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  • Writer's picturedrnicolend

What is Dysbiosis?

Dysbiosis is probably a word you’ve heard thrown around a lot when it comes to gut health, but what does it actually mean?

Simple put, dysbiosis is an imbalance in your gut microbiome. It is also pretty common...AND dysbiosis has been identified as a potential factor that causes autoimmune disease.

Dysbiosis can be categorized into 3 different types: (1) loss of beneficial microbes, (2) excessive growth of potentially harmful microbes, (3) loss of microbial diversity.

Changes in your microbiome can lead to the loss of immune tolerance which is key to preventing autoimmunity. Specifically, the gut microbiota can influence intestinal functional integrity, barrier strength, and permeability regulation, thereby influencing the immune response, which has been linked to the development of inflammatory disease.

This is one of the reasons why I focus so much on gut health for anyone who has an autoimmune disease.

Dysbiosis & Your Immune System

Your gut microbes are important in helping to balance your immune system and maintaining your immune tolerance. Some of the ways it protects you from autoimmunity is by:

-regulating T helper cells

-helps regulate inflammation

-regulating B cells

-help induce secretory IgA (protects us from harmful pathogens)

On the other hand, gut dysbiosis is associated with:

-decreased bacterial function

-decreased bacterial diversity

-impaired gut barrier function

-increased inflammation in gut

-decreased T regulatory cells

All of these increase your risk for autoimmune diseases. When your gut microbiome is off it can create gut inflammation which can…

—> damage your gut barrier

—> lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria

—> lower microbial diversity

—> increased gut permeability (leaky gut)

—> allows harmful foreign things into your bloodstream

—> trigger an immune response/systemic inflammation

—> nutrient malabsorption

—> & leads you on a path towards autoimmunity, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammation.

Symptoms of Dysbiosis

You likely have some level of dysbiosis if you have any of the following:

  • Gas/Bloating

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea

  • Chronic headaches

  • Chronic itching (skin, ears, rectum)

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Heartburn

  • Blood sugar issues

  • Low energy

  • Seasonal allergies

  • Sugar cravings

  • Acne

  • Inability to lose weight

  • Joint Pain

  • Premenstrual Syndrome

If you have more than one of these symptoms, then it is likely you have some level of active dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis & Autoimmune Diseases

Honestly, researchers would probably find dysbiosis in all autoimmune patients if they kept on researching! But for now, researchers are finding evidence PROVING that dysbiosis (in the preclinical stage) might initiate or exacerbate immune disorders

Dysbiosis occurs with these autoimmune diseases:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis ⁣

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus⁣

  • Spondyloarthritis (Ankylosing Spondylitis)⁣

  • Sjögren's Syndrome ⁣

  • Crohn’s Disease ⁣

  • Ulcerative Colitis⁣

  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome⁣

  • Systemic Sclerosis ⁣

  • Celiac Disease ⁣

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis⁣

  • Graves’ Disease

Other diseases linked to dysbiosis include prediabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), obesity, eczema, allergies, yeast infections, heart disease, migraines, & chronic fatigue syndrome. Even if you're not diagnosed with any of these diseases, if you are ignoring dysbiosis symptoms, then it could lead to more serious issues.

Causes of Dysbiosis

This is not a complete list, but here are some causes of gut dysbiosis including

  • Antibiotics

  • Immunosuppressant Drugs: Corticosteroids/Prednisone

  • Infections (like H.pylori)

  • Poor diet like the SAD (Standard American Diet)

  • Chronic Stress

  • Aging (50+ years old)

  • Xenobiotics: a chemical compound (such as a drug, pesticide, or carcinogen) that is foreign to a living organism.

  • NSAIDs

  • Food Allergies/ Sensitivities (like gluten, dairy, etc)

Researchers are finding more and more dysbiosis in autoimmune patients so by preventing or healing dysbiosis this will lead to a change in your immune response & re-establishing self-tolerance.

One thing you can do to help your microbiome today is to hang out outside! Play in the grass, lay on a sandy beach, or hug a tree. Being in nature will help expose you to more local beneficial microbes & diversify your microbiome which are key to healing dysbiosis.

Even more reasons to take care of your gut & your microbiome!

Need help to heal your microbiome & autoimmune disease, then schedule a free 30 minute discovery call with me today! Click here to schedule ✨☎️

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