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What Can Damage The Gut Flora

There are various factors that can damage our gut flora. These include:

Modern Western Diet – our modern western diet consisting of a high intake of processed carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, crackers, chips, wraps, pastries etc), processed fats (such as rice bran oil, vegetable oil, shortenings), sugars and sugar substitutes, excessive fruit sugar intake (fruit juice and excessive fruit intake)and preservative loaded food, has meant the “bad” flora find it easier to thrive and the “good” flora find it more difficult.

Antibiotics use – there are certainly times when antibiotics are absolutely necessary and are a life saver.  However, there are many instances where the prescription of antibiotics can be avoided and there is increasing research urging doctors to prescribe antibiotics more responsibly due to the rapid increase seen in antibiotic resistance.  Aside from this, antibiotics have been shown to damage the population of beneficial flora within our gut, while leaving us vulnerable to an increased likelihood of fungal overgrowth.  This damage to the gut flora also can leave the immune system less active post antibiotics than it was prior to their use.

Infections and Disease – chronic and acute disease and infection are damaging to the gut flora for many reasons and often this damage can take some time to repair following resolution of the original condition. Infection can occur and present in a vast number of ways and we have seen many instances where we find it is a latent virus, parasite, yeast or bacteria; that has not been properly eradicated or controlled by the body, causing a great deal of ill health and/or a lack of well being. In many instances these bugs will not show in the person’s lab work unless the correct specific line of testing is used.  It is common for people to have felt “not quite right” from the onset of one of these types of infections, but due to the non-specific nature of their complaint, had no resolution via their medical assessment and treatment. In these instances herbal approaches are often used in our office in combination with probiotic support and any nutritional support required to strengthen the immunity to respond appropriately and effectively.

Regular use of pharmaceutical drugs – pharmaceutical drugs are most commonly synthetic compounds and these unnatural compounds can damage our flora.

Steroids and Oral Contraceptive Pill use – The use of oral and non oral contraceptives can damage the gut flora due to the impact of their synthetic hormones on the balance of the flora.

Pollution, Radiation, Toxic Chemicals  – toxins and radiation damage your gut flora, so it is crucial to minimise these stresses wherever possible.  One way to do this is to switch to more natural/less toxic personal care products (such as shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, perfumes, aftershave, hair products, soaps, laundry detergents, household cleaners etc) , there are many good cost-effective brands available if you wish to do this. Radiation exposure can be reduced by keeping your cellphone further away from you whenever possible and by switching off your wireless technology in your home over night.  Switching cellphones to flight mode overnight reduces radiation also.

Alcohol – there is a high sugar and/or yeast content within wine and beer,which are our country’s most commonly consumed alcoholic drinks and these two things can damage your “good” flora while encouraging overgrowth of “bad” flora. One group that particularly thrive in this situation is fungi (such as Candida).  Alcohol consumption in general is harmful to your gut flora, however if choosing to drink it is best to have alcoholic drinks of lower sugar content e.g. vodka or gin (it is often said, the clearer(the drink) the better).

Old Age  – as you age your “good” flora population can dwindle for various reasons so it is important to maintain a high intake of fermented foods and if needed, supplement this with a probiotic supplement to ensure a consistently strong population of “good” flora.

Dental Work – there are various strong chemicals used in dentistry and these can damage the gut flora if ingested.  Many postulate that old amalgam fillings can increase your exposure to mercury and other heavy metals and this can damage your gut flora while having many other negative effects on your health also.

At Total Health Chiropractic, we place strong emphasis on maintaining a healthy gut flora to ensure better health and well-being. Contact us today to improve your gut’s balance.