Health and Wellness

Microbiology - Dysbiosis

Dysbiosis is the state of disordered microbial ecology that causes disease. It may exist in the oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract or vaginal cavity. In dysbiosis, organisms of low intrinsic virulence, including bacteria, yeasts and protozoa, induce disease by altering the nutrition or immune responses of their host.

Published research has implicated intestinal dysbiosis as contributing to vitamin B12 deficiency, steatorrhea (fat in the faeces, as a result of the malabsorption or indigestion of dietary fats), irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune arthropathies (rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and vasculitis), colon and breast cancer, psoriasis, eczema, cystic acne and chronic fatigue.

Four Patterns of Dysbiosis

1. Putrefaction

A degenerative disease pattern which results from diets high in fat and meat and low in fibre. This type of diet produces increased concentrations of Bacteroides sp. and induces bacterial urease and beta-glucuronidase activity.

These enzymes may then metabolise bile acids to tumour promoters and deconjugate excreted oestrogens, raising the plasma oestrogen level. The faecal pH may increase, as a result of increased ammonia production that can lead to pathogenesis of colon cancer and breast cancer.

2. Fermentation

A condition of carbohydrate intolerance induced by an excess of normal bacterial fermentation usually resulting from small bowel bacterial overgrowth.

Abdominal distention, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation and feeling of malaise are common symptoms. In small bowel bacterial overgrowth, denigration of intestinal brush border and pancreatic enzymes by bacterial proteases may cause maldigestion.

Faecal short chain fatty acids may be elevated. Patients with fermentation excess are usually intolerant of soluble fibre.

3. Deficiency

Exposure to antibiotics or a diet depleted of soluble fibre can lead to a deficiency of normal faecal flora, which can result in irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerances.

4. Sensitisation

Abnormal immune responses to components of the normal intestinal microflora may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, spondyloarthropathies (rheumatoid arthritis / ankylosing spondylitis) and other connective tissue diseases or skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema and acne.

Major causes of Dysbiosis

  • Poor diet / nutritional status (high fat – simple carbohydrates)
  • Stress
  • Antibiotic / drug therapy
  • Decreased immune status
  • Decreased gut motility (constipation)
  • Maldigestion
  • Intestinal infections
  • Presence of Xenobiotics (plastics, pesticides, herbicides etc)
  • Increased intestinal pH

A simple indican urine test can identify imbalances such as Dysbiosis that can lead to many health concerns.

An extract from: ‘Functional Assessment’’ - 1999
by Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory

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Page last updated 23-Apr-2019

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