How To Improve Your Gut Microbiome in A Day

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

By now you probably know how important your gut health is to your overall health. If not, you need to! 80 percent of your immune system is in your microbiome, your body’s bacteria, which help your body with just about every process, including helping you to digest your food, think clearly and even maintain a healthy weight.

Your microbiome is housed in your gut and the other openings of your body such as your mouth, your genitals, and your nose. When your gut microbiome is balanced, you stay healthy, you are in a good mood and you have a lot of energy. When your gut microbiome is out of balance, you are setting yourself up for a host of health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, brain fog, and cancer.

Unfortunately, an unbalanced gut microbiome, or dysbiosis, is common today. Thanks to years of following diets high in processed foods and sugar, consuming conventionally raised meat and dairy products full of hormones, plus rounds of antibiotics, too many antacids and chronic stress, most of us have impaired gut health. I have also said for many years that our country’s C-section rate and formula-feeding infants contribute to a dysbiotic state in children right from the start because babies need exposure to good bacteria in the birth canal and in breast milk to seed their guts. In fact, the allergies, autoimmunity, anxiety and depression that we see at increasing rates in children today are due, in part, to impaired gut health.

Your Genes Don’t Matter, But Your Gut Microbiome’s Genes Do!

As a society we have been quick to place the blame for everything from our weight to our moods on our genes. We say things like, “she can drink wine and eat chocolate every day and not gain weight because she is French.” The truth is human beings all have similar DNA. So why is it that some people are healthy when they consume chocolate every day while others maintain a strict Paleo diet and struggle with digestive symptoms or worse? It’s because, unlike our genes, our microbiome’s genes are vastly different.

The good new is that you can change your gut microbiome. You see, the average lifespan of a bacterium in your microbiome is 20 minutes! So you have the opportunity every time you eat to begin to change the population of your gut microbiome. This is good news because it means that rather than having to subscribe to theories, such as the Paleo diet, which assumes our genes evolve so slowly that we all need to eat like cavemen, we can begin to change our gut microbiome (and thus it’s genes) one meal at a time, and even achieve a healthy gut very quickly.

How To Improve Your Gut Microbiome In A Day

There are a number of factors that contribute to the health of your gut microbiome, including your environment, the amount of exercise and sleep you get, and of course, stress. But the number one factor that determines what microbes live in your gut (and which ones die off) is your diet.

In Functional Medicine, there is a very successful protocol called the 4Rs, which stands for Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair. There are many resources for learning more about the 4 R’s. I like Raphael Kellman, M.D.’s book, The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss. You can also listen to my interview with Dr. Kellman on my radio show, Flourish.

The beautiful thing about the 4Rs protocol is that it doesn’t have to be followed in order. Once you remove the processed foods and toxins from your diet, you can start doing all of the remaining 3 steps together. Unless you suffer from a serious digestive disorder or other condition, you can follow the 4Rs on your own. Or, find a practitioner who can tailor the protocol to your specific needs.

Here are my suggestions for following the 4Rs and improving your gut microbiome starting today:

  1. Eat the Right Foods. Your gut microbiome responds to what you feed it. When you regularly eat a variety of healthy, non-processed foods, your microbiome becomes programmed to work for you. The more varied your diet, the more flexible your microbiome becomes, allowing for that occasional dessert.
    1. Remove the sugar and processed foods from your diet. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods get absorbed quickly into your small intestine without any help from your microbes. That means your gut microbes stay hungry so they begin snacking on the cells that line your intestines, causing what we call Leaky Gut. Your intestinal lining is meant to be a strong barrier between your gut and the rest of your body. When your intestinal wall becomes leaky, particles of food enter your bloodstream, causing your immune system to attack them, and ultimately your own tissues. This leads to inflammation and whole cascade of conditions, including autoimmunity. Sugar also feeds organisms like Candida Albican, which also attacks your intestinal wall and can lead to a systemic Candida infection.
    2. Get your carbohydrates from vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Eating a lot of leafy green vegetables will help plant your gut with healthy and diverse bacteria. Dr. Kellman also recommends eating radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, jicama, asparagus, carrots, and, of course, garlic and turmeric. Be sure to get a balance of healthy fats and protein with each meal as well.
    3. Include fermented foods in your diet. Fermented foods seed your gut with healthy bacteria. Eat sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt (not processed), and kombucha. These foods are rich in prebiotics.
    4. Try a food elimination diet to determine if you have any food allergies. Do you often have cramping, gas, or stomach pain after eating? You may have a food sensitivity or allergy. The most common food allergies or sensitivities are to cow’s milk, soy, peanuts (nuts), corn, eggs and wheat (gluten). Some people find they feel even better if they eliminate all grains, including oats, quinoa, and spelt. But start with wheat at the very least. Do this for a few weeks and see if your symptoms improve. Also stay away from artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and coffee!
  2. Take a High-Quality Probiotic. Nearly everyone can benefit from supplementing with a good quality probiotic. Probiotics help maintain your gut’s ecosystem as well as the ecosystem of your respiratory tract and urogenital tract. Also, try to limit your use of antibiotics. While they are necessary sometimes, and can be life-saving, most antibiotics are over-prescribed. Be sure to consult with your doctor about whether you, or your children, need an antibiotic, and always take your probiotics during treatment to re-seed your gut with healthy bacteria.
  3. Support Your Digestion. Unless you know you have high stomach acid, stop taking antacids! Many people have low stomach acid, but think they have too much and take antacids. Supplement with a digestive enzyme. This can help you digest your food better and get rid of your symptoms, such as gas, bloating and heartburn. Glutamine, an amino acid (a building block of protein), can also help to rebuild and maintain your digestive tract and support proper digestion. You may also want to try HCL if you know you have low stomach acid. Or, you could simply try drinking lemon and water, or 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a little water before each meal to see if your symptoms improve.
  4. Get In A Relaxed State. One of the most important factors to healing your gut is your own consciousness. Your gut is your second brain. If your microbiome is out of balance, you may feel anxious, depressed, or tired. You may also suffer from memory problems or brain fog. In addition to eating the right foods, try to get into a meditative state prior to eating. Do this by removing all stressors, including stressful people and conversations. If you are eating with others, try not to speak excessively, or talk about negative subjects. Every time you sit down to eat, take a deep breath, pause and give thanks to all of the plants, animals and people who helped create your food, including God, then consecrate the energy you will get from your food to a good cause, or to someone you love. This activity can help transform even unhealthy fast food.

