5 Ways To Heal Your Gut: Boost Mood & Energy, & Improve Digestion
It’s Not You; It’s Your Gut Bacteria!
The bacteria living in your intestines influence all facets of your life in ways you’ve never even imagined…
There are 100 trillion bacteria living in your digestive tract – that’s 10x the number of your own human cells in your entire body! Scientists joke, are we human, or are we bacteria having a human experience? Either way, if you want to heal your gut, you need to be paying attention to the bacteria in your body.
You are essentially the host to a diverse ecosystem that literally affects thousands of your bodily functions. So many, in fact, that scientists consider your gut microbes as an independent organ called the Microbiome.
Food cravings, appetite, metabolism, and the shape of your body. The quality of your thoughts, sleep patterns, how well you manage stress, and even behaviors that you’ve identified as your “personality” can all be connected to the microbes living in your belly.
Your gut bacteria affect how you perceive the world by altering your brain’s response to negative stimuli.
This was proven in the ‘famous yogurt study’, published in 2013 in the journal Gastroenterology. This remarkable study showed direct evidence that friendly bacteria consumed from food had a strong impact on how the brain processes information and handles stress. (1)
In short, groups of women were shown disturbing images and had their brain activity monitored to determine which areas of the brain were active. After 4 weeks, the women who ate a standard yogurt containing several probiotics twice a day reacted very differently to the images vs. the control groups. They were calmer and less affected by the frightening images. There was less activity related to their emotion, cognition, and sensory processing.
Simply put, if you are anxious, have a hard time managing your stress, and are easily triggered, it could be a sign that you’re missing beneficial bacteria in your gut.
For example, strains of bifidobacteria secret large amounts of GABA, an important neurotransmitter that returns the nervous system to a more stable state so you can weather stress better.
Dr, Perlmutter in his recent book, Brain Maker, explains how these GABA-producing bacteria play a large role in the treatment and prevention of brain disorders and irritable bowel disorders by keeping anxiety in check and preventing anxiety-triggered gastrointestinal disorders.
How The Wrong Gut Bacteria Make Us Fat & Sick
This microbial ecosystem you carry in your digestive tract requires a diversity of species to work together as an ensemble or orchestra. It’s a fine balancing act; if a certain species begin to die out and another dominates, disaster begins to brew…
Autoimmune conditions, metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, inflammatory conditions, Alzheimer’s, autism, and IBS are all connected to a microbial imbalance in the gut (also known as gut dysbiosis), as well as a lack of diversity where certain species have gone extinct.
Without healthy numbers of beneficial bacteria in the gut, pathogenic yeasts like Candida begin to dominate the run ramped to cause all forms of dis-ease in the body. When working to heal from Candida, ALWAYS include probiotics! These bugs are your allies and will help you reclaim your gut, body, and mind from this fungal tyrant.
When you compare microbiomes from different cultures across the globe, you’ll see drastic differences. The “Western” microbiome lacks diversity and has more bacteria from the Firmicutes group than those living in Africa, and as a result, our health is beginning to suffer.
This bacteria balancing act of gut bacteria can be clearly observed in the Firmicutes to Bacteroids ratio.
Thin people have fewer Firmicutes and more bacteria from more Bacteroidetes phylum.
These two classes of bacteria have profound effects on the way you metabolize your food. Basically, Firmicutes cause the body to extract more calories from food, so they cause you to gain weight. This class is found abundant in people with diabetes and obesity.
Bacteroidetes, on the other hand, don’t have this effect on metabolism, and when you have more of these bugs living in your belly, you are naturally thinner, have an easier time maintaining healthier body weight, and have a leaner body mass. You can’t get Bacteroidetes in a supplement, BUT you can influence their growth with your dietary choices– which we’ll explore in more detail below.
This is just one example of how these microbes affect your health. Plenty of studies have shown that gut dysbiosis and an overgrowth of certain species of bacteria is connected to ulcerative colitis, arthritis, depression, colon cancer, and even HIV.
“All happy families are like one another; each unhappy
family is unhappy in its own way.”
This Firmicutes to Bacteroids ratio is just one example of how these microbes can affect your health. Plenty of studies have shown that gut dysbiosis and an overgrowth of certain species of bacteria are connected to ulcerative colitis, arthritis, depression, colon cancer, and even HIV.
The notion of, “All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” can be applied to your microbiome.
