In Part 2 we discussed without proper bowel movements gut health & weight loss goals can be derailed. We also shared the fact that studies have shown WLS leads to long-term changes in gut bacteria. Some positive, some negative. In addition, Part 1 identified how negative bacterial shifts can be at the root of weight gain.
Part 3 digs deeper into negative bacterial shifts. In fact, one specific negative bacterial shift called dysbiosis.
To simplify let’s do a comparison.
Your gut garden
First off, you have trillions of microbes living in your gut. A variety of bacteria, fungi, viruses & parasites living harmoniously. To demonstrate, think of your intestines as a garden with a rich variety of vegetables and flowers growing beautifully in your yard. Then overtime the weeds creep in and get overgrown without proper maintenance. The weeds are what we consider dysbiosis.
The “weeds” can be something you may or may not have personally caused. They are frequently the result of c-section birth, antibiotics, psychological & physical stress, diet, radiation, and altered gastrointestinal tract movement.
As a result, they’re an imbalance of either too little good bacteria, too many bad bacteria or an abundance of bacteria residing in the wrong location.
But what happens after WLS?
We already know WLS leads to long-term changes in gut bacteria. Some studies show after WLS the changes in gut bacteria undeniably play a role in weight loss. So as long as you eat well & exercise your weight issues should be resolved permanently correct?
Not really. Another study brings light to the fact that WLS only partially rescues the richness of bacteria in severe obesity. What does that really mean?
It’s like WLS left “weeds” in the garden.
So what can you do?
In this situation, identify the “weeds” left in your garden is the first step.
First off, an overabundance of bad bacteria.
The most common imbalance is excess bad bacteria. The number of bad bacteria outweigh the good bacteria. Most commonly it’s inflammatory bacteria or yeast(candida). For example, those individuals who frequently get yeast infections. Large amounts of yeast overtake causing thrush, vaginal infections, cravings, toe nail fungus and skin issues.
Secondly, bacterial undergrowth
Although not as common, it still creates imbalance problems. When too little good bacteria resides in the gut. Stool tests can fully identify an undergrowth, but symptoms can also help identify. This imbalance is evidence that the gut lining & diet needs work.
Lastly, bacteria residing in the wrong location
Our intestines naturally have good and bad bacteria that progressively increase from the small intestines to the colon. Problems arise when bacteria shift from growing and thriving in the colon to settling in the small intestines. This form of “weeds” is considered small intestinal bacterial overgrowth(SIBO). SIBO frequently causes digestive problems and bloating.(check out Part 4 for more details)
Evidence your gut garden needs weeding
All 3 “weeds” can cause overlapping symptoms but the most frequent signs of imbalance are:
- stomach upset after eating
- heartburn, reflux, GERD
- slow digestion
- lower belly pains
- constipation or diarrhea
- hormone imbalances
- autoimmune disease
- increased depression & anxiety
- joint pain
- weight gain or weight loss resistance
Weeding the garden…
Obviously, there are many approaches to restore gut balance within Functional Medicine. Just like poison ivy requires a specific weed killer. Your practitioner needs to understand gut health and know which “weed killer” to use. Always work with a skilled gut health practitioner to get to the root cause of dysbiosis.
Resolving bad bacteria
Naturally, an overabundance of bad bacteria can be effectively treated with a good broad spectrum anti-microbial herb. However, it may require prescription medications to kill the unwanted bacteria, parasites or yeast for some.
Equally important is combining the right diet and quality probiotics(WLS Formulated Probiotic or Ultimate Gut Restore Synbiotic) to restore gut balance to resolve weight gain. Once assessed your practitioner can identify additional changes needed.
Growing good bacteria
When there is a lack of good bacteria the gut lining needs repaired where healthy bacteria reside. It should most definitely be combined with strengthening the gut flora by diet & supplements.
Gaining control of bacterial overgrowth
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth(SIBO) can be a little more challenging to restore balance and is commonly connected with weight gain or weight loss. SIBO definitely requires a skilled practitioner!
It undoubtedly requires very specific anti-microbial herbs or prescription antibiotics combined with a low FODMAP, SCD, GAPS or elemental diet to resolve. Typically needing a couple of rounds of antimicrobials or antibiotics to resolve for most.
Without a doubt, when you have the choice to not take antibiotics…take it!
Calm emotional stress…do it!
Improve food choices…choose it!
The good news is gut bacteria can be altered. Resolving the “weeds” that contribute to weight gain is a key piece. Restoring gut balance is possible.