Like everything else, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your microbiome. You may be a strict vegetarian, eat the Paleo way or fall somewhere in between. The key is to keep supporting your microbiome with the foods that are healthy for you.

How have you taken measures to heal your gut? Do you notice a difference in your overall health? Please share your comments below.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


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  1. Very nice article. My Functional Medicine Physician talks about the Four K’s: Kefir, Kombucha, Kraut and Kimchi! Nice to see the Four R’s! I have stayed away from gluten as well after learning about non-celiac gluten sensitivity from my son’s endocrinologist. I had breast cancer one year ago and elected to have a partial mastectomy to get rid of it. The wonderful team of Dr. Mel Silverstein, the Godfather of onco-plastic surgery and his plastic surgeon got a 72 mm high grade DCIS with microinvasion out with clear margins. Then the plastic surgeon cut the right breast down to size so I had a matching set! I was eatting a mostly raw diet and taking a dozen supplements for 5 months prior to surgery to get in the best shape I could be. One year later, I just had an MRI which came back with “no suspicous lesions” and no evidence of disease! I completely attribute my recovery to a diet of real food, no processed food, almost zero sugar except for the occasional piece of dark chocolate or when buried in a food item like kombucha….and rare chicken and fish….as well as a number of essential supplements like Vitamin D with K, DIM, I3C and curcumin among others. Thank you for your work towards real health!

  2. Thank you for your very balanced approach! It seems like so many tout that you must eat a certain way for optimal health, but there are a variety of ways to nourish the gut, and foods that are harmful to you can only be found by keeping a food journal and watching closely what works and what doesn’t. I am a big proponent, though, of eliminating the unhealthy carbs and eating fermented foods daily. If you can’t do dairy, eat kraut! And now you can get those wonderful, small-batch fermented veggies in most health food grocery stores! We are without excuse. 🙂

  3. Heather
    2 months ago

    When you say eat radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, jicama, asparagus, carrots, and, of course, garlic and turmeric do you mean raw or it it ok to eat them cooked?

    1. Dot
      1 month ago

      I believe raw.

  4. Jesmond Mifsud
    2 months ago

    Thanks for your informative posts. I have been obsessing over the microbiome for the past three months. I used to suffer from severe anxiety, which plagued me throughout my entire life. Three months ago I started drinking home-made kefir daily (one glass in the morning, and another glass before bed). The effects were astounding. For the first time in my life, I am free from anxiety; haven’t had single moment of anxiety since introducing kefir into my diet. I am constantly learning new things about the importance of having a healthy gut. This post was very helpful.

  5. Lizzie
    4 months ago

    I was diagnosed with duodenal ulcer caused by Helicobacter Pylori. Took course of strong antibiotics, but it came back after a few years. I refused the next stage, even stronger, antibiotics. Now I am just keeping it under control using Mastic gum and slippery elm but when it is active I get very constipated. I’ve just started fermenting veg after listening to the interviews on the “better belly” summit, and hoping I can crowd out the bad bugs by loading up with good ones. I know when I take kefir my bowels are better, but I sometimes get ulcer pain and gas – I think the bad bugs fight back if they are threatened. So now it is all out war,

  6. Chris
    5 months ago

    Hello. At the end of the food elimination section you have coffee listed with artificial sweeteners and alcohol. Those two I understand but why coffee? I drink black coffee. No dairy added and no sweeteners of any kind. No lattes, mochas, caps or any of that kind of thing because of all the unnecessary sugar in them.

    1. Joe Smith
      5 months ago

      Coffee is a stimulant. Avoid coffee because it disrupts sleep, your metabolism, it increases your stress hormone and is a diuretic, which means you pass urine more often and therefore minerals you need for your body to function properly are flushed away; and these are just a few side affects.

      You’re better off switching to green tea – macha tea is a great pick-me-up and is full of nutrients and antioxidants due to it being grown in the shade, and made from young leaves.

      1. Kubda
        3 months ago

        Some research shows that green tea is the highest tea source of aluminium.

        1. Heather
          2 weeks ago

          Really? I didn’t know that. Makes sense why everytime I reach for the green tea my hand twitches and reaches for the turmeric tea instead. Haven’t used the green tea in a while. Now I know why. Straight on the bin it goes 🙂

  7. Amy
    6 months ago

    I’ve tried proboitics, enzymes, Paleo diet, vegetarian diets, fasting, juicing, glutamine (for months without ceasing), exercising regularly and everything in between. Yet I still suffer from abdominal pain, chronic constipation, fatigue, and occasional nausea. I have a gluten sensitivity and haven’t eaten gluten in over 6 years and have eliminated dairy for over a year also. I’m really at my wits end with it, and have no idea what else to try.

    1. Sandra Cason
      6 months ago

      HI Amy,

      I had to reply because I have the same issues, tried the same things, but still have these issues. My heart goes out to you.

      1. Sara
        2 months ago

        Have you had your thyroid checked? Low thyroid can cause constipation and fatigue and some vague abdominal pain.

