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The power of the gut

Vegan SIBO

Everybody’s talking about “healing the gut”, “gut health” or even “leaky gut”. Why so much talk about the gut? The importance of the gut goes far beyond the process of food going in and out. Here are a few areas which are closely impacted by the health of your gut.

The Microbiota

When referring to the gut, most people are referring to the gut microbiota, the trillions of bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. We often think of bacteria as something we want to get rid of, but when it comes to the gut, there are many bacteria that are doing wonders for our health.

Preliminary studies suggest the gut microbiota has a role in conditions ranging from intestinal motility disorders, visceral pain, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), ischemic stroke, and presentation of Autism Spectrum Disorder.1

Mental health and the gut are intrinsically linked

The bacteria in the gut have been to produce or consume an array of neurotransmitters, which are paramount for mental health.  These include dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and GABA.2

Serotonin, which most people recognise as our happy hormone, but plays a role in reducing anxiety, insomnia and improving feelings of self-worth, is found in abundance in the gastrointestinal tract; as much as 90-95% is found in epithelial enterochromaffin cells.3

Many bacteria have been proclaimed to produce GABA, an amino acid that functions as a main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the body, reducing feelings of anxiety.  Bacteria from both the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genera, have been shown to produce GABA.  Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 is the most cited as shown in mice to reduce depressive and anxiety-like behaviour with changes in cerebral GABAergic activity.4

Evidence is growing to show that the gut microbiota influences neurogenesis, brain development and interacts with the enteric and central nervous systems via the “gut-brain-axis”.  Preliminary studies shown that the gut microbiota influences depression, anxiety, and even Autism Spectrum Disorder.1

Considering all of this, it should be clear that optimising gut function is crucial to optimising mental health.  Conveniently, the best way to optimise the gut microbiota is through fibrous, whole plant foods.

The gut and the immune system

Another relationship which gets a fair amount of press, is between the immune system and the gut.5 Not only is good digestion imperative for the absorption of the nutrients required for optimum immune health, but the integrity of the microbiome directly influences inflammation in the body and the accumulation of opportunistic, pathogenic bacteria.

A well-functioning gut mucus membrane is one of the most important defences against pathogens, and as we’ll see when we discuss intestinal permeability, a poor functioning barrier can allow bacterial endotoxins or viral fragments to pass through into the blood stream.

The gut and autoimmunity

There is a strong connection between autoimmune conditions and gut health with compromised gut function either initiating or aggravating existing autoimmune conditions.

High saturated fat and high sugar diets, or even high stress levels, or antibiotic use (though potentially life-saving when required) can lead to increased intestinal permeability (commonly known as “leaky gut”).  This leaky gut allows various proteins, bacterial endotoxins and viral fragments which are not supposed to enter the blood stream to do so leading to a myriad of health consequences.

When dairy is consumed, due to a process called “molecular mimicry”, the body can get confused and can respond by attacking the beta cells of the pancreas (as in type 1 diabetes), or it can attack the collagen in joints.  The amino acid residues 141-157 of bovine albumin are practically identical to those found in human collagen in the joints.Consequently, antibodies created to attack the cow’s milk proteins mistakenly also attack the cartilage of the joints.

A similar event takes place with Type 1 diabetes, where bovine insulin from milk can lead to antibodies which attack the pancreas.  This does not appear to hold true for A2 milk, however there are plenty of other reasons why drinking cow’s milk is far from ideal for humans.  Keep your eyes peeled for more information on why this is in future blogs.

The gut and weight loss

As we explore in detail in the vegan weight loss blog, there is a tremendous association between gut health and weight loss.

The gut microbiome can not only influence energy balance, but influence satiety and gut inflammation.  Incredibly, the Bacteroidetes taxa has been associated with reduced obesity compared to Firmicutes.  One randomised cross over trial showed a 20% increase in Firmicutes bacteria to associate with around 150 greater kilocalories absorbed, compared to a 20% increase in Bacteroidetes associating with around 150 fewer kilocalories absorbed.7


So now you know WHY you want to optimise your gut health, upcoming blogs with look at some specific foods and techniques you can use to optimise your gut health.

