A diverse, healthy gut microbiome does so much more than just help us process the food we eat. The ecosystem of microbes that live deep within our digestive system plays an active role in the maintenance of health as well as the development of chronic disease.
The ‘good’ microbes are health-promoting and we have a mutually beneficial relationship with them – we do good things for them, and in return, they do good things for us.
The ‘bad’ microbes have been implicated in a wide range of chronic illnesses, from the obvious gastrointestinal disorders, to metabolic conditions, autoimmune diseases, hormonal conditions, certain cancers, and even neurological illnesses.
When there is an imbalance between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ guys, this is known as dysbiosis.
– Eating a diet high in animal products and ultra-processed foods that are loaded with unhealthy fats and refined sugars, but low in fibre
– Antibiotics and other medications such as PPIs, metformin, laxatives and anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen
– Exposure to chemicals and toxins, including pesticides in foods
– Alcohol and nicotine
– Severe bouts of gastroenteritis
Symptoms of an unhappy microbiome (dysbiosis) can manifest within the digestive system (intestinal) but also anywhere else throughout the body (extraintestinal). Here are some of the warning signs that it’s time to show your gut some love: