by: Andrea Laine White, Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner
In part 1 of this blog series, we established the importance of a healthy gut, both healthy gut flora or bacteria and an integrous gut barrier or intestinal tract. If you missed it, you can catch-up here.
The gut is such a phenomenal and integral part of our overall health, we wanted to talk specifically about a few common gut-related conditions that we see in clinical practice.
Anxious, Stressed, or Depressed?
Healing your gut may be the solution.
Studies show a strong correlation between healthy gut bacteria, positive mood, and emotional well-being. Probiotics have been proven to reduce feelings of anxiety by boosting healthy gut flora and rebalancing the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bugs in the gut.
There's a close connection between the gut and the brain. Inflammation in the gut, gut dysbiosis, and leaky gut create low-grade chronic inflammation throughout the body, and inflammation is the root of all disease.
Healing the gut, reducing inflammation, and providing a diverse array of healthy gut bacteria can increase the body’s resilience to stress and minimize it’s negative effects.
Studies of prebiotics show they significantly lower levels of cortisol in subjects suggesting that the stress response is decreased with healthy gut bacteria. Prebiotics are special, digestion-resistant carbohydrates that help nourish the environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive.
So, good bugs = less stress!
Consult with us on the best synergistic blend of prebiotics and probiotics for the greatest impact on mood disorders.
Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis & Other Skin Disorders
Did you know that your skin has a unique microbiota?
Many of the most common skin disorders including acne, eczema, and psoriasis have been linked to dybiosis of the skin microbiota. Little research has been conducted on optimizing the skin microbiota, however, we do have a comprehensive understanding of the connection between gut bacteria and the health of our skin. So much so that probiotics, administered both topically and orally, are now being investigated for the treatment of a variety of skin conditions.
A 2008 clinical trial in New Zealand assessed whether or not probiotics administered prenatally to expectant mothers with a history of eczema, and postnatally to their infants could influence the risk of the infant developing childhood eczema. The study showed that it reduced by about half the prevalence of eczema by two years old. Another study in Finland showed that even supplementation to the mother alone, and not the infant, was effective at preventing childhood eczema.
The best results were from multi-species probiotics, suggesting that broad-spectrum probiotic supplementation is most effective in reducing the incidence of dermatitis in children.
Acne is often found in combination with GI tract symptoms like acid reflux, bloating, and constipation. Looking deeper into the root cause of acne suggests that conditions such as hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid), gut dybiosis, and leaky gut may predispose one to acne. Your practitioner can determine if you have any of these conditions and create a protocol to resolve the underlying or root cause of the dysfunction.
Studies have shown that high-dose probiotics, as recommended by your practitioner, help reduce the instance of blemishes in people with mild to moderate acne. The beneficial bacteria improve both GI function and immune function. Probiotics enhance the integrity of the gut barrier, reducing intestinal permeability or leaky gut. Probiotics also help regulate inflammatory responses and inhibit pro-inflammatory proteins in the body.
Other conditions proven to be helped by balancing gut flora include: psoriasis, candida, and rosacea.
A healthy gut, along with a comprehensive protocol from your practitioner, will start you on the path to clear skin!
Bloating, Fatigue, & Weight Gain?
It could signal a problem in the gut.
Undiscovered food sensitivities and unhealthy gut bacteria cause low-grade chronic inflammation. Pre and probiotics may promote weight loss by regulating the balance of bad bacteria to good bacteria in the gut and reducing inflammation.
Good and bad bacteria have a different effect on appetite and metabolism. Some bad bacteria can increase appetite, decrease metabolism and even increase the production of insulin, leading to insulin resistance.
Bacteria can also influence the rate at which we absorb fats and carbohydrates. Some strains of bad bacteria can increase the storage of these calories as fat.
Essentially someone with an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria could eat the same food as someone with a healthy balance of gut bacteria but extract more calories from it and gain more weight!
Curious about the strains of bacteria in your gut? Contact us today about our Comprehensive Stool Analysis to see if bad bacteria could be sabotaging your weight loss.
Learn more about our approach to Naturopathic Medicine and Functional Medicine and begin your road to good health.