        1. Penny
          2 weeks ago

          After having your thyroid THOROUGHLY checked, stop eating every type of wheat and refined sugar. Your digestion may protest for a while over losing its crutch! Sugar in one fruit a day is OK. I’ve done this for years. Pennyi

    2. Dani B
      6 months ago

      Have you been tested for Candida?

    3. Jacqui
      6 months ago

      Just wondering if you have been tested for parasites?

    4. Kelly Servello
      5 months ago

      I’ve done everything under the sun. Maybe it is Gasteoparesis. You possibly are just eating too much at a time no matter if it is healthy or not, so limit portions or not digesting your food at all leading to the stomach paralysis. I am going for my test tuesday. I am doing everything you are. Also make sure you skin all your vegetables and fruits!!!! This helped me as well. Steam your veggies (non starchy). And yes maybe you have candida as well. Find a holistic MD to speak to. Good luck!!!

      1. JAN LEVINE
        5 months ago

        Should have included this also by Dr. Mabry,, Eating plants increases your risk of developing an autoimmune disease due to “Leaky Gut Dr Mabry will also answer questions on a general level.

      5 months ago

      Check out this video,, Little Shop of Horrors? The Risks and Benefits of Eating Plants — Georgia Ede, M.D.

    6. Kubda
      3 months ago

      Sounds like your next adventure is a trip down Heavy Metal Lane. If you have a heavy metal burden, it will undermine everything you are doing until you shift some of the heavy metals we all live with….. that is, if you haven’t already looked at the heavy metals. Best wishes

    7. Pam McAfee
      2 months ago

      You might look into Dr Amy Myers autoimmune protocol. You can find it on her website. She’s in Austin, Tx where I live so I was able to go to her in person, and after a year I was so much better. My gastro did tests and could find nothing wrong. She ordered a stool test and besides candida I had a parasite. You would think a gastro would have thought of that… I have been following the protocol for 6 years now and at 65 feel better than I have in years. (And no, I don’t work for her.) She has just helped me and my whole family and a number of friends. Her website is a wealth of information. Feeling bad is no fun! Hope you find a solution that works for you:-).

    8. Denise
      2 months ago

      I’m a huge believer in the benefits of food journaling. I went through similar symptoms… I learned that gluten is definitely out… But although my symptoms lessened in intensity and frequency, they were still occurring… (And on an off and on basis.) Finally, I began the process of recording everything I consumed for a year. I can now name my list of foods that I know I cannot tolerate, as well as those which I can eat in moderation or prepared certain ways (is, cooked vs raw). On my website ( I offer more insights into how “food journaling saved my sanity”, as well as “tips for the timid”. Now any time I eat something new that disagrees with me, I know right away. It’s pretty miraculous, and really ties in with the fact that no one size fits all when it comes to health! So worth the little bit of extra effort.

    9. Julia
      2 months ago

      Perhaps you should try lectin avoidance to help. Listen to Dr. Gundry speak about “Turning off Autoimmunity with a Lectin Avoidance Diet.”

    10. KB
      2 months ago

      Try IsoThrive prebiotic! It is a miracle for the gut and bowel. I tried everything as well. This fermented prebiotic coats the gut and squeezes out bad bacteria ..Allowing good bacteria to thrive. Reduces bloating, sugar cravings etc. Order on Amazon

    11. Mary Blaha
      2 months ago

      The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was a lifesaver for me. I had severe ulcerative colitis following C.Diff which was brought on by overuse of prescribed antibiotics for repeated sinus infections. Before I became so sick, no one told me about probiotics.
      After a month and a half on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, all of my symptoms resolved. It is imperative to follow it exactly.
      It even cleared up my chronic sinus issues and high triglycerides.

    12. 2D
      2 months ago

      Hi Amy. Have suffered 25 years and pretty much tried it ALL. I come back again and again to The Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Elaine Gotschalls book “Braeaking The Vicious Cycle”……( because that’s exactly what it is….vicious). Every time I get better….get into bad foods…..follow her protocol… works!!!! And boy do I feel good. Her premise is stay on this diet a few years until gut heals. Hard!!! To keep true to it because you start feeling better and begin eating wrong. BANG!!! You get in trouble again Hope this has helped Good luck.

    13. Lemurian Grandmother
      1 month ago

      Are you eating conventionally raised meat? If so you’re getting a dose of antibiotics every time. Go organic and see if it helps.

    14. AmyT
      2 weeks ago

      As it has been 6 months since you posted, I hope you have found some relief. For me, the final piece(s) of the puzzle were giving up all things bird (eggs, chicken, turkey, etc), beans, and oats which had been diet staples for me. Perhaps retrying a food eliminations/allergy diet might help to identify further food sensitivities? If you aren’t already seeing one, a rheumatologist consultation might also be in order to check for autoimmune disease.

    15. ellen kroese
      1 week ago

      research FODMAP out of Australia or Standford University. Might give you a clue.

  8. Bobbi-Jo
    6 months ago

    Hi Dr Northrup! Thank you for taking time to provide information and answer questions. I have for the last 3 or so months had
    -cramping in the lower abdominal area (if I were to guess the area I would say ovaries) when the cramping is there my knees also ache.
    – bloating, heaviness, gas, discomfort, irritable mood
    – yeast infection
    I’ve attempted to treat the yeast infection and was seemingly successful, then I was put on antibiotics, of course now the yeast infection has returned.
    I have been taking probiotics but during the time I was on antibiotics I was told that taking probiotics with antibiotics would weaken/void the affect of the antibiotic. Is this true?
    I noticed in your above info that you suggest a probiotics while taking antibiotics.
    Also can you suggest a way to get my healthy microbes back so that the yeast infection goes away. Since I have had these issues (the last 3 months) I have also been lethargic and have gained weight (15 lbs).
    Ps, problems began when I took a 5 day dose of Valtrex.
    Thank you!

