Many people don't realize just how important the microbiome (your gut's bacteria) is for maintaining overall health. Your gut is home to about one trillion bacteria, and in order to keep things running smoothly those bacteria need to stay healthy. But there are many, many things out there that can disturb that balance.
4 Toxins That Destroy Gut Health
Keeping your body healthy relies heavily on the health of your gut. Here are just 4 toxins that are destroying your gut health and, subsequently, your overall wellbeing.
Studies suggest certain antibiotics can affect gut flora—even changing "the microbial and metabolic patterns of the gut."  When you take a common antibiotic like penicillin or erythromycin, for example, the diversity of those bacteria could decrease.  Even if levels will likely return to normal over time, these drugs disturb your gut's health, and that could be a factor in future health problems.
One of the main ingredients in the weedkiller Roundup, glyphosate is often used by farmers. Residues from the toxin then go on to contaminate our food supply. With gluten intolerance and celiac disease on the rise, a recent study suggests glyphosate is the culprit and that it destroys gut health and kills off healthy gut bacteria. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease can, in turn, lead to other health issues.  However, thanks to assurances from Monsanto, glyphosate's creator, the EPA still doesn't recognize the threat of this toxin to humans.
Emulsifiers keep the ingredients in processed food from separating. They’re also used to improve the shelf-life of items, or to help the texture. Be careful: if you're buying processed food, it’s likely you're also buying emulsifiers. Those—let's call them what they are—poisons could also be adding to the obesity epidemic "by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract."  There's even evidence suggesting emulsifiers could be a factor in other serious health issues like inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners could even change the way your body processes sugar—leading to high blood sugar, a possible precursor to diabetes.  Because they contain no calories, these sweeteners aren't digested, but they still have to make their way through the gastrointestinal tract. That same study also strongly suggests artificial sweeteners could, if nothing else, contribute to weight gain—that they "may favor the growth of bacteria that make more calories available to us, calories that can then find their way to our hips, thighs and midriffs." 
One Final Thought
But gut health does more than just affect physical health; there's evidence suggesting levels of certain gut bacteria could be linked to autism and depression.  Another report suggests probiotic treatments could help autistic children.  So remember, keeping your gut healthy could go a long way to improve your entire state of being.
What do you do to maintain your gut health? Tell us about it in the comments.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM