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June 9, 2017
What Is Dysbiosis?

Now we have discussed what a probiotic is and the benefits of taking one last week. Let’s move a step further and ask ourselves, do I need one? Also, how will I be able to assess the health of my gut?

To answer that question we need to understand what affects our gut bacteria and the balance of the types of gut bacteria. Our gut is affected by our environment and the toxins and pollutants in it, the food we eat, those around us like our friends and family members, down to our stress level, sleep cycle, and what we eat.

In the previous blog post we discussed that there are two main things regarding the health of your gut bacteria: VARIETY and NUMBERS. We want a large variety in the bacterial populations in your gut, and large amounts of good bacteria. So the more types of species the better AND the more good bacteria the better. But what happens when that ratio is off. What happens when there is more bad bacteria than good bacteria, a low variety of bacteria, or simply not enough bacteria in the gut? This imbalance is called dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis is a very common health condition. Dysbiosis can be caused by numerous things. For example, high stress, causing an increase in cortisol can create an environment in the gut which helps bad bacteria grow and multiply. Excessive antibiotic use, not only kills bacteria that causes infections, but also kills off our good bacteria populations as well causing an imbalance in gut bacteria. Poor diets, high in sugar, saturated fat, and low in fiber can also cause an imbalanced gut.

In our next blog, we will discuss many common diseases and health conditions that are associated with dysbiosis. If you have any of these, a probiotic may be a great help to improve your health. We will also talk further about gut health related to brain signaling, and how an overgrowth of bad bacteria can affect our mood. And remember, you can always consult with your dietitian and doctor about whether probiotics are right for you too!

Sources:

Goehler L. Understanding the Gut Brain: Stress, Appetite, Digestion & Mood. In:Understanding The Gut Brain: Stress, Appetite, Digestion & Mood.; 2015

Written by Andy Miller

 
 

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