  9. Jacksi
    7 months ago

    You didn’t mention about resistant starches, like, potato starch, tapioca starch, green banana flour, etc…I’ve been taken starch mixed in a glass of water 2x pet day and my digestive system has been very smooth: no bloating, no burping, no belching. Regularity is also improved. The micro biome loves to eat the starches and well fed micro biome gives us better general health.

    1. Christiane Northrup
      7 months ago

      Hi Jacksi, This is great information. Thanks for adding it to the topic. This will help many!

  10. Peri Gordon
    10 months ago

    I too wonder about trying to schedule a session with Anthony William. Please let us know if you feel it is worth the $500.
    I have a condition my doctor have not been able to diagnose. I thought it might be worth a try having a session with him
    Thanks. I value your opinion.

    1. Christiane Northrup
      7 months ago

      Anthony William is no longer doing private sessions. I would recommend Ray Vielleux, the Health Medium, also from Maine. Ray’/ work is excellent . And is right in line with Anthony’s. At a much lower cost.

  11. Angie
    1 year ago

    Dr Northrup,

    2 years ago, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in situ in my right breast. My record says the size of the carcinoma “in submitted cores is 0.7-0.9 cm.” My lymp node biopsy was negative. I was told I had stage 1 breast cancer. Because I got too scared, I had a double mastectomy. I’ve been trying to live a healthy life by cutting all sugar from my diet and eating a lot of vegetables, no more processed food, and do yoga and tai chi. My blood work every 3- 4 months had been all “very good” according to my oncologist. But I’m on Tamoxifen and on my last visit to my doctor, she said that studies show now that instead of taking Tamoxifen for 5 years, it is now better to take it for 10 years ! I don’t even want to read anymore about the side effects of Tamoxifen. But my heart is telling me to stop taking this medication and I feel Im being over diagnosed. I bought one of your audio downloads and was listening to you on Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and heard you mention about ductal carcinoma in situ and Tamoxifen. Somehow, I just want to get off it without my oncologist permission. Can you please guide me?

      5 months ago

      Starving cancer: Dominic D’Agostino at TEDxTampaBay,
      How Do People Get Cancer | Cancer Awareness | Memorial Sloan Kettering,

      This site does have Christian material, and some controversial material, I use it for the excellent health info, esp info on carbs.
      Tackling Brain Cancer with Ketogenics: Presenting Andrew Scarborough,
      Andrew is on Twitter, so he updates regularly.
      I am not a doctor, but find after much research some info here very beneficial.

  12. Morris Masaracchia
    2 years ago

    Another way to keep your microbial balance on an even keel is to take as few courses of antibiotics as possible. This will help minimize the carpet-bombing effect antibiotics have on gut microbes. Antibiotics indiscriminately take out everything in their path — including the good gut flora your body needs to support long-term health. When your doc or dentist prescribes antibiotics, politely but firmly ask if they’re absolutely, necessary. If the answer is yes, then insist on the shortest course possible.

    1. Alex
      2 years ago

      I understand where you are coming from, but I slightly disagree. While maintain a large amount of good bacteria and many strains of it is a massive issue, if someone has a bacterial infection they should stay on a course of antibiotics until the infection is completely gone. It is incredibly dangerous to walk around with an infection left in the body. I would want to make sure it’s out of my system. A course of antibiotics shouldn’t clear out all bacteria in the gut. Bacteria usually grows back (as long as you follow the aforementioned advice by Dr. Northrup. People can also use natural antibacterial herbs and plants which fight infection. I’m more worried about how the antibiotics in meat has and is affecting everyone’s microbiome and intestinal wall. While these are my thoughts on this, I now wonder why Dr. Northrup would suggest.

    2. Annette
      1 year ago

      While you shouldn’t take MORE antibiotics than nessesary you really need to take what is needed to actually get the infection out to not foster resistant bacteria (don’t stop taking your antibiotic without consulting your doctor!) I’m hoping that your doctor wouldn’t prescribe more than what is needed, so you don’t have to ask weather or not he is giving you too much. But who knows… It really also depends on the type of infection. If it’s relatively harmless your body might be able to deal with it on its own.

  13. You advised “yogurt (not processed)” what yogurt is non-processed?

    1. Elizabeth
      1 year ago

      Barbara – Dr. Northrup might mean homemade yogurt for a non-processed alternative. Commercial yogurt has a lot of sugar.

      1. liz
        5 months ago

        Buy plain yogurt—no sugar!

    2. Rick Acree
      10 months ago

      I believe she is recommending we consume yogurt that contains live cultures. Processing milk (or soy milk, or other) before the yogurt culture is grown is expected and has benefits such as eliminating unwanted bacteria. Homogenization, or other harmful processing after the yogurt has grown would kill the beneficial live cultures.

      Consuming yogurt that contains sugar can be considered counter productive. Eliminating sugar is one of the 4Rs. And when it comes to sugar, just don’t… don’t feed the yeast.

  14. Gina
    2 years ago

    Hi Christine and fellow sharers,
    Thanks you for valuable insight.
    I had my appendix removed (open surgery) last year after it burst the year before. I was diagnosed with IBS-C @ 15 years ago, and am now post-menopausal. I wonder how much of a factor hormones and hypothyroidism play in transit time? I continue to find time to breathe deep, get my heart rate up and eat vegetables. Still having issues. Even looking into the FODMAP diet. Any insight, anyone?

