Bad gut bugs can cause weight gain

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Did you know a specific type of bacterial toxin called endotoxin increases the likelihood you’ll be overweight?

The bacteria, fungi and other organisms in your intestines are collectively known as your microbiome. You have a lot of them living in your gut; they weigh approximately 3 pounds. Your gut bugs perform a number of important functions for you: they help with food digestion, vitamin production and they regulate the function of your immune system. They also help to keep your gut lining healthy, so that it isn’t overly leaky, but enables you to absorb nutrients.

Interestingly, your microbiome has a big influence on your body weight. We know that when obese people are compared with thin people, there are huge differences in the composition of their gut bugs. Now researchers have discovered a culprit. Specific strains of gram negative bacteria produce a metabolic by-product called endotoxin (also known as lipopolysaccharide). Endotoxin can be absorbed into your bloodstream, and having high levels in your blood can lead to health problems. Endotoxin is highly inflammatory to your body and is even capable of inducing a mild fever. This is commonly experienced as being heat intolerant and feeling excessively hot at night.

High levels of endotoxin in your blood can lead to weight gain by triggering insulin resistance. This can cause high blood insulin levels and metabolic syndrome. A low carbohydrate diet, fasting and exercise are usually very effective ways of reversing insulin resistance. Unfortunately there can be complicating factors; stress, high levels of inflammation and insufficient sleep can make the cells of your body resistant to the actions of insulin. That can cause inability to lose weight despite following a healthy diet. Correcting gut bug problems and healing the lining of the gut is the key way to reduce inflammation and make it easier to lose weight.

How to promote healthy gut bugs

  • Be selective about the foods you eat. Starch and fibre act as food for our microbiome; the problem is, they can encourage growth of whatever bugs you have in your gut, both good and bad. Many people experience significant improvements in gut and immune health when they adopt a low FODMAP diet for a period of time. This can starve bad gut bugs of their fuel supply. BactoClear capsules can also be helpful because the oregano, clove and thyme in them promote healthy digestive function.
  • You may not be producing sufficient stomach acid, bile or digestive enzymes, which are all available as supplements. Incomplete digestion can encourage the absorption of partially digested food molecules, fostering the development of food allergy or intolerance.
  • Glutamine is the number one remedy for strengthening the gut lining because the cells that line your intestines use glutamine as a fuel source. Glutamine is very beneficial when taken long term but it is also an excellent first aid remedy for loose stools, gastroenteritis, food poisoning or any condition that results in an upset tummy. Glutamine can be found in Ultimate Gut Health powder.
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