Most people don’t run around saying, “I think I have Dysbiosis!” but you might hear them say, “My energy is lower”, “I just don’t feel as good as I did”, “My stomach hurts or is bloated every time I eat!”
Dysbiosis just sounds like a complicated thing. Well that is true actually and it can be complicated, but let’s break it down to the basics.
So what is it? Dysbiosis is a state of altered microbial ecology in the gastrointestinal tract that causes or contributes to disease. In non-medical terms, your digestive system is not working in the proper way because the environment is out of balance. Common examples of imbalances you may have heard of are yeast infections (candida), Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), parasite infections, group B strep, etc. These are all forms of dysbiosis in which the inappropriate microbes such as viruses, fungi, parasites, or negative bacteria are thriving and crowding out the space for the beneficial bacteria. Yes you read right there is such thing as “good” bacteria.
So what role does beneficial bacteria play in our gut? Two main functions that these bacteria perform are one digestion of products that our body can’t break down on our own and two stimulation of proper immune system function.
First, having those colonies of bacteria in our large intestine are vital to us breaking down a lot of the more fibrous foods in our diet. Fibrous foods are the plant based portion of our diet and are the main source of vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Having sufficient beneficial bacteria allows us to absorb many of those nutrients from our food so they are not flushed out as waste. In the case of vitamin K the bacteria are actually responsible for creating it allowing our blood to have the proper clotting factors to heal wounds.
Second, this good gut bacteria is vital to protecting us against opportunistic infections that we come in contact with on an everyday basis. Our digestive tract is the most susceptible place for infections due to the fact that we are constantly running potentially infected items through it all the time. This is why the overwhelming portion of your immune system resides in your gut and is monitored via its own very intricate nervous system commonly known as your “gut brain”. When the gut ecology or environment is right it allows the immune system to be extremely vigilant in the task of identifying foreign invaders and taking care of them. Mess with the proper gut balance and the immune system can go haywire and potentially lead to attacking your own cells as is seen in autoimmune diseases. This is why you have have heard people say, “health starts in your gut”.
You are probably wondering if you may have this dysbiosis thing going on? How do you know?
Generally our patients report feel sluggish, lower in energy and perhaps they are having upset stomachs, indigestion or a food allergy/sensitivity response. Some may even simply be having chronic pain such as is seen in fibromyalgia. In many cases symptoms can be traced back to inappropriate gut function.
So what can be done? While every case is unique some basic principles apply across the board. First and foremost dietary change can be a tremendous benefit with the largest factor being elimination of those items feeding the harmful microbes. These items are the refined sugars and simple starches like white flour, pasta and potatoes. A good rule of thumb is if it comes close to the color of fresh snow you should probably avoid it. By eliminating these foods you cut off the food supply to these harmful microbes and allow proper balance to be restored. It is common to not think about what we are eating in our busy world and in turn you could be feeding your body those things that do not improve your health situation. Almost always, it is just about awareness of what or what not to eat.
At Smith Chiropractic Offices, the doctors perform Dysbiosis testing which identify harmful microbes, food sensitivities and chemical toxins that are preventing you from healing. Once these substances are identified, our doctors match them with the most appropriate remedy to assist your body in detoxification and optimization of health.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a chronic health concern we invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation to see what can be done to get you back to the life you want to live.
Thank you for trusting us with your real healthcare reform,
Dr. Craig, Dr. Scott and Dr. Ryan