    1. Joe
      8 months ago

      Hi Gina,
      The appendix is now thought to be an important reservoir of bacteria (we finally know it’s purpose). So, after a case of diarrhea, the appendix plays a role in re-establishing the normal flora of the large intestine. Sorry for the bad news.
      The FODMAP diet does help many with IBS-D. and is worth trying.
      Re-setting this ecosystem of bacteria via an FMT is working for some. The best in the world is Dr. Thomas Borody, Centre for Digestive Diseases, Australia. Though for IBS-C his success rate is 20% to 30%. For IBS-D he is achieving an 80% success rate. [you can read about this in “10% Human” by Alanna Collen] It appears IBS-C is more of a challenge. I suspect this is because it is connected with an imbalance of the flora in the small intestine, and an FMT does not change that flora, it only changes the flora in the large intestine.
      The best I can say is to eat fresh fruits and fresh vegetables {as long as you can tolerate them] The fresher the better. It turns out that fresh fruits and fresh vegetables actually have good, beneficial microbes on them, the ones we need. So, the fresher the better. Good probiotic foods are also helpful.
      There is a great deal of interest in restoring the microbiome. I would encourage you to keep an important clue in mind ; a baby establishes their microbiome over the first three years of life. What is going on during that period ? Well for one, babies crawl on the floor, and put everything they can in their mouths. What we haven’t realized is ; we shed our microbiomes as we walk (it’s normal). Thus, the baby is sampling others microbiomes, and small amounts of dirt, when they put their fingers in their mouth. Quite a normal and important process. It’s an important clue into how our microbiomes are established early on in our life. Another thing happening during this first three years of life ; breastfeeding. I suspect one day we will find important enzymes or bacteria that are helpful in the establishment of the microbiome, in breast milk. It’s another important clue. We already know there are bacteria in breast milk, and I hope more studies are underway.

      Also worth noting; we can’t expect to restore health to our microbiomes unless we stop the damage to these ecosystems. We need to eliminate our use of antibacterial soaps and other antibacterial products. We need to purchase meat that was raised without antibiotics. We need to re-examine our use of mouthwash and toothpaste, and ask if these are hurting our good, friendly bacteria. We need to eliminate our practice of bathing in and drinking chlorinated water {not that it is not important, it is, but one should consider removing it at the tap, after all, chlorine kill bacteria} We need to eliminate the digestion of products that have been produced using Roundup (which has been found to damage our good bacteria). We need to avoid processed foods, as the emulsifiers in these processed foods cause inflammation in the gut (harmful to the microbiome) So, simply said; we need to look for every way that we are harming this ecosystem and stop that harm first. Then, we can go about trying to re-establish diversity.
      In some cultures they eat dirt. Dr. Josh Axe has a book called, “Eat Dirt”. I haven’t decided if this is the right approach, or not. Yet I hope we will have more research on this soon.

      One more thing. It is well known that athletes tend to have more diverse microbiomes. There is something about regular exercise that helps the body to establish a more diverse microbiome (which is what we want !) So, get moving. It is an important part in re-establishing your flora. Couple this with raw, fresh vegetables, every day.
      best wishes.

      1. shan shimbo
        7 months ago

        Question about eating raw fresh vegetables. I have a question about non-organic vegetables. i cannot afford every vegetable as organic. I wash non-organic vegetables in vinegar water to remove pesticides. but won’t that also kill the bacteria?


        1. Darren
          3 months ago

          Google: Clean fifteen and the dirty dozen. This may help.

        2. Lisa
          2 months ago

          Unfortunately, RoundUp, which contains glyphosate and other chemicals, is absorbed by the plant so it can’t be “washed off”.

  15. Caterina
    2 years ago

    Can you please recommend me a probiotic and a digestive enzyme?? I am a little bit confuse if they can be some supplements in my diet. Thanks in advance.

  16. Joan Mansson
    2 years ago

    Dr. Northrop,
    Is there anyone or any layman’s literature that deals with the issue of nutrition and weight gain after a colostomy and ileostomy ? I’ve been working on this since my surgery in Jan. 2014 learning only that hi fiber vegetables are a waste money.
    Thank you.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Hi Joan– first of all, I want you to know that your BODY always knows that it is WHOLE. I just had a session with Anthony William this week– the renowned medical medium. And he said something I’ve always felt intuitively. And that is that women’s bodies always KNOW they are whole– even if an organ has been removed. So– start there. Then I’d make sure you are on a really good probiotic. And also a great multivitamin. You may well have to put the vitamin in a blender to chop it up first!! Blessings!!

      1. Jessica Pykiet
        1 year ago

        What did you think of your session with Anthony William? I’ve been reading his book and had great results healing from Epstein Barr Virus. I was wondering if it’s worth trying to get a personal session.

      2. Teresa
        1 year ago

        Hi Christine, I am also very curious about your reading with Anthony. I have read his book and I am thinking whether an appointment with him is necessary. Perhaps a blog on the topic would be really helpful? 🙂

        1. Janet B Jacobsen
          11 months ago

          I’m a physical therapist and I too would like to know whether to recommend my clients pay $500.00 for a 1/2 hour phone visit with Anthony William. Thank you for all you’ve done Dr Northrup.

      3. Trasa
        2 months ago

        Hello lovely Dr I would dearly love if you could tell me what is a really good probiotic as there are so many on the shelves and I never really know which one I should buy. I live in Dublin so hopefully I can get what you recommend here. Thank you for all your wonderful wisdom in our lives. Blessings too

  17. Andrea Sargeant
    2 years ago

    Thank you for the book references and the multi-level approach. We are so fortunate you publicly share such valuable information!

