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Dysbiosis. What is it and why it’s the most important thing you should know about.

We have 39 trillion bacterial cells in the human body with over one thousand species. These mighty guys are not there to make us sick, quite the opposite. We rely on them to make us healthy and function well. They digest our food, keep the immune system running, remove endo (internal ) and exotoxins (external), produce some of our essential vitamins and chemicals and communicate with the rest of the body, even the mitochondria our powerhouses of the cell (and our main energy producer) evolved from bacteria. 

So what is this dysbiosis? 

The diversity or balance of our bacteria is the key for the optimal health of us. When they become imbalanced this is what we call dysbiosis but it’s much more than this. 

The diversity of our microbiome (collective of all the bacteria) changes as we get older, when we take medications especially antibiotics, when we are exposed to chemicals and toxins, especially the not so wonderful glyphosate, the dettol era of sterilisation and stress also has a huge impact on this diversity, more on this in a minute. 

What are the different germs in our gut and which are more helpful than others ?

Firstly lets talk parasites, some can help the immune system by enhancing t reg cell function, some live in harmony with the body, however some can also cause havoc, knowing what you have through quality functional testing is key is investigate this. 

Now onto bacteria.. There are four main phylum or groups of bacteria, the Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria. Then most of our bacteria belong to the genera, (which is the next step under the phylum) Bacteroides, Clostridium, Faecalibacterium, Eubacterium, Ruminococcus, Peptococcus, Peptostreptococcus, and Bifidobacterium.

Some of these are more beneficial than others and when you get an over diversity of some over others thats when big problems can occur.

Fungi also exist in the human body as well as yeast. Both of these if left to get out of hand can lead to Immune issues, skin problems, inflammation, poor energy plus a host of other issues. 

These can all easily be tested and corrected through medicinal intervention, lifestyle and dietary changes. 

When it all goes wrong ? 

Diversity starts when we are born. Born through the vaginal canal we get a big gulp of bacteria that sets us up for life, as well as breast feeding this gives us the start of a great immune base which is around 70-80% residing in the gut. However as our world today has an increase in sterile environments, chemicals and pesticides that either weaken the immune or destroy our microbiome, it leaves us  set up for not only chronic inflammation but also a susceptibility to auto immune disorders.

Intestinal permeability aka leaky gut.

This is the movement (through larger gaps in the intestinal lining) of bacteria, their neurotoxic counterparts LPS’s (lipopolysaccharides) and other toxins from the gut to the rest of the body. This is a significant problem to all areas of the body, increasing levels of allergies, chronic widespread inflammation and especially effecting the brain through the gut-brain axis. Normally the lining of the gut and tight junctions prevent disease causing pathogens from getting in and letting the nutrients to fuel you in. Intestinal permeability has been linked to diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac, asthma, acne, rosacea, headaches and fatigue.

Why stress can impact and even cause dysbiosis. 

The gut and the brain are in constant communication through the gut-brain axis gut via chemical signals. 

Studies have shown that exposure to certain stressors can change the makeup of the microbiome, decreasing the good guys and increasing the ones we don’t want in abundance. Therefore everyone who is likely to be experience stress (yes I think that’s a lot of us ) is at more risk for developing IBD ( inflammatory bowel disease), IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome) and even reflux. 

What we do about it ?

Increase the diversity of the food you eat, making sure they are as free of chemicals and pesticides as you can get. This is the fuel and food for your bacteria… make them happy:)

Eat the foods that don’t cause inflammation to you.  Find out what your intolerant to and AVOID it. It’s not forever. Ask us or make sure you find a qualified health professional to help you with this. 

Probiotics are not always the answer. You may have too many of what your supplementing with already and this could be making the inflammation worse. It can even be contributing to more histamine (which is a reaction from inflammation) which you don’t want. Testing is crucial to dig deep into the microflora and advice from a professional.

Heal intestinal permeability by removing irritation and inflammatory foods as well as chemical and environmental toxins. Ask us how you can aid this healing with key personalised compounds and medicines. 

Increase your fibre and resistant starch in your diet. 

Manage stress through mindfulness, pursuing your passion, getting out in nature, having fun with friends and family, and not being so hard on yourself. 

Get your microbiome tested so you know where to spend your money and effort. It’s a walk in the dark and can be a waste of money to not know what your dealing with. 

Ask us how .. 

Perth based Functional Naturopath and Lecturer, Jodi Duval discusses health tips and tricks for you and your family. Giving you the latest information to get you to your optimal health and empower you with the knowledge and passion to do so. Jodi will also be featuring guests from a variety of different areas of the health and wellness industry. Stay tuned and have fun!

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