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  • vanessavanderhoek

Dysbiosis - What Is It?

Updated: Aug 17, 2023


Dysbiosis. I first heard this term when my daughter’s first gut test came back many years ago (this was before I became a Functional Nutritionist, and the reason why I went to study at University - she was very sick with an autoimmune disease at the age of 2).


I had NO idea what this meant. What I was told, was her gut was a mess, there was lots of overgrown “bad” bacteria, and not enough “good” bacteria.


And that’s essentially what I see every week now in my clinic (overgrown opportunistic bacteria, not enough commensal (good) bacteria, along with fungi, viruses, parasites). People are suffering and feeling awful, given there’s a lot going on in there. Click here to listen to my video on dysbiosis and what I often see on the GI-Map (poop test!).


You see we need microbes and bacteria in our body – they play an essential role, with some of them powerful for our health!


The challenge becomes when the normal microbial balance is out of whack, contributing to illness, poor digestion, absorption, inflammation, and immune function.


When there’s not enough of the commensal “good” bacteria and the opportunistic “bad” bacteria overgrow, there’s often a party in there that we need to get under control. Things are often exacerbated when there’s leaky gut and Candida. I often also see autoimmune conditions, juvenile arthritis (JIA), SIBO, IBS, Crohn’s, Coeliac Disease, hormonal fluctuations, low mood, joint pain, along with bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.


Here's some of the commonly seen symptoms seen with dysbiosis [1,2]:

  • Chronic fatigue (this is so common!)

  • Digestive problems

  • Gas

  • Bloating

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Urinary frequency

  • Heartburn / reflux

  • Vaginal or rectal itching

  • Food intolerances

  • Sore joints

  • Skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis

  • ADHD and issues with concentration

  • Resistant weight loss

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Autoimmune conditions - Did you know that there are autoimmune triggering and sustaining opportunistic bacteria? Even more reason to work out what’s going on in there!


Before I end today's blog I want to end on a positive note. There are often solutions to manage and overcome dysbiosis (you can read some testimonials here). The trick is to learn what's going on in there, often by doing a GI-Map poop test, and having a bio-individual plan to follow. Click here to learn more about dysbiosis and what I often see on the GI-Map.


Here's how to get started working with me:


  1. Click here to watch my free workshop: Intro to Gut Health - Why Great Health Begins In The Gut.

  2. Download my FREE eBook: The 5 Things I Learned About My Gut Health & Energy. In this eBook I've shared the top 5 things I have learned about my gut health and my client's (bloating, constipation, diarrhea), low energy, and other symptoms, so you too can finally stop searching for answers. Click here to get immediate access!

  3. Join The Healthy Gut Formula Program (click here) or The Healthy Gut Autoimmune Formula Program (click here). You will be directed to my secure platform called Better, where you will get immediate access to the program resources. Here you can choose a time (and time zone) that suits you for our initial Functional Medicine Nutrition consultation. Whilst I live in Canberra, Australia, I work with clients from around the world in my virtual clinic. If there's not a time that suits your time zone, book in for another time and drop me a message - I will fit you in!

  4. Complete the Client Intake Forms in my secure platform (Better) at least 24 hours before we meet. Also please upload any test results (bloods etc) in Better so I can review them. This approach enables me to best prepare for our time together.

  5. In our initial consultation we will undertake a comprehensive review of your Health & Family History and determine the appropriateness of functional testing (gut, urine, hair etc).

  6. Based on this I'll develop for you a Bio-individual Plan and explain to you what you're doing and why. If we are waiting on test results, you'll be given an interim plan to get started.


Vanessa Vanderhoek is a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in the gut microbiome, biochemistry and nutrigenomics. She helps people to regain their health by taking a “food as medicine” approach that's unique to their body. Vanessa is based in Australia and has clients around the world.



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