Signs of An Unhealthy Gut

If you are suffering from poor gut health, tweaking lifestyle factors may help improve your gut microbiome and benefit your overall health. Here’s everything you need to know about improving your gut health.

By URLife Team
21 Aug 2023

Our  gut tract hosts a distinctive and ever-changing microbiome As per a 2021 study issued in the Frontiers in Endocrinology, both digestible and indigestible carbohydrates, proteins, fats, polyphenols, prebiotics, and probiotics have the capacity to bring about changes in the microbiota, thereby influencing immune and metabolic indicators. A strong correlation between the gut microbiome, well-being, and dietary choices has emerged, implying that we can improve our health through dietary modifications that impact the microbiota.


Take care of your body and mind to feel your best. Sign up here to unlock holistic health. 


Two-way communication between gut microorganisms and the host can significantly influence a range of biological systems that oversee immunity and metabolism, leading to either positive or detrimental effects on our well-being. Various factors, such as daily routines, dietary preferences, socioeconomic status, education, genetics, medical care, and environmental conditions, all play a role in shaping an individual's microbiome.


Microbiome composition and function exhibit notable variations among different individuals. The variability and adaptability of the intestinal microbiota across individuals have posed challenges in pinpointing a universally "healthy" microbiota. Diversity and the stability of microbial populations are often used as crucial indicators of gut health due to their inverse relationship with chronic illnesses and metabolic irregularities.


Importance of Good Gut Health

Good gut health is crucial for overall well-being and proper functioning of the body. The gut, specifically the gastrointestinal tract, is home to a complex ecosystem of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota. Around 80 percent of your immune system is in the gut, and the majority of your body’s serotonin is present here. So, if your gut isn’t healthy, then your immune system may get affected and hormones won’t function properly. Maintaining a healthy gut microbiota is essential because of its wide-ranging impacts on various aspects of health:

  • A balanced and diverse gut microbiota helps break down and absorb nutrients from food. 
  • The gut plays a pivotal role in regulating the immune system. A healthy gut microbiota helps develop immune tolerance, which prevents unnecessary immune responses to harmless substances. 
  • It also guards against pathogens by competing for resources and producing antimicrobial compounds.
  • Research suggests a strong connection between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis.
  • The gut microbiota can influence mood, behaviour, and cognitive function. A healthy gut microbiota helps maintain a balanced inflammatory response. 
  • The gut microbiota can influence hormonal regulation, affecting processes like appetite and metabolism. This can impact body weight and energy balance.


Related story: Good Gut Food: Prebiotics And Probiotics


Signs of An Unhealthy Gut

An unhealthy gut can manifest in various signs and symptoms that can affect not only your gastrointestinal system but also your overall health.


Here are some common signs of an unhealthy gut:

1. Digestive Issues

Persistent or recurring digestive problems like bloating, gas, indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, and heartburn can indicate an imbalance in the gut microbiota.


2. Unintended Weight Changes

Significant and unexplained weight gain or loss might be linked to gut health issues, as the microbiome can influence metabolism and nutrient absorption.


3. Food Intolerances

Developing new sensitivities or intolerances to certain foods, especially those that were previously well-tolerated, might signal gut problems.


4. Fatigue and Low Energy

An unhealthy gut can affect nutrient absorption and energy production, leading to fatigue, low energy levels, and a general sense of sluggishness.


5. Mood Changes

The gut-brain connection means that an unhealthy gut can contribute to mood swings, anxiety, depression, and even more severe mental health conditions.


6. Skin Issues

Conditions like acne, eczema, or psoriasis can be aggravated by an imbalanced gut due to inflammation and compromised immune responses.


7. Autoimmune Conditions

An unhealthy gut can contribute to the development or exacerbation of autoimmune disorders, where the immune system attacks healthy cells.


8. Frequent Illnesses

A weakened immune system, often associated with an unhealthy gut, can lead to more frequent infections and illnesses.


9. Sleep Disturbances

Disruptions in the gut microbiome can influence sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.


10. Chronic Inflammation

An imbalanced gut can lead to systemic inflammation, linked to various chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel diseases.


It's important to note that these signs can be indicative of various health conditions, and not all of them are solely related to gut health. If you're experiencing persistent or severe symptoms, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.


Related story: Fermented Foods To Improve Gut Health


Ways to Improve Poor Gut Health

Maintaining good gut health through a balanced diet, proper hygiene, regular physical activity, and managing stress is essential for promoting optimal health and preventing various diseases.


Improving gut health involves adopting a combination of lifestyle, dietary, and behavioural changes that promote a balanced gut microbiota and overall well-being. Here are some steps you can take to enhance your gut health:

Increase Fibre Intake

Consuming a variety of high-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts can support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.


Include Prebiotics

Prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and bananas provide nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria.


Consume Fermented Foods

Incorporate foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha into your diet. These foods contain probiotics that can introduce beneficial bacteria to your gut.


Related story: 5 Gut-friendly One Bowl Meals For Busy Professionals


Choose Polyphenol-Rich Foods

Polyphenols found in foods like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea can have a positive impact on gut health.


Limit Added Sugars and Processed Foods

High-sugar and processed foods can negatively impact gut health by promoting the growth of harmful bacteria.


Stay Hydrated

Drinking adequate water supports digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut lining.


Manage Stress

Chronic stress can affect the gut-brain axis and disrupt gut health. Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and mindfulness.


Related story: Can Gut Health Affect Hormonal Balance


Get Enough Sleep

Prioritise sleep as it plays a role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.


Exercise Regularly

Physical activity can positively influence gut health by promoting diverse microbial communities. Aim for a mix of aerobic and strength exercises.


Limit Antibiotic Use

Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a healthcare professional, as overuse can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria.


Stay Hygienic

Practise good hygiene to prevent the ingestion of harmful bacteria or parasites that can disrupt gut health.


Related story: The link Between Gut Bacteria And Our Mind


Take care of your body and mind to feel your best. Sign up here to unlock holistic health.


Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have an unhealthy gut. Taking regular health checks can help detect unhealthy gut at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.



Follow Us On Instagram