Bowel flora are important for good health. You have between four and seven pounds of bacteria in your bowel. There are more bacterial cells there than there are in your entire body. They belong there.
Beneficial bacteria do the following:
- Produce vitamins like folic acid and B12.
- Nourish the lining of the colon by producing butyric acid. They do this by feeding on vegetable fiber. Adequate butyric acid levels reduce the chances for colon cancer.
- Inhibit harmful bacteria.
- Break down toxins.
There are other bacteria and yeast that normally exist, but in smaller numbers. Think of the GI tract as an ecosystem, with a balance between beneficial and not-so-beneficial microorganisms.
Dysbiosisis an overgrowth of improper microorganisms. Perhaps the best-known form of dysbiosis is Candidiasis, which William Crook, MD, made famous in his book The Yeast Connection (Vin Books, 1986). An overgrowth of yeast, which produces toxins and undermines the health of the gastrointestinal (GI) system and the immune system, is a form of dysbiosis.
Harmful microorganisms do the following:
- Inhibit normal bacteria, creating deficiencies of nutrients and other problems.
- Produce toxins. Harmful bacteria create toxins and inhibit normal bacteria from detoxifying the bowel. Toxins can burden the liver and affect every function in the body.
- Hydrogenate polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Damage the intestinal lining creating increased intestinal permeability. This eventually leads to allergies and many other chronic health problems.
A diagnosis of dysbiosis is controversial and is not generally recognized by traditional medicine. Some believe that allergies, chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, digestive problems, skin problems, headaches, joint pain and virtually any chronic health problem can be caused by dysbiosis. These health problems are the result of nutrient deficiencies, toxicity, GI irritation and challenges to the immune system. Considering that most of your immune system is in your gut, believing that an imbalance in bowel flora can cause health problems is not unreasonable.
Dysbiosis can be caused by improper eating, exposure to toxins like chemicals and heavy metals, drug therapy, poor enzyme production, nutrient deficiency or poor immune function. Treating dysbiosisis important, but you also have to address the underlying cause.
The presence of dysbiosis can also be determined based on a health history and general examination. Previous eating habits, drug therapies and chemical exposures can indicate a problem with dysbiosis. A health questionnaire can give you a reasonable indication about whether dysbiosis is present or not. There are also lab tests and GI function tests.
Dietary / Lifestyle Guidelines: Of course diet is individual. Feel free to call us for a consultation.
- Eat two Large chopped salads each day:Normal flora feed on vegetable fiber. Eating the chopped salads will help normal, beneficial bacteria to thrive.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates: These feed yeast and will prolong treatment.
- Chew your food thoroughly: This improves digestion, breaking down food particles and mixing them with salivary enzymes. The better your digestion, the easier it is to treat dysbiosis.
- It may be necessary to avoid dairy products:More often than not, dairy products are a problem for people with incompetent digestive systems. This is an individual issue.
- Eat plenty of raw vegetables: Raw foods contain enzymes and aid digestion.
- It may be necessary to find and eliminate hidden food sensitivities: This will reduce the burden on the immune system and make it easier for the body to resist dysbioticorganisms.
- Supplemental digestive support may be necessary: Supplementation needs vary with individuals. There are many things that can be useful, like herbs to kill unfriendly organisms, supplements to help heal the GI tract, probiotics (beneficial bacteria), and enzymes and hydrochloric acid to help digestion.