Have you had the flu this year? Or maybe you just felt "under the weather" for a while. When you are fighting off germs it makes sense that you don't feel your best, but what happens after you recover and you still don't feel quite right.
Have you ever been sick and noticed that it took a toll on your mood for a few weeks afterward? Feeling like you are in a rut, uneasy, or more negative than normal? It could be because you gut balance is off, when good bacteria get killed off in the process of killing an infection it can leave your gut in dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is a microbial imbalance in the gut that can cause all kinds of negative side effects from issues with digestion, bowel movements, mood changes, feelings of malaise, lethargy, and overall lack of energy.
If you have been feeling off since the last time you were sick, talk to your natural health care advisor (chiropractor, naturopath, doctor) to see what can be done to help your body bounce back from dysbiosis. The healthy gut is full of good bacteria, micrbiomes that help digest, balance, and keep the body health through the immune system. In an unhealthy gut there is no balance, a decrease in good bacteria can be just as harmful as harboring a bad bacteria making it hard to fight off germs, and even to get up in the morning.
In general there are four steps to helping the body recover and restore a healthy gut balance through dietary changes and supplementation. As always talk to you doctor before embarking on any new diet, supplementation, or exercise plan.
Remove. Repair. Restore. Replace.
Step 1: Remove - The first step is to remove things from the diet that cause inflammation, or promote the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria. In this phase you need to remove the following items from your diet: caffeine, alcohol, gluten, diary, bad fats, and processed foods.
Step 2: Repair - In this phase you are repairing the damaged and inflamed intestinal lining by eating lots of fresh vegetables, healthy fruits, and small amounts of healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. Good supplements to consider adding in this step are: Zinc, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, L-Glutamine, Vitamins A, C, and E (for their anti-oxidant effects), and natural spices like tumeric or organic compounds like aloe vera.
Step 3: Restore - Step three is where we begin to reintroduce and replace the good bacteria that helps keep the body healthy and ward off infections. The healthy gut should be about 85% good bacteria. By using probiotics to support the growth of good bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium lactis a healthy gut environment can be restored. If you are dealing with a lot of dysbiosis symptoms consider taking a liquid (normally refrigerated) probiotic supplement for about two weeks before switching to a pill form probiotic because this will allow for greater initial absorption in the gut.
Step 4: Replace - The phase involves dietary enzymes and replacing the appropriate levels of hydrochloric acid to promote digestion. By adding digestive enzymes and organic salt (to help with bile salt production) you gut will begin to restore it's normal functional levels of good bacteria allowing you to feel better overall having less lethargy and decrease the symptoms of an unbalanced gut.