What Damages Intestinal Flora?

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are very damaging to the good bacteria in the gut as well as other body organs and tissues. They make benign bacteria, fungi and viruses pathogenic, they can then invade tissues and cause disease. Because of antibiotics, bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, so when you really need them to treat serious illness, you need more powerful one, which in turn are more damaging. Antibiotics make us more susceptible to infections damaging the immune system directly. Click here for a list of harmful antibiotics and more information on what they do to the gut.

It is all well and good avoiding antibiotics. There are many other ways to treat yourself effectively (like for blisters for example). But you also need to stop eating foods which are treated with antibiotics before they get to your plate. Farm animals are routinely treated with them. The same goes for eggs and farmed fish. Fruit and vegetables are sprayed with them to stop disease from taking over. Where do you get your meat, fish and veg from? For some time now have been collecting my fruit and vegetables from an organic cooperative nearby. It had not even occurred to me however to source my fish and meat responsibly! I have started going to my local farmer’s market for fresh fish fished from the coast of Kent. Although I used to buy organic meat from the supermarket, I have never completely trusted it! So I also get my organically reared meat from a local farm which sells at the farmer’s market.

Drugs in General are very damaging to gut flora, especially when taken over long periods of time. Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other pain killers or analgesics are often taken over long time periods. They encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut which can cause disease. Steroids are also destroy good bacteria as well as having immunosuppressive abilities which leave us vulnerable to infections. It is common knowledge that steroids are linked to fungal overgrowth such as Candida.

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The Pill

Contraceptive pills have a disastrous effect on flora in the gut and the vagina (as this flora comes from the gut) and they are very often taken for many years. If a woman decides to have children after having been on the pill, not only is her gut flora in an awful state, so to will be the flora she passes on to her child. This will predispose that child to learning difficulties and allergies, which I am sure you are aware are both more common now a days that the pill is a common contraceptive taken without much thought about its consequences. Bottle feeding your baby is not the answer to this. As babies are born with a sterile gut, breast-feeding is a unique opportunity for the entire gut surface to be populated with a healthy combination of bacteria, which will help protect your baby for the rest of their life. Bottle-fed babies often suffer health problems later on in life due to their abnormal gut flora. But if a baby’s mother has got abnormal gut flora, she will pass this on, as well as abnormal vaginal flora – which will be passed on during birth – so even if they are not breastfed, the mother flora (if a mother’s intestinal flora is unhealthy so will her vaginal flora be). Mothers of GAPS children suffer from symptoms of gut dysbiosis such as allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, eczema, hay fever, migraines and skin problems. If the mother of a GAPS child shows none of these symptoms, it is likely that the father has abnormal gut flora, and so suffers from the aforementioned symptoms. Usually the whole family of a GAPS patient has problems with abnormal gut flora and need to follow a gut cleansing diet to remedy it.

Disease

Infectious diseases such as cholera, dysentery, salmonella and typhoid as well as some viral infections damage the gut flora in ways that are lasting. It is very important to take a course of probiotics after such illnesses to repopulate colonies of good bacteria in the gut, especially when antibiotics are used for their treatment! Chronic illnesses like diabetes, autoimmune diseases like MS, endocrine disease, obesity and neurological conditions all involve abnormal gut flora. chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiotherapy and surgery all have after effects which alter gut flora and should be followed by a course of probiotics.

Diet

Pathological bacteria, disease-causing microbes like candida worms and parasites thrives on sugar, processed food and carbohydrates. Diets high in grain fibre is detrimental to the health of the gut, predisposing the body to Bowel Cancer, IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome) and nutritional deficiencies.

Fasting, overeating and starvation can unbalance gut flora in a negative way, so ideally if you are fasting, you should take a probiotic to supplement the good bacteria your gut needs. It is essential to remedy poor eating habits such as over-eating, as this can lead to even more problems. When we eat more food than we need, the body cannot digest it all correctly due to a lack of bile. A good time to stop eating is when you feel three thirds full, as this is the amount of food your digestive system can handle. Eating more will lead to undigested food will lead to liver stones. The same is true of eating more regularly than every three hours, click here for more information about how poor eating habits lead to liver stones, and what to do about it.

Stress

Both short-term bouts of stress and long-term ones damage gut flora. The latter is able to permanently damage it.

Alcoholism, exposure to toxic substances and ionising radiation, extreme climates, physical exertion, old age as well as seasonal factors can all have a negative effect on gut flora. The damage our gut endures is passed on from generation to generation, worsening as it gets carried down resulting in worsening consequences. For details on what steps to take to fix a leaky gut click here.

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