  18. Ione
    2 years ago

    Hello and thankyou for all you so generously give
    us with your vast knowledge on health issues .
    I find that another component to good digestion
    is adequate sleep. My body does not digest properly
    and seems to just shut down when I’m sleep deprived .
    It also seems to be the time I crave sugar or unhealthy
    processed snacks for energy . So for me , sleep is another
    key component to healthy digestion .

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Dear Ione, Boy are you RIGHT on THAT ONE!!! Sleep– and lots of it– is my number one personal medicine!! Thank you!! Christiane

      1. Joan Mansson
        2 years ago

        Thank you. I’ll have a new conversation with my body.

      4 months ago

      Please read book, Lights Out, Sugar, Sleep and Survival by Bent Formby and T.S. Wiley. Available used on Amazon.

  19. Elizabeth Peterson
    2 years ago

    The only problem with eating meat is it keeps you on the acid side and we want an alchali system so Paleo is fine for the vegtables.

    1. Eileen
      4 months ago

      Lots of veg will correct that.

  20. Esther
    2 years ago

    I bought your book from because first of all, I truly love and resonate with the goddess analogy to a woman’s life; and secondly, I was recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. I’m just getting back on my feet and back to work after four months of sick-leave. I found your book to be extremely helpful in understanding the dis-ease in my life and highly recommend it to anyone suffering from an immune deficiency condition. In 2007 I started to eat gluten-free, but lately my body has called me to eat organically. I made the switch and after my recent diagnosis, I did kidney, liver, and gallbladder flushes. I found those cleanses were comparable to an oil change and tune-up in my car. In order for a car to run efficiently, without sputtering and stalling, the engine must be clean. Same with our bodies. If we put something other than the recommended gas in our car, it might not even run. Our beautiful bodies were designed to eat “real” food — organic food. Also, our bodies were designed to eat food, not drugs. I had to find a new M.D. to support me in my new way of living, and so was able to locate a Functional Medicine Doctor, who I dearly love. She is simply awesome! Thank you, Dr. Christiane Northrup for inspiring me with your book to believe in my body, to know I could be truly well!
    We all deserve health and wellness!

    1. Carrie
      2 years ago

      Hi can you Facebook friend me and please tell me about the cleanses you did? I’d love to try those “tune ups” too and really need to!! Thank you 🙂 Carrie Ann Wolak

    2. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Dear Esther– you are right on the mark. I love hearing about your success!! Thank you. Christiane

      1. Alex
        2 years ago

        Dr. Northrup,
        Do you recommend certain fasts or cleanses?

        1. JAN LEVINE
          4 months ago

          Please check out, ,DR. ART AYERS blog.

  21. Patty
    2 years ago

    After an intense flair up with diverticulitis I discovered a book called FIBER MENACE by Konstanin Monastryrsky which was so helpful in understanding how our intestines work. His advise was eye opening in explaining how we are taking in too much fiber and it is causing more problems than it is solving. High fiber works for awhile then other issues develope from it and are never associated with it, then we are advised to take in more fiber. Read the reviews on Amazon. Their is also a website so you might not have to buy the book.

    1. Linda
      2 years ago

      Everything in moderation and that includes fiber. My brother used to laughingly say about me. “My sister eats nothing but twigs and berries.” Well, after a colonoscopy, I had a small section of my colon removed because I had two large polyps that may have resulted in colon cancer if not caught in time. So even though it’s healthy to include fiber, too much of any one, good, thing may not be the answer. Balance is the answer.

  22. Diane Brisebois
    2 years ago

    I keep my gut healthy by doing a 24-hour fast once a week. I drink only water during those 24 hours. I have been doing it for over 20 years and if I happened to be travelling and skip my fast, I really feel the difference, feeling more bloated and missing my 24-hour fast. So I do this religiously once a week and feel so much better having eliminated and cleansed. I sometimes add chlorophyl in my water as I know some people have difficulty drinking just plain water and it is actually beneficial.

  23. Connie
    2 years ago

    Dr. N, will this way of eating help with IBS? I have just been diagnosed and am searching for a way to naturally alleviate the symptoms. Thank you so very much for all you do.
    With love and deep gratitude, Connie

    1. Kimberly
      2 years ago

      It can help IBS, absoloutely. My husband had issues with it for years, now with a clean diet and eliminating foods that caused the issue he hasn’t had symptoms in a few years

    2. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Hi Connie– Kimberly is absolutely right. I’ve seen IBS and even Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis heal with good diets. Especially all organic food and eliminating most grains and even dairy for a while.

  24. Audrey
    2 years ago

    I’ve struggled with IBS with constipation my entire adult life. Many years ago, stopped eating processed foods, fried foods and soda and had very few IBS symptoms after. The constipation and bloating always remained an issue though. On the advice of my chiropractor a year ago, I removed white flour and sugar from my diet, and to my amazement, everything started moving! I also work two tablespoons of flax seed into my diet each day and the results are life changing! My gastro dr. has always pushed medication, which I’ve resisted. Really makes me mad that conventional western docs don’t give easy, natural advice..and I know they know this stuff works! I’m now looking for a holistic dr. Love you dr. Northrop!

    1. Gina
      2 years ago

      I have IBSC as well. Audrey, do you grind your flax seeds? Have you tried chia seeds?
      Has anyone tried the FODMAP diet?
      Looking for ways to get things running more smoothly

  25. Nancy
    2 years ago

    I’m wondering what effect Microwaves have on our health. Do you think they alter the nutritional value of food? They must surely kill the good bacteria? I would love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I try to avoid microwaves. They absolutely destroy nutrients and kind of NUKE our food. Best to use regularly cooking methods.

