There are good types and bad types of bacteria in the world of the gut. When we’re first born, our body is quite untouched and the digestive tract is sterile. Immediately we are presented with breast milk and environmental factors, both of which begin colonizing our digestive tract with bacteria – most of them beneficial and harmless. They are the beginning of our immune system. As we get older and are introduced to new substances and bacteria species, more species colonize the bowel.
What is dysbiosis?
Symbiosis translate to ‘living in harmony.’ Dysbiosis is the opposite, it’s when the bad guys take over. It was first identified by Dr. Eli Metchnikoff in the early 20th century, who gained a Nobel Prize for his study. It essentially means there is an imbalance of microbial colonies. (Tamboli & Neut, 2004) This is most common in the digestive tract, but can occur anywhere there is an exposed mucous membrane, such as the skin. The bacteria maintain a harmonious balance in a healthy digestive tract by keeping each other in check so no one specific strain can dominate. What occurs in a disturbed system is a strain’s decreased efficiency at checks and counterbalances. This can result in one colony becoming dominant and one becoming more decrepit. It stirs up a chronic imbalance, debilitates the good guys and compromises our system as a whole. The good guys are imperative. They assist us with digestion, absorption, produce vitamins, control growth of harmful microorganisms, and maintain the intestinal cells well fed by creating short chain fatty acids. Sometimes we simply need to reinforce the good guys in order to get rid of the bad guys. We can support them a great deal via nutrition supplementation. It’s one of the first steps you can take to get a healthier GI tract…and healthier skin, stronger immune system, more energy, better moods…The list goes on and on.
When dysbiosis exists, we may fall prey to typically harmless microbes that can contribute to severe health worries. Dr. Elizabeth Lipski (Lipski, 2012), cites dysbiosis as a cause of arthritis, vitamin B deficiency, autoimmune illness, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic acne, eczema, food allergies and food sensitivities, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and more.
Other Symptoms Include:
- Digestive issues common in IBS, bloating, burping, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, bad breath, abdominal pain, upset stomach
- Lactose intolerance
- Skin Rashes like Eczema, Cystic Acne, Psoriasis, Dermatitis
- Chronic fatigue
- Joint pain
- Yeast infections
- Lowered libido
- Mental fog
- Sugar cravings (including alcohol)
- Weight gain
- Skin problems such as acne or hives
- Nail fungi
- Hyperactivity; learning and behavioral disorders