By now, you’ve probably heard about gut health and how many health conditions can arise from poor gut health. In this blog, we will explain what “gut health” actually means, signs and symptoms of poor gut health, and why it’s important..

What is Gut Health?

Did you know there are more microorganisms in your body than your human cells? Gut health, or the “gut microbiome”, is a combination of microorganisms living in your intestines. These consist of about 300-500 different species of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Some are harmful to our bodies, but most are beneficial and necessary for health. 

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, there are many ways this delicate system can be disrupted. These include:

  • Chronic stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • High intake of sugar and ultra-processed foods (a.k.a. the Standard American Diet)
  • Oral antibiotic use
  • Chronic inflammation

So, it’s easy to see why many of us would struggle with gut health.

Signs of Poor Gut Health

While some signs of poor gut health are obvious, there are some other vague symptoms you may not realize are tied to the gut. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Stomach upset, such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea or heartburn – gut health issues can lead to inability to process food effectively, leading to GI distress.
  • Unexplained weight changes – An unhealthy gut can alter the body’s ability to process and absorb nutrients and maintain blood sugar. This can lead to insulin resistance and body fat storage. Additionally, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can cause weight loss due to malabsorption of the food you eat.
  • Fatigue – Feeling tired all the time? This may be a sign of an imbalance in bacteria in the gut. Research suggests that poor gut health may lead to sleep disturbances.
  • Skin or Hair Issues – Have you noticed changes in your skin, such as acne or psoriasis? Or maybe you’ve noticed hair loss? While there are many potential causes for skin and hair issues, poor gut health is one of them. Poor gut health can lead to nutrient malabsorption and immune deficiencies, both of which can contribute to changes in skin and hair health.
  • Autoimmune Conditions – Many autoimmune conditions are linked to poor gut health. 
  • Unexplained Food Intolerances – Have you suddenly developed a reaction to a food you used to be able to eat? Poor gut health may be linked to many food intolerances.
  • Changes in Mood and Thinking – Feeling down, more anxious than usual, or struggling to concentrate? This may be due to something called the gut-brain connection, or the communication between our gut and brain. Alterations in our microbiome are associated with neurological disorders. 

Why Gut Health is Important

It’s easy to see why caring about gut health is important when our microbiome outnumbers the actual cells in our body! Additionally, you may struggle from one or many of the symptoms above. By improving your gut health, you can also improve your symptoms and begin to feel “normal” again.

If that’s not reason enough, poor gut health has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.

 This is thought to be a result of chronic inflammation caused by a leaky gut (intestinal permeability), resulting in toxic byproducts leaking into our bloodstream and causing an immune response.

What’s Next?

If you want to learn more about intestinal permeability, click here.

For more about how we diagnose whether you have poor gut health, click here. 

If you would like to schedule a free 15 minute discovery call, click here.


  1. Quigley EMM. Gut bacteria in health and disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2013;9(9):560.
  2. Balakrishnan B, Taneja V. Microbial modulation of the gut microbiome for treating autoimmune diseases. Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018;12(10):985-996. doi:10.1080/17474124.2018.1517044
  3. Mayer EA, Nance K, Chen S. The gut–brain axis. Annu Rev Med. 2022;73(1):439-453. doi:10.1146/annurev-med-042320-014032
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