Microorganisms are a natural part of our existence, so much so that you’re more bacteria than human. It is estimated that humans are made up of over 37 trillion cells (the ones that make up muscle, connective tissue, organs, blood, hair, etc.) and over 40 trillion microorganisms. AKA bacteria. And most of them live in your gut.

Bacteria, especially the gut microbiota, are vital to human survival. The intestinal tract and its bacterial inhabitants take on the complex task of breaking down food to support elimination and promote optimal functioning. They’re responsible for many important functions such as digestion, releasing vitamins and minerals into your system, carry important hormonal functions and release chemicals to let you know you’ve had enough to eat. Pretty cool, don’t you think? Your gut is also responsible for the majority of your immunity so if you’re often sick, taking a close look at your gut health can be a great place to start to restore vitality and wellbeing. Your gut microbiota even plays a role in supporting mental health. Suffering from brain fog, low mood, irritability and anxiety could be a sign of a bacterial imbalance in the gut.

We ingest bacteria from the external world through eating and inhaling – both important for human survival. Some of the microorganisms that come in from external sources are a little bit nasty. With over 40 trillion cells in the gut it’s important to ensure that the good guys aren’t outnumbered by the bad. It’s never about eliminating all the bacteria. Remember, you’re more bacteria than human so you want to keep the microorganisms that play an important role. Did you know that taking antibiotics kills off the bad AND the good bacteria? Balance is essential in life, and your gut flora is no exception. A healthy gut can fight the effects of invaders and restore optimal health, provided it’s fuelled with healthy food sources such as fruits and vegetables and rinsed regularly with fresh, clean water.

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However, some days you might feel a little more like a bad strain of bacteria than a healthy human being. During these times if you pay attention to the foods you eat, the effects of toxins on your wellbeing and gut health, you might start to see a relationship between how the outside world make you feel when it collides with your insides. If you’re not sure if there’s an imbalance look for things such as:

  • Bloating

  • Excessive gas

  • Irregular bowel movements, constipation or diarrohea

  • Skin breakouts

  • Unusually high feelings of stress or anxiety

  • Inability to concentrate or brain fog

  • Fatigue

  • Irritable, unstable mood or feelings of sadness

  • Frequent colds or susceptibility to illness

  • Frequent antibiotic use

I was experiencing 90% of those symptoms for over five years and definitely felt more like a nasty microorganism than a beautiful human. What did I do balance my gut flora and battle against the bad strains of bacteria that were making me feel like I was one of them?

  • Reintroduced wholesome earth grown foods, organic where possible

  • Eliminated ‘food like substances’ such as packaged and processed foods

  • Increased my water intake to 3L a day, depending on activity

  • Introduced fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles and keffir

  • Stopped social media scrolling and went to bed at 930pm (never underestimate the power of rest in the process of healing)

It’s pretty simple, right? Bring it back to basics and check in with how you’re feeling after you eat. You’ll know pretty quickly what your gut needs to return to optimal health so you can not only survive, but also thrive.

A regular dose of probiotics, especially during and after antibiotic use, is also a really important and convenient way to restore balance in the gut. With over a billion living probiotics (the good bacteria) prepared in armour-plates to survive the acidity of the gut and fight the nasties, PERKii can help you feel more like a human being again, and less like a bad strain of bacteria.

(Article originally written for and posted on the Perkii Blog on 18 July 2018)

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Tanya Savva