Our gut is the centre of our health and this is becoming shown more and more within research. While generally we are familiar with common digestive issues that may indicate poor gut health such as bloating, reflux or indigestion, and fluctuations in bowel motions, there are lesser-known signs that your gut may be struggling to maintain balance. Let's dive into five uncommon symptoms that could be signalling an imbalance in your gut health, and what we can do about it.
1. Skin Issues
While the connection between gut health and skin conditions is gaining attention, it goes beyond the occasional pimple. Persistent skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, or unexplained rashes could be indicative of an underlying imbalance in your gut microbiome. This is through what is called the gut skin axis. Both the gut and the skin are covered in bacteria, yeasts and fungi which compost both the gut and skin microbiome. A ‘dysbiotic’ or imbalanced microbiome in either the gut or the skin can have significant influence on skin health (De Pessemier et al., 2021). The intricate interplay between the gut and skin highlights the importance of addressing gut health for radiant, healthy skin. This is also why specific probiotic strains are able to directly address and improve skin conditions such as acne and eczema, however not all probiotics are created equally and specific guidance with a qualified practitioner can be helpful.
2. Frequent Mood Swings:
Surprisingly, your gut health can influence your mood more than you might think. The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication system, and disruptions in the gut can affect your mental well-being. If you find yourself experiencing unexpected mood swings, heightened anxiety, or unexplained feelings of a depressed mood, it might be worth exploring the state of your gut. This can be caused again by dysbiosis, or elevated inflammation caused by dysbiosis in the digestive tract, leading to neuroinflammation or inflammation that crosses the blood brain barrier (Clapp et al., 2017).
We often attribute fatigue to lack of sleep or a hectic lifestyle, but persistent fatigue could be linked to an imbalanced gut. The gut is responsible for nutrient absorption and energy production, particularly nutrients such as B vitamins and iron. An imbalance can hinder these processes, leaving you feeling drained despite adequate rest. If fatigue persists, it might be time to investigate what's happening in your gut.
4. Joint Pain Without Explanation:
Joint pain is commonly associated with conditions like arthritis, but if you're experiencing joint discomfort without a clear cause, it might be worth examining your gut health. Inflammation in the gut can contribute to systemic inflammation or inflammation that becomes widespread throughout the body including the joints, potentially manifesting as unexplained joint pain. Addressing gut imbalances could be a key factor in relieving chronic joint issues, however these are often very specific to the individual and involve addressing underlying causes or imbalances.
5. Constant Sugar Cravings:
Intense and persistent sugar cravings might be your body's way of signalling an imbalance in your gut microbiome. Certain gut bacteria thrive on sugar, and an overgrowth of these microbes can lead to incessant cravings as one potential mode of action (Alcock et al., 2014). Breaking the cycle may involve rebalancing your gut flora through dietary changes and supplementation support to modulate the balance within your gut.
Taking Steps Toward optimised gut health
Recognizing these uncommon signs is the first step toward restoring balance in your gut. If you resonate with any of these symptoms, consider consulting 1:1 with one of our qualified practitioners or sign up to Holly’s gut reset package here to get on top of your gut health and improve your quality of life while saving. Holly can guide you through personalized dietary adjustments following functional testing to assess your own individual microbiome, lifestyle changes, and potentially recommend targeted supplements to nurture a healthier gut environment.
De Pessemier, B., Grine, L., Debaere, M., Maes, A., Paetzold, B., & Callewaert, C. (2021). Gut-Skin Axis: Current Knowledge of the Interrelationship between Microbial Dysbiosis and Skin Conditions. Microorganisms, 9(2), 353. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020353
Clapp, M., Aurora, N., Herrera, L., Bhatia, M., Wilen, E., & Wakefield, S. (2017). Gut microbiota's effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clinics and practice, 7(4), 987. https://doi.org/10.4081/cp.2017.987
Alcock, J., Maley, C. C., & Aktipis, C. A. (2014). Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 36(10), 940–949. https://doi.org/10.1002/bies.201400071