How Balancing Your Gut Health Can Ease Insomnia and Autoimmune Disorders
If you deal with any type of insomnia or a multitude of autoimmune disorders, today’s question from one of our viewers is going to be highly impactful. So, my answer to you will also cover a lot of the bases for those of you who have sleep imbalances or are dealing with autoimmunity.
So, our question today comes from one of our viewers and the question specifically is, “How to combat high-level insomnia with multiple autoimmune illnesses?”
So, this is a great question. Specifically, I look at these two categories: We have multiple autoimmune diseases or disorders, and then we also have insomnia. And the two are interrelated, but we’re going to go into a deep dive here specifically about the nature of inflammation – systemic inflammation within the body.
Systemic Inflammation and our Stress Response Mechanism
Anytime I work with patients who have multiple levels – sometimes we consider these primary, secondary, and tertiary. So, we have these different layers, where one autoimmunity begets another, and then it’s this ripple effect where we will see compounding degrees of autoimmunity. This is ultimately going to trigger this whole stress response mechanism in the patient’s body.
So, specifically in this case, high levels or intense insomnia is a symptom of the inflammatory state of your body, specifically relating to these varying degrees of autoimmune disorder. And ultimately, anytime we’re looking at high levels of inflammation, as well as neurotransmitter imbalances – and that’s what insomnia really is signaling – is the brain is not getting all the right signals, and the communication pathways to calm the central nervous system and to have our glymphatic system do its detoxing at night – power down our organs in a good, rest-filled, rejuvenative sleep – then we are looking at, when that’s lacking, we’re looking at a deeper element of gut dysbiosis.
Gut Dysbiosis and Insomnia
And so, at the end of the day, inflammation and insomnia, we have to zero in on gut dysbiosis. And I highlight this really specifically in two of my master classes. One is gut-health-specific, and the other one is more of the biohacking your brain.
But in these two categories – brain health and gut health – there’s an interconnectivity where our brain is getting controlled by our second brain, our gut, and an assortment of chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters are being produced and controlled by our gut.
Enteric Nervous System and Gut Microbiome
We have this whole other part of our nervous system called our enteric nervous system, our ENS. The ENS is housed in our gut and it is heavily influenced by your gut microbiome. The little microbes of your gut, the bacteria in your gut, control all of these communication pathways. So if we’re looking at deep insomnia, we need to go deeper into the gut and healing the gut, healing leaky gut, healing bacterial imbalances in the small and large intestine, and ultimately calming this enteric nervous system.
Gut-Related Autoimmune Disorders
Then, the other thing that we’re dealing with, with any type of autoimmunity, is we’re dealing with leaky gut. Leaky gut is that source that causes systemic inflammation and triggers the immune response mechanism where the body, our immune system, attacks itself. And this is very broad. I don’t know what type of autoimmunity you’re dealing with, but common autoimmune elements that are gut-related are going to be things like rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s is a gut-related autoimmune dysfunction. We look at Sjogren’s disease as another one – we often see this as a third level, a tertiary-related autoimmune dysfunction – lupus, MS, we can see things like vitiligo and skin imbalances. We can even see autoimmunity of our joints. But all of the inflammation that we’re dealing with, it’s all coming back to the gut.
And then the gut-brain connection… there’s a gut-brain access, that’s actually what we call those pathways. We need to balance that pathway and we need to help the communication function better. And so I’m going to share with you some tips.
Test Before Supplementing or Treating
And anytime we’re looking at microbiome or microbes in our gut, I always say, “Don’t guess, test.” And so test your microbiome. There are ways that we can do that. We can do specifically gut testing, where we’re testing stool and actually analyzing your microbes, and then can really get specific about your ENS and where those communication pathways are deficient or not properly communicating.
We can also identify reasons why you might be presenting with estrogen dominance or why there’s hormonal imbalances that are also offsetting the melatonin levels. The melatonin is also a neurotransmitter.
Balancing Your Gut Health is the Primary Goal
So, at the end of the day, it’s all about balancing your gut, creating homeostasis in our gut. So, eating good, healthy, rich probiotic-dense foods, fermented foods, fermented fibers, fermented supplementation, which you get a plethora of fermented supplementation here at Organixx. As well as adding additional prebiotic-dense fiber, both soluble and insoluble fiber in the forms of apple pectin and inulin. These are all very powerful at helping to support and create a more supple, balanced, homeostasis within your gut.
Test Neurotransmitter Levels to Determine Specific Healing Protocol
So, I hope this answers your specific question. What I always recommend when we’re dealing with any type of multiple layers of illness is you want to get really specific. Again, you don’t want to guess, you want to test. So, test your melatonin levels. You can actually test your whole neurotransmitter profile. I do this with a lot of patients in my clinic where we need to know where their histamine levels are, where is their melatonin, where’s their dopamine, the serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and assortment of other neurotransmitters.
Those levels we need to identify, because often, melatonin gets billed as the cure-all of every insomnia type of case or state, but going deeper, looking at that deep dive, and going to the root cause of insomnia, it might not be a deficiency in melatonin. It’s likely an assortment of gut dysbiosis, as well as an intense inflammatory state that’s also triggering a spike in cortisol, which is the stress hormone, it’s a chronic stress hormone.
In small doses, cortisol is actually anti-inflammatory, but in high doses, it has a reverse effect. It can even create greater inflammation and can create imbalance within our circadian rhythm – the natural cycle of rising in the morning and feeling sleepy at night – and having rest-filled sleep.
So, those are some things to consider in delving into the root of your insomnia and the multiple autoimmune illnesses you’ve identified. And that can ultimately give you greater, more optimized healing. So, I hope that’s helpful, and definitely for folks as well, watching this particular answer, I invite you to ask additional questions about autoimmunity or insomnia or gut health, and I’d love to answer more questions.