Health Tips

Signs and symptoms of a microbial imbalance and small changes that can help you to restore optimal balance.

Do find yourself constantly feeling unwell and unsure of what’s going on with your health? Doctors visits leave you without answers because most tests have come back normal? You convince yourself that this is your new normal, hoping that things could get better….

If you are suffering with several of the following symptoms, it could be that you have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria.

*Fatigue

*Constant cravings for sugars and other refined carbs ( this could also be a blood sugar issue)

*Frequent skin rashes or itchy skin and ears

*Abdominal pain

*Bloating

*Diarrhea, Constipation

*Recurrent UTI ( urinary tract infections), or vaginal infections

* Often have feelings of being “spaced out”

*Poor memory

*Hormonal issues such as PMS or irregular periods

Why it’s important to have proper balance in good and bad bacteria

You could say we are a walking host to trillions of microbes, the good bacteria within us out number our cells 10 to 1. These friendly guys are there to keep us alive, this is their main goal. If we don’t survive, neither do they. We do need a small portion of bad bacteria because these become food for the good guys, but it isn’t their main faire. You see, these beneficial microbes prefer foods that your parents, grandparents and health practitioners have been pushing on you for years……..FIBRE ( a prebiotic) and we all know where it comes from, right?? Not from pastries, chips, pop, chocolate bars or ice cream…..although I can see marketing companies trying to come up with a way to add fibre to ice cream and in a sense “health wash” it to boost sales. If this ends up on the shelves of your local grocery store-please don’t buy it as a way to increase your fibre!!

The best way to incorporate more fibre is the old tried and true method, adding more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. I know this has been the main emphasis for years but fibre is only one important nutrient among many in these types of foods and if the fibre alone can help to rebalance a healthy microbial environment then they’re worth their weight in gold.

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In addition to good bacteria, we have microbes that are neutral, they live off food from the gut but aren’t harmful or beneficial. We also have pathogenic bacteria, parasites and viruses. They eat off the food from our gut and can be harmful to us if their population goes up ( they should be kept at a 3-10% level). When these guys get a chance to overpopulate, autointoxication happens. This is the result of  pathogens giving off endotoxins that our liver has to detoxify and when we either have an already burdened liver or there are too many endotoxins for the liver to detoxify, they end up in the blood stream, resulting in several symptoms mentioned above.

Things that can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria:

*Lack of fibre from real food to feed good bacteria

* Antibiotic usage ( great for eliminating bad bacteria but they also wipe out good bacteria)

*Consuming foods that feed the bad bacteria (refined/processed foods, e.g. sugar, white grains and alcohol)

*Consuming little to no lacto fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha)

*Over eating

*Stress

*Frequently drinking chlorinated water

Things you can do to help improve the population of good bacteria:

*Consider supplementing with a good quality probiotic supplement( this is like reseeding the grass after it has been overtaken by weeds)

*Incorporate more whole foods into your diet ( fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds)

*Add fermented foods to your meals at least once a day

*Add more garlic to your diet, this acts as an antimicrobial nutrient.

Each person is biochemically unique and you may be suffering with a greater imbalance. The recommendations here are a step in the right direction but there might be a deeper issue involved. It would be wise to get checked by your natural health practitioner.

Stacy Unruh, R.H.N.

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