There are many names for an unhappy gut including leaky gut, IBS, Yeast Overgrowth (Candida), Celiac Disease, Chrohn’s, Colitis, Constipation, Diarrhea, Flora Imbalance (Dysbiosis) or presence of a microbe like parasites, bacteria, pathogen or virus. Although the technical definitions of each condition are different, they are all related because any of these conditions mean your digestion and absorption of real, whole foods is compromised in a way that can have detrimental effects on your body and mood.
It can be difficult to diagnosis exactly what is going on with your gut because there are not always specific tests (or reliable tests) to confirm it and these conditions are associated with a wide range of seemingly unconnected symptoms. Unhappy gut is not a diagnosis or disease but rather an environment in which a number of gut conditions can develop.[Tweet “Taking a pro-active approach to an unhappy gut can help prevent a more chronic gut problem.”]
Unhappy Gut is typically a result of the following (or a combination of all three):
- Imbalance of good and bad flora in your gut (ex. yeasts) or presence of a foreign pathogen.
- Gut lining “net” that is damaged and allowing bacteria, viruses, undigested food particles and toxic waste products to leak from the intestines to bloodstream which can then trigger your immune system to react. This causes inflammation in various parts of your body.
- Damage to the finger-like projections in your small intestine called villi that prevent nutrient absorption leading to nutritional deficiencies.
Signs of an Unhappy Gut
Bloating, cramping, fatigue, food sensitivities/allergies, flushing, achy joints, headaches, rashes, chronic sinus, ear, yeast or other infections, brain fog, anxiety, depression and chronic fungus on nails or feet, unusual color, shape or consistency of stool, cravings for or overconsumption of sweets, starches or alcohol, feeling spacey, light-headed or disoriented, poor memory or concentration, difficulty making decisions, vaginal burning, itching or urgency and anal itching.
What Causes An Unhappy Gut?
Chronic Stress including Emotional
Certain Medications (aspirin, NSAIDS-non-steroidal anti inflammatories, cortisones, antibiotics or birth control pills.)
Exposure to toxins like Mercury, Fluoride, Chlorine,
Bacterial Permeability ex. Lyme Disease bacteria cause gut permeability
Diet High in Refined Sugar (includes flours and dairy)
GMO’s, Preservatives and chemicals in processed foods
Consumption of Gluten
Consumption of phytic acids (soak nuts and seeds to remove)
Excessive alcohol consumption
Parasite Infection or Bacteria Overload
Radiation and Chemotherapy
Bottle fed vs breast fed (depletes Tryptophan and Cholostrum)
Conditions Caused or Worsened By Unhappy Gut:
Celiac Disease, IBS, Chrohn’s, Colitis, Arthritis, Psoriases, Eczema, Asthma, Chronic Inflammatory Conditions, Endometriosis (pain, infertility, very heavy periods), Fibromyalgia, Nutrient Malabsorption, Neuropathy, Auto Immune Conditions, GI Issues, Multiple Food Intolerances, Hashimoto’s, Frequent Colds, Interstitial Cystitus (auto immune response causing frequent urination), MS, Restless Leg Syndrome, Skin conditions like Dermatitis, Heart Disease (inflammatory), weight gain and metabolism issues, Adrenal Fatigue and mental illness including anxiety and depression.
What To Do About Unhappy Gut
No matter what degree you suspect your gut is unhappy, here are non invasive suggestions that can make a big difference and would be first things to do:
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates refined sugars, dairy, gluten, alcohol and artificial sweeteners and includes EFA’s, saturated fats, fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables, high fiber from foods or a psyllium husk supplement.
- Add gut healing foods such as bone broth (1 cup a day) and fermented foods. Try Coconut Products like milk, water and even Coconut or Sesame Oil pulling in which you gargle with these oils for 20 minutes creating an oral detoxification.
- Include a Pro Biotic 2-3 Times a Year for Maintenance. Do not use pro-biotics in a yogurt form as the sugar feeds the yeast. Look for strains of Bifidus and Lactobaccilius and for viral conditions like Herpes add SB and Lysine.
- Consider Serotonin boosting amino acids and Glutamine which can help heal gut.
- Include anti bacterial, anti fungal, antiseptic herbs like Grapefruit Seed Extract, Garlic, Oregano Oil or Echinacea.
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Digestive Enzymes
Tests To Consider:
Pathogens: Genova Diagnostic or Doctors Data Stool Test for Yeast Overgrowth (vs 3 antibody blood test), bacteria, parasites, virus and other pathogens. Include C Diff bacteria and Blasto.
Leaky Gut: Intestinal Permeability Test measuring the ability of Mannitol and Lactulose (2 non-metabolizing sugar molecules) to get through the digestive net.
There are tests for Candida and Celiac, however these test are often false negative. We rely on symptoms as a main guide. In the case of Celiac, a very thorough scope may be necessary for diagnosis. Our recommendation is a proactive approach to balancing your flora, a sugar, dairy and gluten detox and then restriction and the use of Neuro Nutrition to eliminate cravings for such foods.