How to Get Rid of Bad Bacteria in the Gut

Your gutis an ecosystem. Every species plays an important role to keep everything in balance. Healthy diet and lifestyle lead to a default setting of balance within your gut. However, unhealthy diet and lifestyle practices can lead to imbalance of your gut ecosystem…and everything goes awry.

There are actually a very minimal number of truly “bad” gut microbes. The bacteria living in your gut react depending on what is around them. So the best way to maintain a healthy balance of flora in your gut is to keep a favorable environment for your good microbes to thrive: they will naturally protect you and the balance of other strains of flora which might act “unfriendly” if the environment of your gut doesn’t keep them in check.



Because of this balance, it’s usually better to achieve diversity in the gut rather than to eliminate bacteria. Here’s why:

  • Bacteria can easily develop resistance.
  • It’s hard to determine which bacteria cause your symptoms.
  • You can’t kill only specific strains or species. Eliminating bad bacteria affects good bacteria as well and will eventually lead to a loss of diversity.
  • Bacteria have the ability to hide in biofilms when under attack, making them even harder to kill.

So focus on diversifying your microbiome.

Remember that bacterial diversity is a key to having a healthy gut, and the universal sign of illness is losing microbial diversity down there. If you want a strong gut that is able to help you avoid getting sick, make sure that you support (through diet and lifestyle) different species and strains of microbes in your gut. 

According to research, the presence of certain types of gut bacteria in the right quantities is good for you. In fact, they can protect you from developing chronic illnesses. These bacteria include:

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacteria
  • E. coli (specific strains)

Encouraging the growth of these species means eating foods that feed them. Check out the table to know which foods are great to boost which bacteria:

LactobacillusBifidoE. Coli
konjac root (also known as glucomannan or ‘shirataki’)
soy
apples
barley
wheat
bran
walnuts
chicory root
artichokes
buckwheat
bananas
nuts
onions
garlic
oats
blueberries
apples
Figs
Hazelnuts
Chickpeas

So when is weeding needed?

If you’re having symptoms regularly like heartburn, irregular bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation, or both), bloating, low or inconsistent energy, trouble sleeping, weight imbalance, skin rashes or breakouts, multiple food sensitivities or noticing that your body is reacting poorly to more foods over time.

Your health professional might suggest a gentle weeding of unwanted microbes if you have the following:

  • A comprehensive stool exam reveals an imbalance of beneficial versus opportunistic bacteria; a yeast imbalance; or a pathogen (like H. Pylori)
  • A breath test confirming SIBO or small intestine bacterial overgrowth

In this instance, a medical doctor might prescribe antibiotics, and a functional health practitioner may offer herbal or plant-based antimicrobials which are proven to be just as, or even more, effective than antibiotics (certain formulas boost beneficial flora while discouraging high levels of problematic ones).

These are the foods that kill bad bacteria, but always bear in mind that they may also kill the good ones if overdone.

  • Garlic – Allicin in garlic is a potent antimicrobial. Aside from bacteria, it can kill fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
  • Oregano – It is one of the substances used to treat SIBO, even more effective than some pharmaceutical antibiotics.
  • Caraway seed oil, lavender flower oil, and ajwain seed soil – These essential oils are effective against Candida albicans and Bacteroides fragilis.
  • Green tea – Helps stop growth of Candida albicans and helps prevents other bad bacteria from settling in.
  • Pomegranate husk – The white part of this fruit is effective against certain species of bacteria such as E. Coli (E. Coli isn’t entirely bad: there are beneficial strains).

Taking high amounts these foods or pharmaceutical antibiotics should only be the last resort because of the collateral damage to the good microbes. This can lead to dysbiosis, paving the way to more illnesses. Aim for microbial diversity first. 

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session at bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

P.S.
Know someone who could use my help?
Send them the link to apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

How to Get Rid of Bad Bacteria in the Gut

Your gutis an ecosystem. Every species plays an important role to keep everything in balance. Healthy diet and lifestyle lead to a default setting of balance within your gut. However, unhealthy diet and lifestyle practices can lead to imbalance of your gut ecosystem…and everything goes awry.

There are actually a very minimal number of truly “bad” gut microbes. The bacteria living in your gut react depending on what is around them. So the best way to maintain a healthy balance of flora in your gut is to keep a favorable environment for your good microbes to thrive: they will naturally protect you and the balance of other strains of flora which might act “unfriendly” if the environment of your gut doesn’t keep them in check.



Because of this balance, it’s usually better to achieve diversity in the gut rather than to eliminate bacteria. Here’s why:

  • Bacteria can easily develop resistance.
  • It’s hard to determine which bacteria cause your symptoms.
  • You can’t kill only specific strains or species. Eliminating bad bacteria affects good bacteria as well and will eventually lead to a loss of diversity.
  • Bacteria have the ability to hide in biofilms when under attack, making them even harder to kill.

So focus on diversifying your microbiome.

