The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Improve Gut Health

The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Improve Gut Health

You’ve probably heard it before – gut health is at the root of a wide range of symptoms and health issues! From stubborn weight and fatigue, to skin issues, mood disorders, headaches, and more, gut health is often one of the first areas I consider when working with clients to get to the root cause of their health challenges.


Because it’s the area that makes the biggest impact, the quickest!

Remember: there are many symptoms directly linked to gut health – and most of them are not digestive symptoms! Even if you don’t have digestive symptoms, your gut may be in need of a reset if any of the symptoms listed here sound familiar.

It’s no surprise that gut health has become a hot topic over the past several years, even in mainstream media – but the advice we hear from articles and commercials may actually be doing more harm than good, because they aren’t giving us the complete picture!

Here are the 5 most common mistakes people make when trying to improve Gut Health

  1. Relying on probiotics alone to get the job done

    Don’t fall for the myth that if you just ‘take a probiotic!’ or ‘eat some yogurt!’ you’ll be able to heal your gut. (That’d be nice, but it simply doesn’t work that way!) If it was that easy, we’d all just take our daily probiotic and we wouldn’t be dealing with all of these chronic symptoms that so many of us face.⠀

    Probiotics are not enough to heal the gut. We can’t expect to pop a pill and resolve our health issues. While appropriate probiotic supplementation can be extremely helpful in healing the gut, it is only one piece of the puzzle and is ineffective without necessary diet and lifestyle modifications.⠀


  2. Using an ineffective and/or one-size-fits-all probiotic supplement

    This is the most common mistake I see people making and honestly I don’t blame them…companies have masterfully marketed their probiotics, knowing full well that consumers don’t have all the information they need to choose a probiotic that’s right for them! People hear that probiotics are essential for gut health so they immediately start taking one – without knowing if it is effective and even safe for their unique situation.

    Not all probiotics are created equal. Some are, sadly, complete scams and while others are high quality, they may not be appropriate for specific symptoms and conditions.

    There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all probiotic. There is a lot of variability that determines effectiveness (quality, species, strains, bioavailability, potency, etc). Research shows that bioindividuality impacts the effectiveness of probiotic supplementation. In other words, due to microbiome diversity, there are specific strains of bacteria in a probiotic supplement that may work for one person and not another.⠀


  3. Eating specific foods because they’re supposed to be ‘good for gut health’

    Just like each person is unique, each microbiome is unique and requires different foods for healing! What may be beneficial for my gut health may actually cause you issues and vice versa. Yogurt, Kombucha, and Fermented Foods are perfect examples of this. While these may be incredibly helpful in one person’s gut health, they may actually worsen another person’s gut health. It depends on the individual!


  4. Following a one-size-fits-all approach to gut-healing

    When you hear about gut health, it’s often over-simplified into something like this: “we need a balance of bacteria in the gut in order to be healthy”.

    While that statement is true, it is not the complete picture! The balance of bacteria is only one piece of the puzzle. The integrity of the gut-lining, the location of bacteria in our digestive tract, and the current state of the gut (is it chronically inflamed or healthy?) are critical aspects of gut health that simply must be considered in order to successfully improve gut health.

    This is why people are often frustrated after implementing mainstream ‘advice’. Just because a certain supplement or nutrient works for some people, does not mean it’s the right approach for everyone.


  5. Believing that complete gut-healing is possible within a week or two

    While it is possible to see substantial healing and improvement in a short period of time, gut-healing is not a quick fix. (This is a good thing though, because it means that the results are long-lasting!) Some see results in a few weeks and some see results in a few months – it all depends on the individual, the state of their gut health at the beginning of the journey, and the factors that have caused gut dysbiosis.

If you’re looking for personalized detailed guidance in your gut-healing journey, I offer a full range of Nutrition Services that you can learn more about right here.

Hannah Smith

Hannah is the founder of Healthfully Hannah and is a nutrition professional empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Get in touch with Hannah right here.

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4 thoughts on “The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Improve Gut Health”

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  1. As someone with IBS, I’ve been there. Gut health can be a pain.

    I’ve also heard of people trying to “detox” to reset gut health. Mostly using laxatives or just fasting/juicing. That’s super damaging to your body, never mind just your gut!

    1. You’re right, Steph – that is not the right approach. Thankfully there is so much you can do to reduce the symptoms of IBS and figure out the root cause, which is different for everyone.