What can affect Gut Bacteria?
If a child is born by Caesarean section, the process of establishing good levels of gut bacteria is inhibited, so the gut bacteria does not have the same kind of routes into the gut as normal. If the baby is not breastfed or the mother does not have good levels of healthy bacteria of her own, then she cannot pass them on to the baby.
Likewise, there are various medications that will damage and destroy gut flora – antibiotics are a prime example, but there are many others. Medications such as oral contraceptives can be damaging, and certain chemicals found in tap water may also damage gut flora. Alcohol can have a damaging affect on gut flora, as does smoking. Stress is another major problem in trying to maintain good gut flora levels.
What happens when the gut flora becomes imbalanced?
What happens when the gut flora loses a healthy balance and the ecosystem becomes upset in some way?
The gut wall can become damaged which means that molecules from foods, the longer chain molecules, may enter the bloodstream. As they are not supposed to be in the bloodstream the body doesn’t recognise them and sees them as a foreign invader and sets up an immune reaction to get rid of them, which damages the gut wall even more so the problem escalates. Toxins may get through the filter of the gut wall, causing problems with the liver. This problem is called ‘leaky gut’ and it is linked, certainly in naturopathic terms, to food intolerances.
Likewise if you lose one or more strains of your healthy bacteria it means that the less beneficial types, and the fungi and viruses, can get in and breed, and start to take hold in the intestine, leading to imbalance, which is known as gut dysbiosis. This may lead to fungal infections, such as fungal nail infections or athletes foot, or thrush.
Another sign is a yellowish coating on the tongue, as well as a tendency to feel tired, or groggy or generally a bit unwell.
Digestive and urinary problems are also common when there is a gut flora imbalance.
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