There are trillions of bacteria living in your gut, and unlike the bacteria that cause disease, these bacteria help promote good health. The key to good health lies in the balance of this gut microbiome, and any disruptions to this balance can cause poor health. 

Digestive issues and problems with weight management can be triggered by an unhealthy gut, which means that by correcting the balance and restoring your friendly flora, you can find a resolution.

The Effects of an Unhealthy Gut

Numerous studies have found a link between gut health and overall health.

The state of your gut directly impacts your immune system, mental health, and endocrine system, and if not properly maintained, it can contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders.

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There is much more to the gut than just digesting food. The bacteria living in your gut play a part in digestion, but they also work to boost health. Although there are also harmful strains in your gut, keeping a balanced gut keeps you healthy.

Beyond promoting digestion and boosting immune functions and mental health, the gut microbiome has other effects on your well-being. It was recently discovered that an unhealthy gut could also influence your weight.

Certain strains of bacteria promote weight gain, and when these bacteria are allowed to thrive, they may lead to weight issues. In contrast to this, some bacteria promote weight loss, so it’s important to pay attention to your gut.

An unhealthy gut will cause several symptoms that alert you to the problem. By listening to your gut, you can work to promote better gut health and restore balance to the disrupted gut microbiome.

The top signs that you have an unhealthy gut include:

Upset Stomach

Chronic stomach disturbances such as gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea can all be signs that your gut is unhealthy. The occasional disturbance is one thing, but you may need to pay closer attention if these symptoms do not seem to pass.

Unintended Weight Changes

Unintentionally losing weight and gaining weight can signal an unbalanced gut. When your gut is unhealthy, it impacts how you absorb nutrients and how your body regulates blood sugar and stores fat. As a result, you may see a drastic loss or gain in weight.

Sleep Disruption

An unhealthy gut can contribute to sleepless nights as well as fatigue. The hormone melatonin that regulates sleep is produced in your gut, and when the gut environment is bad, the production of this hormone becomes disrupted.

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Skin Irritations

Skin conditions like eczema are linked to inflammation can increase due to an unbalanced gut. An unhealthy gut that leaks toxins into your blood can trigger inflammation which irritates the skin and aggravates skin conditions.

Autoimmune Conditions

A leaky or unhealthy gut can also increase your risk for autoimmune diseases. A damaged gut allows toxins to pass through into the blood, triggering an immune response. As a result, healthy cells and tissues are targeted.

There is a strong link between leaky gut and autoimmune conditions, so if you have an autoimmune disease, be sure to take care of your gut, as it will be a target for inflammation.

Sugar Cravings

An unbalanced gut will contain more harmful bacterial strains than good ones, and these bacteria crave sugar. Refined sugars contribute to the imbalanced gut, and once they start growing, they seek more sugar.

If you notice that you are constantly craving sugar, you may have an unhealthy gut. Ignore the cravings, and don’t feed the bad bacteria. Switch up your diet to healthier choices, and allow the beneficial bacteria to grow again.

Restoring Balance to Your Gut

If you have noticed any of the symptoms above or any combination of them, then chances are your gut needs attention and healing. There are several things you can do to protect your gut microbiome and restore balance and overall health.

Try Probiotics

Probiotic foods such as yogurt or a supplement are the best way to protect your gut and promote overall gut health. Probiotics help to restore balance to an unhealthy gut, allowing beneficial strains to grow. This inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria that cause inflammation and digestive upset.

Probiotics will improve digestion and nutrient absorption, and fat storage can be controlled. It’s easier to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight with a healthy gut.

Reduce Stress

Chronic stress is hard on your whole body and causes damage to your gut. Stress increases the production of cortisol, which increases inflammation that causes damage to the lining of your gut. You can reduce this inflammation by controlling your stress.

Try yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to keep stress at bay and keep your gut healthy. Inflammation also increases fat storage, which can lead to weight gain.

Make Some Diet Changes

Eliminating processed foods, as well as foods that are high in sugar or fat, is a great way to promote gut health and weight loss. These foods stimulate the growth of bad bacteria, which can disrupt your gut and digestive processes. These foods also cause weight gain as a result of excess fat in the body.

a woman and a girl preparing food

Add more foods that protect the gut and stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Get Sleep

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep each night. A lack of sleep increases stress and inflammation, which could damage the gut. A damaged gut can leave you uncomfortable and unable to sleep, thus beginning a vicious cycle.

The Bottom Line

Your gut was once thought to be a simple system that just processed and passed food along to be excreted. We now understand that there is much more to the digestive tract, specifically the trillions of friendly bacteria living within.

This microbiome can influence your health, including your weight, so maintaining balance is necessary. Promoting a healthy gut environment needs to be a priority, and in return, your bacterial residents will ensure you have excellent health.