Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS March 11, 2016
Over 50% of people with an overabundance of bad bacteria in their gut have no obvious symptoms. These people may not experience stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. Yet, problems in other parts of their body could be caused by what is going on in their gut. Examples could be weight problems, blood glucose problems, heart problems, joint and muscle problems, skin problems, cognitive and neurological problems, and even periodontal problems.
Who knew? Most people would never think that these diseases might be linked to a problem starting in their gut.
I wrote about functional medicine tests to search for the not-so-obvious causes of mouth problems. HERE. HERE. Even if you never had these tests performed, I have a program to help you get healthier. You could start with step #1 below and then evaluate your results. You might want a functional medicine professional to guide you. Here are my five steps:
- Begin a 30-day reset of your diet to remove the foods that could be triggering or exacerbating gut problems and include the foods that might help repair your gut. For most individuals, this step alone could completely repair damaged guts. It may take 60 or 90 days for some people to see results.
- If you identified that there were an imbalance of bad bacteria and other microbes in your gut, either botanical or prescription medications might be necessary to bring your microbial garden back into balance.
- Include appropriate probiotics (friendly bacteria to repopulate your gut) and prebiotics (types of fiber that feed your good bacteria and encourage their growth). At times, it might be better to consume these along with step #2. At other times, it might be better to start taking these after the unhealthy levels of bad bugs have been brought under control. Remember, we are trying to get to the ultimate causes of your problems – not just treating the symptoms of these conditions.
- In some situations, you might have levels of toxic substances in your body that could interfere with your normal bodily functions. Some of these substances could include heavy metal toxicity, mold exposure, insecticides and other industrial chemicals. Testing for these substances could be complicated and controversial. However, my first recommendation would be to eat specific, nutrient-dense foods that enhance your body’s natural ability to clear these toxic substances.
- Although this may seem unrelated, your stress level has a tremendous effect on the health of your gut and the health of your immune system. You should think about this and come to terms with what bothers you and why. (Here is an article I wrote about mouth lesions related to severe emotional stress.) Coping is critical. You may need to seek professional help to understand your triggers and to learn specific coping skills. Some stress reduction techniques include meditation, mindful living, efficient exercise, restorative sleep, yoga, hobbies, walking in nature, having fun anyway you define it, and engaging in sports.
If you have gut problems, either with obvious symptoms or not-so-obvious symptoms, this 5-step process could make a huge difference in your health.