In the last article, we talked about what the polyphenols do in the microbiome and in the previous section, we discussed about the microbiome functions in our bodies. However, today we will be concluding the three-part series of the microbiome functions in our bodies as well as presenting on the top 5 environmental toxins that can disrupt the gut microbiome, finding ways to de-stress ourselves, and learning about the different foods that can help detoxify our bodies so we can live a healthier life.
Top 5 Environmental Toxins Disrupting the Gut Microbiome
This is a synthetic antibacterial chemical found in personal care products such as soap, mouthwash, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and deodorant. It is easily absorbed through the skin and gastrointestinal tract and rapidly alters the microbial composition of the digestive tract if it is ingested. However, this rapid restructuring of the gut microbiome impairs the immune system-regulating activities of gut microbes.
We use this chemical mostly in our daily skincare and hygiene routine so that way we won’t be sick. We tend to use this chemical compound to make us smell, look, and feel good frequently, especially in the cold and flu seasons where we use them the most so we won’t get sick. In fact, the frequent use of antibacterial products has been associated with an increased risk of food sensitivities, seasonal allergies, and asthma.
Surprisingly there are a staggering 1 billion pounds of pesticides used per year in the United States, and 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide. Most farmers used it to spray down the insects so that way their crops won’t be destroyed. And we used pesticides on our lawns to get rid of weeds and keep the bugs off our gardens.
However, did you know that pesticides can kill beneficial bacteria in our gut? Studies, especially animal studies, indicate that pesticides can destroy the beneficial gut bacteria and can increase the risk of intestinal dysbiosis and cause immune system disorders, among with many other chronic health issues.
These are chemicals that provide flexibility or rigidity to plastic products. These chemicals are highly prevalent in our environment and have a significant impact on gut bacteria. Surprisingly the most common plastics are mostly BPA (Bisphenol-A).
Bisphenol-A (BPA) can be found in plastic water bottles, receipts, and the lining of canned foods. They can alter the healthy gut flora and disrupts the body’s hormonal system by mimicking the hormone estrogen. We do use these to put our leftovers in after we consume food. But now and days when we meal prep our food, we do look for containers that are BPA- free. However, while often being marketed as “BPA-free,” the plastic alternatives may be equally, if not more, harmful to our gut microbes.
Bisphenol-S and bisphenol-F demonstrate endocrine-disrupting effects that are comparable to BPA. These adverse effects may extend to the gut microbiome, causing disruption. Phthalates are another class of endocrine-disrupting plasticizers that are used as solvents in personal care products and vinyl plastic, and they also reduce the levels of beneficial gut bacteria.
Heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, and arsenic, can reduce the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut that protect against intestinal inflammation and may promote inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders. All microbes are responsible for methylating or demethylating metals, and the exposure may exceed the capacity to perform this. Due to industrial pollution, heavy metals are the most common contaminants that are in the soil and drinking water when we grow food and drink from the tap.
Surprisingly most pharmaceutical drugs can help our bodies fight off infections or alleviate some pains we may be inflicted. But those antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiome and cause an imbalance to our gut bacteria. We here at Injury Medical clinic, actually recommend our patients to alternatives to these drugs if you don’t want to disrupt your gut microbiome.
Functional medicines like whole foods and supplements can actually alleviate the pains that may cause disruption in your body.
Protecting the Microbiome From Environmental Toxins
When you want to live a healthier life and want to protect your body’s microbiome try these alternatives to get rid of these environmental toxins.
- Instead of using conventional cleaning products, which often contain triclosan, try switching to a plant-based brand. Also, try making your own cleaning products at home with natural ingredients.
- Avoid commercial body care products, as these are a significant source of triclosan, phthalates, and parabens. If you have any absorption of these chemicals, try checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This database can help you find natural, healthy body care products that don’t contain microbiome-disrupting chemicals.
- Eat organic produce. Conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are a significant source of microbiome-disrupting pesticide exposure. Research indicates that consuming organic food can significantly lower your body burden of pesticides, thus protecting your gut microbes. But y9ou are going to eat organic produce, remember to wash it first to get rid of excess pesticides.
- Try reducing your plastic intakes and limit your consumption of canned foods to reduce your exposure to BPA and BPA alternatives. When you are meal prepping, try using glass or stainless-steel water bottles and storage dishes instead of plastic, and opt for fresh food instead of canned.
