It seems like everyone is talking about GI health lately. I was thrust into this world about 8 or 9 years ago thanks to my oldest child. He was about 4 at the time. Who knew he would send our entire family on this wellness journey? It’s been a blessing in disguise.
His gut health had been compromised due to his food allergies and intolerances as well as overuse of antibiotics. This created an imbalance in his gut or intestinal flora.
What is gut flora? Healthy gut flora is vital for prevention of constipation, for maintaining your primary immunity, and for averting yeast infection inside body (a.k.a. Candida). If you don’t have a healthy balance of intestinal flora this is when disease can set in.
Did you know you have 2-3 pounds of bacteria in your intestinal tract. If it becomes imbalanced, the ratio of bad bacteria will outweigh the amount of good bacteria resulting in a compromised immune system. 70-80% of your immune system is contained in your gut or intestinal system. And it relies on you having an adequate amount of good bacterial to keep your immune system functioning optimally.
Overuse of antibiotics is one of the top reasons this can be compromised. Antibiotics do a great job of killing bacteria in your body, especially if your body is fighting off a bacterial infection. The problem is that it will also kill the good bacteria in your body. Even worse is that the bad bacteria, just like a weed in your lawn, will grow much faster than the good bacteria and overtake your balance of good to bad.
You MUST replenish your good bacteria with a good pre- and probiotic for at least a month after taking an antibiotic. This will not only replenish the good bacteria you lost, but will also help crowd out the bad bacteria so you intestinal flora will have a better chance of coming back into balance.
Diet is another way that our flora can become out of balance. Are you eating enough whole foods? I know we don’t eat as well as we should everyday and that is why our family takes pre- and probiotics on a daily basis as part of our maintenance plan.
Food allergies and intolerances can also play a part of affecting gut flora. Eating foods your body is allergic or intolerant to will create inflammation and overtime that inflammation will damage the lining of your intestines allowing food to seep out of your intestines into your body, where it was supposed to be contained. Have you heard of leaky gut or intestinal permeability?
Read more about an elimination diet that will help you determine if you have food sensitivities
Leaky gut syndrome (or intestinal permeability or hyperpermeability) is condition that occurs as a consequence of intestinal tight junction malfunction.
These tight junctions are closed and are the gatekeepers between your intestines and what is allowed to pass into the blood stream. These tight junctions keep unwanted things out of your bloodstream like toxins and undigested food particles. When they don’t, and you have a leaky gut, it causes inflammation throughout your entire body leading to disease.
When this happens, your body reacts as if the food you consume is an offender and creates antibodies to fight the food. This creates food intolerances over time. Every time you eat a particular food your body reacts to it activating your immune system and it will attack the food just like it would a virus or bacteria. If you are eating this food everyday, and most of us are (milk, gluten, eggs, etc.), your body’s immune system is always working on high alert and becomes weakened over time. It’s like you’ve got a constant cold or infection.
This is what happened to my oldest child. He was catching every cold he came across and ultimately was on antibiotics for about 6 months straight. We unknowingly destroyed his immune system after it being compromised by an undiagnosed milk allergy. This also resulted in multiple food intolerances, anemia and issues with absorbing vitamins, minerals and amino acids which are crucial to your health and hundreds of chemical reactions in your body.
Not all bacteria is bad. Some bacteria in your gut helps you absorb the vitamins and minerals you consume. So, no matter what you’re putting into your body, you aren’t absorbing it efficiently if your gut flora is out of balance.
Are you struggling with a weakened immune system? Read my post on rebalancing your gut flora called “Detoxes, Cleanse and GI Health: What’s all the fuss about?”.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.