“When a host is confronted with a stressor that reduces its ability to regulate microbiota composition; furthermore, these effects are often associated with a decline in host health. So while microbiomes of healthy hosts may all look similar, microbiomes of unhealthy hosts may end up looking very different from one another.” – Kristina Campbell (2)
Although many roles of the gut microbiome are quite complex, one thing is crystal clear – we need to take care of our GUT if we want to restore and keep our health. Period.
5 Ways To Grow Healthy Gut Bacteria
The Western diet consisting of C.R.A.P.– carbonate, refined, artificial, processed foods– which includes (way too much!) sugar and starchy carbs, not enough fiber, and too many antibiotic-tainted meats and chlorinated water have led to the destruction of your natural gut ecosystem allowing the pathogenic microbes to flourish.
Getting out of gut dysbiosis takes patience and dedication, and the most influential tactics you can take are dietary. Every bite of food you take is like a vote for good or bad. Who do YOU choose to feed? Your team of Avenger Superheros or the mafia of bandits?
When working to heal your gut and shift out of gut dysbiosis, it’s crucial that you start by taking probiotic supplements every day. Look for a probiotic that has a high CFU count (colony forming units) in the range of 50-100. Also, look for high strain diversity; 7-10 strains are great.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, and milk kefir are all excellent ways to get probiotics into your life with every meal.
Once you start incorporating daily probiotics to colonize your inner ecosystem, you have to make sure you feed them too! Think of them like your pets; your goldfish who needs food every day, your dog that needs to be taken for a walk. Remember you are a parent to 100 trillion microbes, and you have the responsibility to love and nourish them, and then they’ll love you back.
1. Eat Cold Potatoes
Everyone loves potatoes, but in reality, eating regular potatoes is a lot like eating sugar; they jack up blood sugar levels and provide a perfect food source to fuel a Candida overgrowth out of control. This is why the potato is often restricted on anti-Candida diets.
However, there is a nifty trick to HOW you prepare your potatoes that allows you to still indulge in your favorite dish and feed your good gut bacteria; I call it Potato Alchemy.
Your gut is filled with 100 trillion bacteria, hundreds of species, good and bad. The good feed on resistant starch and prebiotic fibers. Cold potatoes (and cold rice) are a great source of resistant starch. After cooking your potatoes, stick them in the fridge for 24 hours. When they cool, the sugars in the potatoes crystallize and turn into a starch that resists human digestion and serves as food for your gut bacteria. (3) Make sure to serve cold and don’t reheat.
These good bacteria eat the resistant starch and produce short-chain fatty acids: acetic, propionic, and butyric acid, all of which play a role in reducing your risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. (4)
Butyric acid is an excellent nutrient that helps heal leaky gut by providing fuel for the cells of the gut lining in the colon. It’s anti-carcinogenic and has anti-inflammatory effects.
2. Exercise Regularly
Dr. Perlmutter Explains How Exercise Can Boosts Gut Microbial Diversity
Your respiratory fitness levels influence the diversity of your gut bacteria. Essentially when you exercise more, you become more fit and can grow more healthy gut bacteria, and those healthy gut bacteria help you to continue to grow healthier and strong– a beautiful, virtuous cycle ensues.
Better fitness is also correlated to lowered LPS levels — this is a major marker of inflammation in the body as well as detecting levels of gut permeability. When you have high levels of LPS, you have a leaky gut, and inflammation is widespread in your body.
3. Probiotic Enemas
One of the best ways to heal your gut is to insert healthy gut bacteria into the colon with the use of an enema. The safe use of enemas and their health benefits dates back to the Dead Sea Scrolls some 2000 years ago, archives can be found describing the benefits of enemas in the Vatican (The Essene Gospel of Peace), and evidence of their use even dates back to Ancient Egyptian times.
What you’ll need: 3-6 probiotic capsules, bifido strains work excellent as these are the bacteria that colonize the colon. You can also use a teaspoon of EM-PRO from our Candida Cleanser Package.
Best done in the morning after your bowel movement. Use 12 ounces of lukewarm filtered water. Open up the capsules, stir and dissolve. Try to hold the enema in for 30 minutes.
in the AM, after bowel mvmt, 12 ounces of lukewarm water, break open, stir, dissolve, and hold.
“How often I recommend this procedure depends on the specific needs of the patient. In someone who has had aggressive antibiotic therapy, I’d prescribe probiotic enemas as often as 3 times weekly for 4-6 weeks.” – Dr. Perlmutter
4. Drink Butter Coffee
This tip comes from Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet and is also recommended by Dr. David Perlmutter. If you’re going to drink coffee – it better be organic! – and drink it with butter (or ghee). Simple blend it together in a heat-safe blender, and it transforms into a creamy latte-like brew.
