The Link Between Your Gut Type and Your Health
There are a lot of personal details about your body you likely know such as your blood type, skin type, allergies to medications, and family history of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. However, do you know your gut type?
Most people have 1 of 5 gut types, and each tells you something different about your health. The good news is that your gut type is not permanent. It can change.
As I always say, the gut is the gateway to health. Up to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut along with 95% of your neurotransmitters responsible for keeping your mood stable.
If you don’t have a healthy gut, you can’t have a healthy immune system. Knowing your gut type can help you take control of your health.
I am going to tell you how you can determine your gut type and the best way to support your gut health. Before I get into that, let me tell you about the 5 gut types.
What is your Gut Type?
Whether your gut is stressed, toxic, dysbiotic, autoimmune, or gastric, the root cause of your symptoms starts in your gut. Understanding your gut type is the first step to healing your gut. Here are the 5 different gut types:
1. Stressed Gut
In my clinic, I saw thousands of patients whose stress was the primary cause of their autoimmune disease or other chronic diseases. Stress and gut health are closely linked. As a matter of fact, the brain and digestive system share a two-way connection, so not only does a healthy gut affect your mental state, your mental state affects how your gut functions.
When you experience any kind of stress, whether physical (injury or illness), emotional (going through a heartbreak), or mental (overloaded at work), your body processes it the same – through the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands respond by creating a flood of stress hormones, including cortisol, which shuts down your digestive system and causes adrenal fatigue.
What’s more, when your digestive system is shut down, it leaves your gut and immune system vulnerable to harmful bacteria. These harmful bacteria multiply unchecked without good bacteria to keep a healthy balance in your gut. This can lead to Candida overgrowth or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
If you have Candida or SIBO, you’re likely experiencing symptoms related to those conditions such as gas, bloating, constipation, and fatigue. Some other signs your gut is stressed include:
• Decreased libido
• Trouble sleeping
• Hormone imbalances
• Brain fog
If you think you have a stressed gut, I recommend taking a high-quality probiotic to support a healthy balance of gut bacteria and adaptogenic herbs to support optimal stress response and adrenal health. Avoid eating toxic foods such as refined sugar, alcohol, and caffeine that can make your symptoms worse.
A Note About Gluten and Dairy
I always recommend everyone remove gluten and dairy from your diet permanently, regardless of your gut type.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and certain grains and is the number one culprit of several gut infections such as leaky gut and SIBO because it triggers the release of zonulin in your intestines, a chemical that tells your gut lining to “open up”. It is also highly inflammatory, meaning it can cause stress to your immune system and lead to autoimmune disease
The problem with dairy is that it contains lactose (sugar found in milk) and proteins whey, and casein. People who are lactose intolerant do not produce the lactase enzyme, which is required to break down lactose.
People who do produce the lactase enzyme, yet still react poorly to milk are responding to the two proteins found in milk, casein and whey. Casein is a protein with a very similar molecular structure to gluten and 50% of people who are gluten intolerant are casein intolerant as well.
2. Toxic Gut
Your body is exposed to thousands of toxins every day. They are in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cleaning products we use, and even your body products and cosmetics. Each exposure adds to your body’s toxic burden.
Inflammation often begins in the gut.
The constant exposure to toxins in our food and environment leads to leaky gut. When your gut is leaky, toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles can escape your gut and enter your bloodstream.
Think of your body like a cup, and toxins like drops of water: if your cup is already full because you have a leaky gut, a poor diet, infections, and stress, those small, cumulative toxic exposures cause that cup to overflow. When it does, you’re pushed down the autoimmune spectrum into full-fledged autoimmune disease. The autoimmune spectrum works like this: No symptoms → some (1 symptom, 1 to 2 times per month) → mild (1-2 symptoms, 1-2 times per week) → moderate (2-3 symptoms most days) → severe (more than 3 symptoms every day) → autoimmune disease diagnosis.
Signs you have a toxic gut include:
• Brittle nails and hair
• Skin problems including acne or dry skin
• Food sensitivities and seasonal allergies
• Mood imbalances such as depression and anxiety
• Abdominal cramping
• Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If you believe you have a toxic gut, the first step is to limit your exposure to toxins to lower your body’s toxic burden. I recommend getting a HEPA air filter for your home or office to keep the air inside your home as toxic-free as possible. I also recommend installing water filters on your sinks and shower taps. I have a full-house filtration system in my new home in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I feel great knowing that my family drinks and bathes in clean water every day.
Changing your diet by eating only organic foods is another great way to limit your exposure to toxins. I know this can be expensive, so at the very least buy organic meat and seafood. Animals are at the top of the food chain, and if they’re consuming pesticides in their feed, you are too, but in a magnified dose.
3. Dysbiotic Gut
If you’re eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol then you will feed the SIBO and yeast (Candida), letting them grow even more out of control. This process is known as dysbiosis.
Certain medications such as antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, birth control pills, and steroids can also cause further dysbiosis. As the dysbiosis gets more out of control it can cause suppression in your immune system – remember 80% of your immune system is in the gut – which then can lead to being susceptible to other infections which may require more antibiotics and the cycle just keeps going.
