Gut health has been shown to be linked to our overall health. Your digestive system is responsible for more than just breaking down food.
Many of the everyday activities we take part in are affecting our gut health. Taking antibiotics, stress, sugary foods, processed foods, and not getting enough sleep are leading to unhealthy guts.
When our gut microbiome isn’t healthy, it causes many other complications throughout our bodies. Our immune systems, skin, weight, heart, hormone levels, and so much more is effected when our guts are unhealthy.
Long term effects of an unhealthy gut can be rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, obesity, depression, and diabetes.
Watch out for these symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
1. Upset stomach
Bloating, constipation or diarrhea can all signal an unhealthy gut.
You are getting these symptoms as a way of your body combating or unable to deal with digesting the foods you are eating. Many times, it’s an unbalance of bacteria in your digestive tract that is the culprit.
If you are experiencing frequent and uncomfortable boats of gas, this is a sure sign your gut health is poor. Frequent gas is a signal that is food is agitating your gut. Low amount of stomach acid or an imbalance of bacteria is usually the cause of food stress in the gut.
2. Weight changes
If you are having trouble controlling your weight, a gut bacteria imbalance could be the cause.
If your gut isn’t healthy, you won’t be able to properly break down and absorb nutrients from food.
An unhealthy gut leads to an inability of your body to take in nutrients, blood sugar balancing issues, and your body storing fat.
An unhealthy gut can lead to both gaining and losing weight no matter the types of food you are eating.
You may be unable to gain weight due to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Insulin resistance may be the cause if you are unable to lose weight or keep your weight steady.
3. Chronic fatigue
Your gut actually produces the majority of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is a hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
If your body cannot produce adequate amounts of serotonin then you may have problems getting a full nights sleep.
If you are having trouble sleeping or wake up feeling tired, an unhealthy gut may be the reason.
4. Sugar cravings
If you are finding yourself craving sweet sugary snacks more often lately, it can be a side effect of an unhealthy gut.
Gut bacteria secrete the hunger relating hormones leptin and ghrelin. These hormones are responsible for our food cravings.
An overabundance of bacteria leads to more secretion of these hunger relating hormones. These hormones will send food cravings to the body. Bacteria especially thrive on sugary foods and you will find yourself craving more sugary foods with higher levels of these hunger relating hormones in the gut.
Eating sugary foods to satisfy these cravings will only add more fuel to the fire going on in your gut. The bacteria in your gut will continue to grow with a steady supply of sugar.
5. Autoimmune disease
Your gut health is directly tied to your immune system. Your gut makes up 80% of your immune system so if your gut is unhealthy, your immune response will be compromised.
It has been shown that an unhealthy gut affects the immune system because of systemic inflammation. This interrupts the functioning of the immune system.
When your gut is unhealthy and your immune system is compromised, it can trigger an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body instead of harmful invaders.
6. Food allergies
If you have started to develop food allergies or sensitivities, it can be a result of an unhealthy gut.
Leaky gut, which is a leaking of essential proteins, will cause some people to have sensitivities or allergies to certain foods.
A leaky gut will cause an inflammatory response in the gut and eating foods that trigger your inflammation makes the inflammation worse. This leads to the gut becoming more unhealthy and unable to heal itself.
If you suspect you have developed food sensitivities due to an unhealthy gut, then the only way to heal your gut is to remove these foods from your diet to give your gut a chance to heal.
7. Depression or moodiness
Your gut is responsible for more than just digestion.
Your gut actually produces the majority of serotonin and dopamine inside your body. These hormones are responsible for keeping our moods even. A lack of serotonin or dopamine can be linked to depression like symptoms.
If your gut is unhealthy or you have a leaky gut syndrome, your body loses much of the serotonin and dopamine from the body.
Serotonin and dopamine are essential for our mental health. A lack of these hormones will result in mood disorder.
8. Bad breath
If you have been experiencing chronic bad breath, an unhealthy gut can be the cause.
Chronic bad breath arises form microbes that produce odor. They are found in the teeth, tongue, and gums.
Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a result of gut flora that isn’t under control.
9. Foggy brain
The brain and the gut are connected.
Problems concentrating, brain fog, and memory problems are connected to the gut.
The intestinal lining is only supposed to allow certain compounds to pass through its barrier, but when you are suffering from a leaky gut syndrome, the lining becomes more porous and allows toxins and undigested food to pass through the bloodstream.
Leaky gut can lead to leaky brain, in which the blood-brain barrier becomes more permeable as well. When the blood-brain barrier becomes permeable, it allows pathogens to enter the brain leading to inflammation.
This is why you feel foggy brain and is a direct connection to the health of your gut.
10. Skin problems
If you have noticed a change in your skin, it can be caused by an unhealthy gut.
It is easy to notice changes in your health when it affects your skin. After all, it is an organ you can actually see and touch.
Acne, rosacea, dry skin, itchy skin, bumpy skin, or eczema can all be a result of an unhealthy gut.
If your gut is unhealthy, you are not absorbing the proper amount of nutrients that your body needs. Your skin needs nutrients just like any other organ in the body.
However, if you are lacking in nutrients, the body will prioritize which organs get nutrients first and that isn’t always the skin.
If you are feeling more tired than usual even when you are getting enough sleep, it can be connected to your gut health.
If your gut health is poor, then you may not be absorbing all the nutrients that you are eating. A leaky gut could be the cause of lost nutrients.
Vitamins like B12 and D are common nutrients to be deficient in if you are feeling tired. If you are not absorbing the nutrients, it could be the cause of your fatigue.
12. Urinary Tract Infections
If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, UTI’s, then it may be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut.
UTI’s are most often treated with antibiotics which wipe out all the bacteria from the gut, good and bad. After you take an antibiotic and do not treat your gut properly, it can lead to further imbalances of bad bacteria which will lead to more UTI’s.
In order to avoid a constant cycle of UTI’s, you need to get your gut healthy again. This includes avoiding antibiotics, eating probiotic-rich foods, and taking a probiotic supplement.
13. Yeast Infections
If you are getting a lot of yeast infections, it could be caused by your unhealthy gut.
If your gut bacteria is imbalanced, it allows for the yeast to grow out of control within your body.
Yeast infections are common side effects of taking antibiotics that have wiped out the good bacteria and caused an imbalance in the body.
If yeast is allowed to grow uncontrollably this leads to a condition called candida overgrowth.
What can you do to combat an unhealthy gut?
Take a probiotic supplement
Each food high in probiotics
Eat fermented foods
Chew your food well
Eat a healthy diet
Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods
Don’t take unnecessary antibiotics
Get enough sleep
Don’t hold onto stress