You have 10 times as many microbial cells in your body as regular cells—and your gut microbiome contains up to 100 times as many genes as the genetic pool inside human cells.
Put another way: Your gut houses about 100 trillion microbes, including about 600 different species of bacteria, several dozen types of yeasts or fungi, and an unknown number of viruses, which we collectively call your gut microbiome.
Our understanding about the gut microbiome is still in its infancy, yet the more we research it, the more we understand how our gut flora play tremendous roles in health and disease.
Symbiosis is a fancy word that means "living in harmony with"; in this case, think of a healthy, balanced gut microbiome that maintains a state of harmony with the rest of your body. Among its many roles, healthy gut flora contribute to production of essential amino acids, neurotransmitters like your feel-good hormone serotonin, and vitamins like vitamins K and B12.
Dybiosis is the opposite of symbiosis. It means "living out of harmony with." In other words, your "bad" bugs take over and throw an unwelcome party in your gut.
These microbiome imbalances are linked with numerous diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes (Types 1 and 2), allergies, asthma, autism, and cancer.
Everyone always has some bad bugs in their gut, but when too many overpower the good ones, they create these problems and more. Numerous factors contribute to gut imbalances, including a bad diet, chronic stress, constipation, and environmental toxins.
But the No. 1 cause of dysbiosis? Antibiotics. Whether you’ve been on antibiotics once in your lifetime, once a year, or once every few months, this exposure disrupts your gut flora balance.
How do you know whether you have too many bad bugs? Well, symptoms of dysbiosis are nonspecific and appear in a variety of conditions.
People who have dysbiosis suffer from issues like recurrent diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, and that "stuffed" feeling after meals. Others get skin conditions like rashes, hives, or numbness in your hands and feet or joint pain are also dysbiosis symptoms.