Dysbiosis refers to the imbalance of microbes living in our intestines. Our gut microbiome consists of various species of commensal and pathogenic bacteria, just like the eco system. Overgrowth or insufficiency of certain bacteria can cause imbalance in the flora and has a systemic effect on our health.

What do the “good” bacteria do? (E.g: lactobacillus, bifidobacterium)

  • Improve immune function

  • Improve digestive function

  • Improve our mood

What do the “harmful” bacteria or yeast/candida do? (E.g: E. coli, candida, streptococcus, salmonella)

  • Produce endotoxins that can cause inflammation and increase intestinal permeability, allowing pathogens, endotoxins, and food particles that aren’t fully broken down to cross the intestinal walls and enter the blood stream. This can cause systemic inflammation and often contributes to chronic inflammation.

  • Research has shown that pathogenic bacteria can contribute to depression, anxiety and affect our cognitive function.

What causes dysbiosis?

Imbalanced diet

  • Too much sugar, refined carbohydrates

  • Too much high fat foods

  • Too much processed foods

  • Too much animal proteins

  • Not enough fiber intake


Stress inhibits digestive function and reduce mobility of the gut.

Stress also directly reduces beneficial microbes and increases pathogenic microbes.


Antibiotics eliminate both beneficial and pathogenic strains of bacteria, without proper supplementation of probiotics to re-establish a healthy flora, overgrowth of pathogenic strains like candida and clostridium difficile can often happen.


Consuming foods that are contaminated with pathogenic bacteria or fungus can cause gastrointestinal infections, especially when your immune function is not robust. Gastroenteritis is one example and if you have repetitive gastroenteritis, you likely have dysbiosis.

Hypochlorhydria (Low gastric acid)

Gastric acid helps to kill pathogenic bacteria. Low digestive function can cause reduced gastric acid production and result in overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.

Antacids (H2 receptor blockers, PPIs)

Antacids inhibit gastric acid production and therefore can lead to the same result as having low gastric acid.

Symptoms of dysbiosis

  • Gas, bloating

  • Constipation and/or diarrhea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Bad breath

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Poor memory, poor concentration, brain fog

  • Joint pain, muscle pain/tension

  • Itchy skin, skin rashes

Diseases and health conditions related to dysbiosis

  • Malnutrition, anemia

  • Allergy (skin allergy, allergic rhinitis, food allergy/sensitivity)

  • Obesity

  • IBS, leaky gut syndrome

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions

  • Acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis

  • Dental plague

  • Chronic otitis media, chronic sinusitis

  • Depression, anxiety

  • Attention deficit

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

Common types of dysbiosis

Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Most of the bacteria reside in the large intestine, when there’s too much bacteria (commensal or pathogenic) residing in the small intestine, it can cause a series of digestive problems.


  • Symptoms of dysbiosis mentioned above

  • Rosacea

  • IBS (50-90% of IBS patients have SIBO) – constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D), or mixed

  • Digestive symptoms like bloating and constipation worsen with fiber intake

  • Taking probiotics with prebiotics makes symptoms worse


  • Reduced intestinal mobility, hypochlorhydria, ileocecal valve dysfunction, brush border dysfunction, chronic/frequent use of antibiotics, gastroenteritis, opioid drugs

Yeast/Candida overgrowth

  • Symptoms of dysbiosis mentioned above

  • Can present with candida vaginitis

  • Can present with athlete’s foot, “jock itch,” or other chronic infection of the skin and nails

  • Crave for sugar

  • Symptoms worsen in moldy, humid environments


  • Hypochlorhydria, chronic/frequent use of antibiotics, gastroenteritis

  • Over consumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods

To resolve dysbiosis, it’s necessary to:

  • Improve digestive function

  • Supplement with probiotics

  • Eliminate pathogenic strains with herbal antimicrobials

  • Implement a healthy balanced diet, eliminate food triggers

  • Heal intestinal barriers

  • Reduce stress and anxiety