When your bad gut bacteria overtakes the good

Recently in my clinic work I am finding an increase in those suffering from an imbalance in their gut bacteria.


There are numerous symptoms in relation to this presentation such as skin and nail fungal infections like athlete’s foot, strong sugar and carbohydrate cravings, vaginal thrush with a white discharge, a white coating on the tongue with soreness in the mouth and digestive issues with bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.

So when could this imbalance occur? A baby in the womb has a sterile gut and they receive their first microbiome from their mother through the birth process. It is during this process that the baby gets completely covered with their mother’s bacteria, thus receiving their first dose of necessary strains.

It is important to know if clients have had a natural birth or c-section as the latter birthing process will not give the baby the necessary strains of good bacteria.

It has been found in recent studies that a vaginal birth provides the baby with strains of lactobacillus and prevotella but those with a c-section delivery seem to be in contact with clostridium and staphylococcus through their mother's skin thus the number of good bacteria are lower in those born through a c-section. This difference seems to persist up to seven years after birth.

Breast or bottle feeding can also affect a baby's bacteria levels. The secretory IGA component of breast milk which reflects the mother's own microbiota protects both the baby's gut and immune system from pathogens which could introduce an unhealthy bacterial environment.

Bottle-fed babies may be exposed to more oligosaccharides in their formula milk and not so much of the good bifidobacterium so may have less bacterial diversity. Preterm babies are at higher risk due to early antibiotic usage. 

Antibiotics may have also played a part in imbalances of gut bacteria as they not only destroy the pathogen bacteria but also the good strains. This happens as it cannot determine good from bad, thus it upsets the balance of bacteria and yeast allowing fungus to multiply which then starts to take over. A recent study in mice treated with antibiotics showed a spread of candida albicans and high levels of fungus in their guts. 

Food intolerances and allergies can also lead to an immune response that causes gut inflammation then allowing an overgrowth to take hold.

Working alongside myself, a laboratory can perform tests on your stool sample to show levels of good and bad bacteria. This is the starting place to get things back in balance as well as a food intolerance test to avoid further inflammation.        

It is important to note that candida really loves sugar and will absolutely love a diet rich in refined foods, so the diet should also be addressed to restrict these kinds of foods for a period of time. This then starves it of its life source.

Adding to this good supplements and antifungals will then replenish the body's system allowing a balance to reign once again.

If you want to learn more about your gut health, reach out to Lisa below or use our search tool to connect with a nutrition professional.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Chelmsford CM3 & Romford RM1
Written by Lisa Mehlman, DipNT, CNM, mNNA | Nutritional and Holistic Therapist
Chelmsford CM3 & Romford RM1

Lisa Mehlman Dip NT CNM mNNA has been a practising nutritional therapist since 2012. She has a particular interest in weight management, hormonal and gut health and blood sugar imbalances. She practices nutrition alongside holistic therapies such as reflexology which she has seen enhances treatment. Her home clinic is in Little Baddow, Essex.

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