The Symptoms of Poor Gut Health

By Sofia Potente

Do you experience bloating or IBS symptoms? You’re not alone. You’re one of the 20% of Australians estimated to experience digestive symptoms.

These symptoms may include indigestion, bloating, constipation, acid reflux, gas, stomach pain, or diarrhea. Such symptoms can also be commonly referred to as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

But did you know the symptoms of poor gut health can also be hidden?

Gut imbalances show up in many ways, and in some people, there may be no digestive symptoms at all.

Our gut health has a ripple effect on ALL aspects of our health and how we feel. Research shows that poor gut health is linked with IBS, fatigue, anxiety, depression, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalance, being overweight, and even cancer. 

Gut imbalances show up in many ways, and in some people, there may be no digestive symptoms at all.

Here are 7 less known signs of an unhealthy gut, and what to do about it!

  • Low or anxious mood – poor gut health is linked with depression and anxiety as the gut bacteria produces neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA.
  • Difficulty losing weight – our gut bacteria play a role in metabolising fat, digestion of food and regulating hormones responsible for our hunger and satiety signals.
  • Constant fatigue or low energy – a healthy gut is needed for optimal nutrient absorption and energy production.
  • Unhealthy persistent food cravings – persistent sugar cravings can often be a sign of gut dysbiosis such as candida or yeast overgrowth.
  • Skin issues such as rosacea, eczema or acne – gut inflammation can lead to ‘leaky gut’ whereby food proteins and toxins can travel into the bloodstream to the liver and be excreted via the skin.
  • Restless or disturbed sleep – our gut produces the majority of our body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects our sleep.
  • Food intolerances or sensitivities – reacting or having difficulty digesting certain foods is commonly caused by intestinal permeability and gut dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria).

What to do if you suspect poor gut health?

As a Gut Health Practitioner, I recommend starting with what you eat!

Our gut bacteria are responsible for healthy digestion, energy production, hormone regulation, immune health, and mood balance. With the right diet, we can maintain a healthy balance of gut bugs

A wholefoods diet consisting of natural, unprocessed foods with a healthy balance of fruit and vegetables, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and legumes helps ensure you feed your beneficial gut bacteria.

Our gut bacteria are responsible for healthy digestion, energy production, hormone regulation, immune health, and mood balance. With the right diet, we can maintain a healthy balance of gut bugs.  

For more persistent gut imbalances, there are also a number of specific gut health diets that have been shown to be helpful, depending on the client’s health history and symptoms.

These include:

  • Low FODMAPS diet.
  • Low histamines.
  • SIBO diet (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth).
  • Paleo (grain and dairy free).
  • Lower carbohydrate diet.
  • GERD diet (acid reflux diet).
  • Gluten and dairy free.

It is important to work with a practitioner if you choose to follow a more restricted eating plan. Dietary supplements may be required to ensure that you aren’t missing out on vital nutrients.

A practitioner can also guide you in how to remove foods only for a limited period of time, offer practical tips, and provide a plan to reintroduce foods once gut health has been restored.

Diet alone isn’t usually enough to rebalance the gut, as there are often other underlying root causes leading to poor gut health.

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