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What Is Dysbiosis, And How Do You Fix It?

What Is Dysbiosis?

An image of eyeglasses, an ink pen, and a thermometer on a notepad with text that reads Dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis refers to a state of microbial imbalance in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract thought to contribute to numerous unpleasant symptoms and health conditions.

Approximately 100 trillion microorganisms, primarily bacteria, live in your digestive tract, including your stomach and intestines. These microorganisms, called  “gut microbiota,” were once thought to control just digestion, nutrient absorption, excretion, etc. But we now know that gut bacteria is an essential factor in health.

Research shows that having a balance of beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria as well as a diverse microbiome (a variety of different strains and qualities of bacteria) is crucial to overall health. (1, 2)

How Do You Know If You Have Gut Dysbiosis? Signs And Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of dysbiosis vary widely depending upon the microbial communities involved along with the severity of the imbalance and may include:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Immune system disorders
  • Gut infections
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic diseases
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • Headaches
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Joint pain
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • And more

How Can Gut Bacteria Affect Overall Health?

Though it might seem strange that gut bacteria can affect organs outside of the gastrointestinal tract, this is exactly what happens.

Indeed, the gut is often called the "second brain." Here's why.

The gut bacteria communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve extending from the brain stem to the large intestine. In this way, the gut and brain work together to regulate bodily functions.

If the communication between the gut and the brain is negative -- i.e., if dysbiosis occurs -- it can lead to poor digestive health and numerous health problems.

What Causes Dysbiosis?

Dysbiosis can occur anytime the balance of gut microbiota or the gut microbiota composition is interrupted.

Here are three of the most common causes of gut dysbiosis.

Diet-Induced Dysbiosis

Diet is a significant factor in the development of imbalanced gut microbes. The amount, type, and balance of the dietary macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) significantly impact the composition of the gut microbial communities.

For example, a diet low in fiber and high in fat, protein, and refined carbohydrates is believed to contribute to dysbiosis. So, the typical American diet of heavily processed foods, sugars, fast foods, convenience foods, etc., is likely the primary cause of gut dysbiosis. These foods lack fiber and usually contain additives, artificial colorings, and other chemicals that kill good bacteria while feeding the harmful kind.

Dietary fiber is essential for microbial balance. According to research published in the journalNutrition, "Collectively, studies show that alterations made in diet can have a significant and meaningful effect on the gut microbiota, primarily influenced by fiber from fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods." (3)

Fiber intake is crucial for microbial diversity and bacterial balance -- and ultimately a healthy gut -- because prebiotic fiber feeds the good bacteria in the large intestine, which then ferment the fiber and excrete gut-healing, health-supporting postbiotic metabolites, most notably short-chain fatty acids, such as Butyrate. (Butyrate-producing bacteria provide what Harvard doctors call the "optimal" short-chain fatty acid postbiotic for health.)

Chronic Stress And Depression

An image of a depressed young woman sitting on the floor against the wall with her head in her hands.

Chronic stress and/or depression are common issues today.

Consider these statistics:

  • Around 33% of people say they are "extremely stressed." (4)
  • 75% of Americans reported feeling moderate to high stress in the prior month. (5)
  • Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 40 million adults each year, making it the most common mental health condition in the United States. (5a)
  • Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. (6)
  • Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. (7)

Medical science has long known that psychological stress and depression (the two often go together) negatively affect health and can lead to numerous conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type II diabetes, arthritis, etc. (8)

But now we know that these stress- and depression-related illnesses may be caused by an imbalance in the gut microbiome.

How does this happen? In a recent study, researchers noted, "Stress and depression can reshape the gut bacteria’s composition through stress hormones, inflammation, and autonomic alterations." (9)

Taking Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medicines that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic when you have a bacterial infection.

Unfortunately, these medications do not discriminate between beneficial and harmful bacteria and kill all of them. So, if you take antibiotics too often, it can lead to gut dysbiosis.

How is Gut Dysbiosis Diagnosed?

A cartoon rendering of a female doctor with books, microscope, and other diagnostic equipment who is pointing to an image of human intestines clipped to a white board.

If your health care provider suspects you may have gut dysbiosis based on your symptoms and medical history, they may order one or more diagnostic tests, including:

Organic acids test: A urine test that checks for certain bacteria-producing acids. If these acid levels are abnormal, it may indicate that a state of gut dysbiosis exists.

Comprehensive digestive stool analysis (CDSA).A stool sample test in which a lab technician determines the presence of bacteria, fungi, or yeasts. The findings can alert your medical provider to dysbiosis.

Hydrogen breath test.A breath analysis that detects bacteria-producing gasses. If these gasses are unbalanced -- i.e., if there are not enough or too much of certain bacteria can suggest gut dysbiosis. It's particularly effective for detecting small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) conditions.

