Gut Health 101 - Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC

Does your gut need a reset?

Yes, I'm Ready

Do you want to start feeling better?

Yes, Where Do I Start?

Do you want to start feeling better?

Yes, Where Do I Start?

Gut Health 101

In Today’s World Imbalances in the Intestinal Microbiota are the Norm.


  • Overuse of antibiotics
  • Lack of, or short-term duration of breastfeeding
  • Cesarean (C-section) birth
  • Reduced contact with animals, dirt and environmental bacteria
  • Overuse of antibacterial soaps
  • Unhealthy diets low in fiber and high in processed foods and added sugar
  • Sedentary lifestyle and poor sleep habits (yes, these affect your intestinal bacteria)

This Creates a Perfect Storm, Setting the Stage for Poor Gut Health. 

This balance of bacteria in your gut (aka microbiota) can impact not only digestive symptoms but a wide array of seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions including:

  • mood & energy
  • skin & joints
  • metabolism & sleep
  • immune function
  • hormone balance & thyroid health

How Does Poor Gut Health Cause So Many Problems?

Many conditions are caused by inflammation. Modern-day inflammatory conditions include:

  • Fatigue:
    • Inflammation can cause fatigue by creating imbalances in stress hormones; sometimes this is called adrenal fatigue (even though this term isn’t literally true, many may identify with it)
  • Depression or Anxiety:
    • When the inflammation from the gut gets into the brain, it can alter your neurotransmitters or “happy mood” chemicals
  • Brain Fog:
    • When the inflammation from the gut gets into the brain, it can cause brain fog (cloudy thinking)
  • Insomnia:
    • Inflammation in the digestive tract has been documented to cause insomnia
  • Acne or Other Skin Conditions:
    • It is often said that the skin is a reflection of the gut: A healthy gut equals healthy skin
  • Female Hormone Imbalances:
    • Inflammation can, directly and indirectly, alter the balance of female hormones and cause PMS (fatigue, irritability, bloating), altered cycle length or flow, low libido, and hot flashes)
  • Male Hormone Imbalances:
    • Inflammation can cause male hormone imbalances, causing fatigue, low libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, and poor memory
  • Hypothyroid Symptoms:
    • Inflammation damages your body’s ability to use thyroid hormone, so if your thyroid labs are normal or you are on thyroid medication but still exhibiting hypothyroid symptoms, inflammation is likely the cause
  • Immune System Dysregulation and Autoimmunity:
    • Bacterial overgrowths or inflammation in the small intestine are connected with problems in the immune system, including conditions such as Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroid), celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, food reactivity and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis).

Unhealthy Gut Bacteria = Inflammation 

Inflammation = Symptoms

The Science Is In, Gut Therapies Can Improve Your Health

Thankfully, clinical trials have shown that people who are not feeling well can improve their health by modulating their gut bacteria.  This is good news.  However, marketers are also quick to make hyperbolic health claims that will lead you to waste your money.

Fortunately, when we take a principled and science-based approach, we can simplify the gut-health landscape.

Foundation Therapies to Repair Your Gut

Simple therapies are available, with scientific documentation showing they can improve your gut health.  By improving gut health you are addressing the cause of an array of symptoms and conditions, as listed above.

Understanding how to use these tools correctly leads to improved health.  Incorrect use of these tools leads to a merry-go-round of jumping from one diet or supplement to the next.

For example, readers of Healthy Gut, Healthy You have improved their health even after numerous doctors (including natural and functional doctors) have failed them.  Why?  Because it provides guidelines for the correct use of the available tools for improving your gut health.

Where Do You Start

  1. Diet and lifestyle
  2. Probiotics
  3. More advanced therapies: Antimicrobials, herbs, gut reparative cocktails, immunoglobulins and more.

First, we must determine the ideal diet for YOUR gut. 

It is shocking how dietary dogma prevents people from discovering the diet that is best for them.  Within 4-6 weeks we can determine the right diet for your gut.

We must determine the correct probiotic protocol for YOUR gut.

If diet does not fully improve your health, we must personalize a probiotic protocol to YOUR gut.

Yes, many people have tried probiotics and seen only minimal improvement.  This is because:

  • Most probiotic advice is derived from marketers, and
  • Many clinicians have not done the hard work of digging through the research to understand how to correctly use probiotics.

For example, many doctors are ignoring the potential of probiotics even though a recent American College of Gastroenterology review concluded probiotics to be one of the more effective therapies for irritable bowel syndrome. 

The same people who have tried probiotics with lackluster results often report seeing results they have never before seen once they begin correctly applying probiotics.

There is more that can be done for gut health, but we must get these foundational pieces in place first.  The majority of people will regain their health once we do.  Don’t be fooled by fancy testing or exotic treatments…. Day after day I see these failed patients in my clinical practice.  Patients come in after spending tons of money on testing and using every snake-oil therapy available only to improve their health after correctly applying simple but effective therapies.

Take the first step and find the right diet for your gut.


I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!