Our gut microbiome is always in a delicate balance and many factors can disrupt the composition.
Dr Stephens explained: “The microbes in our gut support us day to day- in fact, we couldn’t live without them!
“However, some of these microbes can cause harm when their numbers increase.
“They need to be kept in check and outweighed by plenty of good, friendly bacteria.”
Unfortunately, the western lifestyle is not very microbiome friendly and there are many factors that can reduce the number of friendly bacteria, providing more space and nutrients for these potentially harmful microbes to thrive.
Stress, antibiotics, high sugar and fat diets, low fibre intake, travel, pesticides, smoking, reduced exercise, caesarean sections and poor sleep cycles (e.g. shift work) are just a few examples of things that cause an imbalance in the gut, also known as microbial imbalance dysbiosis.
Dr Stephens explained: “When dysbiosis occurs, you may see some very recognisable side effects: constipation, bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, low immunity, fatigue, low mood and poor skin- to name a few!”