What is your gut telling you?

Image: What is your gut telling you?

Our gut, also known as the gastrointestinal tract, has the very important job of digesting, extracting nutrients and energy, and expelling the food that we consume.

Researchers have long known that having a healthy gut is vital to our health. Having a good balance of bacteria in our stomach is important for proper digestion and overall health. Wondering if you have an imbalance of bacteria in your stomach?

Here are 10 signs of a potentially unhealthy gut:

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating or diarrhea, particularly after a meal. These symptoms can be telling you that you are lacking a balance of bacteria to break down food properly. Gas in particular is a sign that food is not digesting and is fermenting in your stomach.

2. Sugar cravings can be caused by bad bacteria in your gut secreting proteins which can make you crave sugar. It’s the bad bacteria trying to get you to eat foods that it can thrive on.

3. Chronic bad breath, called halitosis, can come from odour-inducing microbes which is caused by bad bacteria. When the good and bad bacteria in your gut is off kilter, the odour will travel and be emitted in your breath.

4. Allergies or sensitivities to foods are signs your body is experiencing leaky gut syndrome. This is when large protein molecules enter into your bloodstream. As these protein molecules don’t belong outside of the gut, your body launches an immune response and attacks the molecules which shows up as a food allergy.

5. Problems with your skin such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and rashes can indicate that your stomach bacteria is not balanced. Gut inflammation can affect the barrier of your skin resulting in skin disorders.

6. Weight loss can indicate that your small intestine is not functioning properly. If there is bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine, your body is not able to digest and absorb fat and minerals properly, which can lead to weight loss.

7. Moodiness, anxiety and depression may be caused by an unhealthy gut. A compromised gut affects your body’s ability to use serotonin and vitamin D; both of which are mood regulators.

8. Insomnia or difficulty falling asleep can indicate that your gut flora is off balance. A lack of serotonin in the body can cause chronic problems with your sleep cycle.

9. Having an autoimmune disease may be caused by disproportionate bacteria in your gut. Research increasingly supports the importance of balanced bacteria for good health. Your microbiome affects your immune system and can trigger an autoimmune disease.

10. If you are getting sick or infections often, this may be a sign of suppressed immunity due to compromised gut health.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you may have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your stomach. Speak to a doctor or health professional to determine the source of your symptoms and possible treatments.

There are steps you can take to maintain the health of your gut. Stay tuned next week as we look into 10 foods that can improve your healthy gut bacteria.