Drinking butter coffee is a “biohack” that not only can heal your gut, but it also influences a positive change in your microbiome by encouraging the proliferation of your “thin people” bacteria, Bacteroidetes, and suppressing the growth of the obesity-promoting Firmicutes bacteria.
“By taking coffee with fat, you temporarily suppress all gut bacteria and then provide food for the “thin people” bacteria so they can proliferate. This is something I can actually see in my own gut lab panels and in Bulletproof Dieters’ uBiome results when they share them with me. They have above-average amounts of Bacteroidetes, the bacteria associated with being lean, and fewer of the Firmicutes phylum, associated with being obese. You should have some of both for optimal health, but changing the ratio really impacts your energy level and ability to regulate your own weight.” – Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Diet
(Disclaimer: Just because this bio-hack works magic on your microbiome, make sure that your health and adrenals are in a state where you can handle caffeine. Everyone tolerates coffee differently; listen to YOUR body. If you are currently taking the Candida Cleanser or in stage 3 or 4 Candida, I would recommend you avoid coffee. If you find that you MUST have a coffee to get through the day, drink only organic and prepare it with butter/ghee.)
You can’t buy Bacteroidetes species in a probiotics supplement, but you can easily control their growth by eating foods high in polyphenols. These antioxidants are the preferred food source by these bacteria; they serve as prebiotics for Bacteroidetes.
They’re found abundantly in brightly colored vegetables, but the richest source of polyphenols in Western diets is coffee! (Chocolate is full of polyphenols, too!)
Other foods that are high in prebiotics that heal your gut and feed your beneficial bacteria are:
– raw Jerusalem artichoke
– raw dandelion greens
– raw garlic,
– raw leek
– raw and cooked onion
– raw asparagus
– raw chicory root
– acacia gum
– cooked and cooled potatoes and rice
– green plantain
5. Get Dirty
Our obsession with “cleanliness” has led to the destruction of our microbiome. The hand sanitizers, antibiotics, personal care products, chemical cleaners, water disinfectants… all have altered the composition of our gut flora for the worse.
Antibiotics don’t just attack one species of bacteria; they damaged our good bugs too. 20-50% of all antibiotic use is inappropriate; Dr. Robynne Chutkan calls it “Pharmagedon.”
Over 200 synthetic chemicals have been found in the umbilical cords blood of infants at birth. (5). And 100,000 new chemicals have been introduced in the last decade (6) 82,000 industrial, 9000 food additives, and 1000 pesticides. The FDA has not been able to regulate many of these or test them for safety.
Chlorine is destructive to our microbiome. Filter your water!
Pesticides and herbicides in our food destroy our gut flora. Round Up ready and Round Up sprayed foods obliterate the microbiome. (7) Remember you have a precious bacterial ecosystem within you. Anything that is designed to kill life (chlorine, pesticides, disinfectants) will damage your ecosystem! Stay clear of chemicals and buy organic whenever possible.
Eat Dirt, Dirt Is Good, Live Dirty- Eat Clean are all revolutionary health books hitting the shelves explaining the importance of getting daily micro-exposures to soil-based organisms in dirt and other plant life. Get dirty, spend time outside in nature, hug a tree, play in the sand, walk barefoot in the forest, and do some gardening work. Get reconnected with the natural bacterial world.
Dr. Axe explains, “Soil‐based organisms (SBOs) support gut health and immune response. Why, exactly? In the plant world, SBOs help plants grow. Without their protection, otherwise healthy plants become malnourished and are susceptible to disease or contamination by fungi, yeasts, molds and candida. Just as plants grow best in healthy soil teeming with highly active microorganisms, you, too, need these organisms to live a long, healthy life.” (8)
Soil-based organisms help keep your immune system strong and reduce inflammation in your gut and entire body. They have the ability to fight off pathogens like candida and parasites. They heal your gut, nourish your colon and liver and even bind to toxins and pull them from your body.
When working to reclaim your health, you are not alone. You have an army of 100 trillion gut bacteria waiting to be at your service. Feed your microbiome, and it will work for you rather than against you.
If you really want to heal your gut, it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can begin the shift in as fast as ONE day! The food you eat determines the gut bacteria you grow. What’s going to be on your plate today?
Yours in health,