How Do You Fix Gut Dysbiosis?

There are several ways to rebalance the gut microbiome and fix gut dysbiosis. Here are just a few of them.

Eat A Healthy Diet

Improving the quality of your diet is one of the best things you can do to balance your gut microbiota.

A gut-healthy diet includes eating 10+ servings of non-starchy vegetables, a moderate amount of lean protein, and a small number of whole food fats per day.

As mentioned above, fiber foods are critical for gut health and can help fix gut dysbiosis.

Some great prebiotic fiber food choices include:

  • Nonstarchy vegetables, i.e., kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus
  • Oats
  • Beans, lentils
  • Bananas
  • Dried peas
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Whole grains, i.e., quinoa, brown rice
  • Wheat bran
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Another great way to add beneficial bacteria to your digestive system is to eat more fermented foods, including:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Fermented pickles
  • Natto
  • Raw cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Coconut kefir

Manage Stress

You can never eliminate stress from your life, nor should you want to. Stress can motivate you to complete a project and achieve your goals. It's that unnecessary chronic stress you need to reduce.

Fortunately, there are several ways to manage stress levels.

  • Meditate
  • Learn yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates
  • Take leisurely walks around the block a few times per day
  • Do slow, deep-breathing exercises
  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation exercises
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Practice an attitude of gratitude
  • Get a pet
  • Take up an enjoyable hobby
  • Laugh more (Studies show that laughter reduces stress hormone levels)

An image of a hand turning dice and changing the expression "less sleep" to "more sleep".

Get More Sleep

Research suggests that sleep deprivation may lead to unbalanced gut flora, aka gut bacteria or gut microbiome.

So, it's a good idea to get sufficient quality sleep each night. Here are some tips to help you do so.

  • Go to bed at the same time every night. A consistent sleeping schedule is critical, as it trains your body to start getting tired near bedtime.
  • Avoid devices before bed. The blue light emitted from device screens interferes with melatonin production. So, to cultivate a good night's sleep, you may want to put away your devices an hour before bedtime.
  • Make sure your bedroom temperature is cool. Sleeping in a cool temperature -- around 65-68 degrees -- helps you fall asleep faster. It also helps your body produce more melatonin.
  • Reduce light in your bedroom. Any light can interfere with melatonin production, even if it's coming from the neon numbers on your alarm clock. So, you might want to turn your alarm clock away from you, put black drapes on your window, or wear a sleep mask to bed.

Limit Antibiotic Usage

Always take antibiotics under a doctor's supervision, and unless necessary, try not to undergo several cycles of antibiotics treatment in a short time.

In addition, while taking antibiotics, eat yogurt every day. Yogurt contains active live bacterial cultures that can help replace beneficial bacteria destroyed by treatment.

Get More Butyrate

We briefly mentioned butyrate above. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid postbiotic metabolite produced by bacterial fiber fermentation in the lower colon. Indeed, Harvard doctors call it the "optimal" short-chain fatty acid for a healthy microbiome and overall health.

You can get butyrate by eating fiber; however, butyrate is the least abundant short-chain fatty acid produced.

Below is an estimation of the percentage of each SCFA produced through intestinal fermentation:

  • Acetate: 60%
  • Propionate: 25%
  • Butyrate: 15%

So, you'd have to eat a LOT of fiber to produce a significant amount of butyrate -- and suffer the consequences of excessive gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, etc.

You can also eat butter, one of the few foods that naturally contain butyrate, but you'd have to eat as many as 6-12 sticks to get enough of this optimal postbiotic metabolite. Who wants to scarf down that much butter?!!!

Or, you can take a butyrate supplement. That does seem to be the best option, doesn't it?

There's only one problem.

Butyrate is an unstable molecule that dissolves long before it reaches the large intestine, where it's needed to provide incredible health benefits.

Fortunately, scientists created a solution guaranteed to transport butyrate to the lower colon. It's called TRIbutyrate.

Take SANE Viscera-3

SANE Viscera-3™ TRIbutyrate POSTbiotic supplement uses a patented and more effective form of butyrate called TRIbutyrate. Thanks to breakthrough technology, scientists can now "stabilize" this optimal short-chain fatty acid by attaching three butyrate molecules to one glycerol molecule.

The result is TRIbutyrate, a formula shown to transport butyrate directly to the colon.

Viscera-3™ also contains a proprietary blend of other natural gut-healing nutrients that helps butyrate improve your gut and overall health. 

Viscera-3™ helps support the gut microbiome, thus improving your gut health and overall health. Clickhere to learn more and place your order TODAY!!!

An image of a bottle of SANE Viscera-3.


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