BiotiQuest® Gut Health & Probiotics Blog with Martha Carlin

The Truth About Gut Health Detox

Martha Carlin | May 13, 2024 | 11 minute read

In a world where processed meals and high-sugar foods often take center stage, poor gut health can become a mainstay of daily life for many. An unhealthy gut can lie behind health concerns ranging from digestive issues such as irregular bowel movements, chronic inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and autoimmune disease, to mental health struggles like anxiety and depression.

In this post, we'll talk about gut cleansing for a healthy microbiome, the role of gut-friendly foods and gut microbiota in regular bowel movements and colon cleansing, the relationship between your gut and liver, and how probiotics might support your colon health.

Gut microbiome and gut cleansing

Your digestive system naturally performs several gut cleansing processes like eliminating waste (via breath, sebum, sweat, urine, and stool), curbing the growth of pathogens, removing toxins (bacterial and environmental), and maintaining the balance between free radicals and antioxidants.

But, factors like an unhealthy diet, environmental stress, and age may slow down and compromise your digestive system's inherent gut-cleansing activities. For instance, if you don't eat enough insoluble fiber, you might find yourself struggling with irregular bowel movements and constipation.

Colon health and gut detox

As food moves through your digestive tract, it gets broken down into simple nutrients and absorbed in the small intestine. While the primary role of the digestive system is to process food, it also processes a constant passage of pathogens and pollutants. The resident gut microbiota helps support efficient digestion, protect you from foreign invaders, and eliminate waste from your digestive tract. The gut microbiota supports your digestive system by synthesizing by-products such as:

  • short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate that act as the primary energy source for intestinal cells, which strengthens the gut wall.
  • nutrients such as folic acid, thiamine, biotin, and vitamin K which help with cell repair and maintenance.
  • antioxidants such as glutathione (GSH), butyrate, and folate that counteract the effects of free radicals produced during energy generation, etc.

But the role of gut bacteria isn’t limited to simply supporting the synthesis of nutrients, a healthy and diverse community of gut microbes outcompetes pathogens for resources and space and protects you from various digestive system issues.

So, what happens to your health when your gut isn’t functioning as well as it should? What are some signs of poor gut health?


Signs of poor gut health

While more obvious digestive issues like sugar cravings, bloating, heartburn, food intolerances, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, unexpected weight gain or weight loss, or a struggle to lose weight, etc. are easily seen, indirect poor gut health indicators such as feeling lethargic, lack of sleep, poor nutrient absorption, etc. might go unnoticed.

Chronic illnesses such as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, etc., and mental health struggles like depression and anxiety have all been associated with poor gut health, dysbiosis, and bacterial endotoxins like lipopolysaccharides (LPS).

What is dysbiosis?

Dysbiosis is a state of imbalance in gut bacteria. A healthy gut has a diverse range of bacteria that keep each other in check. When the abundance of certain types of bacteria becomes more than is good for your health, it’s called gut dysbiosis. 

A significant number of studies correlate dysbiosis with a host of digestive issues like metabolic syndrome and IBS. Metabolic syndrome or the presence of metabolic factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or prediabetes, and obesity have all been associated with dysbiosis as the probable epicenter.

Does a gut cleanse help with dysbiosis?

Sporadic natural gut cleanses that include laxative herbs, herbal teas, and apple cider vinegar may help you lose some weight and feel better as an immediate aftereffect. But they won’t support a healthy gut long term, since gut bacteria resist change. 

One of the best ways to ensure long-term good gut health is to include regular gut-friendly foods, optimum hydration (water and electrolytes), fermented foods, and probiotics in your daily life. 

Gut-liver axis and detoxification

Upon digestion, nutrient-rich blood from the gut travels to the liver. Here, the blood goes through a filtration process that helps regulate chemicals, nutrients like amino acids and glucose, and bacterial toxins in the blood before they travel to the rest of the body.

Gut bacteria can communicate with the brain, skin, lungs, and liver amongst other organs via nerves, gut hormones, and microbial metabolites. The gut-liver axis influences liver health and its detox functions. Alterations in this crosstalk have been associated with liver disease.


