This disruption of our gut microbiota referred to as dysbiosis has now been linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like ulcerative colitis, IBS, celiac disease, food sensitivities and allergies, diabetes, cancer and yes, obesity! *
So just what can disrupt a normal healthy microbiota leading to poor gut health? The balance of good bacteria depends upon on the food that we eat, healthy lifestyle habits like exercise and reduced exposure to chemicals like those found in medications. But are the top offenders that breakdown our healthy gut microbiota?
- Standard American Diet – A diet high in sugar and unhealthy fats is a killer for your healthy garden bacterial garden. Why? Because it feeds the weeds, promotes inflammation and tears down our protective barrier allowing for the really bad guys – gram negative bacteria to thrive.
- High Blood Sugar – It has been shown that high blood sugar usually seen with obesity, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and of course, diabetes leads to leaky gut and gut infections. High blood sugar promotes the growth of bad bacteria that eventually impairs the gut lining leading heighten immune response and chronic inflammation.
- Low Fiber Diet – Western diets are inherently low in fiber! And, it is this fiber that we don’t breakdown that is feast for our healthy bacterial garden. Diet rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains are crucial to the health of our gut.
- Medications – Prescription and over the counter medications all affect our microbiota! Even anti-depressants and sleeping pills have been found to more easily breakdown that protective barrier as they are fat soluble.
- Anti-acids – Over the counter or prescriptions medications that lower stomach acid eventally over time change the gut environment allowing for displacement of bacteria and the growth bacteria that totally disrupts the microbiota leading to IBS, IBD and auto-immune conditions.
Antibiotics – The “machine gun” approach to treating bacterial infections can have as much as a 50% reduction in our microbiota and it can take up to 4 months or longer to rebuild that microbiome!
- Chemicals – Our environment is filled with chemicals not to mention processed foods that can impact our microbiota. Even chlorine in our water supply has been linked to disputing our gut microbiota not to mention chemicals like methylparaben (come in cosmetics and personal care products).
- Circadian Rhythm Disruption – Ever wonder why people that work different shifts or travelers that travel across different time zones have health issues and are at increased risk for obesity? Recent study showed that this disruption in sleep patterns actually disrupted the microbiota leading to dysbiosis and chronic inflammation. Along with a high fat, high sugar diet – this increases the risk for diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity!
- Alcohol – Consumption of alcohol along with a high fat, high sugar diet has been show to have its impact on the gut increasing the risk for IBD, IBS, and even cardiovascular disease.
Stress – That gut mind connection once again rears it head!
- Chronic stress starts the breakdown of the gut, increases inflammation and leads to dysbiosis. Not to mention we tend to eat poorly during stress.
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