Your “Gut Feeling” May Be More Important Than You Ever Knew


“Good” gut bacteria, technically known as gut flora or microbiota, are of immense importance to your health and well being. Trillions of cells populate your gastrointestinal tract in a kind of symbiotic relationship that keeps your body in balance. Everyone’s gut bacterial makeup is a little different. In fact, a new study published in Science Daily reports that each individual has a unique assortment of microflora living in their system from the very day of their birth.

Good bacteria can improve your digestive process, boost your immune system, as well as produce vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to flourish. Bad bacteria, on the other hand, can disturb your stomach and intestinal tract, be a detriment to skin health, and even contribute to psychological problems.

One’s overall diet and lifestyle can affect the condition of his or her gastrointestinal bacteria balance. One may well ask, “Is my gut bacteria all it should be? And if not, how will I know and what will I do about it?”

Listed below are six signs that your gut bacterial balance may not be doing so well, followed by some suggestions on how to improve the situation.

1. A bad balance in the gut can cause digestive problems, gas, bloating, acid reflux, heartburn, irritable bowel disease, constipation, and diarrhea. Antacids and prescription drugs may address the symptoms, but the root cause is often the wrong kind of gut bacteria.

2. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, especially of magnesium and vitamins D, K, B7, and B12, can stem from bacterial imbalance. That is because helpful gut flora can assist in producing and processing these important nutrients.

3. Certain psychological troubles, mostly depression and anxiety, can be effects of bad bacteria in the gut. That is because some of these bacteria produce neurotransmitters that affect mental health.

4. Stress and high blood pressure can raise the body’s cortisol levels, which potentially could interfere with the proper functioning of good gut bacteria. If stress continues unabated for months on end, you may want to check with your doctor to see how your gut bacteria are handling it.

5. Generally unhealthy skin and certain skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema can be connected to poor gut bacteria health.

6. Autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis are yet another example of potential effects of an out-of-balance gut.

How to balance your gut bacteria in some simple steps:

Note that antibiotics are good and necessary at times. However, antibiotics taken in too-large amounts can decimate all gut bacteria indiscriminately, both bad and good. It can take time and special intervention to replace these “casualties of friendly fire,” so be careful not to over-use antibiotics.

Taking pro-biotic supplements found at a good health food store is another factor to help keep your gut bacteria healthy.

Dr. Tim Gerstmar laid down some excellent guidelines on which supplements to focus on:

  • Stay away from “bargain bin” prices. You get what you pay for.
  • Two reputable brands are Jarrow and Klaire Labs.
  • Make sure they’re potent. Dr. Gerstmar recommends at least 8 billion/dose.
  • Look for supplements that contain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

The most important factor, however, is to regularly consume a well-balanced, natural diet. Fermented foods, in particular, are a natural source of good gut bacteria.

Best Tasty Fermented Foods to Eat & Drink for Gut Health, from my one previous article:

  • Yogurts
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Goat’s Cheese
  • Pickles
  • Pickled Relish
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Pickled Vegetables
  • Water Kefir Soda Pop
  • Fermented Juice
  • Fermented Dressings
  • Fermented Black Bean Dip
  • Fermented Apple Sauce
  • Fruit Leathers
  • Probitoic Ice Cream
  • Raw Cheeses and Milks

Last but not least, avoid getting over-stressed since this can reduce the population of helpful bacteria living in your gut.

Liu Jiao
I have written articles on various physical and mental health related conditions, including diabetes/ heart disease/ autism/depression/Nutrition/fitness/diets/fad diets/herbs/alternative therapies/weight loss/obesity in children and adults/smoking risks/alcohol risks/fast foods/disease....

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