Happy Gut Bugs…Happy Tummy!


Did you know that the number of human cells in our bodies may be as much as a fraction of the number of bacterial cells??

Depending on who you listen to, some claim that bacterial cells outnumber human cells ten to one! Whereas others claim there is a much smaller gap and in some people, human cells may outnumber bacterial cells. I’m not really sure who to believe in this argument because I lost count at like 7,459,855,258, but I really don’t care! If there are anywhere near the number of bacteria compared to “Me” cells it’s worth paying attention to!


Bacteria is a subject that, like many other variables in history has been “BAD” and it has been “GOOD”.

There is a ton of new research on bacterial involvement in our health recently and to me, The Geek, it’s totally fascinating! Science is only beginning to understand some of the important roles these little microscopic organisms play and the evidence is definitely tilting more in the direction of bacterializing and away from the obsession with sterilizing.

Bacteria are everywhere! They are in the dirt. They are all over our skin. They are in our mouths and sinuses. They are in breast milk. They are in our food and water. And YES! They are in our tummies! We have lived happily and symbiotically with these guys since the beginning of human existence. That is until we started disrupting them with antibiotics, processed foods, refined carbohydrates & sugar, stress, poor eating habits, pesticides….and the list goes on.

Bacteria are Necessary For your Tummy!

They line the gut walls and assist in the constant regeneration of the cells that make up your intestinal lining. They make butyric acid which feeds the cells of your colon. They also provide an additional layer of protection against viruses, parasites, toxins, undigested food and other potential offenders from getting into your system.

Happy Bacteria:

  • Help digest food
  • Make Vitamins B1, B12 and K2
  • Assist your immune system
  • Help you to be Happy by assisting in neurotransmitter production (These guys communicate with your brain!)
  • Play a role in weight management
  • Help with detoxification (Including Heavy Metals!)
  • Help control Inflammation in the intestines

 Bacteria is for “B”!

They make B vitamins! People are becoming more aware of the importance of B vitamins on their health. I think that is because more and more people are deficient and being deficient in “B’s” can really drag you down.  If your Tummy is not in very good shape you can have a hard time absorbing those “B’s” from your food or even supplements.  This is one of the reasons people bypass the digestive tract and go to the Doc to get of shot of “B’s” intravenously and they usually feel a noticeable improvement pretty quickly.

So what gobbles up your B vitas in a big hurry?  Sugar!

We love to eat sugar!  Bacteria love to eat sugar!  The difference is, when we do it we use up B vitamins.  When they do it, they make B vitamins!  So are they there just to feast on your cupcakes or are they there to help us replace some of the lost B vitas that are getting used up by your body metabolizing all that sugar?  Or both??  Hmmmm???

Could this be another demonstration of the brilliance of Mother Nature??  I think so:)

My Battle with the Bugs

Small intestinal bacterial infections or SIBO is when your healthy gut bugs from your colon migrate up into your small intestine, which is not where they are supposed to be. I struggled with the painful and annoying symptoms of SIBO for a long time.  Once I figured out what was happening, I wanted nothing more than to kill those bugs and be rid of them in a big hurry!  But a new thought process was recently introduced to me by my instructors at the NTA that maybe the solution isn’t about killing the bacteria. Maybe the answer to infection lies deeper in understanding the purpose for the colonization of bacteria in the first place.

Why DID they go there???  Maybe they were trying to help me?

This is a good example of why it’s so important to identify the underlying cause of a health issue.  If  you only focus on treating the obvious symptoms and not the root cause, the problem is likely to come back.  It’s like shooting the police officer just because he was at the scene of the crime.

Relapse is a common and frustrating scenario with antibiotic based SIBO treatments.

Even when I cut sugar out of my diet and gulped down tons of herbal and prescription antimicrobials, the bacterial infection didn’t go away.

Were they there because I was deficient in B Vitamins and full of Heavy Metals???

Now that I look back at all the things I have done along my healing journey, one of the most notable improvements occurred when I started supplementing with B vitamins which was around the same time I started chelation therapy.  As mentioned above, bacteria also chelate heavy metals.  So by improving my diet, cleaning out the metals and supplementing with B vitamins, I now don’t have those pesky SIBO symptoms anymore!

I feel like I got my life back!  And I don’t look like I’m 6 months pregnant with a gas baby growing in my belly;)

That was a little aside but a good example of why we always look deeper to find the underlying cause.

Healthy bacteria equals balanced bacteria!

There is a whole ecosystem of bacteria living in your body right now! It’s truly like another microscopic universe happening inside you! It kinda makes me wonder if we are like bacteria living inside of some giant organism???  Whoah…that was deep!  Sorry:)

Some species are more opportunistic than others so it’s important to have diversity and a good balance so the more opportunistic guys stay in check. There are some pretty nasty strains of bacteria in this world that can make you really sick and if you do come into contact with one of those Super Bugs, you want to have a strong army of “Good Bugs” who can beat up the bad guys to keep them from causing a raucous in your body.

happycolonsadcolon (Medium)

 So now that we know we need Bacteria, how do we take care of our Microbial Friends?

Bacteria are just like us. They like to eat and reproduce! To cultivate a diverse population you need to make sure these guys have something to eat! You want feed these guys a variety of whole, nutrient dense foods. Remember we talked about diversity? Well different species like to eat different things. If you eat too many processed grains and refined sugars you will feed too many of certain strains and not enough of the others which will lead to an imbalanced population.  You want to have balance and diversity.

The best food for our gut bugs is fiber. They love veggies! The more diverse your menu the better! This is one of the reasons why in my blog post titled “Real Food For a Happy Tummy” I recommend rotating your veggies so you’re not eating the same thing every week and experimenting with things you’ve never eaten before. This encourages a variety of healthy and happy gut bugs!

Another good way to keep those protective, happy tummy microbes flourishing and in balance is by eating delicious fermented and cultured foods and beverages such as Sauerkraut, Kefir, Kombucha and Beet Kvass. There are also a zillion or so probiotic supplements on the market worth investigating. I take a probiotic everyday. Just as mentioned with rotating food, it’s good to rotate your probiotics too to introduce a variety of different species.

Helping to restore and maintain microbe-harmony is another way your Nutritional Therapist can help you keep your body and tummy happy!

Go Organic!

This is another reason to spring the extra couple bucks for organic. The chemicals used to kill bugs and plants (weeds) in the field also kill the bugs and plants (helpful bacteria and yeast) in our tummies!  This can devastate our microbiome and leaving the doors wide open to many of the problems we see more and more today like Crohn’s, Colitis, IBS, Leaky Gut, Allergies and Celiac Disease….to name a few…  These are all problems resulting from imbalances in the gut!

You can pay now or pay later. I would rather open my purse today than trade it for a colostomy bag later!



Love your bugs and they will love you back!


For Help Balancing your Gut Bugs, contact me today!


Post By: Hollie Donelson, NTP

Happy Tummies of The Lowcountry, LLC

Bluffton/Hilton Head, SC






Please note. I am not a Doctor.  The content on this site is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before starting any type of health or nutritional protocol especially if you are being treated for or have been diagnosed with a medical condition.


If you found this information useful, you can help others by sharing with your friends!

Leave a Reply