Our gut health is SUCH a key foundation to our overall wellbeing! Learn our 5 step gut microbiome healing protocol plus the truth about common conditions such as ‘leaky gut syndrome’, fermented foods and probiotics.
Our dynamic gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms living in our digestive tract, which are essential for many important functions.
Your gut microbiome is as unique as a fingerprint!
This is a key that is missing from nearly all gut microbiome advice out there today, including the common ‘take a probiotic’ suggestion.
Our Microbiome is an Ecosystem!
Imagine a river flowing through your body from your esophagus through your colon. Deep in the river bed (colon lining) are THOUSANDS of different strains of bacteria & microorganisms. They are there to maintain a homeostatic balance so that the river water doesn’t become toxic.
This ecosystem can become out of balance by many different factors and if not properly dealt with, create a breeding ground for pathogens & a vast number of problems.
UNLESS your gut has enough of the functional GOOD bacteria to counter these effects.
The world is facing a microbiome crisis.
The processed foods we eat, the increasing number of Caesarean performed, the antibiotics people take and also feed their livestock, our sterile environments … These factors appear to be some of the main driving forces behind this crisis.
The birth canal exposes our babies to a wide variety of microbes which he will take in through mouth, nose and eyes, and this creates a good foundation which is built on in the early years.
In breast milk, we have special sugars called human milk oligosaccharides designed to feed the mother’s microbes newly arrived in the baby’s gut. By multiplying quickly, the ‘good’ bacteria crowd out any potentially harmful pathogens.
So this sets the foundation for the babies health. What a perfectly designed system that sadly, is so commonly disrupted nowadays.
The Microbiome & our Immunity
Any dysregulation of our immune system is largely influenced by the microbial colonization of the gut.
Approximately 70% of our immune system cells live in our gut wall – the microbes here train and control our immune system response.
The Microbiome Mind
Your Gut Microbiome could be stressing you out.
If you have a microbiome that is causing excess hydrogen sulfide and methane, it can cause chronic inflammation.
This can send signals up to your vagus nerve into your brain making you feel anxious, stressed or even depressed.
Do I have a Microbiome Imbalance?
If you’re feeling or noticing any of the following symptoms, you may have a gut imbalance:
- Digestive problems like gas and bloating
- Weight gain
- Skin issues like acne, eczema, and rosacea
- Excessive Fatigue
- Mood swings
- Autoimmune disorders
- Difficulty concentrating
- Joint pain
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Chronic low-grade infections such as candida
- Other symptoms of ‘leaky gut’ (see below for more info on this)
What can we do about it?
Get out in Nature
A clean, diverse diet, eating foods that encourage healthy microflora, and good eating habits are of course, extremely important. As is the avoidance of being overly sanitized, or the unnecessary and overuse of antibiotics.
We know it’s good to get outside more but did you know that environmental microbes are so specific that they help you to literally adapt to where you live?
There are even examples of populations that can eat certain foods ONLY because they’re exposed to the environmental microbes.
We evolved with these microbes in nature. They’re a part of who we are, ecologically.
Nature is literally foundational to our wellbeing
So get outside more. Interact with your natural environment!
And don’t be afraid to get dirty!
Now here is our 5 step Protocol to Healing your Gut for good!
Nrf2 activation to mobilize the body’s healing pathways and address oxidative stress & inflammation
Activating the Nrf2 pathways will initiate healing in the body which every single body system will benefit from, including the gut.
Our enzyme production pathways become sluggish as we age, and if we don’t switch these pathways back on it becomes very difficult for the body to heal.
Activating the Nrf2 pathways will stimulate:
- production of antioxidant, detoxification & other enzymes
- increase in cellular healing & protects against cellular stress
- Nrf2 activation has been proven (US-based study) to reduce oxidative stress (& inflammation) by 40% in 30 days. It is vital to address oxidative stress & inflammation before the gut can begin to heal.
- the facilitation of the removal of toxic metals from your gut lining
Remove damaging foods & other toxic elements
Food intolerances are SO common these days.
Many take the approach of avoiding foods they don’t tolerate.
I commonly had people come into my clinic wanting to be tested for foods they are intolerant to. Once I saw a person who told me there were only 6 foods she could actually eat!
I don’t believe that an elimination diet approach is the answer here.
There’s a REASON why the body is no longer tolerating certain foods.
And when the gut is healed & the body no longer toxic & reactive, you will be able to enjoy a wide & varied diet again.
Having said that, there are of course certain foods that harm the gut and certain foods that heal the gut.
Foods that Harm
If you are regularly having any of the following, and you want to heal your gut & your body, make a commitment to eliminating these foods today:
- Gluten & all inorganic or GMO wheat – yes, even if you are non-celiac, or not obviously gluten intolerant.
- ALL refined sugar
- Processed foods, foods with numbers in the ingredients! ESPECIALLY artificial sweeteners
- Inflammation-forming foods such as alcohol, coffee/caffeine, dairy
- Red meat – dairy & red meat encourage the growth of certain non-beneficial bacterial strains
- ALL GMO foods, especially corn products – they reduce the beneficial bacteria populations in the gut.
