Turning Dysbiosis into Symbiosis

by Jennifer Smith

The Human Microbiome Project revealed that we have ten times more bacteria in the G.I. tract than cells in the body. Additionally, 80-90 percent of our “happy hormones”, dopamine and serotonin, are produced in the gut rather than the brain. Therefore, our gut bacteria play a crucial role in how we think and feel.

There are many causes of poor gut health—also known as ‘leaky gut’ or ‘dysbiosis’—ranging from chronic stress, artificial sweeteners and GMOs to heavy metals, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. Fortunately, there are many ways to turn dysbiosis into symbiosis. Here are a few:

Conscious Eating: Be present, chew thoroughly and eat with gratitude. As simple as it may seem, these habits can profoundly impact gut health.

Welcome Bitter: Foods like celery, parsley, grapefruit, arugula and sauerkraut can aid in digestion by feeding gut flora and causing the liver to produce more bile and hydrochloric acid in order to better absorb nutrients.

Supplement: Utilize quality supplements that suit your needs. For example, someone who’s had their gallbladder removed may require a digestive enzyme blend containing lipase and bile salts. Someone with an autoimmune condition may require a spore-based probiotic.

When Hippocrates famously stated, “All disease begins in the gut”, he may have imagined the microbiome challenges the modern world would present. Understanding the importance of gut health and how to turn dysbiosis into symbiosis can be the most important thing you do for yourself.

Jennifer Smith, CHHP, is the owner of Enlighten Wellness, in Greenville.