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Dysbiosis

Dysbiosis

Dysbiosis is the alteration of the microbiome, or the microbial inhabitants, of the digestive tract. Our gastrointestinal tracts should have a rich diversity of bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. The overall balance is vital to our existence and is kept in check by a robust first line of immune defense in the mucosal lining of the gut. Due to a variety of factors ranging from stress, excessive alcohol intake, poor diet and antibiotic medications this delicate ecosystem can be thrown off and get out of balance. The commensal microbes may plummet while the pathological microbes may flourish. This dysbiotic imbalance affects our immune and inflammatory reactions as well as the guts inherent discernment between toxin and food or food and microbe.

Prolonged dysbiosis may also lead to a hyperpermeable gut lining called leaky gut syndrome or LGS. With LGS, the space between the tightly packed cells, or enterocytes in the gut lining, open up and allow toxins, large food molecules and bacteria, to seep directly into the body without being analized by a gut cell for admittance. This will cause a targeted immune response to that particular microbe, food or toxin at the gut level. Over time this inflammatory and immune response will systematically spread out throughout the body creating the same type of inflammatory and immune reaction. Such as in the thyroid and the central nervous system, the pancreas and the joints. This is the essence and the reason for autoimmunity. Undigested food proteins or microbes may enter into the body through one of these pathways requiring local immunity to tag it as forign and mark it for destruction.

The problem is that many of the proteins found in our bodies' tissues look similar to this whole food or microbial protein and they too get marked for destruction. Depending on the protein's amino acid sequence, this “molecular mimicry” can cause destruction of the thyroid, the central nervous system, the gut itself and the joints to name just a few areas. Also, as with any battleground, there is going to be some collateral tissue damage too. This is true in Hashimoto's hypothyroidism. As a specific example, a dairy protein called casen has a similar amino acid sequence as does the proteins of the insulin producing cell in the pancreas. If a person were to have chronic dysbiosis and the ensuing LGS and ingest dairy on a daily basis, some smaller pieces of these whole casein proteins will “seep” directly into the body creating another immune response which will target not only the ingested casein protein but also the naturally found proteins in the pancreas which looks like the dairy protein. They will both be destroyed or cleaved into their amino acid components. This may be the link between dairy ingesting, LGS and type 2 diabetes.

With dysbiosis, depending on the type of bacterial overgrowth, different autoimmune symptoms will arise due to the slight differences in each of their protein sequenced amino acids. This is especially true with the lipopolysaccharide coating on these bacteria. Lipopolysaccharides, LPS’s. are highly antigenic to us and create a strong immune response. The best defense against dysbiosis is by avoiding the factors mentioned above which cause it. Eating fresh, raw, healthy bacterial laden foods will help. Cooking foods above 118 degrees fahrenheit neutralizes the food's enzyme activity and kills off the friendly bacteria that resides on the food for our benefit. Good amount of bacterial food, fiber, is also recommended. Humans have always had a symbiotic relationship with our gut microbes. We feed them fiber and allow them a place to live. They return the favor by producing vitamins for our usage and help us regulate a proper immune and inflammatory response.

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October 20, 2022
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Drew Duquette

Dr. Drew C. Duquette, before practicing Functional Medicine in Bloomington Illinois, began his career as a Chiropractic Physician in 1980. He hails from Michigan, where he studied chemistry and biology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Duquette also holds a BS degree in human biology. His post-graduate studies in Functional Medicine have led him to develop a break-through system of highly effective traditional and alternative methods designed to help patients with serious chronic health needs. Dr. Duquette is a dynamic voice in the Functional Medicine community. He is the leading expert on treating Fibromyalgia, Migraine Headaches, IBS, Thyroid issues and other Autoimmune and chronic conditions, without drugs or surgery, in the Central Illinois area.