A Definition of Gut Dysbiosis
So what is dysbiosis anyway? Your gut, or gastrointestinal tract, contains nearly four pounds of bacteria. When these bacteria work together well, people’s digestion and overall health are better. But, when there is a disruption in the balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut, people experience dysbiosis. This microbiota imbalance typically occurs when people take antibiotics or experience stress or eat an unhealthy diet that reduces the number of beneficial bacteria and enables the harmful bacteria to flourish.
When people have a prolonged imbalance, diseases and health issues such as autoimmune disease, bloating, chronic fatigue syndrome, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, skin conditions, yeast infections, weight gain, and depression, among others, can occur. Symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, headaches, abdominal pain, mental fog, constipation, acne, indigestion, and acid reflux are some of the tell-tale signs of gut dysbiosis.
Gut Dysbiosis Treatments
If you have dysbiosis, you should begin treatment right away to feel better and improve your overall health. We share four steps for treating dysbiosis today to help you start feeling more like yourself again:
- Take probiotics every day, especially if you are on antibiotic therapy.
- Take prebiotics to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and probiotics.
- Look into herbal therapy or essential oils to treat dysbiosis
- Change your diet to support healthy bacteria in the gut
If you’re not sure which probiotics, prebiotics, or herbs, essential oils, and diet changes can treat dysbiosis, continue reading for more details and tips for balancing your microbiota.
Step 1: Take probiotics every day, especially if you are on antibiotic therapy.
Probiotics effectively treat dysbiosis because they introduce more beneficial bacteria to the microbiota. For some people with gut dysbiosis, probiotics completely restore the microbiota, and for others it improves the microbiota. There are some strains of probiotics that more effectively treat dysbiosis than others: when choosing probiotics, is important to choose those that include L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, B. animalis, B. longum, Clost. butyricum, L. paracasei, B. lactis, S. boulardii, and L. rhamnosus or a combination of a few of these strains of bacteria. Studies show that the mix of L. acidophilus with B. bifidum and B. animalis was the most effective in treating dysbiosis.
It is a good idea to take probiotics every day to support immune and digestive health, but it is essential to take them daily when you undergo antibiotic therapy because of the negative impact the medication has on your microbiota. If you are unsure of the dosage of probiotics best to treat your dysbiosis, consult a physician or nutrition to guide you.
Step 2: Take prebiotics to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and probiotics.
Prebiotics act as food for probiotics; they stimulate activity and growth of probiotics in the gut. Supplements containing fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, larch arabinogalactins, modified citrus pectin, and high-soluble fiber such as psyllium husk are recommended for people who have dysbiosis. People also get prebiotics into their diet by eating bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, and whole-wheat foods. It is important to eat these foods in their whole, natural state and avoid processed foods when treating dysbiosis.
Step 3: Look into herbal therapy or essential oils to treat dysbiosis.
Treating gut dysbiosis with herbs and essential oils also is a smart way to balance your microbiota. Medical herbalist Richard Whelan suggests using garlic and wormwood to treat dysbiosis. One of the easiest ways to use garlic is to peel three to six medium-sized garlic cloves, chop them into small bits, and swallow them like small pills with a glass of water. If you use wormwood, be sure to get the highest quality possible.
Essential oils also can help heal a damaged gut and repair dysbiosis. Studies show that three essential oils especially are helpful in combatting harmful gut bacteria and while being gentle on the body and beneficial strains of bacteria. To treat dysbiosis, you should use caraway, lavender, and bitter orange.
Step 4: Change your diet to support healthy bacteria in the gut.
Of course, probiotics, prebiotics, herbs, and essential oils will not effectively treat gut dysbiosis if you continue to eat an unhealthy, unbalanced diet. You should immediately stop eating processed and fast foods and strive to eat whole foods with particular attention to those that contain probiotics and prebiotics. In addition to the foods listed above that contain prebiotics, you should incorporate fresh meats, fresh fish and shellfish, green vegetables, root vegetables, and fruits that people commonly mistake for vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. You should avoid sugar, fruit juice, starchy foods, and foods containing yeast and mold.