In case of dysbiosis, gut microbes, and microbial cell fragments such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) can pass through a weakened gut barrier and reach the liver. Immune cells present in the liver recognize this toxin and mount a proinflammatory attack to neutralize it. 

A chronic presence of LPS in the blood can severely affect liver health and start a cascade of reactions that might later present as liver diseases like NAFLD and cirrhosis. A compromised and inflamed liver will struggle to perform crucial detox functions.

Gut microbiome and digestive health

Robust digestive health starts with a competitive and healthy gut microbiome. A course of antibiotics or a diet rich in trans fats and processed foods might lead to the development of an unhealthy gut. Occasionally, beneficial bacteria might also end up having a bad effect on the gut, if there is a lack of competitors that keep their numbers in check. 

What impacts gut motility, and how can you naturally cleanse your gut?

One of the primary functions of the gastrointestinal tract is to keep food and waste moving along. If there's a delay in this movement (peristalsis), digestive issues such as heartburn and constipation can crop up. 

Constipation is a gut motility issue that affects roughly 12-30% of people worldwide. A diverse gut microbiome can help protect you from adverse effects related to constipation.

The enteric (intestinal) nervous system and your gut microbiota regulate gut motility or peristalsis. Microbial by-products such as tryptophan (an amino acid) metabolites and short chain fatty acids (butyrate, acetate, and propionate) interact with intestinal cells (enterochromaffin and L cells) and initiate the release of gut hormones GLP-1 and PYY. These interactions between the gut microbiome and the nervous system begin a cascade that ultimately regulates the relaxation and contraction of gut muscles.

Consumption of prebiotics including fiber (especially insoluble since it adds bulk to stool) promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria that play an important role in maintaining gut motility and synthesizing appropriate microbial metabolites that support a healthy gut. 

Studies support the positive impact of probiotics on easing constipation symptoms and improving gut microbiota. Consumption of constipation-friendly probiotic strains including L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. reuteri, L. plantarum, and B. bifidum, etc., has shown improvements in gut motility variables such as transit time, number, and weight of stools.


Colon cleanses have gained popularity over the last few years for gut health but eating a balanced diet rich in prebiotics and probiotics remains one of the most important steps in sustaining a healthy gut, regulating sugar levels, and maintaining regular bowel movements.

Our patented probiotic formula Sugar Shift® contains gut-friendly probiotic strains — L. mesenteroides, P. acidilactici, L plantarum, L. paracasei, L. reuteri, B. bifidum, B. longum, and B. subtilis. It’s just like having fermented food in a capsule!

Are you curious to see how people have benefitted from Sugar Shift®? Here’s what a few verified customers shared about their experience with Sugar Shift®.

Front view of glass bottle containing 30 capsules of Sugar Shift antibiotic supplment.“I love the BiotiQuest Sugar Shift probiotics. I’ve lost approximately 9 pounds in just over 2 months. It does make you go to the bathroom more, but that’s a plus for me as well. Showed it to my doctor prior to re-ordering, and she approved.” - Penny N.

“I’ve been using Sugar Shift for a few months now. I’m very happy with how I feel taking it. Between working on limiting sugar and watching my carb intake my digestive track is feeling great. I’m noticing I’m more regular with my bowel movements and don’t suffer from bloating anymore. I will continue to use.” - Elizabeth O.

“It stopped my acid reflux by over 90% and improved my bowel movement consistently.” - Nohtal P.

How can you support daily gut cleansing?

Here's a quick rundown of things you might do to maintain daily and long-term gut health:

  • Make sure to keep hydrated with good quality water that is electrolyte-rich or by adding electrolytes (water alone does not hydrate well). Regular tap water is treated with chlorine, which may interact with your microbiome. Ideally, you may want mineral-rich spring water in a glass bottle.
  • Avoid too much table salt consumption, as it may lead to water retention. Adding mineral-rich salts like Celtic sea salt can help you hydrate well and help your body release water.
  • Adding in plant-based foods that contain indigestible carbohydrates (insoluble fiber), phytochemicals, polyphenols, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds confer health benefits like helping diverse gut bacteria thrive and supporting inherent detox processes. 

