Gut Health: 5 Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut and How To Improve It

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Gut Health: 5 Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut and How To Improve It

If you observe signs of poor gut health, changes in lifestyle factors may help in boosting your gut microbiome and overall health.

What is the Gut Microbiome?

The term "gut microbiome" refers to the microorganisms living inside your intestines. Each human body contains around 200 different species of bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the digestive track.

Not all microorganisms are harmful to your body and having a variety of bacteria in your gut may help reduce the risk of conditions like diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

How Your Health Can Be Affected by Your Gut Microbiome:

The relation between the incredibly complex gut and its affect to our overall health is an increasing topic of research in the medical community.

Studies over the past decade have found links between gut health and:

  • the immune system

  • mental health

  • autoimmune diseases

  • endocrine disorders

  • gastrointestinal disorders

  • cardiovascular disease

  • some cancers

Like we talked about in the previous paragraph, having diversity in gut bacteria may be able to aid in improving your health. Although research is still in progress, it is safe to say that your gut health plays many roles in your health and well-being.

5 Signs You May Have Poor Gut Health

Upset Stomach

Stomach disturbances include:

  • Gas

  • Bloating

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Heartburn

A stabilized gut will have less problems processing and eliminating waste.

High Sugar Diet

The more processed foods and added sugars you consume, the smaller the amount of "good" bacteria appear in your gut.

Research published by the National Library of Medicine suggests that this can lead to increased inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation can be the forerunner to several diseases, including cancer.

Unintentional weight changes

If you notice that you are either gaining or losing weight without changes to your diet or exercise can be a sign of an unhealthy gut. If your gut is imbalanced, it hinders the body's ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar and store fat.

Weight gain may be caused by insulin resistance or increased inflammation. Weight loss may be from malabsorption because of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Sleep disturbance/fatigue

Research stipulates that an imbalance in gut bacteria may cause disturbed sleep and shorter sleep durations, which can ultimately lead to chronic fatigue.

The cause still remains obscure, it may be connected to inflammation, mental health, and metabolic function.

Autoimmune conditions

Research has found links between the gut and the immune system. An unhealthy gut can cause an increase in systemic inflammation, altering the proper functioning of the immune system.

This can lead to autoimmune diseases, where your body attacks itself rather than harmful "intruders".

5 Ways You Can Help Improve Your Gut Health

Lower Stress

High levels of stress can be hard on your body as a whole, including your gut. Here are a few ways to lower stress:

  • Meditate

  • Get a Massage

  • Spend times with friends/family

  • Limit alcohol intake

  • Practice Yoga

  • Laughing

Get Enough Sleep

If you aren't getting enough or sufficient sleep quality, it can have serious impacts on your gut.

Try prioritizing at least 7-8 hours of solid sleep per night. If you have trouble sleeping, your doctor may be able to help.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking lots of water may be linked to the increased diversity of bacteria found in the gut. A study in 2022 found that people who drank more water had a decrease in the type of bacteria that causes gastrointestinal infections.

Staying hydrated can be an easy way to promote a healthy gut and benefit your overall health.

Take a Pre- or Probiotic

When thinking about adding a pre- or probiotic to your diet, it's best to speak with a healthcare professional. If you have a severe illness or weakened immune system, you should not take probiotics. Not all supplements are high quality or beneficial to your body.

Adding one of these supplements may help improve your overall gut health if you don't have a weakened immune system. Prebiotic's provide "food" that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics on the other had are live, good bacteria.

Change Your Diet

Reduce the amount of processed, high sugar and fat foods. Eating a diet high in fiber can aid in a healthy gut microbiome. You can also impact your gut by eating foods with high micronutrients that include:

  • Vegetables

  • Fruits

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Wine

Fermented foods, collagen-boosting foods, and garlic were all found as foods you can eat that will actively promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.