Factors Which Compromise Your Gut Health


The health of your gut depends upon the balance between the beneficial bacteria and the pathogens that reside within the gut, as well as the permeability of the lining of the intestinal tract. When these beneficial bacteria are at reduced levels or the lining of the gut is inflamed, your body is at risk from gastrointestinal concerns and disease.

Numerous factors play a role in compromising the microbiome within the gut, some of which may be unavoidable from time to time and include:

  • Antibiotics – The use of antibiotics is on the increase. Antibiotics destroy bacteria in the gut whether they are the beneficial ones or pathogens. Aside from antibiotic medications, one of the biggest sources of antibiotics are factory farmed meats and dairy products.
  • Processed foods – A typical Western diet of processed foods can alter the flora within the gut as opposed to one rich is vegetables and fibres.
  • Refined sugars and hidden sugars – Eating a diet rich in sugar and high in refined carbohydrates helps to feed the pathogens causing an imbalance in the gut.
  • Water – Chlorinated and fluoridated water can destroy the beneficial bacteria in the gut resulting in an imbalance.
  • Stomach medications – According to studies, proton pump inhibitors usually taken for heartburn as thought to disturb the delicate microbiome within the gut.
  • Painkillers – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are known to be responsible for inflaming the gut lining and affect the delicate balance.
  • Herbicides in food – Many GMO foods and some non-organic foods such as wheat have been found to contain herbicides that destroy the beneficial bacteria within the gut.
  • Stress – Stress causes the release of the inflammatory hormone cortisol. This inflammation prevents the absorption of vitamins and minerals from the gut which can result in a less than optimum function of the whole body.

These are the main factors that can destroy or compromise gut health upsetting the balance of the beneficial bacteria which may lead to inflammation of the gut lining and therefore a host of concerns such as poor nutrient absorption, inflammatory bowel concerns and a less efficient immune system.

How to maintain a healthy gut

The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, given some help. To help achieve overall good health, you need your gut working efficiently. I always point out that for gut health to be optimal, you need to remove toxins and replenish the lost bacteria in the gut.

Some of the strategies below may be of great benefit in tackling a compromised gut and include:

  • Avoiding dairy – Many people with a compromised gut are intolerant to lactose in dairy products. Try a dairy-free diet for 30 days and see if this helps.
  • Rethink your diet – Reduce intake of gluten containing food, caffeine drinks, alcohol, processed food and sugar laden food. All of these cause havoc within the gut.

Replenish the gut with a good probiotic supplement. A healthy gut should have a wide variety of beneficial bacteria that play a role in a number of processes carried out within the body. These beneficial bacteria work to digest food more efficiently, enhance our immunity, detoxify the gut, remove inflammatory chemicals and manufacture energizing B vitamins to name a few. Choosing the right probiotic can be challenging because there are a wide range of probiotic supplements on the market.

How to find the right probiotic

If you have read any of my previous editorials, you will know that I normally recommend Mega Probiotic ND by Food Science of Vermont. I believe that this is a good all-round supplement which provides eight strains of acid resistant bacteria that can colonise the gut where they perform the varying roles mentioned. Mega Probiotic ND is a great probiotic for general health and is ideal for those who do not have any gut issues and simply wish to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Research into probiotics is increasing exponentially and scientists are beginning to find out how certain probiotic species have very specific roles to play notably in oral hygiene and low mood.

A healthy gut contains hundreds of species of beneficial bacteria which are obtained from:

  • Largely the mother during birth and whilst breastfeeding as well as friends and family through close contact.
  • From the environment – these are introduced into the gut in the form of spore organisms that are involved in conditioning and supporting the proliferation of the good bacteria.

Herein lies a problem. We are these days almost ‘sanitised’ from these bacterial spores which are so important to curb inflammation, to condition the gut and to encourage the flourishing of the healthy bacteria. Our ancestors did not worry about getting themselves dirty – it was part of life. These days we are all obsessed about cleanliness and this does not just apply to adults but equally to children who seem to be more in front of a screen than in the garden. The probiotic bacteria found in soil are known to condition the gut and encourage the flourishing of its existing species.

If you have a compromised gut function, you may wish to consider the use of a specific probiotic supplement called PrescriptBiotics. This probiotic contains species of probiotic including those that are classified as “Soil-Based-Organisms” including the bacillus spore probiotic species which is not found in our modern sterilized food system.

PrescriptBiotics is a probiotic that may help a wide variety of inflammatory gut concerns though it is a good idea to take this probiotic even if you do not have inflammatory gut concerns such as IBS and colitis.

PrescriptBiotics soil based probiotics are going to be important:

  • If you have a compromised gut
  • You have been taking courses of antibiotics recently
  • You have been on vacation in the last year
  • If you suffer from recurrent fungal infections

You may use PrescriptBiotics for a month and then continue with Mega Probiotic ND for general health.

7 takeaway tips on probiotics

  • The name probiotics is derived from two Latin words: Pro meaning for and biotic meaning life, in other words ‘for life’.
  • Probiotics are critical to gut health and may be invaluable for inflammatory bowel concerns.
  • Of the billions of strain of bacteria, only a few hundred strains are friendly to the human body.
  • Around 80 percent of probiotic bacteria live in the gut; the rest in other parts of the body including the sinus passages.
  • Having a gut full of healthy bacteria is crucial for good health, likewise good health is proportionate to a healthy gut.
  • Research into probiotics is on the increase; we are finding out about strains which protect not only the gut but also the heart, gums and many other structures.
  • Soil based probiotics have the ability to “seed” the digestive tract with bacteria which will flourish and support the health of the gut.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Gut Health, Shabir Daya | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • natasha

    It is recommended that probiotics contain at least 50billion in order to be ‘good’. The only that you repeatedly recommend is 30billion (2 capsules). Why do you you reccomend this so highly an do you stock a 50billion+ option?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Natasha, it is not the quantity that is only relevant but the ability of the bacteria to survive passing through the harsh acidic environment of the stomach, the different strains that exist within the formulation and other factors. We and our customer have found Mega Probiotic ND to be an excellent all-rounder for general health. Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Natasha, you may wish to consider the use of Clear Skin Complex by Viridian Nutrition which contains burdock root known to help “cleanse” the bloodstream of toxins and aid liver cleansing. Zinc within the formulation is known to regulate sebum activity whilst probiotics cleanse the gut.

  • Anusha Stewart

    Hi there
    Could you please recommend a multi vitamin that I could take? I bought your Alive multi vitamin which looks to have everything included, however the tablet is so large that I am having big problems swallowing it! I hope there are other smaller tablets/capsules that you could recommend? Many thanks

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Anusha, you can definitely crush the tablet and add to juice or smoothies but if this is not the route you wish to take then please consider the use of Life Drink by Terra Nova which provides greens, omega oils, probiotics, vitamins, protein and other nutrients. Simply add the powder to juice or water – please see link below.

    Best wishes,

  • Anusha Stewart

    Thanks for replying. So apart from the powder form, are there no actual smaller multivitamins tablets/capsules that you can recommend then? (I take magnesium, fish oils, probiotics, etc… all recommended by you so it would just be easier to take all tablets in one go rather than sorting out a drink as well!) Thanks

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Anusha, you can try the Living Multinutrient Complex which is in a capsule form and with a magnifood base to ensure maximum absorption as per link below.
    Best wishes,

  • Karolina

    Hi Shabir,
    After rounds of antibiotics I’ve decided to purchase Prescript Biotics to take for the first month and then I’m planning to switch to Mega Probiotic MD. What’s the best way of taking Prescript Biotics? Does it have to be 30 minutes before meal or snack? I hardly ever eat 4 times a day (week 4).
    Many thanks

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Karolina, in the case of PrescriptBiotics, a meal is not necessary and may possibly hinder the efficacy of the probiotic strains which is why the instructions are to take with water and to leave a gap of half an hour before any meal.
    Best wishes,

  • Karolina

    Thank you so much for your reply Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    You are welcome Karolina.

  • Zane

    Dear VH, how about this article about Prescript Biotics ( https://fixyourgut.com/hso-probiotics-part-3-prescript-assist/ , https://store.chriskresser.com/pages/prescript-assist-announcement)? There are also others stating it might be harmful. I recently ordered it and am using now, just stumbled accross this information and am getting confused. Is it really safe? What is the full ingredients list? The unique blend of SBO is not listed anywhere. Are they those organisms listed in the article? Thank you!

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Zane, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Prescript Assist was discontinued for a while and this has subsequently been replaced with Prescript Biotics . Both worked very well for the majority of consumers. As for SBO’s, there are equally great number of proponents to the use of these. Please check out the new product in the link below.
    Best wishes,

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Carla, a proportion of women prone to inflammatory bowel concerns report their symptoms get worse during their most fertile period. Hormones called prostaglandins may play a role in this but we do not fully understand this. A good probiotic to try would be Mega Probiotic ND which is free from allergens such as dairy, wheat, gluten and soya.

    Best wishes,

  • ElaineMcA

    Hi VH, my mum (late 60’s) is undergoing IV chemo treatment every three weeks at the moment (breast cancer), she has been quite ill with it so far (nauseated, throwing up), plus has had a strong course of IV antibiotics in hospital for a bladder infection – would she be best using this kind of probiotic daily or breaking during chemo infusion weeks?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Eliane, probiotics are certainly useful in helping to mitigate some of the side effects of chemotherapy such as diarrhoea but it is best to check with your mum’s consultant before embarking on any supplement.
    Best wishes,