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Gut Bacteria Balancing- How being a Non-Secretor Can Impact your Health

How being a “Non-Secretor” Can Impact your Health

The truth about the microbiome and how it influences our overall health is a very huge topic these days.  There are SO many new products out there that claim to heal leaky gut and help with digestive health, but there can be a lot more to this issue than just taking a supplement. The gut/brain connection is HUGE as well- our gut speaks 9 times more to our brain than the brain speaks to the gut. That is a MASSIVE thing to keep in mind when we say that gut-brain connection is critical.

One of the biggest roadblocks is if if you are something called a “non-secretor”. In very basic terms, this means that if you have this gene you can potentially lack the ability to make a prebiotic called 2’FL which is needed to feed the good bacteria in our guts.

You can find out if you are a non-secretor with tests like 23&Me or (although at this point, there is a lot of controversy about this type of testing since 23&me recently teamed up with pharma company Glaxo to use DNA to create new drugs. You can read about this here. At the end of the day, everyone just needs to make their own choices when it comes to stuff like this!).  These tests both show many different genes, and they show whether you have these genes or not.  The gene for the “non-secretor” is called FUT2.

From this site which has a lot of awesome info on this issue: “Research shows that 20% of the population is +/+ or homozygous for the FUT2 β€œnon-secretor” gene.

****Remember though- just because we HAVE this, it does not mean that we are definitely dealing with the issues or that it has to be a lifelong problem.  Our environment is what triggers these genes to turn on and off-our genes are NOT our destiny and we should not be treating our genes Most people likely have issues with holding onto good bacteria whether or not they have the FUT2 gene, especially because of the overuse of antibiotics over the last several decades. *************

With that in mind, these days I am trying to do more for helping the good bacteria stick better instead of just adding them in.  I think probiotics have their place when needed, but in reality they can be more of a crutch as most of them do not really help the good stuff to stick better.   I try to do things that help heal the body more in the long term so that we don’t get dependent on taking supplements forever.

Fixing this Issue

1) Clean up your diet– this is the first step hands down.  Eat as clean as you can and avoiding glyphosate should be the most important aspect.  There is not *one* perfect diet for everyone, but I do have general diet recommendations for everyone.  Also, not everything needs to be organic, but I have tips on the things I would really recommend trying to buy organic here.

2) Heal your gut in entirety– This means not just focusing on the bacteria side of things- we need to work on stomach acid, bile flow, gut lining, and more. The colon itself will be very important– if you have a lot of old gunk built up, then there is no way for the good bacteria to truly proliferate. Get that whole GI tract in order. Check out my main gut healing post here for ideas.

3) Work on the bacteria- I use supplements like Restore and the gut healers from Bioray (Cytoflora (strongest), Belly Mend (for sensitive adults and teens), and Belly Balance{for kids}).  Fermented foods are best if tolerated- small amounts is all that is needed too:  Only 1-2 Tablespoons of sauerkraut or other veggies, one serving of kefir or kombucha, etc. We don’t need excessive amounts.  If fermented foods aren’t tolerated, then probiotics might be the best option until tolerance is up.  Prescript Assist, Just Thrive, and Garden of Life are among the most popular among my clients.

The biggest takeaway is that fixing this issue isn’t much different then what we all should be doing anyway: eating clean, healing our gut, and working on the good gut bacteria.   But it can be something that explains why regular gut healing plans might not be working for you. 

Resources and more reading:

FUT Genes and Leaky Gut

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