Did you know some bacteria is great for gut health? When we have a depletion of these beneficial gut microbiota, our digestive system can suffer! This condition is called dysbiosis. In this article, we explain what causes the condition and how to protect your gastrointestinal health. When you're done reading, download the FREE Reset plan for digestive health!
What is dysbiosis?
Our bodies naturally carry microbial colonies. These colonies serve important functions for digestion and overall health. Growing evidence suggests that these gut microbiota even influence brain chemistry, mood, and behavior — for better or worse.
When we take care of the balance of microbial colonies in our bodies, we experience healthy digestion. If we deplete the microbial balance, however, we see symptoms ranging from digestive upset to chronic stress and even depression. This imbalance is called dysbiosis.
Have you ever experienced an upset stomach from a prolonged stressful situation? That’s gut microbiota imbalance in action. Equally, clinical improvement of mood disorders can resolve chronic gastrointestinal complaints, and vice versa. It’s not all in your head — stomach and mind and closely connected!
What causes dysbiosis?
Dysbiosis can be caused by many things, ranging from what we eat to what we absorb in our environment. These things are known to cause dysbiosis and gastrointestinal upset:
- Antibiotic therapy, which can deplete our levels of healthy gut microbiota
- Hypochlorhydia, or low stomach acid, which leads to ineffectively breaking down food
- Xenobiotics, such as chemicals and heavy metals
- Exposure to pathogens or parasitic infections
- Slow bowel transit time, or bowel stasis
- Poor immune function and low intestinal secretory IgA, which normally protects the intestines from toxins and pathogens
- Nutrient or fiber deficiencies
- Increase in intestinal pH, leading to abnormal stomach acid
Balance is important. When we have normal levels of gut microbiota, the colonies keep each other in check. When depleted, however, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria can go unchecked and cause disease. This overgrowth of yeast, bacteria, or parasites harm the body in these ways:
- Inhibiting normal bacteria, creating deficiencies of nutrients and other problems.
- Causing inflammation in the digestive system, which compromises absorption and contributing to deficiencies of nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
- Lowering the levels of short chain fatty acids.
- Irritating the lining of the intestine, increasing intestinal permeability (or, “leaky gut” problems).
How can I prevent dysbiosis?
Let’s talk about effective digestion. It depends on several factors:
- Good mastication (or, salivation) leading to healthy gums and teeth.
- High enzyme content in food.
- Proper hydrochloric acid and pepsin levels in stomach.
- Quality digestive enzyme production by pancreas.
- Healthy liver and gallbladder function.
- Balance of proper intestinal flora.
- Toned peristaltic action (or, muscle movement that propels food down the digestive tract) in intestinal flora.
- Autonomic nervous system balance.
Taking care of these factors can aid digestive health, prevent dysbiosis, and promote an improved mood. You can also support your digestive system with a regimen of natural supplements, below. Ask your Reset doctor if you're ready to promote gastrointestinal wellness through natural methods!