Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly

There is no one issue that is causing all of today’s health issues. From excess sugar, lack of nutrient, toxicities, unhealthy electro-magnetic waves, to low levels of glutathione; to dysfunctional mitochondria; to methylation cycles not functioning; and the list goes on and on. This article is dedicated to an arena that has received a terrific amount of clinical research in the past couple of year. Your gut and the microbiota in the gut.

You have probably heard that the majority of your immune system is in the gut. You may have also heard that there are more critters in your gut that the total number of cells in the body, in fact, over 100 trillion.  That means there is more DNA in your body that DOESN’T belong to you than what does belong to you.

The challenge with society today is the common diet – which depletes our body, and in particular, our gut of the incredibly important gut bacteria and other microbiota. Now your gut is a fascinating system that has a tremendous impact on a huge number of issues throughout your body.  In fact, some researchers are saying that a healthy gut microbiota is more important than taking a multivitamin.

Did you know that the type and balance of bacteria in your gut can effect your:

  • thoughts
  • emotions
  • behavior
    • which then equates to issues like
      • depression
      • bipolar
      • personality disorders
      • etc

But the bacteria in your gut can also affect your:

  • weight
  • diabetes
  • cholesterol
  • heart
  • liver

In fact, there are more than 200 studies now that link the microbiota in your gut to over 170 different health issues.

Historically, researchers referred to the gut as the second brain, but many are now questioning whether it is a primary brain. The immune system in your gut in conjunction with the microbiota work hand in hand and have a huge amount of control over the rest of your body.

Of course, from my perspective, the body is so interactive – between the energies of all the compounds/cell/systems in and around the body; the belief systems that can impact on how the body functions; the microbiota that can effect and control so much of the mind & body; it is really difficult to say what is really in charge.

Instead, I would suggest that you are the “essence” of it all.  But let’s get back to the gut.

Imbalances in the microbiota can cause issues like:

  • Acid reflux
  • Allergies
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Diabetes and/or obesity
  • Gas and bloating
  • General ailments
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Skin problems
  • Sugar cravings – especially for heavily refined carbs
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Weight issues

Repeatedly, studies performed on the obese population’s gut bacteria found higher instances of “bad” bacteria and lower levels of probiotics (again, the “good” bacteria) within these individuals.  The challenge is that while a given profile of bacteria is good for one person, the next person needs a different profile.

However, overall, the ideal healthy ratio of “good” to “bad” bacteria is 85% to 15%, or 9 to 1.

There are a variety of groups of bacteria that we need:

  1. Various gut bacteria regulate our own DNA/genes – I suggested this might be the case for years and now it has been proven.
  2. The majority of gut bacteria come from:   Bacteroides, anaerobic gram-positive cocci, such as Peptostreptococcus sp., Eubacterium sp., Lactobacillus sp., and Clostridium sp.
  3. Some examples of special groups that we need are: 
  1. Bifidobacterium lactisfor constipation and inflammatory bowel relief
  2. Lactobacillus salivariusfor oral health. This particular strain has been proven to signficantly decrease the level of plaque forming bacteria in the mouth. And a good side effect is that it naturally freshens your breath and reduces gum sensitivity

iii. S. boulardii for immune support. You have heard that the majority of the immune system resides in yoru gut AND you have probably heard that the microbiota in your gut and the immune system are interdependent.  These bacteria provoke a significant increase in mean blood cell count and a decrease in systemic inflammation, even during periods of high stress. Not bad for one simple group of healthy gut bacteria.

Perhaps you yourself are already experiencing some of the more advanced signs that your intestinal bacterial balance is beginning to spin out of control, such as:

So what causes or contributes to either an increase in bad bacteria or an imbalance in the bacterial profile you need:  diet, medication, lifestyle and environmental factors.

These lifestyle and environmental factors include, but are not limited to, exposure to:

  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners of any kind (found in “diet” beverages and food items, chewing gum, and even toothpaste)
  • Processed foods
  • Chlorinated water
  • Pollution
  • Antacids
  • Laxatives
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Agricultural chemicals and pesticides, and…
  • Antibiotics (from medications and/or antibiotics found in meat and dairy products that we ingest).

So what do we need to support a healthy gut bacteria?

  • an organic diet
  • avoid sugars – table sugar, high fructose corn syrups and artificial sugars
  • avoid medications
  • engage in healthy exercise – very important to those who sit in front of computers all day

Perhaps one of the most important things to do is to work with a probiotic diet:

  • cabbages:  cabbage soup, coleslaw, saurkraut, kimchi – these foods provide the gut bacteria, the transportation and the food necessary for the healthy bacteria
  • cruciferous vegetables: in addition to cabbage other cruciferous vegetables include:
    • argula
    • bok choy- make sure it is NOT grown in China
    • broccoli
    • Brussel sprouts
    • cauliflower
    • collard greens
    • kale
    • mustard seed and leaves
    • radish
    • turnip roots and greens
    • wasabi
    • watercress
    • wild cabbage
  • dairy based bacteria foods: Greek yogurt without fruit; kefir
  • pickled and fermented foods including Kombucha

Other foods that help support a healthy gut are:

  • bananas – help fight inflammation and stabplize gut bacteria
  • beans – provide short chain fatty acids, amino acids, and increase vitamin absorptions
  • fiber foods – avocados, beans, berries, lentils, peas, seeds (ground flaxseed, hemp, chia)
  • Jerusalem artichokes – rich in inulin fiber and a good prebiotic
  • tempeh – crowds out unhealthy gut bacteria

Your gut needs your help – take care of your gut effectively and it will metabolize your foods and provide you with the nutrients that your whole body requires.

Think of it. Every cell in your body; every neuron in your brain; every system, tissue, and organ requires nutrients to function. The health of your gut will determine whether or not your body gets the nutrient it requires. Can you really afford to neglect your gastrointestinal health much longer?

Can’t we just take probiotic supplements?

Unfortunately, research shows that about 93% of the probiotic supplements will be ineffective in your gut. Why?

First: they are usually dropped in the first part of the small intestine known as the duodenum which doesn’t require much probiotic.  They need to travel from here anywhere from 15-35 feet to where they need to be

Second: they need transportation and food to support them on the way there

By the time they get to the required location in your intestines – they are dead – not much use dead.


While there are some more expensive probiotics that have special patented delivery system to make sure that the majority get to where they need to be – ALIVE – you are much more effective when you engage in a probiotic diet.

We need to provide a healthy gut so that they can proliferate – if you have healthy bowel movements:

  • one movement for every meal you ate yesterday
  • medium to dark brown
  • sinkers
  • texture of a banana
  • about 9-12 inches long

You would find that about 60% of the bowel movement is bacteria.  Consequently, you need to provide the daily food, transportation and new bacteria to support that.

Eat a healthy diet that includes the foods above and it will provide you with:

  • the pre and probiotics you need
  • anti-inflammatory foods
  • detoxing foods
  • the nutrients you and your gut require

Take care of your gut – and it will take care of you…

For more information, contact: holly@choicesunlimited.ca

Dr. Holly is a naturopathic doctor that holds a PhD in Psychology and Biochemistry, specializing in balancing mind, body and energy of the system.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or other health care practitioner.