What the Heck is Gut Dysbiosis?

Part 1

A number of you reached out when I wrote about my experience over the last year with gut dysbiosis. I’ve turned this into a 3-part series to help bring some light to digestive struggles (and perhaps help some of you avoid the mistakes I made).

1️⃣Part 1: What is gut dysbiosis?
2️⃣Part 2: How does it happen?
3️⃣Part 3: What to do and when to get some help? Hint: sooner rather than later.

Ok, basics.

Our gastrointestinal tract is responsible for some muy importanté activities:

  • Allows nutrients and water to enter the body.
  • Absorbs energy from food.
  • Extracts nutrients from food.
  • Blocks toxins and antigens from entry into the body.
  • Expels waste.

I mean DAMN you a busy bee, GI - and it looks like it mayyy be getting a little overloaded these days. Did you know 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from some sort of digestive illness (NIH Publication 08–6514) - not including heartburn! - and digestive problems account for $283 BILLION (as of 2004) which is more than 10% of all healthcare spending??

Within our digestive system are billllllions of bacteria (over 400 species) that make up something called the "gut microbiome." The beneficial forms of bacteria help digest food, break down and incorporate vitamins, and fight off harmful pathogens. We would literally die without them. However, there is another form of ‘bad’ bacteria who can disrupt all of our essential functions if given the opportunity to grow in excess.

Let's use a Star Wars metaphor to describe how our microbiome works, shall we?

The Jedi or the Force = Beneficial bacteria
????????Sith or Dark Side of the Force = Bad/opportunistic bacteria

Ok, so like the Jedi during pre-Empire era were bangin'. They trained hard, fought off some minor bad guys, assumed the Sith were extinct, and everything worked in harmony (minus Padmé falling for a 10-year old, bleh). But then the Jedi's ability to harness the Force diminished...their resources were stretched thin...the Sith reemerged sneakily...and BAM. The Dark Side took over as the Jedi's power was overcome.

Welcome to the Gut Dysbiosis Zone.