Advertisement

How healthy is your microbiome?

How healthy is your microbiome?
Getty Images

A healthy gut microbiome could add years to your life. But your digestive system and gut health might not be in the best possible shape if you have most of these signs or symptoms of potential trouble.

Here are 12 things your stomach is trying to tell you.

You aren’t taking care of your health

You aren’t taking care of your health
Shutterstock

Your microbiome – a collection of microorganisms in your digestive tract – can reveal surprising things about you, and likewise, your habits can also reveal surprising things about your gut health. “The microbiome of your digestive system, or the gut microbiome, contains perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 different species of bacteria that provide essential services of nutrition and protection,” says biochemist Erika Angle, PhD, the CEO and co-founder of Ixcela, the internal fitness company. “The makeup of your gut microbiome is determined by your genes – however, it is the organ that can be most influenced by your actions, for example diet, exercise and stress management.”

Learn more about how we protect our good gut bacteria.

 

You have GI problems

You have GI problems
Getty Images

One of the things your bowel movements can reveal about your health is how healthy (or not) your gut microbiome is. Bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhoea and constipation can be caused by your gut flora being off. “These types of digestive issues often indicate a microbial imbalance in the gut,” says Dr Frank Lipman, bestselling author. “I often remedy this with a combination of diet recommendations, targeted supplements and lifestyle practices.” Probiotics can also help get you back on track, he says. A 2015 study in the BMJ journal Gut found that heartburn meds called proton-pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec, can ironically make gut bacteria less healthy.

These are the 15 worst foods for your stomach.

You’ve been in a bad mood

You’ve been in a bad mood
Shutterstock

If you feel out of it, irritable, or have other mental health issues, your microbiome could be playing a role, according to the American Psychological Association. “Most neurotransmitters are actually made in the gut, so brain function is often a result of the health of our gut,” Dr Lipman says. “If there is an imbalance of beneficial and harmful bacteria, it can manifest as problems with mental clarity and memory, along with signs of depression and anxiety.” A 2019 review of studies published in General Psychiatry found that using probiotic food and supplements may help regulate the gut and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Learn the 11 foods that make anxiety worse.

You get yeast infections

You get yeast infections
Getty Images

One way to prevent yeast infections is to up your probiotic intake. “These types of infections can often be a result of systemic yeast, or fungal overgrowth in the gut,” Dr Lipman says. This is why you’re more likely to get the nasty infections when you take antibiotics, which kill the good bacteria that help keep yeast in check along with the bad. Too much sugar in your diet can also feed the fungus. “The infections are quite common in our society as we are overexposed to antibiotics, environmental toxins, a diet in refined carbs and sugar, stress, and lack of sleep,” Dr Lipman says.

Learn more about the benefits of probiotics.

You have major sugar cravings

You have major sugar cravings
Getty Images

Your gut bacteria could actually influence the foods you desire. “Changes in microbiome composition have been shown to send signals to the brain, both direct nervous signals and biochemical signals, resulting in cravings for certain foods,” Dr Angle says. In a vicious circle, “sugar feeds bad bacteria and yeast in the body, and therefore, a diet high in sugar and refined carbs will often lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast, which will compromise gut function,” Dr Lipman says. He advises limiting sugar in your diet and eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods such as leafy greens and other veggies, healthy fats and good quality animal protein.

Learn how to kick a sugar addiction without missing the sweet stuff.

Advertisement

You’ve gained weight

You’ve gained weight
Getty Images

There are many reasons for weight gain. But, in addition to those, research published in Cell suggested that certain bacteria in your gut might make you more predisposed to obesity to begin with. What’s more, “in connection with obesity, low levels of a compound produced only in the gut have been linked to type 2 diabetes as a risk factor,” Dr Angle says.

Here are 10 easy ways to improve gut health.

You get sick a lot

You get sick a lot
Shutterstock

A healthy gut microbiome could add years to your life, according to research from the American Society of Microbiology. The opposite is also true – an unhealthy microbiome could mean you get sick more often. “Seventy percent of the immune system surrounds the gut,” Dr Lipman says. “So if the microbiome is in an imbalanced state, it will affect and often compromise immune function.” To support your immune system, he advises a good quality probiotic, a diet full of antioxidant-rich foods, and getting good sleep.

Discover more simple habits to naturally boost your immune system.

You have skin problems

You have skin problems
Getty Images

Even the condition of our skin could be influenced by our gut microbiome. Research published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology and Frontiers in Microbiology, among other journals, points to a connection between probiotics and skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. “Skin problems such as psoriasis or rosacea have been shown to be related to changes in the relative activity and levels of three different bacterial species,” Dr Angle says. “Progress in the possible treatment of these conditions has been made by suppressing bacterial overgrowth of one of the species involved.”

Here are more sneaky reasons you’re having an acne breakout.

You have chronic sinus issues

You have chronic sinus issues
Getty Images

You have the clear signs you have a sinus infection, but is your gut to blame? Research published in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy suggested that chronic sinus infections were linked with a lack of bacterial diversity, as well as a lack of certain bacteria, in the sinus microbiome – but the gut microbiome likely influences it as well, according to the study author.

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us: