Q. I was just told that I have something called Dysbiosis. What in heaven's name is that and does it have anything to do with my brain?

A. If your doctor made that diagnosis, then that healthcare professional is likely your best bet to explain exactly what this means for you. I can make a few general comments but there are many underlying contributors for this condition and the probable cause needs to be taken into consideration when selecting a remedy. Conditions often associated with dysbiosis include: obesity, cancers, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis, periodontal disease, and others. Contributors may include repeated or inappropriate use of antibiotics, a misuse of alcohol, the ingestion of inappropriate foods, and etc.

Dysbiosis or dysbacteriosis as it is sometimes called indicates an imbalance in your microbiome. By way of review, you may be familiar with the term genome, the chromosomes and genes you inherited from your biological parents. You also have an epigenome, a term for the way in which your environment (beginning in utero) has impacted you and your genome, turning genes off or on. You also have a virome that encompasses all the viruses (good and bad) that inhabit your brain and body. And, finally, each person also has a microbiome—the billions and trillions of bacteria that inhabit your brain and body, many of them on your skin and certainly in your gastrointestinal system.

Dysbiosis is a condition most commonly linked with gastrointestinal system and indicates that something is amiss with the microbiome—which is actually very important. Sometimes the normal and desirable bacteria can become over-run with less desirable species or fungi. You may have heard that some are referring to the gut as your "second brain" due to the billions of neurons it contains. This means that dysbiosis has the potential for impacting the neurons and brain function.

 

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