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7 Symptoms Of Poor Gut Health And What You Can Do About Them

Millions of people experience symptoms of poor gut health every day. These symptoms may seem normal, but they can be very unhealthy. Heartburn, bloating, gas, and fatigue can worsen over time and often leave us confused about what to do. And because your digestion is the foundation of your health, everything gets worse when it’s…

Reviewed by Bryan Hardy
Fact checked by Nattha Wannissorn
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Millions of people experience symptoms of poor gut health every day. These symptoms may seem normal, but they can be very unhealthy. Heartburn, bloating, gas, and fatigue can worsen over time and often leave us confused about what to do. And because your digestion is the foundation of your health, everything gets worse when it’s not working right. 

There are many ways that poor gut health can manifest, so the associated symptoms can vary a lot. This is not an exhaustive list of all potential gut health challenges/fixes–it’s an overview that brings attention to your problems. We also provide a few simple and actionable solutions. Don’t try to do everything on here immediately; instead, identify your challenges and start with 1-2 things at a time. Better yet, work with a functional medicine practitioner to address the root causes.

To improve your gut health, you must understand what’s actually happening so you can make changes from an informed position. This is precisely what we’ll cover in this article, so stay tuned for all the powerful insights coming your way.

1. Poor Digestion

Sad unhappy woman suffering from a stomachache

Poor digestion after meals is common for many people, and by poor digestion, we’re specifically referring to the following symptoms:

  • Nausea after eating
  • Upper abdominal pain or pressure after eating
  • Feeling full prematurely 
  • Belching and excessive gas
  • Acidic taste in the mouth
  • Burning in the stomach

Looking beyond these symptoms, we often discover that poor gut health is at the root. It could be something as simple as lactose intolerance, which personally plagued me for years before I discovered lactase. It could be from eating meals with dense proteins and fats alongside large amounts of carbohydrates and starches. 

Some people experience great relief from combining food properly. By simply adjusting the composition of your meals, you can often enhance your digestion and eliminate symptoms. Combining food involves separating dense animal proteins from fruits and starches. Eat fruits alone, eat non-starchy vegetables with either proteins or starches, and eat fat with anything besides fruits. 

This can also occur from eating a lot of beans or other tough-to-digest foods that haven’t been properly prepared. This could mean soaking, sprouting, and cooking thoroughly to reduce digestive inhibitors like phytic acid for grains, nuts, and seeds. It could also be that your system cannot produce the enzymes needed to digest certain things.
Whatever the root, there are a few easy things you can try, such as:

  • Take digestive enzymes and betaine HCl with each meal, especially when you eat foods that are difficult to digest, such as dairy and beans
  • Chew each bite thoroughly, 30 chews per bite, no chunks remaining
  • Eat slowly and in a relaxed fashion
  • Don’t lie down immediately after eating
  • Go for a 15-20 minute leisurely walk after eating to support digestion
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes or using nicotine vapes
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Reduce coffee and tea consumption

Alongside these simple shifts, you may want to try something specifically designed to support gut function from within. Checkout the link below to learn about our Gut Stack.

If you have persistent symptoms after implementing some of these changes, consider seeing a health professional for more personalized support.

2. Irregular Bowel Movement  

Woman with a stomach ache

Not having at least 1 complete bowel movement every day is a serious issue that is often overlooked. Anytime our digestive tract is backed up, it creates conditions that lead to a higher chance of toxin exposure and reabsorption. This can also lead to energy and mood challenges and commonly co-occurs in those suffering from mental health challenges.
To start moving in the right direction, ensure that you are:

  • Drinking enough liquid to stay hydrated (usually 64 oz or more daily)
  • Consuming fiber from 4+ cups worth of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables each day
  • Exercising regularly in both cardio and strength training 3-5 times per week
  • Supplementing with a probiotic, such as P3OM, to promote regularity
  • Sitting on the toilet in a squat position with your feet up on a stool

If you implement these points and still strain to have a daily bowel movement, consider counterclockwise abdominal massage. Many of us carry a lot of tension in our abdominal muscles, and connective tissues slow things down. Belly massages done at home can really loosen things up and allow easier flow through the gut. 

(Ad) If necessary, an herbal laxative such as Herbal Power Flush can temporarily relieve bowel irregularities.

The last area to check as a cause of irregular bowel movement would be pathogens and parasites, typically involving more sophisticated testing. Herbal Parasite Guardian and Biome Breakthrough may be helpful for these. However, you should speak to a Functional or Naturopathic medicine physician to get tested.

3. Bloating After Meals

Bloating is an uncomfortable and classic sign that your gut health could use some support. You should pay attention to it, whether it’s from gas production, inflammation, irregular bowel movement, or a combination of them all.

Extreme bloating after meals can indicate Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), which is something you can get tested for with a functional medicine doctor. If you test positive for SIBO, a specific protocol to kill off and rebalance intestinal bacteria can provide relief. 

