Do you know how healthy (or unhealthy) your gut is?
As I’ve shared before, your health begins and ends in your gut.
That’s why it’s so important to keep your gut flora balanced – and not to disrupt it by using antibiotics that wipe out ALL your intestinal bacteria (good and bad), especially when it’s not absolutely necessary.
The composition of the bacteria in your gut can influence everything from your immunity to your mood. It’s even been found that gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities could worsen AND accelerate symptoms of something seemingly unrelated, such as a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s Disease.1
But how do you know how your gut flora is doing? It’s not a blood test… and it’s not a prescription for a drug to see if it makes you feel better.
Because even if you FEEL fine, you might not actually BE fine.
You’ve got to look at the body as a WHOLE and to try to INTEGRATE all of the symptoms and issues in to one diagnosis.
And sometimes, the answer can be found in something as simple as a breath test.
This could be why You might not feel sick when your microbiome has been thrown off kilter, but there are signs.
If your gut flora has been altered – with too much yeast or “bad” bacteria – you might have bad breath and not know why.
It’s not a stretch to think that if you’re belching a lot, the culprit could be an overgrowth in your gut.
And you might be passing gas out of the other end, too – more frequently and more unpleasantly (for both you and those around you) than before.
These are things you might attribute to last night’s dinner… or stress… or even getting older… but they could be your gut’s way of waving a red flag.
Your gut could be telling you, “Hey! Look down here!” because something is just not right.
Even the conventional medical community accepts this to be true. In fact, mainstream docs will routinely use a breath test to look for an H. pylori infection.
Hydrogen and methane breath testing are increasingly being used to detect the presence of SIBO, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine and colon that can cause anything from bloating, weight loss, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea.
Because of the resulting malabsorption of nutrients, you may also become malnourished.
As you get older, SIBO can become more common – especially if your gut isn’t at optimum health because of what you’re eating, what drugs you’re taking, what other ailments you might have, and if you can’t move around as well as you used to.
The SIBO breath test involves giving you a sugar (usually glucose, but other forms of sugar can be used). If there is, an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria, these hungry critters will gobble up the sugar and produce higher than baseline levels of hydrogen gas.
Don’t let “bad” bugs in the door in the first place
Probiotics can help create and keep the balance of gut bacteria you need to fight disease and maintain good health. But I find most of my patients already know that – and they’re already taking probiotics when they come to me.
And probiotics can’t fix everything, especially if the growth of bacteria and yeast has spiralled out of control.
One of the most important things you can do is to not open the door to that kind of overgrowth in the first place. That means eating a balanced, nutritious diet without processed and packaged foods and refined sugars and carbohydrates (I recommend going Paleo)… cutting back on any unnecessary medications (including antibiotics)… and getting around and moving as much as possible.
But if that door has been opened somehow – and it can happen to any of us – the answer isn’t more drugs, which are likely to throw your gut flora even more out of balance.
That’s why discovering natural approaches – like monolaurin, which I discuss on page 4 of this issue – can be such a breakthrough in preserving the health of your gut and, if it’s gotten off-track, getting it back to where it needs to be.Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.