Gut Health Reset – It all starts in your mouth!
I’ve just finished a 7 day live workshop with Kirsty Wirth from Australia’s Kultured Wellness. This workshop was absolutely mind blowing! Kirsty is so incredibly knowledgeable about all things gut health, and I’d love to share my notes and summary from the workshop with you here.
Why is our gut microbiome off?
It happens to all of us. We’re really on a roll with our health; eating well, choosing real food over crap, exercising, getting out into nature with lots of fresh air. After a while though we may start to feel like we’re missing out on the fun, the take away foods….
Sometimes, when you’ve had a break from your healthy lifestyle, it can be really hard to get back into the swing of things. And the longer you’re away from your healthy lifestyle, the harder it gets to get back into it.
When your break has been more than just a weekend (maybe you’re super motivated and got straight back into the healthy goodness?) you may need to look at resetting your body, and getting your gut bugs back into balance.
Your gut microbiome (basically the wonderful life of bugs in your gut) really does rule your life. When your gut balance is out, you’ll notice a whole range of symptoms. Symptoms are different for each and every one of us, but here’s some common ones:
Symptoms of an out-of-balance gut
- Foggy brain. You just can’t think, can’t concentrate, can’t remember.
- Needing afternoon naps as you’re totally exhausted by mid afternoon. Or maybe you’re perpetually tired; wake up tired, drag yourself through the day but totally without energy by mid afternoon.
- Not functioning at full capacity. You’re not getting things done like you’re used to. Can’t stick to exercise plans, don’t have the motivation to do the things you used to do.
- Getting cross with people. Getting upset more often and for minor reasons.
- Can’t cope with people. Feeling irritated in general.
- Hormones and mood all over the place. Happy the next minute, crying the next.
- Various abdominal complaints; bloating, gas, diarrhoea.
- Can’t handle dairy products anymore or developing intolerances to certain foods for no particular reason.
- Putting on weight or losing weight
And you know what, these things are not normal. Kirsty explained that it’s often perceived as normal to suffer from these ailments these days. Pretty much everyone you meet will have one of these symptoms and you may say: ‘oh well, that’s how it is when you get older’, or ‘that’s just how it is, can’t do anything about it’.
Well, it’s not normal to feel like this. Don’t put up with these symptoms! It is your right to feel fantastic, fabulous, fandangally amazing. There IS something you can do about it, and Kultured Wellness is the very best place to start looking into it.
Test, don’t Guess
Get a stool test done. Find out which bugs are nesting in your gut, and whether they’re helping or hindering your body. Get full blood work done. Find out if your nutrient levels are okay, your thyroid levels etc. It is not okay to feel off, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Modern doctors, in my opinion, do not focus on our health as a whole. They will prescribe medicine to treat your symptoms but often they do not get to the root of WHY you got ill in the first place. I haven’t been to see a GP since my last one told me to ‘just eat bad stuff like McDonalds for a few months so you can gain some weight, then go back to eating healthy.’
Not saying they’re all bad, but just make sure you look into these things yourself and choose whether that particular solution is right for your body at this particular moment. Are there other ways of dealing with the problem?
There are many people who arrive at Kultured Wellness after years and years of seeing specialists, to no avail. After spending thousands of dollars they are still no closer to finding out why they are feeling tired, sick, and ill in general. The cause may well be their gut health!
Gut Health and Oral Health
Let’s look at a bit of a scenario
So I’ve had a massive night out. I stayed up really late, drank heaps of alcohol, met all sorts of different people and ate a huge range of weird foods. I woke up in the morning, not feeling flash at all, and I didn’t brush my teeth. So now my mouth bacteria are going crazy; left unchecked.
700 bacteria species in our mouth
There are around 700 bacteria species living in our mouth. Yep, 700. That’s a whole zoo and then some. And our mouth is our connection between the outside world and our inside world. It goes from our mouth all the way down.
Our bodies are mostly bacteria. Opinions vary, but are between 70-90% bacteria and 10-30% DNA. That’s a whole lot of bacteria to look after and nurture.
Our mouth is the window into our health
Our mouth is a window into who we are; a window into our health. There is a direct correlation between oral health and diseases within the body. There are lots studies on the connection between oral health and, for example, heart disease and diabetes.
The same bacteria in mouth and colon
We swallow 1 trillion bacteria every day. 45% of these bacteria overlap and are the same in our mouth and colon. We swallow the bacteria, they travel down, then colonise our gut. So what goes in the mouth will impact what is going on in your gut.
So I might think it was ‘just a big night’ but it has a huge impact on what is going on in my mouth. And therefore what is going on in my gut. If I don’t get things back in check quick smart, I’m running the risk of losing the beautiful balance of good bacteria in both my mouth and gut, and health implications will follow.
The right pH for beneficial microbes
The beneficial bugs, or microbes, require the right pH in our mouth. Certain food will put this pH out of whack. You can probably imagine the culprit foods but here’s some to make the point:
- Excessive carbohydrates
These pH changers will feed the wrong bacteria. They will multiply and overpower your good microbes, which will start dying off in droves. This change can happen really quickly. After a couple of days you may find that foods are tasting differently. They might look differently. You can’t be bothered cooking tonight and order take-out instead.