If you’re on a vegan diet and struggling with gut problems, make sure you read the upcoming blog “4 Truths and Commonly Held Misunderstandings about Vegan Gut Health”. As ever, if you want specialised, individualised help in optimising your health, feel free to check out my services page.  It would be an honour to be able to help you on your plant based journey. 💕


  1. Strandwitz P. Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiota. Brain Res. 2018;1693(Pt B):128-133. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2018.03.015
  2. Mayer EA, Knight R, Mazmanian SK, Cryan JF, Tillisch K. Gut microbes and the brain: Paradigm shift in neuroscience. J Neurosci. 2014;34(46):15490-15496. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3299-14.2014
  3. Gershon MD, Tack J. The Serotonin Signaling System: From Basic Understanding To Drug Development for Functional GI Disorders. Gastroenterology. 2007;132(1):397-414. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2006.11.002
  4. Bravo JA, Forsythe P, Chew M V., et al. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108(38):16050-16055. doi:10.1073/pnas.1102999108
  5. Lynch S V., Pedersen O. The human intestinal microbiome in health and disease. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(24):2369-2379. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1600266
  6. Pérez-Maceda B, López-Bote JP, Langa C, Bernabeu C. Antibodies to dietary antigens in rheumatoid arthritis–possible molecular mimicry mechanism. Clin Chim Acta. 1991;203(2-3):153-165. Accessed October 20, 2018.
  7. Jumpertz R, Le DS, Turnbaugh PJ, et al. Energy-balance studies reveal associations between gut microbes, caloric load, and nutrient absorption in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(1):58-65. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.010132

