Disturbed gut flora is not a diagnosis, but a potential cause of a wide range of symptoms. The cause of disturbed gut flora is that harmful species of bacteria and/or fungi occur in large quantities in the gut. The lactic acid bacteria, which normally is one of the dominating groups, are in minority. Some of the bacteria produce toxins, f.ex. many Clostridium species. Over time these toxins can damage the gut mucosal surface and cause so called ”leaky gut”. In leaky gut, partially digested substances pass too easily from the gut into the blood stream. This is one of the main reasons why protein intolerance develops.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with disturbed gut flora are: frequent diarrhea, abdominal pain, constant feeling of fullness and foul-smelling feces. If one or more of these symptoms last for a long time and the doctors can’t find anything wrong, then disturbed gut flora is a likely cause. It is fairly common that people with disturbed gut flora become quite ill when they use antibiotics or when they start using probiotics. To read more about this phenomenon, see our in depth article about Probiozym.
The number one reason why so many struggle with their gut floras is the use of antibiotics. The problem is that broad spectrum antibiotics not only kill pathogenic bacteria, but also the lactic acid bacteria, which are our ”allies” in the bacterial realm. When the lactic acid bacteria are wiped out, fungi get the habitat for themselves during the antibiotic treatment. After the treatment is finished, harmful bacteria may also invade and replace the native lactic acid bacteria. In a manner of speaking, the antibiotics cause an ecological disaster in the gut. You may be lucky and the lactic acid bacteria return, but it might as well be the harmful bacteria and fungi who win control. If they achieve dominance, they may cause problems for many years. You should always use probiotics during and after an antibiotic treatment to avoid proliferation of harmful bacteria and fungi.
Treating disturbed gut flora
In most cases of disturbed gut flora, probiotics are the best tools to restore a healthy gut flora. Neurozym’s own probiotic of lactic acid bacteria, Probiozym, colonizes the gut very effectively because of its extraordinary ability to adhere to surfaces (see the in depth article about Probiozym). In addition, the lactic acid bacteria excrete bacteriocins, which are special proteins designed to kill other types of bacteria. With a steady influx of Probiozym-bacteria into the gut over a certain period of time (f.ex. 1 to 2 months), the harmful bacteria will gradually face worse and worse conditions and their numbers will dwindle. Eventually they will lose their dominance and the lactic acid bacteria take over. New species of lactic acid bacteria will immigrate and form a new ecologic balance together with the Probiozym-bacteria. Most patients with disturbed gut flora recover very quickly when using Probiozym, and some are completely cured after a couple of months.
Candida albicans is a yeast fungus, closely related to baker’s yeast. It is found in the intestines of all humans, but if it achieves dominance, the patient will experience severe abdominal pain, loss of energy and a number of food intolerances may develop. Many believe that it also affects the immune system. Candida is extremely difficult to defeat once it has dominance. A strict Candida-diet is the most important treatment, then antifungal medicines and probiotics.
Probiozym against Candida
Probiozym is very effective against disturbed gut flora caused by bacteria, but is not as effective against fungi. Patients with Candida overgrowth often need to use more than the recommended dosage to see effects. Double or even triple dosages are not unheard of. Progress is also much slower. Probiozym is only meant as a supplement to other treatments, as the lactic acid bacteria are unable to outcompete the fungi without help. Nevertheless, we think Probiozym is useful against Candida because it pushes the balance in a favorable direction and reduces the discomfort the Candida-yeast causes.
Why use probiotics?
The number of probiotic users today is quite low, but is increasing rapidly. Many wonder why it is necessary to take probiotics, and there are several reasons. The use of antibiotics is the most important reason as described earlier. Another reason is that in a modern society, we hardly get any lactic acid bacteria through our diet. Antimicrobial additives, almost sterile foods and pasteurized milk make our daily intake of lactic acid bacteria minimal. The bacteria found in yoghurt, cottage cheese and other fermented dairy products are mostly dead. This is done deliberately in order to keep the products fresh for longer periods of time.
This kind of development has made us more vulnerable to harmful gut bacteria than ever before. In the olden days, people encountered lactic acid bacteria everywhere. They worked with cows and horses, drank unpasteurized milk and hygiene was generally bad. All of these were sources of lactic acid bacteria which are now gone for most of us. In our time, we have removed ourselves so far from our original environment that we sometimes need bacteria in capsules to keep our digestive system healthy.
Peptide analysis of patients with disturbed gut flora often show elevated levels of harmful peptides, but treatment with diet alone won’t do much about the root causes. A combination of diet and probiotics may be useful for some, while others do well with probiotics alone. In general you could say that if symptoms of disturbed gut flora are combined with mental problems such as depression, lack of concentration or restlessness, a peptide analysis could be relevant. However, restoring a healthy gut flora should have the highest priority.