4 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut Microbiome… And What to Do About It

Science has recently made big leaps in discovering the complexities of the human microbiome. The microbiome, which is a term commonly used to describe the diverse community of bacteria and organisms that line the digestive tract, is now suspected to have a major impact on a number of different health issues, from depression and anxiety to acne and eczema.

However, a lot of us are walking around with an imbalanced microbiome, without ever being aware that there’s a problem. We may take probiotics or eat fermented foods to keep on top of the issue, but when serious gut issues are at play, you may need to take your digestive health regimen a step further. Here are some signs to look out for — and what to do about them.

Sign 1: Digestive Irregularity

Doctors have generally agreed that it is not so much how often you make a bowel movement that matters—it’s how regular you are. If you have an unreliable bowel movement schedule — or if you feel the sudden need to go right now — that is a sure sign that not all is well with your digestive tract. Balancing your microbiome is an important step in combating digestive troubles such as these.

Sign 2: Hormone-Related Issues

Human hormones are extremely complex, and gut health is certainly not the only issue at play when your hormones are out of whack. But hormones regulate everything about our bodies, from our digestion and elimination to our sleep and reproductive cycles. Some integrative medicine specialists theorize that when we don’t make a bowel movement for too long, hormones can accumulate in our stools, passing back through the membranes of our intestines and colon into our bloodstream. Therefore, bowel regularity, gut health and hormonal issues may all be interrelated. Some telltale signs of hormonal imbalance include acne on the jaw line, insomnia, mood swings and period irregularity.

Related: 10 Superfoods That Balance Hormones and Reduce Inflammation

Sign 3: Low Energy

Low energy is often indicative of nutrient deficiency, a problem that comes along with an imbalanced microbiome. The health of the microbiome is closely related to our ability to properly absorb the nutrients we ingest. This means that when the absorption part of digestion isn’t working well, we become nutrient deprived, leading to low energy.

Sign 4: Problem Skin

In addition to hormonal acne, eczema has also been closely linked to gut health.

Another very recent study found a strong correlation between a gut bacteria called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and atopic dermatitis, and that these patients had markers of gut epithelial inflammation, which can lead to barrier impairment,” states the National Eczema Association.

In lay terms, this means that the specific bacteria in one’s microbiome can impact the inflammation of the digestive tract, leading to a compromised barrier between the tract and the rest of the body.

What to Do About Your Gut Health

If you believe you may be having gut health issues, you may wish to book a consultation with an integrative medicine practitioner or naturopath. Unfortunately, a lot of the science surrounding gut health issues is still in the research stage, so a lot of trial and error is still involved. However, here are some changes your practitioner may recommend making if you have a gut health issue:

  • Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods.
  • Regularly eating prebiotic fiber, such as that found in plantains, sweet potatoes and onions.
  • Eliminating foods that trigger sensitivities and allergies, such as gluten, legumes, dairy, nightshades or nuts (or any combination of the five).
  • Eliminating refined sugar from the diet.
  • Consuming rich sources collagen protein.
  • Taking a digestive enzyme to help promote nutrient breakdown and absorption.

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70 comments

Cindy S
Cindy Smith4 months ago

mu tummy is angry all the time

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Sara R
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Sara R
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Sara R
Sara Richard4 months ago

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Angela G
Angela G4 months ago

too bad they can't test for this

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Cindy S
Past Member 4 months ago

my gut microbiome is so unhealthy

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Past Member
Past Member 4 months ago

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Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

Good to know.

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Christophe Bazin
Christophe Bazin5 months ago

thank you.

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Edith B
Edith B5 months ago

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