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5 signs of an unhealthy gut

Health of the gut can alter digestion, sleep, metabolism, memory , sleep and several other functions in the body. Here are some signs to look out for.

4 min read
5 signs of an unhealthy gut

Understanding the importance of gut health 

The gut is where digestion and absorption of food occurs. Food breaks down in the mouth, passes through the food pipe into the stomach. Mixed with stomach acids enters the intestines where nutrients are absorbed, passed into the blood to perform different functions and undigested food is eliminated from the rectum. Digestion is facilitated in the gut by its diverse microbiota, meaning; colonies of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.) which dictate the functioning of your mind, immune system, secretion of hormones and enzymes, etc. Every person has a unique composition of this microbiota. Healthy individuals have more diverse microorganisms compared to unhealthy individuals who have less diverse numbers. Researches reveal that the presence of a larger unhealthy bacteria release toxic substances into the blood which causes inflammation in the body leading to diseases

What is your gut bacteria telling you?

When the numbers of gut microflora are thrown off balance your unhealthy gut gives out warning signals like upset stomach (gas, bloating, acidity, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, burping, vomiting), unexpected weight loss, blood in the stools, extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, pain in the chest, trouble swallowing food are few of them. Many experience this from time to time but, if they persist over two to three weeks it’s a clear sign of an imbalance in the numbers of healthy vs. unhealthy gut microflora. Treating the root cause by following healthy eating habits, adding in good physical activity, consuming nutritional supplements, eliminating external chemicals and toxins, adding stress-releasing activities can revive good bacterial numbers

“Gut dysbiosis” is the term used for the disruption of this delicate balance of the gut microflora which causes havoc in your system . 

Let’s talk about 5 signs of an unhealthy gut

1. Gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation 

Gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation are the hallmark symptoms of any digestive condition. Gas production occurs due to the presence of abnormally large numbers of gas-producing bacteria or the absence of microflora to digest certain nutrients in the food causing fermentation. This surplus gas production causes excessive bloating and discomfort . Bacteria like Clostridioides difficile, live naturally in the gut but an overgrowth of these strains can cause the constant need to pass bacterial loaded stools or diarrhoea. On the other hand, constipation has been linked to Bifidobacteria found in lesser numbers in the stools.

2. Type 2 diabetes

 Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder, a result of disturbed gut microflora. A study done in Journal of Endocrinology Connections analyzed the gut microbial composition of 92 patients (20 diabetic, 24 pre-diabetic, 48 normal), which linked the level of glucose intolerance (diabetic condition) to three specific types of microorganisms, whose numbers were greatly increased in diabetic compared to non-diabetic patients 5. Thereby linking gut health with glucose intolerance. The incidence of sugar cravings and obesity/overweight is also associated with Type 2 diabetes. Increased numbers of sugar feeding microbes cause excess sugar craving  and decreased numbers of gut bacteria that secrete hunger regulating hormones cause increased appetite leading to weight gain . 

3. Mood Disorders

Have you been taking mood medications, antidepressants with little or no effect? Divert your focus to your gut. “Leaky gut”; a condition where the finger-like projections in the intestine get stunted causing the wall of the intestine to damage and the gut contents to leak into blood . Due to leaky gut, the gut microflora that produces the happy hormones leak into the blood and the brain does not receive these hormones which manifest as anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue . Unhealthy gut microbiota also affects sleep-wake cycle contributing to sleeplessness .

4.Skin diseases

Skin diseases like psoriasis, rosacea, acne, atopic dermatitis, and other inflammatory skin diseases occur due to the unhealthy bacterial load on the skin. The gut microflora dictates the type and growth of bacteria on the skin surface through the gut skin axis . There exists a strong connection between food intolerance and skin disorders, especially gluten and milk intolerance . Zonulin, protein in wheat causes the intestine wall to erode releasing food particles into blood causing inflammation in the body, these manifests as skin lesions and patches . Addition of hormones like Insulin-like growth factor (IGF1), androgen, and testosterone in milk causes the skin cells to get inflamed.

5.Autoimmune diseases

The link between leaky gut and autoimmune diseases is huge. Leaky gut causes the food particles to travel from the gut into the blood, attacking the immune cells 5. A condition wherein your own body cells attack itself called autoimmune disorder (like Lupus, Celiac disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Type I diabetes etc) . Rapidly rising concentrations of Enterococcus gallinarum travels outside the leaky gut to the liver and other tissues also resulting in autoimmune disorders . 

Focus on healing inside out, treat the root cause of your issue and your condition will cease to exist.