10 Signs You Have A Gut Balance Issue + How To Support It
Signs your gut needs support.
Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria along with yeast and viruses that live among this bacteria. Collectively, these microorganisms are called your gut microbiota. Their collective genes make up the gut microbiome.
Although everyone’s gut microbiome shares some similar characteristics, there are also vast differences. As Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., a gastroenterologist and internationally recognized gut health expert, puts it “you are one-of-a-kind with a gut microbiome as unique as a fingerprint.”
When the bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live in your gut are in balance, the rest of your body is often in harmony too. However, when things go awry, and the bacterial imbalance occurs (not enough of the beneficial bugs), it can lead to suboptimal gut health, and if not supported or corrected, this can affect the rest of your body.
Here are some common areas a healthy gut can support:
1. Abdominal comfort (i.e., less gas and bloating)
2. Regularity (going to much)
Gut microbial balance is paramount when it comes to regularity (i.e., not going too much or not going enough). For example, Clostridioides difficile, a type of bacteria that lives in the gut in small numbers, can create regularity issues (going too much) if it's allowed to flourish.
And this can push out the good bacteria in your gut, contributing to even more gut imbalance.
3. Regularity (not going enough)
There are also neural communication channels between the gut and brain (i.e., gut-brain axis). If these pathways of gut-brain communication are thrown off, it can contribute to things like anxiousness and mood imbalance.
6. Skin health
Skin health needs can represent underlying gut health needs. That's because gut is in direct communication with your skin through what’s called the gut-skin axis.
It plays a role in skin homeostasis and physiologic pathways that keep your skin clear and healthy. Your skin also has a unique microbiome of its own, and the bacteria in your gut influence the balance of bacteria on your skin.
An imbalance in your gut can cause an imbalance in your skin and a variety of skin health needs depending on the individual.
7. Sugar cravings
The microbes in your gut are really good at trying to manipulate you into eating the types of food that feed them and help them grow. But different types of microbes like different foods.
For example, yeast thrives on sugar, Bifidobacteria love dietary fiber, and Bacteroidetes prefer fats. If your gut contains too much yeast it can lead to intense sugar cravings that ultimately perpetuate the unhealthy gut cycle.
9. Healthy weight
Certain types of bacteria can also influence weight gain, since bacteria help break down food and the way your body absorbs nutrients.
10. Immune health
One study found that when a certain bacteria, called Enterococcus gallinarum, multiplies too much, it can travel outside your gut to your liver and other tissues where it contributes to immune imbalance.
What causes gut balance issues?
However, while diet is certainly important, it isn’t the only thing that matters. Other factors that can contribute to gut issues include:
- Certain medications (e.g., frequent antibiotic use)
- Food sensitivities
- Not enough sleep
- Alcohol intake
How to support your gut.
Fortunately, just like there are a lot of things that can contribute to a gut imbalance, there are a lot of things you can do to support your gut health and bring your body back into balance:
Clean up your diet.
One of the first strategies against gut imbalance is diet. The foods you eat have a direct effect on the balance of bacteria in your gut. Fiber and complex carbohydrates feed the good bacteria, while sugar and processed foods encourage gut imbalance.
To keep your gut healthy, avoid sugar and processed foods and include plenty of high-fiber vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins in your diet. Focus on getting plenty of prebiotic foods, like asparagus, flaxseeds, artichoke, and jicama, too.
Prebiotics help feed the good bacteria in your gut so that it can multiply, thrive, and predominate.
One study points out that targeted support strategies for food insensitivities, like removing gluten and limiting FODMAPs, may also help, especially if the dietary approach is combined with probiotics.*
Include probiotic supplements and fermented foods.
Identify and eliminate your specific food "triggers".
While there are some foods, like refined sugars, that are known to contribute to gut imbalance in most people, it’s possible that you have specific food sensitivities and personalized nutrition needs when it comes to optimizing your gut health.
If you keep eating the a food that you're sensitive to, it can lead to immune reactivity and contributes to gut imbalance. The key to good gut health is identifying and eliminating your food triggers to allow your gut to thrive.
The simplest way to identify individual food response differences is an elimination diet, in which you eliminate common food triggers for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce them, looking out for how you feel along the journey.
Several companies offer at-home testing kits that you can use to confirm which food(s) may be your personal triggers.
While the science behind these food sensitivity testing may not be perfect, if you are able to identify some of your food triggers, eliminating them for at least 30 days could help get your gut on the path to success.
Move your body regularly
Pay attention to stress levels.
And this effect is seen with any type of stress—physical, emotional, and environmental. While it’s impossible to get rid of stress completely, it’s important to get all types of stress levels under control. You have to find what works best for you, but some common stress reduction techniques include:
- Reducing your workload
- Making time for fun
- Getting enough good sleep
- Supplements and herbs (SAM-e, ashwagandha, hemp oil, lavender oil, St. John’s wort)
- Cleaning up your environment by using non-toxic personal care and cleaning products
Consider intermittent fasting.
Digestive needs like gas, bloating, and irregularity are all clues of a gut imbalance, which can manifest in other health areas like mood, concentration, your skin, and more.
Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to help improve your gut health. While diet is often the first line of defense, taking high-quality probiotics with science-backed strains,* reducing stress levels, and exercising regularly can also play a big role in supporting your body's health and well-being!*
Text or Email us for your access code @ 847-986-5101 firstname.lastname@example.org
Certified holistic nutrition consultant