  26. Mary
    2 years ago

    I am a fan of your work, Dr. Northrup, but I wish you had phrased your comments about the Paleo diet in this blog differently. If someone stopped reading before the end, she would think that you don’t encourage Paleo, but further down the blog, you do exactly that. I would add that I’ve had great results from Dr. Davis’ “Wheat Belly” diet, and would encourage everybody to try it as a variation on an elimination protocol.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      HI Mary– thanks for this comment. I love Bill Davis’s work and also that of David Perlmutter- author of Grain Brain. I think that what everyone agrees on these days is that healthy fats are very important. And that refined carbs are not good. I had a recent reading with Anthony William the Medical Medium– and he told me that no one ever go a fatty liver from eating bananas. He’s a fan of healthy fruits and legumes. The area is evolving as it should. But what we all know is that the notion of “low fat” eating is obsolete and scientifically wrong.

      1. Alice
        10 months ago

        I just recently pretty much stopped using free fats after reading comments by Dr. John McDougal. I have had on-going problems with sporadic unintended stool passage off and on for years sometimes quite significant requiring a lot of bleaching and discarding of underwear. Now, cooking in liquid I am finally seeing a cessation! Even Psyllium seed hulls in water had only helped part of the time before. I eat a no grain omnivore diet with lots of veggies and some fruit.

  27. Janine
    2 years ago

    Dear Dr. NORTHRUP. I’ve been healing my gut for the last 2 years. And I found that my giving up processed foods have helped with my bladder. Before I used to eat the standard american diet. I use to drink normal amount of water. But I always felt like I had to pee. My daughter would joke and say I had the bladder the size of a pea. I recently went to a high tea and I drank a whole teapot and a cup. And I didn’t need to go to the ladies room. Please share my finding with people so they don’t have to wear those new undergarments for there bladders or take pills. I love how you empower women everyday. Love you. Many blessings to all Janine

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Great comment!! Thank you!

  28. Joan
    2 years ago

    I have been inclined to years of constipation. Doctors, even after a colonoscopy, have said I need to add more fibre in the form of cereals and grains. I reduced my meat consumption in order to increase my fiber consumption, hoping not to keep too much weight. Then, in addition to constipation, I was always feeling bloated. After reading Joan Borysenco’s Plants Plus Diet Solution and your book Goddesses Never Age, I eliminated all grains and processed foods and began eating more vegetables, fermented foods, and appropriate meat and dairy products, probiotics and digestive enzymes. Drum roll please, no more constipation and bloating. After a month, of feeling great, I started adding back one form of grain at a time. It seems I can tolerate oats and wild rice, but that is about it. TA DA!

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Bravo!! And thank you for sharing the great news!!

  29. dawn
    2 years ago

    Dear christine
    thankyou for the advice however since being diagnosed 2 years ago with cfs from a head injury etc,I have tried and tested many different supplements and therapies
    i have been gluten free for 18months been taking a very good probiotic and am mindful of what i eat,i do need to have coffee to start my day as without this i simply cannot function
    my digestive problem is most concerning as still without taking constipation tablets regularly there is no movement,i live in wiltshire half an hr from glastonbury (bradford on avon) and although I am greateful to have a caring gp need i say anymore to what i have just shared
    glad you felt the magic of glastonbury since my head injury and my huge awakening i now live mostly by synchronicity and flow,
    any advice would be much appreciated
    wishing you a happy autumn equinox

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      HI Dawn, It’s fun to think of you living in the fairy realms over there– which I fell in love with. I suggest that you go to And read all the testimonials. And also do the free healing program. Really DO IT. And if at all possible, get in on one of Robert Fritchie’s Divine Love healing webinars. You can heal just about ANYTHING this way!!

  30. Traci Rae Wong
    2 years ago

    The top of my foot has been hurting and I’ve been having acid reflux symtoms at night along with hot flashes and heart palpitations. I ate about a cup of sourkraut last night and experienced no acid reflux, slept much better and my foot is not hurting as much. Not sure if it’s all related but plan to eat sourkraut nightly now. Thank you for this article!

  31. Anna Marker
    2 years ago

    Hi Dr. Northrup!

    You are my go to Goddess. So much so that I am going to Stewart Springs next week! I can hardly wait. I have been dealing with EMFs in my home and really need the springs to heal. Your information on Stewart Springs was a gift.

    As far as a probiotic, how do you feel about kefir. It is all the rage right now since Donna Schwenk came to Hay House. I have been making it religiously since June and have shared my grains with friends and they are spreading it also. I use raw milk as pasteurized rapes the milk of enzymes. Only problem is weight gain.

    If you have the time for a comment, that would be great.


    Anna Marker

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Enjoy those hot baths and the sauna and cold plunge!!! And give the Stewart Springs masculine /feminine springs altar a little prayer for me!!

      I adore Kefir– but– it can be really high in calories. which, unfortunately, do count at least to some extend. SO– I get my probiotics from fermented foods, raw milk yogurt, and the USANA brand probiotic.

  32. Armechia
    2 years ago

    I have Acid reflux along with weight gain & OCD. I currently take a probiotic and you suggest a probiotic I can use long term.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I use the USANA brand. And I am a USANA distributor ( full disclosure). You can order through my healthstore on this site. Dr. David Perlmutter makes a good brand which is available through natural food stores. It’s called FitBiotic. I also very much like PB8 which is widely available in natural food stores. Hope this helps.

  33. Sandra I Biascoechea
    2 years ago

    Love your article about the gut. I have lots
    of problems with Candidiasis, that is also
    in my blood, and feels like anemic symptoms
    all the time. No energy at all. I will try your
    recommendations to see if I improve. I will
    let you know. Thanks

  34. Annelies
    2 years ago

    Very clarifying, whilst cutting through the hyberbole. Thank you! Will share with my loved ones.

