We have trillions (YES!!! Trillions with a “T”) of microbes in our digestive tract. These microbes are constantly sending signals and behaving in such a way to promote their own self preservation. Do you think your craving for some type of food is actually you? Or is it the desperate plea of colonies of microbes struggling to survive?!?! (Myah ha ha)
What is Gut Dysbiosis…
Gut dysbiosis is becoming a widely talked about issue, especially amongst those who are interested in optimal health and longevity. We all have numerous colonies of bacteria and other microorganisms that call our gut “home.” Many of these microorganisms live symbiotically with us, meaning that we have a harmonious relationship that is good for both our bodies and for the microbes themselves. However, if the types of microorganisms that our gut contains do not have a harmonious effect on us physiologically (dysbiosis), this gives birth to symptoms, disease, entropy and decay.
We now know that our dietary practices play an enormous role on our health and sense of wellbeing. In fact, our gut produces more dopamine and serotonin than our brains do! These neurotransmitters are absolutely essential to our sense of wellbeing and happiness. However, interference with serotonin and dopamine has been linked to a wide variety of common, chronic health problems. Amongst these are included psychological disorders which would fall under the category of gut-brain axis problems:
Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and even Tourette Syndrome
Additionally, disruption in these neurotransmitters have been linked to numerous autoimmune diseases including:
Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis
Further, the health of our digestive system has a direct impact on our immune system. By supporting optimal gut health (Stage 2) we are having a further impact on maintaining a strong immune system (Stage 1). And by further regulating our neurotransmitters, we also begin to regulate various aspects of our stress response (Stage 3).
So Where Did This Problem Come From
Everyone of us has a gut microbiome, a complement of microbes that are normal and beneficial for our health and survival. But more and more, we are damaging this microbiome and feeding pathogenic or “bad” bacteria living our gut (aka dysbiosis). Largely we are accomplishing this by our diets. We consume too much sugar. Too many carbohydrates. Too much protein. Too much fat. Too many food additives (which don’t qualify as food anyways). Frankly, we consume too much!!! Period!! Even in those who are “health conscious” often consume too much “healthy” food which further damages the gut and gut lining.
What’s more is that we consume antibiotics constantly. We chew NSAID drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen for every fever, headache, or pain that we have. This further damages the gut lining and further perpetuates a condition known as leaky gut syndrome (a fancy term for increased permeability of the gut lining). This damage then allows food particles (proteins, etc.) to cross the gut lining without being properly digested. These particles then become the target of our immune systems and are a major player in autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia.
How About Symptoms In This Stage
Dysbiosis can lead to generalized immune responses which often appears like a feverish feeling or a fever of unknown origin. Sometimes it also means a feverish feeling in the evenings or at night. These are often common problems found in fibromyalgia syndrome.
This microbial overgrowth can lead to problems with the sodium-potassium pumps in our cells which can cause broad spectrum inefficiency in the body:
Chronic Fatigue (often worse in the morning)
Heavy feeling limbs or heavy feeling pains
Swelling of the legs and joints
Excessive mucus production
Brain fog and poor concentration
Rash or pimples around the armpits or groin
Abdominal fullness and bloating
Irritable bowel syndrome
In Stage 2, our goal is to regulate digestion, eliminate dysbiosis and start supporting the beneficial bacterial complement of our gut. We utilize plant-based medicines that remove excessive mucoid production in the gut, aids in proper digestion of our food, relieves inflammation in the gut lining and promotes proper fluid metabolism through the gut and the rest of the body. A great telltale sign of problems in this stage is a sensation of dry mouth but with a desire to drink in only small quantities (to keep the mouth moist). Another major sign is fatigue which is especially worse in the morning as if you are being weighed down and struggle to even move.
Grandma Style Approach:
The best way to ensure ease of digestion is to make sure that foods are cooked appropriately and to always chew food thoroughly. Chewing is our first line of digestion and it is often the most ignored (but so easily effective).
Also, utilizing a broad arrangement of herbs and spices can often be hugely beneficial. Many of our common spices have properties which are very good for digestion (ginger, allspice, thyme, etc.) and they also promote a better thirst sensation. Better thirst is important because it is a sign that our fluid metabolism is changing. By properly metabolizing fluids, it is like we are able to replace stagnant swamp water (often held in the form of swelling or edema) with fresh water.
Be careful with too many over-the-counter supplements! While we have the best intentions when taking these, too many, or those of the wrong type at the wrong time, can often cause further digestive distress, which aids in perpetuating chronic disease problems. Additionally, if we are burdened by terrible dysbiosis, it is questionable to what extent these nutrients can even be properly absorbed.
It is also wise to avoid trendy “health” foods such as green smoothies. While in theory these are providing lots of nutrients, in reality, they are often causing blood sugars to spike and often impairing digestive function.
This article was written on February 27, 2020 by Chris Volesky and can also be found by clicking the link provided: