The foundation of your health lies in your gut. It is responsible for the majority of your immune system and is a primary synthesis of serotonin, the mood hormone. When your gut health is compromised, it can have negative influences on your overall well-being.  

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Everything you consume directly impacts your overall health and influences your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Inside our intestines lies a complex microbiome of beneficial and harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Our microbiome breaks down the foods we are unable to digest and uses it for their energy to produce byproducts of gases, vitamins, and short-chain fatty acids.  

Dr. Linda Eller, DO is a board certified, Concierge Family Medicine Physician with Center for Executive Health.

Ideally you want a thriving population of beneficial microorganisms while minimizing harmful ones.  A healthy, balanced gut provides the ultimate reduction in intestinal inflammation leading to a strong immune system. When there is an overgrowth of harmful microorganisms or a deficiency of beneficial bacteria or loss of overall diversity it is called gut dysbiosis.  

Causes of gut dysbiosis:  Two major causes of gut dysbiosis include our diet and antibiotic use. Diets high in sugar, trans fat and saturated fat can switch our gut biome to organisms that thrive in that environment leading to obesity and diabetes. Diets low in diverse vegetables and fruits lack vital nutrients like fiber, Vitamin C, and B vitamins needed to feed the healthy microbiome. Taking antibiotics not only addresses the specific infection it is intended for but can also diminish the population of beneficial gut bacteria, leading to gut microbiome imbalances, fostering the proliferation of harmful bacteria and yeast. Examples include SIBO, C. Diff and Candida yeast infections.  

Symptoms of gut dysbiosis: Symptoms are often vague. Symptoms may include: Gas, bloating, nausea, heart burn, constipation, diarrhea, bad breath, abdominal cramps, fatigue, acne, eczema, mood changes or concentration issues.   

Improve gut health with food: It is possible to change your gut health by changing your diet. Eaten daily, fermented foods offer vital beneficial bacteria. Examples include Greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi kombucha, and fermented pickles. Fruits and vegetables can provide vitamins, minerals and fiber to fuel our healthy microbiome. Gut supportive produce include: brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, garlic, leeks, berries, apples, avocado and kiwi. The Mediterranean diet is an example of a healthy diet. It focuses on plant-based foods, high fiber, fish, nuts, and seeds and is low in carbohydrates, red meat, processed foods and sugar.  

Improve gut health with prebiotics and probiotics: Prebiotics fuel your gut with nutrients to support a healthy microbiome. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria to promote gut health and would be combined with diet modifications if you are suffering from a higher level of gut dysbiosis. Probiotics are most often over the counter, but there are some advanced custom manufactured probiotics now on the market. It is encouraged to work with a trained medical provider to discuss which prebiotics and probiotics would be best suited for you.   

This is a small glimpse regarding gut health and treatment options. Your gut health is unique as you are. Consult your medical provider to discuss gut health and specific recommendations.  

Editor’s note: This article is brought to you in collaboration with Scottsdale Professionals Collective.

Author: Dr. Linda Eller, DO is a board certified, Concierge Family Medicine Physician with Center for Executive Health. She offers comprehensive personalized care to her patients with a fusion of both Traditional and Functional Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Eller by visiting: