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6 Dangers of Bad Gut Bacteria

Hey, this is Hayden the Microbiologist again.  I’m back this week talking about these bad guys you don’t want in your gut.

The more I learn about the bacteria living in my gut microbiome, the more I realize that I’m not in control at all – the trillions of little guys in my gut are the ones telling my body what to do.

Wild Mood Swings???

Like that time last week when all of a sudden in the middle of the day I morphed into that worst version of myself that I try to keep under control, my inner monster – angry for no reason, snapping at anybody who dared to look at me.

You know what I mean, wild mood swings that seem to come out of nowhere?

Turns out that they’re coming from those pesky little microbes living in your gut…yet again, it all comes back to eating fermented veggies and kefir to keep those microbes in line.

Actually now that I think of it – this is the most useful thing I’ve learned yet!! I’m thinking of all the different situations where this knowledge could come in handy…

Late-night chocolate cravings: “You don’t understand. My microbes NEED THAT CHOCOLATE.”

Break-ups: “No, no, it’s not you. It’s my gut microbes. They’re just not that into you.”

All jokes aside, understanding just what your microbes are capable of could change your life.

6 Biggest Health Probs Caused by Pesky Gut Bacteria

It seems like the good microbes living in your gut have been getting all the attention lately, so let’s turn the tables and talk about the 6 biggest health problems caused by bad gut bacteria.

Bad Bacteria release a Toxin Called LPS

There are good bacteria and bad bacteria, and the bad bacteria can be distinguished from the good guys because they release toxins into your body.

One of them is called lipopolysaccharide, or LPS for short.

When a bad bacterium dies or reproduces in your gut, it releases LPS that can get into your bloodstream. Then your body starts to attack this toxin and your immune system is on overdrive trying to drive this toxin from your body.

Here’s 6 ways LPS can harm your body:

Your Brain

LPS lowers dopamine and serotonin, both needed to feel happy and fulfilled in life. Also, it can cause serious damage to parts of the brain called the hippocampus and amygdala, which causes early memory loss.

Your Weight

There’s a couple hormones your body produces to keep you from overeating, and LPS completely reverses them. It increases a hormone called Grehlin, which normally causes you to feel hunger and crave certain foods. It also messes with a hormone called Leptin that normally tells you you’re full and can stop eating. (Could this be a factor in the world’s obesity epidemic? Hmmm…)

Your Thyroid

LPS can even lower your thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH), which could lead to Hashimoto’s and other thyroid diseases.

Your Detoxification

Your liver and kidneys are the detox centers of your body – they neutralize toxins and clean you up after a night out on the town. But LPS completely interferes with their ability to detox since it’s such a powerful toxin itself.

Your Skin

Eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis, all linked to the toxins released by the bad gut bacteria in your microbiome.

Your Stress & Energy

Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, for example, cortisol. LPS toxicity can send your adrenals into overdrive, eventually leading to chronic stress and fatigue.

How did you get the bad gut bacteria in the first place?

Bad gut bacteria looooove to eat all the foods you know you shouldn’t. Sugar and processed grains feed the bad bacteria so they grow and have trillions of other bad bacteria children.

Now you know why you get those cravings and why they’re so hard to resist…you’re being pressured by millions of microscopic creatures.

How to Get Rid of the bad gut bacteria

As long as you’re eating processed foods you’ll be feeding those bad guys and they’ll have no reason to leave, and you’ll constantly have toxins released in your body. Dr. Natasha McBride, founder of the GAPS diet, calls this a ‘river of toxicity’ flowing from your gut throughout your body.

So there’s 2 easy things you can do right now to balance your gut microbiome:

1. Starve out the bad guys: when you stop eating processed foods, you stop feeding the bad bacteria. They will literally starve and die off. That’s why some people actually get ‘die-off’ reactions after they remove processed foods from their diet; the huge release of LPS toxins from the dying gut bacteria can cause hives, fatigue, nausea and headaches.

2. Rebuild your gut with good bacteria: this is why fermented foods are such a necessary part of a healthy diet. Good probiotics found in foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut, can live in your gut and help fight off the bad guys. Good probiotics actually release chemicals that kill bad microbes like the yeast Candida and the bacteria E. coli.

Do you think you may have a problem with bad gut bacteria?

Have you ever experienced any of these problems? Do you think it could be related to your gut bacteria?

If so, it’s time to take action!! I’d love for you to scroll down below this and leave your comment below – tell me what fermented food are you going to try next? Kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut?

When you share you inspire hundreds of others to prioritize their health, too!!

Love and hugs,


{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Trina April 15, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Great Article! I know that Raw Milk and Raw Milk Keifer is a staple in our family!Has worked wonders on all of our health!

    • Charlotte Smith April 15, 2016, 4:24 pm

      Thanks Trina!!! See you soon 🙂 We are getting goats this weekend to put out by the farm store so your boys can say ‘hi’ to them next time they’re out!!


  • Barry April 15, 2016, 4:22 pm

    Hayden, this post makes a lot of sense – I would love to read in more detail about the relationship of the gut microflora and the ghrelin/leptin interactions ( I have a science background). Thank you for your excellent post.

    • Hayden April 15, 2016, 4:56 pm

      Hey Barry!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, I love this stuff too!

      If you want to read more about grehlin/leptin I’d totally recommend Mike Mutzel’s book called ‘The Belly Fat Effect’, all about the relationships between gut microbiota & obesity. (And over half of the book is the ‘works cited’ section, he’s definitely done his research!!)

      Thanks so much for reading & writing 🙂

  • Teresa King Chione April 25, 2016, 3:26 pm

    Thanks for the useful information about kefir, fermented vegetables, and bone broth. A few months ago, I read the GAPS book. Since then I’ve been making yogurt from pasteurized milk from a local dairy. I’m not able to get your milk because I don’t live in the area. I would love to read about your research on homemade yogurt. How does it compare to kefir? Am I wasting my time on it if I’m also doing kefir? Are the probiotics the same as kefir? Different?


    • Hayden April 25, 2016, 3:44 pm

      Hi Teresa! 🙂

      Homemade yogurt has a lot more probiotics than store-bought yogurt, but homemade kefir has much more than yogurt. But I eat both because sometimes I’m in the mood for yogurt. If you are only eating it for the probiotics, though, homemade kefir has WAY more than yogurt. Hope this helps!

  • Penelope de Boer December 18, 2018, 11:23 pm

    I make kombucha and kefir (from bought milk, because I’m just a bit busy to milk our housecow) and have consumed them for a while.
    What has been interesting is that recently I’ve started giving both to one of our dogs. He is being treated for Cushing’s disease and I am in no doubt that this diagnosis is correct, but there is something else causing him issues. He should have improved more than he has on the meds. He has nothing that “grew” from his gut flora etc but I felt something else wasn’t right. I have started feeding him kefir and a slush of kombucha and some homemade chicken (feet) broth so full of gelatine etc that I can stand a spoon in it. He has started to put on weight, his output is significantly reduced, if you know I mean (from about 8 to maybe 4 poops a day) and their colour and consistency is also more normal than it was. I’m pretty convinced it is the change in his diet to more gut protective that has helped. The same must surely apply to humans

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