Gut microbiome – your gut microbiome is a term used to describe the environment in your intestines. This environment consists of millions of different bacteria, fungi, parasites and also nutrients. Some of the organisms in your gut are healthy for you and came naturally from birth and the foods you eat. Some of the other organisms are not so healthy for you, and can contribute to chronic disease and abdominal discomfort, including gas, bloating and heart burn.
The healthy bacteria and fungi, often known as “probiotics”, are good for you for a number of reasons:
- Produce B vitamins and neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA which improve your mood
- Convert inactive thyroid hormone T4 into active thyroid hormone T3, which all your cells need
- Keep the lining of your gut / intestines healthy and “leak proof” – if the lining is not healthy, toxins leak into your blood stream and irritate your immune system, leading to chronic inflammation, which is the leading cause of chronic diseases like asthma, eczema, arthritis, autommune disease, fatigue, mood swings and weight gain.
The unhealthy organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) come from the environment, especially from contaminated foods and water. Some of them occur naturally in your gut, however, their levels increase to unhealthy amounts depending on the foods you eat, medications you’re on, and the health of your liver .
Unhealthy organisms kill off your good bacteria, damage your intestinal lining (causing leaky gut syndrome), release toxins that contribute to chronic disease and also cause abdominal symptoms like gas, bloating, heart burn etc.
Apart from gas, bloating, skin issues, weight gain and other signs of an unhealthy gut, there are tests you can do to analyze the health of your gut, including the numbers of different organisms in your microbiome, toxins being produced and the health of your gut lining and gut immune system. (Doctors Data, Genova, hydrogen breath test for SIBO.
I discuss these topics in more depth in my Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online.
A BIG MISTAKE MOST PEOPLE MAKE IS IGNORING THE HEALTH OF THE LIVER WHEN IT COMES TO GUT HEALTH
Your liver plays a massive role in gut health. Here’s why:
- Liver produces and releases bile into your intestines. Bile helps with digestion, enzyme activation, detoxification, kills off bad bacteria, binds to fungal toxins
- Bile digests fats which need to be absorbed to make a healthy gut lining
- Bile lubricates your stool to prevent constipation – most people with constipation take laxatives instead of healing their liver – big mistake! Creates dependency on laxatives.
- Bile improves digestion, which breaks down foods more fully, so helps to prevent gas, bloating and discomfort
- Your liver signals stomach to release the right amount of stomach acid for digestion. With improper liver function, your stomach doesn’t process food properly, leading the heart burn, GERD, etc.
- Low stomach acid then makes you more prone to H pylori infections, heart burn, Vitamin B12 deficiency, etc.
IMPROVING GUT HEALTH with HOLISTIC MEDICINE
There are a number of ways to improve gut health.
- Step 1 – stop putting bad stuff in!! Avoiding excessive alcohol, coffee, sugar and inflammatory foods (typically gluten and dairy) is the first step to ensuring gut repair
- Probiotics, glutamine (amino acid for gut repair), vitamin D (reduces inflammation and helps improve health of sphincters between large and small intestine), omega 3 oils (reduce inflammation and improve gut repair), demulcents (improve gut repair)
- Liver friendly foods (bitter foods like arugula, dandelion stimulate bile flow and improve digestion)
- Spices like turmeric are healthy for the liver. Cardomom, fennel and mint improve digestion and peristalsis – good for gut motility
- After improving your gut health, I also use certain herbs to kill off the “bad organisms” – these could include garlic, clove, wormwood, artemisia, cat’s claw, etc – and more.
Feel free to check my Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online!