Most people think of gut health as being about food and digestion. And while that's certainly part of it, there's a lot more to it than that. Your gut health is actually a reflection of the overall state of your health. So, if you're dealing with an unhealthy gut, this could be caused by many things—many of which may surprise you. Here are five common causes of an unhealthy gut:
1. A Poor Diet
This one may seem obvious, but it's worth mentioning because it's such a common cause of gut issues. If you're eating a lot of processed foods, sugary snacks, and refined carbs, your gut health is going to suffer. These types of foods are hard to digest and can lead to inflammation, bloating, and other digestive problems. On the other hand, a diet rich in whole foods, healthy fats, and fibre is easy to digest and helps promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Stress can take a toll on your entire body—including your gut. When you're stressed out, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to inflammation throughout your body—including in your digestive tract. In addition, stress can also worsen other underlying health conditions—such as anxiety and depression—which can also contribute to gut problems.
3. Lack of Sleep
Just like with stress, Lack of sleep can also lead to increased cortisol levels in your body. This can again result in inflammation and digestive problems. In addition, sleep deprivation can also negatively affect your immune system—leaving you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses that could further damage your gut health.
4. Certain Medications
Certain medications—such as antibiotics and NSAIDs—can cause damage to the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome. This can lead to dysbiosis—an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the gut—which can result in inflammation, bloating, and other digestive issues.
5. Untreated Gut Infections
If you have an infection in your gut—such as H pylori or C difficile —it can lead to inflammation and other digestive problems. These infections need to be treated with antibiotics in order to clear them up but after you will need to restore balance to the gut microbiome by taking a pre & probiotic.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that can cause an unhealthy gut. From stress and lack of sleep to certain medications and untreated infections, many different factors can contribute to an unhealthy gut microbiome. The good news is that there are also many things you can do to promote a healthy gut—such as eating a nutritious diet, managing stress levels, getting enough sleep, and taking a high quality of pre & probiotics, digestive enzymes or other supplements specifically designed for gut health. If you suspect you may have an underlying infection or other condition affecting your gut health, be sure to chat with your health practitioner so you can get the help you need!