Dysbiosis generally refers to an imbalance of bacterial flora in an area of the body such as in the digestive tract and the genitourinary tract. Here we are specifically referring to dysbiosis of the digestive system.
There more than 500 different species of microorganism that are natural inhabitants of the human intestinal environment. This environment is kept in a delicate balance by these different strains of beneficial bacteria. Their job is to protect the body from invasion by harmful microorganisms such as protozoa, bad bacteria and fungi entering the body with the food we eat and they also keep opportunistic microorganisms at bay such as the yeast species, Candida that is a normal resident of the digestive system. These friendly bacteria also manufacture and release nutrients such as vitamin K and the B vitamins, short-chain fatty acids and they can breakdown insoluble fibre such as cellulose through a process of fermentation. Beneficial bacteria enhance the digestive process and can stimulate the immune system.
Beneficial bacteria enhance the digestive process and can stimulate the immune system.
Main Causes of Dysbiosis
Dietary Imbalances such as excessive protein, sugar or fat intake; lack of dietary fibre or food sensitivities
Inadequate digestive enzymes and/or HCL secreted by the body
Stress – physical and psychological can make the digestive environment unfavourable for the friendly bacteria
Antibiotic treatment or and other medications such as NSAIDS and oral contraceptives
Impaired/diminished immune system function
Altered pH or gut peristalsis
Complications of Dysbiosis
When the population of symbiotic (good) bacteria are reduced, the stage is set for harmful microorganisms (parasites) to take over and wreck havoc in the digestive system. They usually do this by interfering with the digestive process and damaging the protective lining of the digestive tract. This can then lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome that is defined by an intestinal lining that is more permeable than it should be and thus allows partially undigested food particles to be absorbed into the body that are not normally given entry. The immune system responds by treating them like foreign intruders and mounts an attack against the potential threat. Continued entry of under-digested protein into the blood stream can result in an over reactive immune system and the development of allergies manifesting as symptoms such as skin rashes and digestive problems and long term, can potentially contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions.
Rebalancing the digestive environment can be as easy as replacing the good bacteria in the digestive system and supporting their growth, if things have been out of balance for a relatively short space of time. However if the imbalance has been present for many years and leaky gut syndrome has developed the rebalancing process can be more involved and may require looking at healing the leaky gut, addressing food sensitivities, mending yeast imbalances and eliminating other harmful microorganisms such as parasites that may be unwelcome residents of your inner ecosystem.
“if the Imbalance has been present for many years and Leaky Gut Syndrome has developed the rebalancing process can be more involved.”