- Farmed fish – due to the use of antibiotics in aquaculture
- Tap water – yes our tap water contains harmful chemicals such as fluoride & heavy metals. If you don’t already filter all your drinking & cooking water, now is the time to invest in a decent one, it’s worth it!!
Additional factors that harm our precious gut biome:
- Medications – Of course, I’m not going to tell anyone to stop their medication. But just to consider that this will be an additional factor, as most medications will be having a negative effect on your population of healthy gut bacteria.
Several other medications, besides antibiotics, have documented effects on gut microbiota composition—including the common diabetes drug metformin, drugs called proton-pump inhibitors that reduce gastric acid production, drugs for inflammatory bowel disease, and NSAIDs
- We all know that antibiotics have an extreme effect of indiscriminately wiping out our gut flora, massively diminishing our beneficial & functional microbes.
- Stress – it’s a biggie! Long-term, unresolved stress will deplete the bodies ability to produce enough hydrochloric acid, which is a core underlying issue in MOST chronic gut problems.
- Over-eating – puts a lot of strain on the digestive tract & can create long-term issues
- Environmental toxins, especially glyphosate. Yes, roundup is STILL one of the most commonly used pesticides in our foods. If you can’t buy organic, use a mineral based neutralizer like Miracle 11
- Smoking has been shown to change the composition of the gut microbiota. Studies have found that people who smoke have gut microbiomes that appear similar to those who are obese and who have conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. Another reason to quit!
Are you eating too much protein?
This is a common problem we see. Trendy diets like the Paleo and Ketogenic diet have led to a boost in protein intake that can cause some people health problems. This happens when you have too many Alistipes putredinis and Tannerella forsythia bacteria who ferment the excess protein. This is a serious situation, which can lead to conditions like leaky gut syndrome.
Best to reduce animal protein to one meal a day to help your gut to heal.
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Foods that Heal
Very simply put, the 3 most important factors to support your gut to heal & to maintain good gut health is plenty of fiber & water and relaxed mindful eating!
Now I’m not talking about processed fiber but WHOLE PLANT FOODS. Natures perfect package of everything we need to be healthy, including perfect, soluble gut-healing fiber from edible plants.
So the next step to healing the gut biome is to increase the following in your diet:
– whole fruits & vegetables with a particular emphasis on apples, bananas, Medjool dates (fresh organic is best), figs & lettuce.
– herbs like oregano, thyme & peppermint
– maximize the reinoculation of good gut flora & b12 production with fresh plant foods!
Like this Article?
The best source of functional gut flora is actually on fresh living garden produce! The microorganisms that live on fresh garden produce are actually the PERFECT PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS IN ONE PACKAGE!
If you have access to organic/spray free farmers markets or your own garden, the key is to eat the produce fresh, raw & unwashed (apart from a gentle rinse of any dirt).
ONLY do this when you know that no chemicals have been used!
When you pluck a piece of kale from the garden have you noticed that very fine white film, or bloom in the pockets of the leaf? That film is your perfect probiotic & these microorganisms will have a phenomenal effect on restoring your gut flora & replenishing your B12 production.
– fresh sprouts & microgreens are also fabulous!!
* if you know your hydrochloric acid is low you can add celery juice & green smoothies to this list, particularly until your gut function starts to pep up.
The truth about Probiotics & Fermented Foods
Fermented foods such as pickles, kimchi & kombucha & certain kinds of vinegar can make your body too acidic if used too regularly.
They breed bacteria from foods that are no longer alive and are actually useless for your gut. For most people, they are harmless & will be eliminated as a useless substance. But for others, it can cause problems.
You actually cant buy the perfect balance of bioactive microorganisms in a probiotic or get them from fermented food & drink products.
Any viable microorganisms left in these products are very likely to die in the stomach before they reach the intestine & will never reach the lower part of the small intestine – the ileum – where they are needed most.
Also be aware that some strains of live bacteria in probiotics can increase your levels of histamine — the same chemical your body produces during an allergic reaction.
Too much histamine causes inflammation in the body.
Avoid probiotic supplements that contain live Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. These histamine-producing bacteria are also present in so-called health foods like conventional yogurt and aged or fermented foods.
Balance the Microbiome
We have seen many reports of long-term chronic gut issues clearing up & balancing out with Nrf2 activation & a few dietary adjustments alone.
However, some of us may find that the gut just needs a bit of extra help. For some, this next stage will be the missing link.
We’ve all heard of Probiotics & maybe even Prebiotics. What most people don’t know yet is that there is a third class of lactic fermentation product called Biogenics.
These are biologically active peptides that actually modulate the intestinal microbiota.
This is more like a microbiome activator, down-regulating the microflora we don’t want, and up-regulating the flora we DO want!
So a probiotic is something you have to keep adding to the body. Whereas an activator upregulates the bodies own production of it. A little bit similar to the difference between taking antioxidants, and taking a Nrf2 Activator.
Also as I’ve mentioned previously the live bacteria in probiotics can even be problematic.
