Unhealthy Gut Flora Causes Physical and Mental Health Disorders

Organic Buenos Aires staff

Unhealthy gut flora is one of the most common problems in humans today and is the cause of many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (cancer, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis, chronic fatigue, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis) and mental health disorders that are now considered commonplace, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and autism.

Processed foods, poor advice on how to eat and our diet in general as well as increased levels of stress have led to this rise in unhealthy guts. A rise in the amount of prescription drugs taken, such as antibiotics and the contraceptive pill, has also contributed to the change in gut health, with the medication significantly damaging the intestinal flora.

Toxic substances found in food and drink and other environmental influences such as pollution also damage the composition of people’s gut flora. Toxic metals such as lead and mercury and other toxic substances cannot be removed by the intestinal flora and end up flooding into the bloodstream, where they settle in the body, generally in the brain, spine, bone marrow and nervous system. These can lead to leukemia, lymphoma and other immune abnormalities.

Healthy intestinal bacteria are crucial for good health

Bacteria are everywhere. However, we are eliminating this bacteria through the increased use of antiseptic products and the like, which kill the weak bacteria so we end up with bad bacteria that is stronger and harder to fight.

Bacteria are incredibly important for the digestive system, which is where most disease – both physical and mental – originates. The intestinal bacteria in your gut outnumber the cells in your body by at least 10 to one. Your gut produces even more mood-lifting serotonin than your brain does. The relationship between gut and brain is explained here.

Healing gut lining will resolve disease symptoms

By healing your gut lining and getting your digestive system working again, many of these disease symptoms will resolve. People with poorly functioning digestive systems tend to have too much pathogenic bacteria, virus, fungi, worms and protozoa in their guts and are unable to create healthy new enterocytes – cells that line your gut and regenerate every few days.

When the cell regeneration process in the gut lining goes askew, enterocytes are born mutated and can become cancerous and they fail to fulfill their functions – to break down and absorb food.

Replenish gut flora with fermented foods

Replenishing healthy intestinal bacteria by eating lacto-fermented foods where the bacteria are still alive supports the immune system and helps fight unwanted bacteria in your body.

Before refrigerators were invented, fermented foods were a large part of people’s diets. Vegetables stored in brine (salted water) lasted a long time and were essential to survival. Now that fermented foods are not as common, we are realising just how important they are.

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, olives, pickles, cheese, wine, yoghurt and seasoned, aged sausages are so functional that they are now considered probiotics, which are essential for the gut to function properly. Just a teaspoon of fermented food a day along with a balanced diet of healthy fats, cooked (steamed or boiled, not fried) and raw vegetables, fish and soups can help restore the gut and the brain back to normal.

Many people who have tried the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet – which takes this basic principle of gut health = brain health – have reported a massive improvement in mood as well as internal health.

Fermented vegies are very easy to make at home. For step-by-step instructions, see this article entitled How to Ferment Vegetables.