If you notice that only certain foods trigger your bloating, keep track of those to help identify patterns. Often it’s certain fermentable fibers and starches or food additives and binders that are bloating triggers.

A few things to try to support healthy digestion include:

  • Using digestive enzymes like Masszymes or Gluten Guardian along with HCl breakthrough
  • Use a probiotic that inhibits the growth of other microbes, such as P3OM or Biome Breakthrough
  • Eliminating gas-producing foods like beans and dairy
  • Considering a gut cleanse to reduce bad bacteria and yeast
  • Simplifying how many ingredients are in each meal, less is more in this regard

4. Food Sensitivities And Intolerances

Woman having a bad experience feeling sick

In my experience with clients, when the gut lining is damaged, you can become more susceptible to developing food sensitivities and intolerances. This may be because a leaky gut allows particles of undigested food to pass into the blood, which triggers a poor inflammatory response. This is why I recommend rotating foods, especially proteins, so that you don’t overconsume particular items and develop sensitivity.
To start reversing sensitivities, it’s important to stop consuming the food(s) you’re reacting to stop the immune triggers. Then, focus on removing gut pathogens and nourishing the gut lining to seal up any “leaky” areas. Following an elimination diet is the gold standard for identifying foods you react to. Afterward, you’ll definitely know with greater certainty which foods to avoid and which are ok. There are many books and blogs that cover elimination diets, so if that interests you, it’s a great place to start.

In addition, we also have a very powerful leaky gut powder that can support your gut healing. It nourishes the gut’s lining with bone broth and collagen, while IgYmax promotes a balanced inflammatory response. At the same time, IgYmax helps escort out unfriendly microbes while reseeding helpful probiotics and prebiotics to assist in re-establishing a healthy flora that feeds the gut lining.

5. Unexplained Weight Loss 

If you find yourself losing weight unexpectedly and without attempting to do so, it may be a sign of poor gut health. This can happen when your body isn’t actually digesting and absorbing the nutrition you’re consuming, regardless of why.
It could be that you have a parasite or another nutrient-stealing pathogen that is consuming your nutrition. It could be that your stomach or small intestinal lining has become damaged due to toxic injury.
If you haven’t made significant changes to your diet or lifestyle, weight loss should not be happening. First, see a doctor to rule out serious causes. If there is nothing medically significant, consider seeing a naturopathic doctor to do a more in-depth screening. Remember, if you have poor gut health or pathogens in your system, you feed them every time you eat.

6. Post Meal Fatigue And Brain Fog

Sleepy woman stirring coffee in the morning

The final potential symptom(s) of poor gut health we’ll explore here are post-meal fatigue and brain fog. Particularly fatigue or brain fog that consistently comes on shortly or within a few hours after eating a meal. The kind of fatigue or brain fog that doesn’t have any other logical explanation. If you live the same way as before, yet you now feel drained or foggy after a meal, something’s up.

When ruling out potential medical conditions, if all tests come back “normal, ” it could be related to poor gut health. Again, fatigue is often the inevitable result if you’re not digesting and absorbing nutrients. Furthermore, drinking coffee/energy drinks regularly can be harsh on the gut lining. The stimulants can also stress your system into producing adrenaline. Also, caffeine can increase your adenosine receptors, leading to fatigue over time.

It could be a food sensitivity response if your symptoms get noticeably worse within 30-120 minutes immediately after eating. This can also be addressed through the elimination diet and smart supplementation. Check out our gut health supplements to learn more now.

For targeted brain fog support, check out Cognibiotics in the supplements above. It combines probiotics with Chinese herbs to produce a gently clarifying and mentally uplifting effect that I really appreciate.

Wrapping Up

Clearly, poor gut health shows up in the body in many ways. But fortunately, there are many remedies and solutions you can implement to improve the situation. The key is preventing the situation from getting extreme by optimizing your gut health today.

So whatever symptoms you might be experiencing now, know that there are proven tools, foods, and supplements that can help you turn things around. Try our best supplements for leaky gut to support your gut health and gut lining.

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References
  1. Liu X, Liu H, Wei F, et al. Fecal metabolomics and network pharmacology reveal the correlations between constipation and depression. J Proteome Res. 2021;20(10):4771-4786. doi:10.1021/acs.jproteome.1c00435
  2. Croci S, D’Apolito LI, Gasperi V, Catani MV, Savini I. Dietary strategies for management of metabolic syndrome: Role of gut Microbiota metabolites. Nutrients. 2021;13(5):1389. doi:10.3390/nu13051389
  3. Oustamanolakis P, Tack J. Dyspepsia: Organic versus functional. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012;46(3):175-190. doi:10.1097/mcg.0b013e318241b335
  4. Parfenov AI, Krums LM. Malabsorption is a leading clinical sign of small bowel disease. Ter Arkh. 2016;88(8):4-9. doi:10.17116/terarkh20168884-9
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