Remember that bacterial diversity is a key to having a healthy gut, and the universal sign of illness is losing microbial diversity down there. If you want a strong gut that is able to help you avoid getting sick, make sure that you support (through diet and lifestyle) different species and strains of microbes in your gut. 

According to research, the presence of certain types of gut bacteria in the right quantities is good for you. In fact, they can protect you from developing chronic illnesses. These bacteria include:

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacteria
  • E. coli (specific strains)

Encouraging the growth of these species means eating foods that feed them. Check out the table to know which foods are great to boost which bacteria:

LactobacillusBifidoE. Coli
konjac root (also known as
glucomannan
or ‘shirataki’)
soyapplesbarleywheat branwalnutschicory rootartichokesbuckwheat
bananasnutsonionsgarlicoatsblueberriesapplesFigsHazelnutsChickpeas

So when is weeding needed?

If you’re having symptoms regularly like heartburn, irregular bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation, or both), bloating, low or inconsistent energy, trouble sleeping, weight imbalance, skin rashes or breakouts, multiple food sensitivities or noticing that your body is reacting poorly to more foods over time.

Your health professional might suggest a gentle weeding of unwanted microbes if you have the following:

  • A comprehensive stool exam reveals an imbalance of beneficial versus opportunistic bacteria; a yeast imbalance; or a pathogen (like H. Pylori)
  • A breath test confirming SIBO or small intestine bacterial overgrowth

In this instance, a medical doctor might prescribe antibiotics, and a functional health practitioner may offer herbal or plant-based antimicrobials which are proven to be just as, or even more, effective than antibiotics (certain formulas boost beneficial flora while discouraging high levels of problematic ones).

These are the foods that kill bad bacteria, but always bear in mind that they may also kill the good ones if overdone.

  • Garlic – Allicin in garlic is a potent antimicrobial. Aside from bacteria, it can kill fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
  • Oregano – It is one of the substances used to treat SIBO, even more effective than some pharmaceutical antibiotics.
  • Caraway seed oil, lavender flower oil, and ajwain seed soil – These essential oils are effective against Candida albicans and Bacteroides fragilis.
  • Green tea – Helps stop growth of Candida albicans and helps prevents other bad bacteria from settling in.
  • Pomegranate husk – The white part of this fruit is effective against certain species of bacteria such as E. Coli (E. Coli isn’t entirely bad: there are beneficial strains).

Taking high amounts these foods or pharmaceutical antibiotics should only be the last resort because of the collateral damage to the good microbes. This can lead to dysbiosis, paving the way to more illnesses. Aim for microbial diversity first. 

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session at bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

P.S.
Know someone who could use my help?
Send them the link to apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Improve Your Health (and Vagal Tone) With These 4 Tips

The vagus (sounds like Vegas) nerve plays a critical role in many areas of your health.  It’s the tenth cranial nerve and originates in your brainstem. It goes through your neck and thorax and extends down to your abdomen. It is one of the biggest nerves that connect your brain and gut through a two-way communication system. It sends an extensive range of nerve impulses from the digestive system and specific internal organs (liver, heart, and lungs) to your brain and vice versa. 

The vagus nerve plays several important roles in your day to day life including the regulation of internal organ functions including:

  • Digestion, heart rate, breathing, vasomotor activities (hormones, blood vessels), and some reflexes such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting
  • Regulation of our fight, flight, or freeze actions
  • Affects our anxiety levels and ability to handle emotional and physical stressors

So now, what is vagal tone?

Vagal tone is simply a measurement of how well your vagus nerve functions, and it is measured indirectly through heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is the amount of time in between heartbeats, which indicates the vagal activity of the heart. There should be variability in the amount of time between heartbeats. Meaning, that the more variable your HRV is, the better your vagal tone, and the less variable it becomes, the weaker is your vagal tone as well. I remember when I first learned about this it was counterintuitive–I thought it made sense that a healthy heart rhythm was one that was very evenly spaced, but that’s not the case! You don’t want a metronomic heartbeat–you want it to be dynamic and flexible.

HRV is also an indicator of fitness recovery because it reflects how well your body is recovering from stress and its ability to balance between the parasympathetic “rest and digest” branch and the sympathetic branch of your nervous system so that you can recover from exercise well.

The right HRV varies from person to person, thus your HRV baseline is individual. There’s no fixed HRV baseline, so a high or low HRV is not the same for everyone (more on this in a moment).

But low vagal tone is associated with the following:

* inflammatory bowel diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease
* neurological conditions (dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc)
* mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and PTSD
* diseases of the heart and blood vessels

How to track your HRV?

There are devices that can track your HRV. One of which is the Oura Ring. It tracks HRV during sleep and helps you find your baseline. I also really like the Inner Balance by the HeartMath Institute which provides HRV and feedback for improving it in the moment.

But the big question is how do you improve your vagal tone?