- Try filtering your drinking and bathing water. Unfortunately, tap water is rife with pesticide residues, heavy metals, plasticizers, and pharmaceutical drug residues and can come off as a milky white if it’s not treated. So try to consider investing in a high-quality water filter that can remove these substances from your drinking water.
- Support your gut microbiome by consuming prebiotics and probiotics. In a previous article, we talked about probiotics in our gut. Probiotics can add beneficial bacteria to your stomach and may even help in the metabolism of toxins that are in your body’s microbiome. Prebiotics, a form of indigestible dietary fiber, that feeds probiotics and helps to support their growth and proliferation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Other Forms of Whole Body Detoxification
There are many ways to try and detoxify our bodies, so here are some examples:
- Sauna therapy
- Yoga, trampoline
- Energy healing/shamanism
- Taking a much-needed vacation
- Learn communication methods to accommodate multiple needs and to deal with stressful situations
Rebuilding the Gut Microbiome
When local health coaches, practitioners, and chiropractors are helping patients, they can provide a comprehensive strategy to help them gain a healthier life. When you want to rebuild your gut microbiome, try to reconstruct the natural digestive function with food/herbals. This will help support the immune system and nutritional status by creating the good bacteria in your liver and flushing out the toxins out of your system. However, try to avoid any foods that can trigger inflammation and can cause leaky gut.
Rebuild Natural Digestive Function
When you are rebuilding your natural digestive function, try finding food and supplements that contain zinc, Vitamin C, and bitter greens that can aid in the production of hydrochloric acid (HCL). However, avoid excessive amounts of fat in your diet so you won’t cause a leaky gut Also take some enzymes if you need them until your digestive is balanced and fully restored.
Support the Immune System and Nutritional Status
When your immune system is being overworked, try using micronutrient testing to identify deficiencies. Most SIBO patients are typically low in B12/iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D. But all these vitamins and supplements can support the immune system. With SIBO patients, they try to work on cleaning out their liver since it’s one of the major organs that flushes out the toxins in our bodies. If you do have SIBO, try adding more fruits and plant foods that can help “clean out the liver.” Certain fruits can be tolerated and titrated up after treatment over time, but try to reduce meat/animal fats and fats in general; since they are harder to digest and can contribute to imbalanced bile acid secretion. Also, use liver support herbs and supplements such as glutathione and silymarin.
Avoid Foods that Can Provoke Inflammation
In a previous article, we talked about food sensitivity and what to do if you have it. Some testing can be helpful to determine if other foods may need to be eliminated. Here are the most common foods that provoke inflammation in dysbiosis are:
So if you have a food sensitivity, start by slowly build the natural SCFA’s with small amounts of natural resistant starch (e.g., cooked/cooled potatoes). However, if the patient is being treated with SIBO, introduce it after. Also considering adding other sources of food so it can help grow the good bacteria in your gut. But also keep HCL production active to clean out the stomach and upper part of the small intestine.
This will ensure that the good bacteria will grow over time with your diet and the help of probiotics and fermented food. But if a patient has SIBO take caution so the patient won’t disrupt the treatments they are in and are completed.
If you are taking care of a patient, carefully choose probiotic based on symptoms they have. Some will need a d-lactate free formula, and you can bring up the dosage over time until their treatment is complete. Some CFUs (colony forming units) will vary by product and viability through the GI tract (enteric-coated vs. not), and some probiotics may need to be used long term in some individuals.
Fermented foods are very beneficial to our gut flora as they actually help in the production of good bacteria in our intestinal barriers. Fermented foods and beverages are literally alive with strong pronounced flavor and nutrition. However, not all preserved foods are fermented with live cultures; some may be brined through the use of vinegar and/or salt, and do not impart probiotic benefit.
“Fermentation is the transformation of food by various bacteria, fungi, and the enzymes they produce. It is important to recognize that fermentation is a natural phenomenon much broader than social, culinary practices; cells in our bodies are capable of fermentation. In other words, humans did not invent fermentation; it would be more accurate to state that fermentation created us.” – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T.
So all in all, those are some of the many ways to actually help our bodies microbiome when we want to live a healthier life. Here at Injury Medical Clinic, local chiropractors and health coaches, actually use functional medicine to patients so that way, they can fix their ailments naturally, without the use of drugs and non-conventional methods. If we can change a person’s lifestyle with functional medicine, we can repair the microbes in our bodies, one at a time naturally, of course.