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4 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut: How to Recognize and Respond

  • 3 min read


Gut health is a critical component of overall wellness, influencing everything from digestion to brain function. An unhealthy gut can manifest through various symptoms, some of which may be overlooked as unrelated health issues. Understanding the signs of gut imbalance is essential for maintaining not only digestive health but also your general well-being. In this detailed guide, we will explore four major signs of an unhealthy gut: mood swings, digestion troubles, constant fatigue, and weight management problems. By addressing these issues, you can take steps to restore your gut health and improve your quality of life.


1. Mood Swings and Mental Health

The connection between gut health and mood is one of the most significant and often surprising relationships. The gut is often called the "second brain" because it produces a large amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.

  • The Gut-Brain Axis: This term refers to the biochemical signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. An unhealthy gut can lead to an impaired gut-brain axis, which can manifest as mood swings or more serious mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
  • Probiotics and Mood: Regular consumption of probiotics can help improve gut health and, consequently, stabilize mood swings. Foods rich in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha.


2. Digestion Troubles

Common digestive issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation can be indicative of an unhealthy gut. A well-balanced gut microbiome helps to efficiently break down food and absorb nutrients, but when it's out of balance, digestion problems often occur.

  • Identifying Food Intolerances: One of the reasons for digestive troubles can be the inability to properly process certain types of foods, which may be a sign of poor gut health. Elimination diets or food sensitivity tests can help determine if food intolerances are contributing to gut issues.
  • Fiber and Digestive Health: Incorporating a diet high in fiber can significantly improve digestion by promoting a healthy gut flora.


3. Always Being Tired

Chronic fatigue can often be linked to gut health. If the gut is struggling, it can lead to poor absorption of nutrients such as vitamins B12 and iron, which are essential for energy production.

  • The Role of the Microbiome in Energy Levels: A healthy gut microbiome plays a crucial role in metabolizing nutrients and producing energy. An imbalance can lead to nutrient deficiencies, impacting overall energy levels.
  • Sleep and Gut Health: Poor gut health can also affect sleep due to the discomfort of digestive issues or through the production of sleep-regulating neurotransmitters.


4. Weight Management Problems

An unhealthy gut can impact your body’s ability to manage weight, absorb nutrients, and regulate blood sugar levels. It can also affect the storage of fat and your feelings of hunger.

  • Gut Flora and Obesity: Research has shown that certain types of bacteria in our guts can influence weight gain and obesity. Balancing your gut’s microbiome with healthy foods can help manage and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Probiotic Foods for Weight Management: Eating foods rich in probiotics can help balance your gut microbiome, which in turn can aid in weight management.



Recognizing the signs of an unhealthy gut is the first step towards improving your digestive and overall health. By understanding the links between gut health and issues such as mood swings, digestive troubles, fatigue, and weight management, you can make informed decisions about your diet and lifestyle to support a healthy gut. Regularly incorporating probiotic-rich foods, managing stress, and maintaining a balanced diet are key strategies for maintaining optimal gut health.