There’s a method that is already well-researched in improving vagal tone: electrical vagal nerve stimulation. This has been approved by the FDA as a treatment to a few neurological and mental disorders, but since only a medical professional can perform this procedure, it’s not very accessible.

So I have 4 effective ways to improve your vagal tone that are non-invasive and generally good for your health and well-being. Plus you can do them on your own!

  • Exercise – High-intensity interval exercise improves vagal tone (and is scientifically supported). However, if you aren’t able to do HIIT for whatever reason, even light exercises can increase your HRV.
  • Breathing and Meditation – Improve your vagal tone by adding 10-20 minutes of slow, mindful breathing every day. Do this by consciously breathing out longer than breathing in. When we exhale, our heart rate decreases and this stimulates the vagus nerve. Slow breathing also increases the parasympathetic nervous system (your “rest and digest” branch).
  • Diet and Probiotics – Your diet should be nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory, because everything that is good for your gut and brain is good for your vagus nerve. Probiotics help your gut to heal and maintain a healthy balance of flora, which supports your gut-brain axis (where your vagus nerve plays a big part)
  • Cold Water Immersion – Research backs up cold water plunging and cold stimulation of the neck area for improving vagal tone. Cold water immersion is especially good for muscle recovery and improving HRV–which is why it has become popular in athletic communities. If you have poor vagal tone or wish to improve it further, start gradually (i.e. take the last 10-20 seconds of your shower on the coldest setting.)

Whether you use an HRV tracker or track whether your symptoms have improved, I hope you find improvements as you apply these helpful tools.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session at bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

P.S.
Know someone who could use my help?
Send them the link to apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Common Drugs That Affect the Gut Ecosystem–And What to Do about It!

Within your gut lives billions of microorganisms that promote your health. Collectively known as the gut microbiome, this microbial community works as a giant factory producing various chemicals or substances that pass through the intestinal wall to join the bloodstream and affect your body’s cells.
 
Different factors affect the composition and quantity of your gut microbiome, including genetics, diet, sleeping pattern, and exercise. But today, let’s take a closer look at another factor that changes the gut ecosystem that doesn’t get discussed much: medications.


 
Medications and medical interventions can be incredibly helpful, so the goal of this newsletter isn’t to attack these tools. Rather, the side effects of medications on the gut are part of the picture and it is important to be fully informed. Remember that the health of the gut says a lot about the health of the body in general.
 
So what are some common drugs and that disrupt the gut ecosystem?
 
Proton-pump inhibitors
PPI’s are the drugs of choice to treat gastric acidity, GERD, and acid reflux. They are associated with adverse effects in the gut microbiome.
In studies conducted amongst those taking proton-pump inhibitors, they found considerable quantities of bacteria that are normally present in the oral cavity.
And mind you, these bacteria do not belong in the gut! They are usually killed by stomach acid. And the presence of these bacteria in the gut is associated with the development of some types of colon cancer.
 
Antibiotics
Another gut disrupting drug, likely unsurprisingly, is the antibiotics. Perhaps you’ve experienced antibiotic-related diarrhea, which is a short-term effect of antibiotic use, at some point? This can lead to a rebound towards constipation as your body attempts to rebalance itself.
Long term effects of being on antibiotic therapy are reduced diversity of the gut microbiome.
If your gut microbiome lacks diversity, there’s less production of health-promoting molecules such as butyric acid (butyric acid or butyrate is well-known for supporting digestive health, reducing inflammation, and regulating the epigenome (the dynamic part of our DNA), thereby promoting overall health), which can be a predisposing factor in developing chronic illnesses.

Metformin, a medication used to treat Type 2 Diabetes and PCOS (reduced microbial diversity and reduced abundance of healthy flora) and laxativesused to treat constipation, are 2 other common medications that disrupt your gut health.

As I said earlier, it is sometimes inevitable to take medications. So it is of utmost importance to take extra care of your gut health.

Here are my top research-backed tips to help you take good care of your gut:
 Take probiotics and prebiotics – Probiotics, whether in supplement or fermented food form, promote gut microbiome diversity. Prebiotics are the what your gut bacteria eat, such as plant fibers, starches, and collagen. These prebiotics promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics include leeks, garlic, sunchokes, tomatoes, artichokes, flaxseed, chicory, and green leafy vegetables.Avoid sweets – Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin), sugar, and foods that are naturally high in sugar contribute to gut dysbiosis and increase the bacteria that are linked to metabolic diseases.Get your sleep – It is important to establish good sleeping habits to get ample, restful sleep at the right time. Poor sleeping patterns are associated with poor gut flora.Manage stress – Stress, even if it’s short-lived, disrupts the gut microbiome, so make sure to do things that can help you relieve stress. Some of the things you may want to try are HeartMath, mindfulness meditation, journaling, and deep breathing exercises.Exercise – Keep your body active! Make sure to allow time every day to exercise. It is good for your circulation, mood, muscles, bones, and gut health.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~RebeccaP.S.
Know someone who could use my help?
Send them the link to apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).