Over time, having this dysbiosis in your gut microbiome will eventually lead to a leaky gut. As I discussed earlier, when your gut is leaky, food particles, toxins, and microbes escape the gut and enter your bloodstream. Your immune system detects them as foreign invaders and attacks them, causing inflammation. This process is called molecular mimicry.
It’s a cycle that works like this: Altered gut microbiome or dysbiosis → leaky gut → food, toxins, and infections into bloodstream → immune system attacks the body due to molecular mimicry → autoimmune disease.
Signs you have a dysbiotic gut include:
• Frequent gas
• Weight gain
• Sugar cravings
• Leaky gut
• Food sensitivities
To heal a dysbiotic gut, I recommend using collagen bone broth, a high-quality probiotic to support a healthy balance of gut bacteria, and Bifido Maximus® to support gut cell regeneration and heal your leaky gut. I also recommend eating a low-FODMAP diet and avoiding sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.
4. Autoimmune Gut
The biggest culprit behind this gut type is food sensitivities — especially gluten and dairy.
If you have this gut type, you likely have more than one food sensitivity that is caused by the long-term use of antibiotics.
Antibiotics have one job: kill bacteria and stop them from multiplying. However, this simple task is what leads to a disruption in your gut microbiome. Antibiotics cannot tell the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria. When antibiotics enter your system and kill off bacteria seemingly at random, your balance of good and bad bacteria can be thrown out of whack.
Your gut microbiome is its own ecosystem, a biological community of interacting organisms that live in harmony with one another. I like to think of the gut microbiome as a rainforest with many different species living together. Too few or too many microorganisms can cause an array of issues in your gut such as leaky gut, SIBO, or Candida overgrowth, which are precursors to autoimmune disease.
Signs of an autoimmune gut include:
• Skin problems
• Autoimmune disease
• Weakened immune system
The best way to reverse an autoimmune gut is to try a 30-day elimination diet to determine if you have food sensitivities. An elimination diet involves removing toxic foods such as sugar, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and GMOs. The second part is removing inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, soy, nightshades, citrus, and legumes. After the 30 days, you reintroduce these foods (except gluten and dairy) one by one while monitoring your body’s reactions and symptoms to identify which foods you are sensitive to.
5. Gastric Gut
If you have a gastric gut, your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), located at the entrance of your stomach, is not closing properly and allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus. This causes heartburn, bloating and frequent gas.
Gastric gut is commonly a result of eating too fast or poor digestion. Other factors that lead to a gastric gut include obesity, pregnancy, smoking, eating large meals late at night, fatty foods, alcohol use, and the use of NSAIDs.
Signs you have a gastric gut include:
• Acid reflux
• Feeling full after meals
• Feeling hungry shortly after eating
To reverse this gut type, I recommend taking digestive enzymes to support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. Certain foods can trigger acid reflux such as citrus fruits, nightshade vegetables, and fatty foods, so you should avoid those foods if you think you have a gastric gut.
Now that you understand different gut types, I’m going to tell you about my proven method I’ve used with thousands of patients to heal your gut – The Microbiome Resurrection Project®.
Heal Your Gut with The Microbiome Resurrection Project
Conventional medicine seeks a diagnosis and medicates symptoms, however fails to get to the root cause of the symptoms and the disease. This is why, many years ago, I created The Microbiome Resurrection Project®.
The Microbiome Resurrection Project® is an approach that rests on 4 pillars, each of which has been tested through extensive research and has seen amazing results with thousands of patients over my own years of practice as a physician. It all begins with healing your gut. In functional medicine, we use the 4R approach to repair your gut.
1. Remove the Bad
The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract such as inflammatory foods, infections, and gastric irritants like alcohol, caffeine or drugs.
Inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs and sugar can lead to food sensitivities. I recommend The Microbiome Resurrection Project® and IgG food sensitivity testing to determine if any foods are a problem for you.
2. Restore what is Missing
While you’re following a 30-day elimination diet, it’s important to add the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption that may have been depleted by diet, medications (such as antacid medications), diseases or aging. This includes digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids that are required for proper digestion.
3. Reinoculate Beneficial Bacteria
Restoring beneficial bacteria to re-establish a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria is critical. This may be accomplished by taking a high-quality probiotic that contains beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species. I recommend anywhere from 20 to 100 billion units a day.
4. Repair Your Gut
Providing the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself is essential. My most comprehensive weapon against leaky gut is Microbiome Mojo®, which contains powerful gut-repairing ingredients L-glutamine, aloe, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, arabinogalactan, slippery elm and marshmallow root.
With these ingredients, Microbiome Mojo® nourishes and soothes your gut cells, restores your gut’s natural mucosal lining, and maximizes gut-mending fatty acid production. Another one of my favorites is a high-quality collagen powder rich in amino acids that quite literally, “seals the leaks” in your gut by repairing damaged cells and building new tissue. Other key nutrients include zinc, omega 3 fish oils, vitamin A, C, E as well as herbs such as slippery elm and aloe vera.
Understanding your gut type is the first step in taking control of your health. The empowering part is that you can heal your gut regardless of your gut type using the 4R approach and obtain optimal health. Remember, your gut type is not permanent.
Dr. Grace - Founder of The Gut Institute