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What is a Gut Sabotager?

Written by: Dr. Rory Gibbons, Naturopathic Doctor


What’s a gut sabotager? Something that is damaging or contributing to damage to a part of the digestive tract. Often damage occurs slowly and with time symptoms like indigestion, stomach cramping, bloating, and gas start to occur without the patient even really noticing. Progress can be so slow sometimes that the patient just accepts how they feel as “normal” and it isn’t until years later that it gets so bad that they seek help. Here are some things that could be leading you down a gut-wrenching path that you may not have even thought about!


Stress comes in many shapes and forms but our body handles them in similar ways. Basically during a period of acute or chronic stress our brain puts the digestive system on the back burner. Stress has been shown to lead to gut issues like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, food antigen-related adverse responses, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). So what actually happens? Stress causes changes in the regular muscular contractions that help push food through our digestive system. This can result in a slowing (constipation) or a speeding up of transit time (diarrhea or loose stools). Stress changes the release of the digestive juices that are needed to break down foods thus contributing to poor absorption of food nutrients. Additionally, intestinal permeability (aka “leaky gut”) can occur from stress which can then lead to food antigen-related adverse responses (aka “food sensitivities”).

Stressors can impact our ability to repair our gut lining and it can negatively affect our gut microbiota. When we talk about gut microbiota we are referring to the bacteria inhabiting the gut. Bacteria is supposed to be in the large intestine however when it ventures into the small intestine or some bacteria types change