The Gut Garden
Maintaining a diverse population of good bacteria in the gut helps to keep imbalances in check. Imagine your gut as a garden. Plants thriving in healthy soil and loving care can be thought of as good bacteria. When the conditions are right, the good bacteria grow abundantly, outnumbering any harmful (bad) bacteria. However, if left unattended without proper care and nutrients, the once thriving plants in the garden will begin to die off, paving the way for weeds (bad bacteria) to take over and wreak havoc. This is known as dysbiosis.
What is Dysbiosis?
Dysbiosis is a condition in which the gut bacteria become imbalanced, leading to digestive disturbances. With a bit of know-how, you can help your gut garden flourish. But, in order to talk about solutions we first have to define the major culprits.
Many individuals are now realizing that if you have imbalances within the gut microbiome you’re more prone to compromised immunity. Intestinal bacteria influence many aspects of human health including the immune system, cardiovascular health, the brain and nervous system, metabolism, and much more.
The Impact of Yeast Overgrowth
Yeast overgrowth is a key factor associated with dysbiosis, among other conditions. Our modern lifestyle has led to a growing trend of:
- High sugar intake
- Certain medications
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
What Causes Yeast Overgrowth?
Yeast overgrowth occurs when yeast has overgrown and outgrown its natural environment in the large intestine and has invaded the small intestine. A certain amount of yeast is natural to our body, but sometimes it’s crucial to hit the ReSet button to achieve the right balance again.
Antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria, leading to an imbalanced intestinal environment. Then, high-sugar diets and certain medications create the perfect storm, only continuing to feed the ravenous yeast.
The environment created by yeast growing out of bounds and producing almost 200 different toxins can tax the body - leading to an overworked immune system, hormonal changes, and an out of balance bacterial microbiome. Gut balance can’t happen unless we work to reduce the intestinal yeast population.
Do I Have Dysbiosis?
Dysbiosis has been shown to be a risk factor associated with certain conditions including obesity, IBS, Celiac, and candida overgrowth, to name a few. Dysbiosis can also be a common occurrence on the skin. This can result from the exposure to harmful bacteria or an overgrowth of a single type of bacteria. For example, Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria can overtake healthy bacteria in the vagina and cause vaginal burning, itching, and discharge.
Most of the bacteria in our bodies’ are a valuable asset to our health, but when the delicate balance in the gut is thrown off, not only will there be digestive distress, but an array of possible signs & symptoms may result including:
- Decreased immune function
- Excessive gas and/or bloating
- Abdominal pain
- Food allergies/sensitivities
- Leaky gut
The digestive system is a key contributor to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, and much more. If you just set out to kill yeast but don’t change the intestinal environment, yeast will return. The best thing is, dysbiosis can usually be treated through gut therapies and lifestyle changes, if left untreated, it can snowball into more serious conditions.