5 Signs You Think Are Normal But Point to an Unhealthy Gut And How to Fix Them Easily

Jun 27, 2023

  The human gut, also known as the “second brain,” carries out a variety of tasks that are crucial to our overall well-being. It can impact everything from our mood to our immune system. But isn’t it weird how we often disregard our gut feelings, whether they’re metaphorical or physical? An itch here, a poor […]

Article Summary

5 signs we tend to think are normal but point to signs of an unhealthy gut:

1. Unexplained weight changes

2. Disturbed sleep

3. Skin irritations

4. Persistent fatigue

5. Mood swings


The human gut, also known as the “second brain,” carries out a variety of tasks that are crucial to our overall well-being. It can impact everything from our mood to our immune system.

But isn’t it weird how we often disregard our gut feelings, whether they’re metaphorical or physical? An itch here, a poor night’s sleep there. Meh! What’s the big deal, right?

Today we’ll discuss the physical feelings, specifically five signs you might be brushing off as normal, but could actually signify an unhealthy gut.

And don’t worry, we’re also going to guide you on how to fix them!

Your Gut: A Quick Overview

Your gut does a lot more than food digestion and nutrient absorption. It’s a complex system involving trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi collectively known as the gut microbiome.

This intricate ecosystem plays a fundamental role in our physical and mental health. But maintaining the balance of this ecosystem can be a tricky business.

And when it does out of balance, trust us, you’ll feel it.

What Your Gut Microbiome Actually Does


Our gut microbiota helps in food digestion, the production of vitamins, the elimination of toxins, and the regulation of our immune system.

It also interacts with our brain through the gut-brain axis, impacting our mental health.

Gut Health and Overall Wellbeing

A balanced gut microbiota contributes to overall health. But, when out of balance – a condition known as dysbiosis – it can lead to various health issues including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even mental health disorders.

The 5 Signs We Take for Granted Which Say Otherwise About Your Gut Health

The disruption of gut health often manifests itself through signs that we may not immediately associate with the gut. Here are the five signs that are commonly overlooked:

Sign 1: Unexplained Weight Changes

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Ever noticed those pesky kilos piling on or dropping off without any significant changes to your diet or exercise regime?

I don’t know about you, but I’d celebrate if a couple of kilos disappeared on Monday after a cheat day on Sunday.

But this could be your gut calling out for help.

Why it Happens

An unhealthy gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight changes without changes in your diet could be a sign of an imbalanced gut microbiota.

How to Fix it

Incorporating a diverse range of high-fibre foods into your diet can help promote a healthy gut. Also, consider reducing the intake of processed foods and sugars that can negatively impact the gut microbiota.

Sign 2: Disturbed Sleep

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Sleep like a baby? Or tossing and turning all night?

I’m not judging you at all for those late-night Instagram reel binges or losing track of time on TikTok. We all need a distraction some days.

Your gut has a significant role to play in how well you sleep.

Why it Happens

The gut produces the majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep. An imbalanced gut can affect the production of serotonin, leading to sleep disturbances.

How to Fix it

Including tryptophan-rich foods like turkey, eggs, and cheese in your diet can help boost serotonin production.

Regular exercise and good sleep hygiene can also improve your sleep quality.

Put that mobile phone out of arm’s reach for a more restful sleep. Try a warm-water bath before tucking yourself in. And definitely stay away from scary movies.

Sign 3: Skin Irritations

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Skin conditions like eczema can be a sign of a gut problem. It’s not just skin-deep; your skin’s health is closely tied to your gut.

Why it Happens

Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies can cause “leaky gut.” This leakiness can allow bacteria and toxins to leak into the body, triggering inflammation and skin problems like acne​.

How to Fix it

A healthy diet, low in processed foods and high in fibre, can help repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation. Also, identifying and eliminating food sensitivities can further support gut healing. Regular exercise and good digestive health can also protect against leaky gut​.

Sign 4: Persistent Fatigue

Hard yards in the garden, kids being hooligans, racing against a work deadline – they’ll all add to physical fatigue, that tired feeling at the end of the day.

But if you’re constantly feeling tired and rundown, it could be more than just a lack of sleep.

One reason could be that your microbiome is

Why it Happens

An unhealthy gut can affect the absorption of essential nutrients from your food. This, coupled with the fact that a significant portion of the body’s serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ hormone) is produced in the gut, can lead to constant fatigue.

How to Fix it

Stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet, and ensure you’re getting enough sleep. If the fatigue persists, it might be worth exploring probiotics and other gut-boosting foods with your healthcare provider.

Sign 5: Mood Swings

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If you’re feeling blue or having unexpected mood swings, it might not be just in your head. Your gut may be playing a role.

Why it Happens

The gut and brain are directly connected through the gut-brain axis. The gut microbiota can affect the body’s level of serotonin, a key hormone that helps regulate mood. An imbalance in the gut microbiota can, therefore, influence your mood.

How to Fix it

Incorporate probiotics and prebiotics in your diet to help balance your gut microbiota. Foods rich in Omega-3 fats, like fish and flaxseeds, can also support a healthy gut and subsequently, a stable mood.

Healing Your Gut: The Basics

Understanding the signs is just the beginning. If we’re serious about improving our gut health, we need to make consistent and informed choices about our diet, lifestyle, and stress management.

Diet: The Cornerstone of Gut Health

The food we eat directly impacts our gut microbiota. Incorporating a diverse range of high-fibre foods can help promote a healthy gut.

Consume Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help balance your gut microbiota, while prebiotics are food for these bacteria. Incorporating both in your diet can support your gut health.

Stay Hydrated

Water plays a crucial role in breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, thereby supporting your gut health.

Lifestyle: Your Daily Habits Matter

Our daily habits, from the amount of sleep we get to our exercise routine, have a direct impact on our gut health.

Get Enough Sleep

Inadequate sleep can affect your gut health and lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiota. Make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.

Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity contributes to a healthy gut microbiota. It doesn’t have to be intense – even a daily walk can make a difference.

Stress Management: Your Gut Feels it Too

Our gut is sensitive to stress. Chronic stress can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota, leading to dysbiosis and its associated health issues.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga can help manage stress levels and in turn, support gut health.

Seek Professional Help

If stress becomes overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Therapists and counsellors can provide strategies to effectively manage stress.

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