Guess what? It turns out that your gut bacteria may have way more control over your health than you may have realized. Not only is science now linking changes in your gut bacteria to depression, anxiety, and weight loss resistance, it’s also proving that the imbalances in your gut bacteria could be causing mineral deficiencies.
Which mineral deficiency is caused by an imbalance in your gut bacteria?
Well, it turns out both magnesium and zinc can become deficient in your body if your gut bacteria are not well-nourished.
And these two minerals are crazy important for your brain health.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about this topic is because mineral deficiencies are contributing to the growing anxiety problem we have in this country. Most people are not aware that something as simple as a magnesium deficiency could cause their brain to “over fire,” contributing to an anxious brain.
Although it may be tempting to run out and start mega-dosing on minerals, I think it’s very important to understand where your mineral deficiency may be coming from.
Well, new research has discovered that your magnesium deficiency could be coming from your gut bacteria. How does this work?
Research was done at NCMM, the Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway at University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, has identified just how sensitive and opportunistic your gut bacteria may be. The bacteria in your gut have a nano-sized pump that pulls magnesium from other cells, leaving those cells deficient in magnesium.
The crazy part of this discovery is that your gut bacteria are able to detect and attract even the most minimal amounts of magnesium. And for those of you at my Epigenetics talk last fall may remember, we are more bacterial cells than human cells. When I see studies like the Oslo study, it’s a reminder to me that our bacterial cells are designed to dominate our human cells. So we better be taking good care of these bacteria.
What does this mean for you and your health?
You have trillions of different species of bacteria living in and on your body. Some of these bacteria are good and some are bad. The gut bacteria game is simple, grow the good and kill the bad. How do you do that?
First step: Get a good gut bacteria test
There are a lot of gut bacteria tests on the market today. I have tried several of them and my favorite is Gut Zoomer by Vibrant Wellness. Not only does this gut bacteria test measure your good vs. bad bacteria counts, it will tell you which bad bacteria may be lurking in your gut.
Because gut bacteria plays such a huge role in our health, I run a gut bacteria test on many of my patients to give me a better understanding of what the root cause of their health challenges may be.
Second step: Run a mineral deficiency test
Curious if you have a mineral deficiency? Well my advice is don’t guess, test. A mineral deficiency test is easy and inexpensive to run. The gold standard for these tests is a liquid mineral taste test. The cool thing about this mineral deficiency test is that once you have identified if you have an imbalance, you can take your supplement and then retest within a week or two to see if you have corrected that mineral deficiency. It’s that simple.
Third step: Feed your good bacteria
Here’s where this all ties together. If you suspect you have a mineral deficiency, the best way to fix that deficiency is to fix your gut while you supplement with minerals. That way your gut bacteria won’t steal the magnesium you are supplementing with. So, what should you feed your gut bacteria?
In a study done out of Purdue University, researchers discovered that adding prebiotic fibers into a rat’s diet improved the absorption of magnesium into the cells by 20-30%.
Other studies have shown that feeding the good bacteria increased the absorption of magnesium in 12 to 15-year-old girls by 18% after 36 days.
The food that nourishes your good bacteria is called prebiotics. There are several ways you can get prebiotics into your diet.
First, make sure that if you are taking a probiotic it has a prebiotic in it. Inulin and oligofructose are two common prebiotics you may find in your probiotic.
Second, eat prebiotic-rich foods. Chicory root is perhaps the best source of prebiotic around. Other good prebiotic rich foods are:
• Raw leeks
• Raw asparagus
• Raw jicama
• Raw or cooked onions
• Raw garlic
• Under ripe bananas
• Chia seeds
• Hemp seeds
• Flax seeds
If, like me, you have trouble getting those foods in on a regular basis, you can use a product called FBR by Systemic Formulas as your daily prebiotic source. You can put this powder in a smoothie, sprinkle over the top of an egg or avocado, or even put it in a salad dressing and you’ll be feeding your good bacteria … and be on your way to correcting your mineral deficiency, too.
So there you have it. If you want to fix your mineral deficiency, you may have to fix your gut … and you can do it!
Reach out if you have any questions. I am always here to help and love hearing from you all.
Cheers to a mineral-rich day and happy gut bacteria!