  35. Kat
    2 years ago

    Dear Christine,
    As a child clinical psychologist I am really intregued about how the micro biome also impacts on mental health! Fascinating! Some friends of mine who teach ACIM based course in the UK also make a fantastic probiotics. Their business is called Microbz and based in the Uk. I am an avid fan of the chalice well also! Isn’t it fabulous!
    Best wishes

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      HI Kat– I brought some Chalice well water home with me. Will use it to baptize my little new grand daughter soon. Thanks for the heads up about Microbz!!!

  36. Sharon Hill
    2 years ago

    Since having my gallbladder removed 12/20014, I have had bloating, gas, soft stools, and malaise. I was told by the Dr. that I am now lactose intolerant and removal of cows milk has relieved most symptoms and by drinking Metamucil at night. Will this go away with time and is this normal? I am 67 and in very good health otherwise and am very active; walking, hiking, skiing. Thank you.

  37. Rebecca
    2 years ago

    What kind of enzymes (ie brand /specific enzymes) are needed to support digestion? I have been looking into this, and doing the other things you suggest, but still not sure about what enzymes.

  38. RaeMarie
    2 years ago

    In my experience with Hashimotos, I needed to eat organic because our food supply is loaded with Genetically Modified Organisms and our wheat supply is drenched with Round-up (glysophate) which causes intestinal damage and can cause cancer. Organic flour is tolerable for me.

  39. Sue
    2 years ago

    Thank you Dr. Northrup!
    I will check out the resources you have given! I am an RN who has always had a “strong stomach”, but developed digestive issues with long term stressful situations (e.g.caring for and loss of a loved one). I am improving and on my way back to my usual health. I am doing many of the things you recommend already and I believe that part of our problems in today’s society is not taking time to sit down and enjoy our food! That is something I have always felt was crucial to good nutrition! So, I am making real effort to do that, also! I always taught my daughters, “eat slowly and enjoy each morsel”. I am in great health, and want to maintain that! Thanks for what you do!

  40. mary grace
    2 years ago

    I have been suffering with gerd since I was seventeen. The symptoms have not been consistent until this past year. My PCP has me taking 40 mg of generic Prilosec x1/day. My results in the two months that I have been taking it, are fair. I also have osteoporosis and cannot take supplemental calcium due to increased gerd symptoms when I take it. I am CONFUSED as to the program plan that is correct for me. HELP.

    Mary Grace Decker

  41. Donna Mae Smith
    2 years ago

    Wonderful article. I recently was diagnosed with pancreatitis. I was in pain all summer and all the doctors could say was don’t eat fried foods or drink alcohol. Late August I received an email inviting me to free webcast titled Happy Belly. I listened to Dr. Ruthmarie Loscalzo for 90 minutes and then signed up for her Happy Belly class. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. She teaches the same subject/material you wrote about in this article and for the first time in 3 months I have some pain relief. I still have a ways to go but I’m on the right path and feeling so much better. It was nice to read and confirm what I am learning on your website since I respect your advice and knowledge. Thank You for all you do.

  42. Joan
    2 years ago

    After many years I found the key to healthy weight loss but I have Crohn’s disease and now an ileostomy. My diet changed and after regaining the surgery loss I seemed to be okay with a return to no caffeine, no sugar and limited wheat. Month s later I began to gain weight until now I weigh what I did before the original weight loss. No one seems able to explain this beyond my body needs nutrition and you’re overeating. Occasionally yes when I have a pity party I have donuts. But 1700 calories is not enough to gain weight. How has losing my colon effected the digestive process beyond not digesting fiber. My diet at this point is little sugar no caffeine and minimal wheat. My greatest concern is keeping fiber low because of the bag. I’m 65 and ready to just relax into a world of coffee and donuts.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I would suggest Jon Gabriel’s book on Visualization for Weight Loss. It’s fabulous. And will help heal you on many levels. ( I also love your comment about coffee and donuts–cause we ALL feel that way sometimes.)

    2. Patricia
      9 months ago

      In today’s world, I think we need to look carefully at our daily dietary intake because for 50 years we have been systematically eliminating all forms of fats and oils. Dr. Mark HYMAN’S book, EAT FAT GET THIN, is a marvelous book to begin understand the BIG role good dietary fats have on our system and general health. Do you eat enough good fats, along with you protocol presently? And, since you are a coffee drinker, have you researched Bullet-Proof Coffee? What a delight!

  43. Kenneth Greenblatt
    2 years ago

    Dr. Chris, Thank you!! Miss you!! Love, Ken

  44. jorunnninnimehammer
    2 years ago

    I love your simple way to explain health issues and give advice! Thank you for that and for making me and of course all of your readers and listeners understand that there is simple but powerful things we can do ourselves to improve our health!

  45. Susan Spanedda
    2 years ago

    Can u please give me some advice on nausea. It’s been 2 days with feeling awful. Vomiting and not feeling better at all.

    I’m drinking ginger ale. Seems to help but not for long.

    Thank you.

  46. Sonia
    2 years ago

    I am wondering about your views on stevia. I have been using it in place of sugar for years in my tea or coffee and sometimes worry thati will find out it is EVEN worse than sugar… I hope not. Please comment.

  47. Eskander Sharifi
    2 years ago

    First of all I wanna thank you for your posts. I don’t even know why I am writing to you. My 34 old daughter has lupus and under treatment. I wanna study Lupus (autoimmune illness). Please can you guide me as to what books I should read. I will always be indebted to you and pray for you and your family. Thank you very much.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I use stevia all the time. Especially the NuStevia brand. I’m even thinking of growing some in my yard next summer.Where did you read that it’s worse than sugar?

    2. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Hi Eskander– so sorry about your daughter. Many many people recover from Lupus. Start with suggesting she stop all gluten and eat organic foods.

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