by Steph Jackson
This article was written by one of my brilliant and talented Nutritional Endocrinology Practitioner Certification candidates. Steph Jackson has been researching gut bugs for quite some time. As a result of what she learned and applied, she healed her own debilitating health condition which caused her excruciating pain, and exhaustion so extreme she was unable to care for her newborn son. Today she shares her strategies for working with clients who are struggling with weight loss in spite of “doing everything right”. And guess what it’s related to? Read on and find out. Take it away Steph.
They’re sleeping and eating salads. They’re drinking water.
They tell you they’re walking for an hour every day or going to hot yoga.
It’s three months into your program and weight is their number one health concern. And it’s not budging. The scale.
Maybe there’s some little thing standing in the way of your clients losing weight that you’ve missed. Maybe it’s really little – microscopic. Here are ten ways teeny tiny bacteria can keep your clients growing around the waist:
1. Candida – Candida can steal B1 which we need to get insulin into our cells properly. A lack of B1 is part of a recipe for insulin resistance. We all know insulin resistance can often come with a spare tire and it will be very difficult to lose the spare tire as long as yeasts in the digestive system are stealing B1 from your clients. Candida will continue to deplete B1 in the body as long as they are active.
2. Overgrowths in the small intestine can deplete minerals – Any bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine is going to affect how a person absorbs minerals like magnesium and chromium, from food and from supplements unless they are ionic. These bacterial overgrowths change the pH of the small intestine making it more difficult for the body to pull the minerals into the blood stream. This means the recipe for insulin resistance is complete, with a lack of magnesium, chromium and B1 as well. Those are not the only two minerals that can be difficult to absorb with an overgrowth in the small intestine. Iron and zinc absorption happens here too. Assuming everything is working right in the stomach with these minerals we still need the small intestine to absorb them properly. When zinc is low our clients may have trouble converting T4 to T3 which is thyroid underconversion, lowering the metabolic rate. When zinc is low also the conversion of omega 3 ALA to those necessary anti-inflammatory EPA/DHA fats can be impaired and as you know where there is inflammation unchecked clients can hold onto weight.
3. Overgrowths in the small intestine can contribute to adrenal fatigue – D lactic acid from bacterial overgrowths can be very hard for the body to process. D lactic acid is hard on the kidneys and adrenals and can contribute to the development of adrenal fatigue. Bacterial overgrowths can also directly cause adrenal stress by simply being perceived as a threat in the body. Adrenal glands don’t care if there is a tiger chasing us or teeny tiny bugs in our digestive systems, they will release cortisol all the same. I call this digestive stress. When the byproducts of bacteria and yeasts cause a stress reaction in the body we end up with adrenal fatigue and all the trimmings. In the short term this may lead to catabolism of muscles in the body and these clients may be very thin but in the long term as cortisol becomes depleted and the body is having trouble maintaining breakdown mode, when the glycogen is depleted and adrenal fatigue leads to insulin resistance… those gut bugs can make your client hold onto weight.
4. Bacteria in the digestive system perceived as pathogens can cause lymphatic bloating in the abdomen. I don’t know about your clients but I don’t care what kind of bloating it is I just want my pants to fit. This can happen very quickly after eating a food that feeds these bacteria and can take days to go down. Not pretty in that little black dress.
5. H. Pylori in the stomach can decrease stomach acid production and interfere with the first stages of breaking down proteins and minerals like Iron for absorption. Low iron of course is going to leave your client too tired to go to the gym and very low iron can lead to edema and contribute to inflammation in the body
6. H. Pylori can interfere with absorption of B12 which can leave clients too tired again to exercise, just like an iron deficiency. Of course a B12 deficiency has numerous serious consequences beyond weight gain.
7. E Coli – the GOOD E Coli – has been shown to induce obesity in mice. Yup. They took skinny mice and gave them some particular strains of E Coli and they became obese. I see E Coli overgrowths in my clients all the time, some that obviously are dealing with SIBO and others that do not experience the gas and bloating but still have too mane E Coli bacteria for a good balance. Many of these clients have stubborn weight issues (you know who you are if you are reading this 🙂 but don’t worry we’ve got this)
8. Not enough bifidobacteria – Bifidum in the large intestine are the kings of gentle bacterial colonies that can actually break down fat soluble toxins for us. Yes our bacteria break down fat soluble toxins. If we end up with more fat soluble toxins than we can handle in our bodies we will store them as fats. I don’t know about you but I find it a tough sell to convince my clients that it’s a good thing their bodies are holding onto fat to protect them from toxins.
9. Yeasts and bacteria make our clients crave sugar – All of the bacteria and yeasts just want glucose. Yes, they can break down the FODMAPS to create it if need be but they’ll take the straight sugar too. They can turn your clients into midnight fridge-zombies.
10. Too many lactic acid producing bacteria in the body, including our beneficial probiotics, can contribute to weight gain or difficult weight release. Studies have shown that too many Firmicutes in the digestive tract can contribute to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and obesity. In my opinion there needs to be a bit of narrowing down because Firmicutes is a whole family of organisms more diverse than the warm blooded animals we can see. Nevertheless lactobacillus bacteria are Firmicutes, can be out of balance and can cause many of the problems above.
We haven’t even gone into the connection between bacterial imbalances and leaky gut, which of course can lead to autoimmunity which can lead to weight gain – we can save that topic and its explanations for another time 🙂
How rewarding would it be to be able to tell your clients “it’s not you it’s your gut bugs” and actually have a plan to deal with them?
You can download your FREE resources at
You will receive:
A Candida Matrix outlining what to do about Candida overgrowths
An ebook outlining 3 Common Herbs and What they are Really Doing in Your Gut
a Gut Whisperer’s Flow Chart showing when certain tests are better than others, which questions to ask your clients and which tests find which bacteria best
These gifts will be gone in a few days so download your copies HERE
Steph Jackson is a holistic health coach and functional nutrition practitioner who loves customizing balancing programs for the microbiome, working with fermented foods, and looking at how the body systems work together.After finding and clearing the root cause of her severe physical pain and exhaustion, Steph has gone on to help others to do the same. She is also the proud founder of Crave Conscious, a non-dairy yogurt company based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
For more information, visit: www.StephJackson.com
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