Biogenics don’t contain live bacteria but are the extracts of the metabolites from cultured lactobacillus.
This is really advanced Japanese fermentation technology, is vegan & non-refrigerated!
Why a Probiotic May not be the Best approach
There are between 100-500 strains, approximately 100 trillion /1kg of intestinal bacteria inside the human gut. Much is still unknown about these strains and their balance.
Results of genetic analysis conducted recently by the University of Tokyo … revealed that the intestinal bacteria in EVERY subject was different.
So it becomes very difficult to ingest the exact species of good bacteria that may be needed to balance your own individual Microbiome ecosystem.
It has also been reported that even when specific live bacteria is ingested, it does not take up residence in the intestines. It actually becomes transient bacteria, the majority of which is passed in the stool within one week.
From these two facts, we can say that in order to effectively improve the balance of intestinal bacteria, there has to be a better way than ingesting large amounts of live bacteria. And as we have discussed previously, ingesting live bacteria can create other issues.
Biogenics: A New Way
Lactis cultured lactobacillus extract is in a newer class of microbiome balancing product called Biogenics.
It works differently to a probiotic as it actually stimulates existing good bacteria to grow.
Lactis appears transparent, as only the bioactive ingredients are extracted such as Lactobacillus metabolites and glycopeptides
These metabolites are also known as a “territorial substance”, inhibiting the growth of other bacteria, while also promoting the growth of good bacteria.
The result is a much cleaner & more effective alternative.
You can purchase your Lactis here.
Use our code holisticmumma on checkout for 10% off
What’s driving the Stress?
Yes, there are ALWAYS emotional based reasons to address why the gut has become out of balance in the first place.
We ALL have unresolved fears, which we tend to ‘manage’ rather than truly resolve.
Notice how you feel in this area. Does it feel tight & restricted? Some people breathe very shallowly due to being constricted in the diaphragm & belly area.
Allow this to soften, your breathe to deepen, and notice how you feel.
Allow yourself to connect to the unresolved emotions sitting in the gut area. Just being more present with your feelings rather than shutting down the breath & feeling here will help. This will allow fears, and other emotions to bubble up & be released over time.
The Truth about Leaky Gut
‘Leaky gut’ syndrome is quite a loosely used term these days & is often misunderstood.
In conventional medicine terms, the term is only used when there has been a perforation to the lining of the intestinal tract, which is a very serious condition.
Then there is the alternative/integrative & naturopathic understanding of leaky gut. This is where harmful bacteria & molds which have overgrown begin to burrow tiny holes in the linings of the intestine & cause micro levels of toxins to leak directly into the bloodstream, resulting in chronic symptoms & illnesses.
But this theory is not entirely accurate.
Yes, it’s true that a toxic gut environment & an overgrowth in unproductive bacteria & fungus can contribute to ill health in a huge way. But not many people are actually aware of the real reason for this.
What’s really going on?
What’s actually causing the issue is a term becoming known as ‘Ammonia permeability’. This condition commonly results in fatigue, skin problems, restless sleep, anxiety and other symptoms associated with ‘leaky gut’.
Ammonia gas results when your hydrochloric acid levels are low so food isn’t sufficiently digested in the stomach.
This is common when eating under stress/pressure. Food will putrefy & create ammonia gas and results in symptoms like bloating, digestive discomfort in the early days.
This is actually what creates reflux, NOT excess hydrochloric acid!!! Reflux always has low hydrochloric acid underlying
This is a very common confusion & a symptom which is SO often treated incorrectly.
Your gut cells will then produce lots of mucus to protect you from these harmful acids/gasses.
Its actually the ammonia gas that creates the havoc & symptoms associated with ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, since it can very easily move through the gut lining & into the bloodstream.
So what causes low hydrochloric acid?
I only just learned recently that our adrenal glands actually produce 56 forms of adrenaline in response to different emotions. So fascinating!
So if we are chronically stressed or stuck in certain emotions without allowing them to process & release (ie. suppression), the adrenalin constantly being produced leads to a burn out in our hydrochloric acid production.
ALL prescription drugs are also a major cause of this. And so is overeating non-plant forms of protein. Best to limit animal protein (meat & dairy) to one serve a day if you want to heal this long-term.
The good news is you can recover your hydrochloric acid production & strengthen your enzymes with natural herbs & 1 vegetable!
The Nr2 activator is made up of 5 herbs which will also facilitate the removal of toxic metals from your gut lining which is another essential factor to fully recovering this function. Also, it’s the toxic metals in the cells that make it a prime breeding ground for pathogens to proliferate.
Fresh celery juice (drink pure celery with nothing else added, on an empty stomach, daily) & nrf2 activation are the most powerful ways to resolve chronically low hydrochloric acid production.
Sounds simple but profoundly powerful
There is SO much more I could say about the gut, but there is already such a vast amount of info out there that I want to keep this really simple. Because no matter the specifics (eg. bowel patterns, specific pathogens and other symptoms), it always comes back to the same underlying causes and the same protocol to reverse it.
Over to You
I’d love to hear from you! Please comment & share below.
What are you going to start doing today to heal your gut for good?