Intestinal Dysbiosis

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-04-02 (EDT)

Alterations in the bowel flora and its activities are now believed to be contributing factors to many chronic and degenerative diseases.

Intestinal Dysbiosis
Causes Dietary Factors, Infections, Stress.
See Also Digestive Conditions, Obesity, Gastritis, Peptic Ulcer, Asthma
Books Books on Digestive and Liver Conditions
Articles Articles on Digestive Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Article The Causes of Intestinal Dysbiosis: A Review , Alt Med; 2004;Vol9(2)

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Dysbiosis may be a symptom of another condition or it may be caused by a variety of factors with dietary factors and the overuse of prescription medications being prominent. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to dysbiosis.


  • a high sulphate diet
A large intake of dietary sulfates leads to more sulfate-reducing bacteria (reduces sulfite and sulfate to sulfide) in the colon, which increases the potentially toxic agent hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is a toxin associated with abdominal gas and distention.
  • a high protein diet (especially animal protein)
Some of the proteins escape digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract and reach the colon, where they are fermented by the colon microflora into potentially toxic compounds.
Diets high in simple sugar and refined carbohydrates often slow down the bowel transit time, increase the rate of fermentation in the colon (via increased bacterial activity), increase fecal concentrations of total and secondary bile acids in the colon, and compromise the mucosal defences of the colon.
  • a high fat diet



  • Psychological and physical stress are both associated with dysbiosis.

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Antibiotic use is strongly correlated with intestinal dysbiosis.[2]
  • Other medications that can cause dysbiosis includes corticosteroids.

Associated Conditions

The conditions associated with dysbiosis include:[3]


Different types of dysbiosis include:

  1. Putrefaction occurs as a result of diets high in fat and meat and low in fiber. This type of diet produces increased concentrations of a bacteria called Bacteroides sp. and induces enzyme activity that can contribute to disruptions in the integrity of the intestinal membranes.
  2. Fermentation Excess is a result of an intolerance to carbohydrates due to an excess of normal bacteria in the small intestine. Abdominal bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and feelings of malaise are common. Nutritional deficiencies often result due to maldigestion and malabsorption.
  3. Deficiency of normal intestinal flora can occur due to exposure to antibiotics or a diet low in soluble fibre. This can contribute to food allergies, food sensitivities and to the onset of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. nd food intolerance.
  4. Sensitization refers to abnormal immune responses to components of the normal intestinal microflora. This may occur due to infections and may contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disease, types of arthritis and other connective tissue diseases or skin disorders such as psoriasis or acne. The presence of bacteria and their byproducts can perpetuate inflammatory diseases by penetrating the intestinal barrier, where they may cause damage to cells and their function and invade the systemic circulation. This provokes a continuing chain of chronic inflammatory immune responses.


Intestinal dysbiosis is associated with many different conditions. On its own it may present with no symptoms at all or it may present as:

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. The treatment of dysbiosis often involves treating the associated conditions. If infections such as candida are the cause of the dysbiosis they need to be dealt with first. The following are some specific guidelines for dysbiosis.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • An exercise regimen aimed at achieving a healthy BMI can help to prevent recurrence of dysbiosis.
  • Relaxation and stress reduction techniques, including yoga, guided imagery, and self hypnosis may improve immune status in patients under high levels of stress.

Naturopathic Therapies

Naturopathic Therapies for Intestinal Dysbiosis include:


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. Prousky Jonathan (Jun/July 2008) Irritable Bowel Syndrome, A Comprehensive Nutrition-Based Approach IHP;50-53.
  2. Kaur N, Chen CC, Luther J, Kao JY (Jul-Aug 2011) Intestinal dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel disease. Gut Microbes;2(4):211-6. PMID: 21983063.
  3. Hawrelak JA, Myers SP (Jun 2004) The causes of intestinal dysbiosis: a review. Altern Med Rev;9(2):180-97. PMID: 15253677.