What’s The Deal with Dysbiosis?

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Dysbiosis is simply a technical term used to describe what happens in the gut when the internal flora gets out of balance.

We are all born with––and maintain throughout our lives––an internal culture of bacteria in our guts. These are not the bacteria you hear about that cause colds, infections or fever. These are symbiotic bacteria that are actually beneficial to the body. They perform a wide array of tasks, ranging from aiding in digestion, manufacturing of critical nutrients to immune health.

These bacterial colonies, however, can become damaged in a variety of ways. Smoking and drinking alcohol can have deleterious effects on these cultures. Poor diet and stress can play a part in damaging these bacteria, as well. The problem is, when these good bacterial cultures are damaged, unhealthy colonies of microbes, such as yeasts, can flourish in the gut. Naturally, we all have yeasts in the gut along with these other bacteria, but when healthy bacterial colonies are damaged, lack of competition from those healthy bacterial colonies can provide an opportunity for cultures of less beneficial microbes to flourish. And, when certain pathogenic yeasts gain a stronghold, many practitioners contend that serious health symptoms can ensue.

This is one problem that The Phase One Diet hopes to address––the overgrowth of pathogenic yeasts inside the body, both in the gut and elsewhere. Interstingly, many practitioners contend that if you have a yeast problem anywhere in the body, you likely also have it in the gut.

The Phase One Diet eliminates sugar, grains, corn, potatoes and other starchy foods, alcohol, peanuts, pistachios, most dairy and many fruits. One reason for the elimination of many of these foods is that they are high in sugar or carbohydrates, which immediately convert to sugar during digestion. Sugar is yeast and fungi’s food of choice. Focusing instead on foods high in protein (such as lean meats and eggs), phytonutrients, fiber (such as vegetables) and healthy fats (such as fish, certain oils, nuts and avocados) may be a good way to starve this pathogenic yeast in the gut. Adding natural anti-fungals, such as olive leaf extract, oregano oil and others may be beneficial, as well.

Eliminating yeast and fungus alone does not completely solve the problem. In addition to anti-fungal diet and supplements, probiotics are key for replacing the beneficial bacterial cultures in the gut. For this reason, plain yogurt––which is rich in beneficial bacterial cultures––is allowed on the Phase One Diet, while most other dairy is not. Probiotic supplements can be a good option for replacing this culture, as well.

Treating dysbiosis can be a solid step towards an anti-fungal lifestyle and better health overall.

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