For instance, gut-cleansing foods like garlic and ginger have a bactericidal effect on the gut, inhibiting bad bacteria while encouraging the growth of good bacteria. Try out my fire cider recipe containing garlic and ginger, it packs in a punch of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds!

Watch out for herbicide and pesticide residues on most grains, veggies, and fruits, regular consumption of these residues can impact your gut microbiome which might influence the synthesis of essential bacterial metabolites. Eat as clean and organic as you can, and if you’re looking to take your food choices to the next level, check out the GAPS diet.

  • Eat sulfur-rich foods like garlic, brussels sprouts, etc. as they help eliminate heavy toxins from the gut by helping in the production of reduced glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Intermittent fasting or a periodic longer-term fast can be another way that help facilitate the removal of heavy metals and other cellular debris from the body.
  • Adequate sleep and exercise support a healthy gut. 
  • Eating a healthy diet supports your gut health but consuming alcohol, drugs, seed oils, high corn fructose syrup (HFCS), and processed foods high in trans fats might get in the way of a healthy gut.

From an unhealthy gut to good gut health

Probiotics and probiotic-rich foods have been associated with various health benefits on gut and overall health. A study analyzing the effects of our Sugar Shift probiotic on type 2 diabetes found a reduction in circulating LPS at the end of the 12-week trial. Probiotics in Sugar Shift also help convert glucose and fructose into mannitol in the gut, which acts as a prebiotic that supports the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut and is a powerful antioxidant. The study also showed a nine-fold increase in detoxification enzymes called cytochrome p450. 

Physical and mental health are both connected to a healthy gut. Signs of an unhealthy gut can begin with a slight shift in the gut microbiome. Probiotic-rich foods help you maintain a natural balance between different types of gut microbes and keep your regular gut functions such as gut cleansing and bowel movements on schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do you detox and reset your gut?

Diverse gut flora plays a huge role in determining your gut health and your natural gut detox capability. A colon-cleansing diet that eliminates unhealthy foods and is rich in prebiotics and probiotics is the first step in maintaining a healthy gut and healthy bowel movements.

1. What is a 7-day gut reset?

A seven-day gut reset is intended to replace processed foods, sugar-rich foods, and wheat with a fruit and vegetable-rich diet. It can kick-start a long-term gut-friendly diet.

2. Can you detox your gut? What to include in a natural gut cleanse diet?

The body has an inherent gut detox process, and one of the best ways to support a healthy gut is to eliminate sugar and trans fats-rich processed foods. This is done by adding in a variety of antioxidant and prebiotics-rich fruit and vegetables, healthy fats found in nuts and seeds, and grass-fed sources of dairy and protein.

3. What is a gut detox and is it different from a colon cleanse?

In pop culture, a gut cleanse diet, gut detox or natural colon cleanse might refer to juice cleanses, laxative herbs, herbal teas, etc., as a way to cleanse your colon by increasing bowel movements. Whereas, colon hydrotherapy or colon cleanse is used as a way to flush out your colon with water to remove waste before a clinical procedure. These are short-term “fixes” and don’t necessarily help maintain a long-term healthy microbiome.

With gratitude,

Martha Carlin photo Martha Carlin, is a “Citizen Scientist”, systems thinker, wife of Parkinson’s warrior, John Carlin, and founder of The BioCollective , a microbiome company expanding the reach of science and BiotiQuest, the first of it’s kind probiotic line. Since John’s diagnosis in 2002, Martha began learning the science of agriculture, nutrition, environment, infectious disease, Parkinson’s pathology and much more. In 2014, when the first research was published showing a connection between the gut bacteria and the two phenotypes of Parkinson’s, Martha quit her former career as a business turnaround expert and founded The BioCollective to accelerate the discovery of the impact of gut health on all human disease. Martha was a speaker at the White House 2016 Microbiome Initiative launch, challenging the scientific community to “think in a broader context”. Her systems thinking background and experience has led to collaborations across the scientific spectrum from neuroscience to engineering to infectious disease. She is a respected out of the box problem solver in the microbiome field and brings a unique perspective to helping others understand the connections from the soil to the food to our guts and our brains.

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