Intestinal dysbiosis is a term long recognized among holistic physicians, and has only recently begun to make it’s way into mainstream medicine. Dysbiosis is the opposite of symbiosis, which basically means “living in harmony.”
Intestinal, or gut dysbiosis is a state that occurs when the intestinal flora has been disturbed or is out of balance. At this time it is estimated that over 1000 different species of bacteria and fungus naturally inhabit the human digestive tract. The different species also make up a significant amount of the weight of human stool.
We are all born with a sterile digestive tract. But it is almost immediately colonized through breast milk, environmental factors, and others as well. Most of this bacteria is harmless, and some highly beneficial. More species are added as a child is introduced to raw and fermented foods. These species are our natural defense against a state of dysbiosis. In short, they take up space so the bad guys can’t get a foothold.
Candida (Yeast), and Intestinal Dysbiosis
In a state of dysbiosis, the good guys are losing the battle with the bad guys. “Who are these bad guys,” you ask. There are basically 4. They are fungus, parasites, virus’s, and pathogenic bacteria. But parasites are rare in the developed world, and virus’s and pathogenic bacteria cause gastrointestinal stress that we’re all familiar with. So for the purposes of this discussion I will focus on fungus, in particular Candida albicans (yeast).
There is candida (yeast) in all of our intestinal tracts. And this is perfectly normal. The problem comes when this yeast becomes overgrown. It creates mycotoxins which are then absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your body. Think about it, alcohol is a mycotoxin. And alcohol is made with what-BREWERS YEAST! The candida itself can also migrate to different parts of the body causing different conditions.
Causes of Yeast Overgrowth in Dysbiosis
As I said earlier, yeast is normal. But in a state of intestinal dysbiosis it becomes overgrown, it takes over. Most experts agree that the number 1 cause of this condition is the over prescribing of antibiotics. And it makes sense. Antibiotics kill bacteria. They even kill the good bacteria. But they don’t kill candida. Antibiotics were developed from a fungus. And it only takes one round to cause this. Imagine the poor people who have taken multiple rounds.
Another cause of yeast overgrowth is eating too much sugar and starch. Our diets have turned into a mishmash of sugar and refined carbs, and we get less whole foods and less fiber. How do we know yeast loves sugar and starch? Simple, to brew alcohol you need two basic ingredients, brewers yeast and a carbohydrate source-grains, sugar, corn, or even potatoes.
Symptoms of Intestinal Dysbiosis From Yeast
So what are the symptoms? I would venture to say that nobody really knows what all of the symptoms are. Of course there are the usual gastrointestinal issues that so many suffer from. But those are just the tip of the iceberg. The list is vast and I cannot mention them all here. More research is needed in this area so it can be better understood. And please also note you may experience no gastrointestinal effects at all.
- Fatigue and Tiredness
- Dandruff and Skin Problems
- Acid Reflux Disease
- Constipation and Diarrhea
- Anxiety and Depression
- Oral Thrush
- Bloating and Weight Gain
- Vaginal Yeast Infections
- Trouble Concentrating
- Diabetes and Prediabetes
- Low Immunity
- Autoimmune Diseases
There is some controversy in this area. Some physicians will prescribe anti-fungal drugs. These are effective, but can damage the liver. Fortunately there are natural measures one can take. And we already know what we want the effect to be, provide good bacteria, and minimize the candida growth.
I first discovered the term “dysbiosis” while reading a magazine. I was skeptical, but intrigued because no one else had an explanation for my symptoms. I was always sick. I was seeing a dermatologist for a horrific dandruff problem, and my skin just looked bad. He didn’t seem concerned about my insides. What could that possibly have to do with my skin?
I also had this mystery fluid draining out of my ears that nobody could explain. And I always felt rundown and bloated, with heartburn to boot. How could these possibly be related? Surly they couldn’t be, I was seeing a separate doctor for each one.
After trying numerous shampoos and topical formulas I knew I had to try something new. I started with my diet. I cut out all sugar, grains and starchy vegetables. I added more raw and fermented food to my diet. I then began taking a probiotic supplement and glucomannan fiber.
The results were dramatic. Within a few days I was seeing improvements. Within a couple weeks everything completely cleared up, and I felt charged with energy. I was pleased, but shocked at the same time. Why didn’t my doctor know this?
That was 2 years ago, and I’m still doing great as long as I stick to my program. My diet is not as strict as it used to be. I now allow myself the occasional whole grain or sugary fruit. But the main source of sugar in my diet is berries and grapefruit. I still take my probiotic supplement every day.
And if I stray from the program too much I pay for it. One starchy meal and I’m ok. Two to three and my skin starts to itch. If I continue this behavior for 3 days or more, all of my symptoms return. When treating dysbiosis, diet is imperative. I’ve tried this experiment with grains, sugar, and potatoes. The result is always the same.
Please note that when I say yogurt and fermented foods, I mean unsweetened live culture yogurt; I mean raw sauerkraut, and raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with mother). If you don’t like any of these foods the best thing to do is to take a probiotic supplement. When you eat fermented food, over 99% of the good bugs are killed off by stomach acid. Many probiotic supplements are shielded so that they release in the intestines.
There are also some medicinal herbs that have anti-yeast properties. These include astragalus, olive leaf extract, medicinal mushroom extract, and oil of oregano.
WARNING: If you go through this process you may experience a Herxheimer reaction. This is sometimes referred to as a healing crisis, or die off period. As the yeast dies off, it will release toxins that must be absorbed by your body. This experience is usually short lived and should not be taken as a sign that you are getting worse. It is a positive sign.
Now this is not easy. But it is wonderful to know that we can improve our health through natural means. Investing in our health today is our responsibility and ours alone. Nobody is going to do it for us.