Bad Pathogens scream out for Bad Foods
There is now an increasing dysbiosis (Wikipedia: microbial imbalance or maladaptation on or inside the body, such as an impaired microbiota.) in your mouth microbiome. This will start impacting your gut, because there’s a direct line from mouth to gut, and things start really spiralling downwards very quickly and out of control.
The balance will be more and more in favour of the bad bacteria, and they will make you less and less motivated to stay on the right track. The worse your mouth microbiome is, the harder it is to get back into your good habits. Those bad bugs will scream out for sugar, for processed foods and it gets nearly impossible to motivate yourself out of this position.
Undigested food feeds pathogens
Your whole digestive process changes. You’re not chewing properly, so now there’s none of the amazing digestive juices in your mouth which will pre-digest your food.
Undigested food hits your gut and feeds pathogens, parasites, candida. Food is not chewed properly to extract and deliver the nutrients to feed the beneficial microbes.
Kids are particularly susceptible
Unfortunately, this particularly impacts kids. They do not have the self control that us adults may have acquired over the years. One weekend of bad foods and suddenly they’re off all foods. Only willing to eat chicken nuggets and chocolate custard.
Getting them back into veggies or a full range of foods is nearly impossible, and you’ll find them asking for lollies and ice cream as their bad bacteria are screaming out for bad foods that feed them and don’t feed the good bugs.
What can we do to balance our gut?
I will talk more about this in the coming articles in this gut health series, but here’s a couple that were covered in day 1, and they are an excellent start.
Veggies feed your body. They feed the right, beneficial bacteria. Love your veggies! Grow them yourself if you can. If you can’t, buy local unsprayed ones. If that’s not possible (and I know it’s hard sometimes), try and buy chemical free versions of the dirty dozen at the least. This is a list with the 12 fruits and veg that contain the most chemicals.
Drink supportive herbal teas.
Kirsty’s go-to, which helps you stay hydrated and helps the lymphatic system too, is the following herbal blend:
Kirsty’s Herbal Tea
- 2 tbsp dandelion
- 2 tbsp nettle
- 1 tbsp green tea
- piece of chopped ginger
- Put all your herbs in a plunger and steep for 30-40 minutes.
- Brew a whole pot, drink it hot or put in in the fridge and drink as iced tea right through the day.
Bacteria are our army
Those good bacteria are our army. They do everything for us! They digest our food, assimilate nutrients, support our immune systems. They regulate our hormones, and so much more. If we don’t properly feed this army, we have no defence against attack by malicious forces. So they run amok, government is overthrown and rebel forces are ruling your life.
To the most important subject of all:
How do we fix our mouth microbiome?
We need to look at healing our mouth microbiome as one of the first steps towards gut health. There is a whole module in the Kultured Wellness course dedicated to the mouth microbiome and how to look after it, because it is so incredibly important.
The following tips for a healthy mouth microbiome are best on an empty stomach:
Pop 1 tbsp of coconut oil into your mouth and swish it around for 15-20 minutes. You can add a few drops of oil of oregano, cinnamon or clove to the coconut oil for extra power, but don’t do this every day.
Oil pull every day while you are changing your gut balance. Once you are well-balanced you won’t need to do it as much.
Use 3% peroxide on a 1:3 ratio; 1 part peroxide and 3 parts water. Swish the peroxide around your mouth for 30 seconds or so and spit it out. You may notice the peroxide rinse getting all foamy. That’s a good indication you have some pathogens going on, and the peroxide is interacting with them and neutralising them.
After spitting it out, don’t rinse it. Use a toothbrush to brush it all around your mouth. Then rinse with fresh water.
Use activated charcoal to brush
Activated charcoal can mop up gasses and bacteria in the mouth.
See a holistic dentist
See a holistic dentist if you have one nearby. They can assist greatly on your journey towards a healthy mouth.
Bacteremia – feeling sick after dental treatment
Have you after felt awful after visiting the dentist? Like feeling sick, headaches etc.? This may be due to you reacting to bacteria that become dislodged during your dental treatment. Known as bacteremia, it’s surprisingly common after dental treatment.
All of a sudden the bacteria in your mouth are dislodged and out in the open, giving off metabolites. When you feel ill, you are reacting to those bad bacteria. This is where activated charcoal can be particularly useful – it will help soak up those metabolites and toxins.
Kultured Wellness program
Kultured Wellness offers a range of personalised programs to help you heal your gut. They very much focus on ‘test, don’t guess’, so one of the first things to do would be a stool test, or start with the Kickstarter Program.
Programs only open at certain times to make sure they can offer everyone the support they need, so keep an eye on the site for opening times.
My pick would be the fully guided 6 month program with full practitioner support and herbal cleanses – I’d love to get my whole family on the program! They offer family discounts to just get in touch with Kultured Wellness and be part of the Kulture Krew.