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Camilla Clare Naturopathy
Based on 24 reviews
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Emma Fabricius
Emma Fabricius
22:56 11 Sep 21
I cant ´t describe how grateful I am to have got in contact with Camilla! She really has an amazing knowledge about the... body and how it all works together on a different level than anyone I´ve ever worked with. I came to her to get help with my headaches, migraines and fatigue after years and multiple visits/treatments with different doctors, experts etc. without any luck. Instead of just recommending me a "quick-fix", she worked with me to find the underlying issues.I've been working with her for a couple of months now and she never fails to give me the highest quality treatment in all aspects. She is also super quick to respond to any question or concern I might have, which I really appreciate.She is also one of the kindest, sweetest and most understandable people you will ever meet. It is so comforting and calming to finally have found a person who truly cares about your health as she does (AND is vegan!!). I can´t recommend her enough!! Thank you Camilla :)read more
Punam Mann
Punam Mann
02:02 06 Sep 21
Camilla has been absolutely amazing and I highly recommend her. She understands and respects my vegan dietary choices... which I have struggled with other doctors and naturopaths. She patiently listens and created a thorough treatment plan for me. I have been on the treatment plan for a few weeks now and my symptoms have greatly reduced and I’m already feeling much better. I’m highly impressed by her prompt response to my emails. She is very knowledgeable and helpful and has made my healing journey extremely comfortable.Thank you Camillaread more
Fabiana Loddo
Fabiana Loddo
23:10 20 Jul 21
In the past, what I found difficult with doctors was the fact that they did not listen to me; they literally finished... the sentences on my behalf all the time, rushing a diagnosis!Camilla is such a great listener, she really took all the possible information from me, she studied my case meticolously and came up with a cure which makes a lot of sense...and she explained it to me! Some other practitioners just prescribe lots of things and do not even explain what is cointained in those supplements/herbs and what they are specifically for.I highly recommend Camilla to all the ones who want a "same-level" relationship which their practitioner and not a "yes, I trust you, you are the expert" kind of relationship.Thank you Camilla!read more
Julien Fouquet
Julien Fouquet
11:31 19 Jul 21
I'm so glad I went to see Camilla, being vegan it's nice to find a naturopath who shares the same values.She asked me... a lot of questions during the initial consult, I felt that she was genuinely trying to help. After a few weeks and some tests done, she made a very detailed treatment plan which was very thorough and well explained.After only a few weeks following the treatment plan, the symptoms greatly improved as my gut health got better.I'd highly recommend Camilla as she has great knowledge combined with a caring and effective holistic more
Charlene G
Charlene G
02:35 18 Jul 21
I truly wish I found Camilla earlier and I HIGHLY recommend her to anyone looking for a naturopath! I've been seeing... her for a few months now and I'm constantly impressed at how thorough, knowledgeable and passionate she is. I've had gut and hormonal issues for as long as I can remember, and from the get-go, I felt Camilla was truly invested in finding the underlying causes and helping me resolve them. She is also the warmest, kindest person - an absolute joy to work with.I've already seen such vast improvements in my health, and for the first time in my life, I'm confident that my issues can well and truly be resolved. I also really appreciate working with a fellow vegan who not only understands my values, but is equally passionate about them too.Thank you so much, Camilla! I cannot recommend her enough!read more
Libby Penney
Libby Penney
07:09 05 Jul 21
I am so grateful I have found Camilla. We hit it off straight away and she understands me. Her knowledge is second to... none. She goes above and beyond and has helped me so much, so quickly. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her. Thank you more
Matt Gussin
Matt Gussin
16:41 22 May 21
I've had a pretty horrid time with gut and fatigue problems for over two years and in this time, I have seen countless... doctors, naturopaths, gastroenterologists, Chinese medicine practitioners and so on...Some of which told me to stop my vegan diet, so this was when I searched for a vegan Naturopath and found Camilla.Camilla has been nothing but outstanding since our first contact. She is the first person in my health journey who I feel is genuinely invested in my health and has worked tirelessly to help and provide answers. She is always quick to reply to my lengthy emails and although currently at the early stages of my treatment, every piece of advice and treatment given has been based off facts and logical reasoning.I really recommend Camilla. I have felt very comfortable with her from day one and you will get someone who is knowledgeable, passionate but most importantly, will do her utmost to help you through any more
Sophie Smith
Sophie Smith
02:36 22 May 21
I would without a doubt recommend Camilla to anyone looking for a naturopath. She is so warm, caring, knowledgable and... helpful. I sought Camilla’s help to work on my severe PMS, heavy and painful periods and PTSD and mental health. From the moment I saw her she went above and beyond and is always there to help whenever I have any questions or concerns. I have just started my treatment plan and feel confident that I will see an improvement with my concerns.Thank you so much Camila xread more
Laura Harper
Laura Harper
02:59 07 Apr 21
I have been working with Camilla for a couple of months now with the aim of treating and managing hair loss, stress,... and anxiety. Camilla's process is incredibly thorough and informative and it has been amazing to not only feel better, but learn SO much in the process. My treatment plan has been very manageable, and Camilla has always made sure I understand why we are doing things rather than just telling me. This ​has really helped me to feel more in control and kept me committed to the lifestyle changes. Prior to working with Camilla, I felt a pretty overwhelmed with information, none of which I could be certain was true or even relevant to my symptoms whereas Camilla's process is so personal, and completely tailored to the individual.Camilla has been so kind, and understanding and has made the whole experience as comfortable and easy as possible. I have been shocked by how quickly I began to feel positive changes, and cant wait to see them continue!read more
Millie Guest
Millie Guest
02:45 04 Mar 21
Camilla is an incredible naturopath. I was recommended by a friend. I was struggling with my energy levels and needed... help to figure out why. The consults were thorough and in-depth and camilla made me feel super comfortable the whole way through.I had bloods done which confirmed i was low on iron as she had predicted. She wrote me an amazing in depth treatment plan, which included when and how to take my supplements with loads of tips & tricks on how to get the most out of them and include more into my diet. She also gave me loads of great recipes to cook to help with my iron intake.It has been over a month into treatment and i feel super energetic and full of life again. It was exactly what i needed to help get back to myself.I couldn’t recommend her enough. If you’re struggling with anything her in-depth knowledge in her field will help you.Thankyou more
Sophie Farrelly
Sophie Farrelly
03:42 29 Dec 20
Camilla is very knowledgeable, helpful and has a wonderful nature. She’s caring and goes above and beyond to help. I... can’t recommend her enough. Thank you!read more
02:07 06 Nov 20
Highly recommend. Camilla is a delight, very passionate and committed to getting clients back to their best!
Vivian Ruth
Vivian Ruth
09:03 28 Oct 20
I’m so grateful for the treatment that I received from Camilla. My results improved within a month!! She is very... attentive, knowledgeable and caring. I highly recommend her for everyone!!read more
Chloe Compton
Chloe Compton
10:20 24 Sep 20
I had several online consultations with Camilla. She was a pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable. Her treatment... plan has really helped me and improved my skin condition. Highly more
Lilla Magyari
Lilla Magyari
11:16 01 Sep 20
Camilla is an amazing Naturopath! Her knowledge and enthusiasm is absolutely fantastic! She helped me a lot in the past... and still does whenever I need. You can count on her 100%. I only can recommend her!!! 💚 🌱 💚🌱💚🌱💚🌱💚read more
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