news. Besides its obvious link with digestive health, it has been linked to autoimmune conditions, skin issues, weight, and mood disorders as well. Sadly, the poor North American diet, lack of fermented foods in the diet, use of antibacterial products, and overuse of antibiotics have created the ideal conditions for imbalance in the gut microbiome.
Symptoms of Imbalance in the Gut Microbiome
- Acne, eczema, hives or psoriasis
- Joint pain
- Learning or behavioural difficulties
- Mental fog
- Digestive issues – irritable bowel, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion, bad breath, constipation or diarrhea.
- Recurrent yeast infections
- Sugar cravings
- Weight gain
Important Implications of an Imbalanced Gut Microbiome
Emotional Health: In case of imbalanced gut microbiome, the person is more prone to anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, and depression. Stress also negatively affects the microbiome, affecting the mood, digestion, and overall health.
Inflammation: Too many bacteria can cause inflammation in the body, leading to skin issues, joint pain, and body aches. More importantly, inflammation can trigger the development of autoimmune disease as well.
Weight: Weight loss is heavily dependent on a healthy microbiome. It has been scientifically shown that re-balance of the microbiome can shift the metabolism.
How to Fix an Imbalanced Gut Microbiome
Prebiotic foods include okra, carrots, leeks, garlic, onions, asparagus, artichokes, and beans. These foods feed the healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and contain inulin, fiber, and arabinogalactans.
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria which help balance microbiome. They are naturally found in kefir, yogurt, picked vegetables, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and other naturally fermented foods. Moreover, they also come in supplemental form, powder or capsules.
- Minimizing sugar and all foods that are made with flour
Minimizing sugar and foods made with flour is very important step to rebalance the microbiome as many pathogenic organisms thrive in diet high in sugar and refined carbs.
- Anti-microbial supplements
When increasing probiotics and prebiotics doesn’t help, you may need to take antimicrobial herbs and supplements to destroy pathogenic organisms, such as parasites, bacteria, and yeast. For instance, you may take oregano, uva ursi, olive leaf extract; grapefruit seed extract, garlic, caprylic acid, and berberine.